> Is there a right/wrong way to win?

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> Is there a right/wrong way to win?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:23 pm

> Is there a right/wrong way to win?


QUOTE(Zupcic Fan @ Jan 29 2008, 10:40 PM) *
2. I won't feel a little guilty about the Sox turning into the Yankees


I pulled this out of the Santana thread since I don't want to detract from the trade talk and we're constantly being told more threads are generally good. So I'll address this here.

I don't understand this sentiment. I'm not saying it's not valid, I just don't understand it personally. Would the 2007 World Series Championship be any less enjoyable if the Sox had spent 200 million last year instead of ~145? I expect the responses to this are going to vary as widely as personalities do around here, but I'm interested to see what people think about this.

Personally, I don't care if the Sox spend more on their roster than anyone else in baseball if it means we're winning on a consistent basis. It's nice to know we have some payroll flexibility to fix any issues that come up during the season, but aside from that, I really don't care what payroll is. So I'll ask a couple of questions:

1. Does it matter to you how much the Red Sox spend on their roster each year if it doesn't impact flexibility or detract from other areas of operation?
2. If it does, is there a limit? Either relative to another team or the league, or a hard number?
3. Would your answer be different if the Sox hadn't won in 2004 and 2007?
4. Do the Sox need to get to a certain point in the playoffs to justify your answer for you? ALCS? WS? Win it all?
5. Would either the 2004 or 2007 championships been less enjoyable for you had the Sox spent significantly more on the roster those years?
6. Would being called the new Yankees really bother you that much if it simply means we're winning and they're not? If so, why?

Answer all or some, but I'm genuinely interested in seeing what people think about this. I've seen this type of thing said here and elsewhere, and it's always interesting to me that people think this way, so I thought I'd actually ask people to go into some detail.






Lurker pockmeister PMed me this:

QUOTE
I'm a lurker in the UK, so can't post on the main board...but loved the topic you put up there, so thought I'd PM you my answer...

1. Does it matter to you how much the Red Sox spend on their roster each year if it doesn't impact flexibility or detract from other areas of operation?

No, it doesn't really matter to me. The Sox are a wealthy ballclub, and provided they achieve a suitable blend between roster / minor leagues / scouting / operations, I’m not worried about the actual amount spent. The only thing that makes me think twice is when I see that only the Sox and Yanks pay luxury tax, which makes me wonder about equality in the league. But then I think about the amount of money Red Sox fans and sponsors put into the ballclub, and cease to worry about it. If the Sox were spending way beyond their means, then I would be worried.


2. If it does, is there a limit? Either relative to another team or the league, or a hard number?

There’s no limit compared to other teams for me, but I think there must be some internal limits, so that spending on the roster remains proportional to the spending on the other aspects of the organisation, especially on scouting and the development of our own talent


3. Would your answer be different if the Sox hadn't won in 2004 and 2007?

I’d love to say no, but I suspect it’s yes. If the Sox had not won it in recent years, I would be in full “win now” mode, and want them to blow as much money as they could on every high profile free agent that hit the market. Having crossed the hurdle of winning, I don’t worry about winning every year. I now prefer the idea of sustained investment in the ballclub, and the creation of a great team that is sustainable due to being a mix of cost-controlled home-grown talent and well-chosen big-money free agents.


4. Do the Sox need to get to a certain point in the playoffs to justify your answer for you? ALCS? WS? Win it all?

Not every year, no. I would be disappointed not to be at least the Wildcard, but if the team has the occasional down year mixed in with more successful years, then I’m happy with that. If the Sox were in / winning the WS every 4-5 years (on average), I would view that as justification of the money being spent. I make my judgement much more on how much pleasure they give me to watch play, and how much fun I have following them, rather than just on the end result of a season. I know that sounds wishy-washy and fluffy, but I like supporting a team that I care about, and I would likely care less if it was purely stuffed with free agents.


5. Would either the 2004 or 2007 championships been less enjoyable for you had the Sox spent significantly more on the roster those years?

Not 2004. They could have spent the GDP of Mexico on that team for all I cared…just as long as the Sox started winning again, it would have been fully justified in my mind. 2007…well it was less enjoyable than 2004, but that was purely due to 2004 being an unrepeatable experience, and nothing to do with the money spent


6. Would being called the new Yankees really bother you that much if it simply means we're winning and they're not? If so, why?

Fan-boy answer, but yes it would. I like the idea of rooting for a team that wins by being cleverer and better constructed, despite having a smaller budget than their biggest rival. It’s the thing about rooting for an under-dog. Now we’re not a true under-dog any more, but we are compared to the Yanks still, and I’d like to keep it that way. I was glad not to get Santana, not because I didn’t want to see him pitch, but because the money being spent would have made us more like the Yankees. I think we can win more than the Yankees in the future, not by spending more than them, but by being more intelligent about how we construct a team


Bests,

Paul.


I would say that there's nothing wrong with using your resources to help you win and the current ownership group is to be congratulated that they have done so, particularly in comparison to the prior Yawkey/Harrington regime. However, there is a danger with becoming another version of the Yankees, where anything less than a Championship is seen as an unacceptable failure.

The Yankees had a season in 2007 that fans of most teams would look back on with tremendous pride and fondness - a terrible start, followed by an amazing run of fantastic baseball where several new stars emerged and long time favorites produced big numbers. Admittedly, they failed in the post season, but not everybody can win the World Series. If the Seattle Mariners or the Milwaukee Brewers had a season like that, their fans would have lots of happy memories to look back upon once the immediate pain of final defeat faded. How do Red Sox fans remember 1967 and 1975, even though those seasons did not end with World Series victories?

Instead, what do Yankee fans have? The last ravings of a demented George, the first ravings of his lunatic children, their most successful manager in 50 years disgracefully fired, more Arod soap opera, etc... Even the Amazing Joba turned into the guy who couldn't handle the bugs. Will Yankee fans look back on 2007 as a great season, a fun time? No, they've become as obsessed as George S. Steinpatton with "Victory or Death!"

And really, what's the point of playing 162 games over 6 months if its basically a forgone conclusion that you'll be in the playoffs - and an epic disaster if it looks in June as - horror of horrors - you might not be? For a Yankee fan, the regular season is either a bore if you coast or a source of distress and unhappiness if you don't.


I'd hate to see the Red Sox end up in the same place.

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Re: > Is there a right/wrong way to win?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:24 pm

Distress and unhappiness? Those are kind of dramatic words. Uneasiness, anxiety might have better. Are there never any feelings of uneasiness among Red Sox Nation? Are Mets, Dodgers, Angels and Cubs fans just as carefree? Any team that whose teams payroll is at or over 100 million dollars should feel a little "distress" if it looks like their team is on the verge of missing the playoffs, that's what being a fan is all about.

To answer the larger question of "is there a right/wrong way to win?" I would say as long as you're team is not cheating or bending the rules than no there is no wrong way to win.


Right and wrong wouldn't be the words I'd choose. Let's just say there are ways of winning I'd prefer to other ways. Believe me, I'd rather have the Sox win with a $300M payroll than lose with a $50M payroll, but I'd rather them win with a competitive payroll and a team of farm-developed players than win with a bunch of over-priced players bought with a humongous payroll advantage.

Most of us are both baseball fans and Red Sox fans. The Red Sox fan in me would've loved to see Beckett-Santana-G38-Daisuke-Buchholz mow down the world (would they set a new MLB team strikeout record?). As a baseball fan, I'd rather have Santana stay with the Twins. The Mets are some place in between; at least they're in the NL.

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Re: > Is there a right/wrong way to win?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:26 pm

OTE
1. Does it matter to you how much the Red Sox spend on their roster each year if it doesn't impact flexibility or detract from other areas of operation?
I'm not sure that you can ask this question quite like this. The problem is that on some level the money that is spent on payroll will always have some impact on flexibility. I would suspect that some of the posts that have the "don't become the Yankees" mantra incorporate the fact that the Yanks have been hindered by a lack of flexibility in recent years. It seems as if a potential lack of flexibilty is exactly the reason that neither Boston or NY pushed the button on the Santana deal.

That being said, I generally don't care how much money the Sox spend on payroll as long as:

1. The organization is putting the best possible product on the field.

2. The future isn't being compromised for a short term gain. Especially if that short term gain is merely selling tickets and not competing.

Neither of these two things have happened under the current regime as far as I can tell.

QUOTE
6. Would being called the new Yankees really bother you that much if it simply means we're winning and they're not? If so, why?


If being called "the new Yankees" is the price to be paid for an extended period of excellence, then so be it. Besides, I can assure you that there are already several fans of other teams that dislike the Sox as much as the Yankees.

For me it is more than a question of Sox payroll vs. Yankees payroll.

I want a salary cap, because I think it is nuts that Kansas City has to compete against Sox/Yankees.

Given the system as it is, I think it is more enjoyable NOT to have the very biggest payroll, because if you win it all, you are expected to, and if you don't, you've got a lot of 'splainin' to do.

So, the "wrong" for me is the uneven playing field, not anything that any team has decided to do within the current system, except for the fact that teams taking money from the luxury tax fund haven't been made to spend it on acquiring better players.

QUOTE
1. Does it matter to you how much the Red Sox spend on their roster each year if it doesn't impact flexibility or detract from other areas of operation?
Yes it does .. I believe the massive payroll advantage the RedSox enjoy (non-MFY division) diminishes the acheivement of winning. It may still be only 60-70% of the Yankees payroll but that's no excuse. Just because the Yankees are insane doesn't mean the RedSox should be. I understand there's a lot of money in baseball right now - and it's good to see some of it being spent on players. But, realistically, it would take a perfect storm of events for a team like Tampa Bay to compete for more than a year at a time.

For me - a perfect world would be a Salary Cap/Floor system ..but that's not going to happen for the forseeable future.

This is not to say that having a 160m payroll is a bad idea from a business (ie the Redsox) perspective. Just from a fan's (me). I'm a baseball fan too - Santana going to the Mets is great - him staying in Minnesota would hav been even better.

QUOTE
2. If it does, is there a limit? Either relative to another team or the league, or a hard number?


For me, I'd be comfortable with somewhere in the top 20% of MLB - excluding the Yankees of course. Their current payroll is , in my eyes, excessive - down around 120m would be better.

QUOTE
3. Would your answer be different if the Sox hadn't won in 2004 and 2007?
Probably ..

QUOTE
4. Do the Sox need to get to a certain point in the playoffs to justify your answer for you? ALCS? WS? Win it all?


Given their financial advantage I they they have to be competitive - a playoff contender - barring weirdness (think 2006).

QUOTE
5. Would either the 2004 or 2007 championships been less enjoyable for you had the Sox spent significantly more on the roster those years?
Yes - 2007 was bad enough as it was.

QUOTE

6. Would being called the new Yankees really bother you that much if it simply means we're winning and they're not? If so, why?


Yes .. it would be reeeediculously hypocritical to spend decades whining about the Yankees payroll excesses and then turn around and emulate them.


QUOTE(Kevin Mortons Ghost @ Jan 30 2008, 08:22 AM) *
I would say that there's nothing wrong with using your resources to help you win and the current ownership group is to be congratulated that they have done so, particularly in comparison to the prior Yawkey/Harrington regime. However, there is a danger with becoming another version of the Yankees, where anything less than a Championship is seen as an unacceptable failure.


I don't think think that this standard has all that much to do with money spent. IMO, it's more about past success; when you make the playoffs ever year, and recently won 4 out of 5 titles, anything less than a championship is seen as a failure. It's all about expectations, and a lot more goes into that than payroll size.

The Red Sox have won 2 of the last 4 world series, and that fact is more responsible for raised expectations than payroll size.



This is an interesting point. There was definitely something special about that night for me. Like many here, I've kept an eye on Clay since he was drafted and seeing him throw that no hitter was beyond exciting. I've been thrilled to see young talent worked into the team over the years. From Youks to Pedroia, my favorite player in any given year has usually been someone promoted through the system. It was Nomar way back when, even.

As for the comment made earlier about it being hypocritical to have spent years complaining about the Yankees payroll and then be fully comfortable when the Red Sox start operating in a similar way, that's also something interesting to explore. I'd be a liar if I said I've never complained about payroll disparity before, especially as it relates to the Yankees. But at some point, it finally occurred to me that it was more out of jealousy watching them win over and over than it was about really believing it was unfair that the Yankees had so many more resources devoted to their roster than we did.

Maybe it was after 2004, maybe it was later... I'm not entirely sure when it happened, but I came to the realization that I'd have been thrilled to see the Sox loosen the purse strings a bit more to help the team compete. Winning in 2004 and 2007 has definitely changed my perspective on baseball and on winning quite a bit. I'm sure that's true for many of us. And while I'd love to see a more level playing field where the Tampa Bays and Kansas Cities of the world could compete with the Bostons and New Yorks, that's not really feasible at this point. Until teams like them and even Florida are forced to spend a certain amount of money on payroll each year, a cap really isn't going to make a bit of difference.

I mean, you can't set the cap at 65 million. Teams like the Red Sox and Yankees simply won't be able to get to that point any time soon, if at all. So a cap would have to be quite a bit north of 100 million. If the financial titans of the sport were restricted to 130 million and Florida still chose to spend 15 million on their roster, there's no more parity tomorrow than there was last year. So it's a complex problem to say the least.


Didn't we have this thread already? Oh well it was a good thread, why not?

I think there's a wrong way to win -- breaking the system. MLB isn't some rock-steady ecosystem honed by bajillions of generations worth of evolution, it's a constantly changing scaffolding of greed vs. grudging intergovernance that's about as stable as a three legged hippo on dirty Ecstasy. It can be broken. I honestly think the only thing keeping this point academic is the incompetence of the Steinbrenner clan.


I think what people are talking about is more and less satisfying ways to win. Sure it's more satisfying if everyone comes up from a wee lad in rookie league ball and grows into a Boston hometown superstar hero complete with gold glove and silver slugger and All Star invite while we win the WS for the fifth time in a row. But we've just won a couple of them too. If you were to go to Cleveland and tell 'em 'You can win the WS this year if you spend some dough on big names, but, err.... isn't that wrong?' you might get a different reaction. Anyway, go try it and see what they think about it.

Z is a lot more sentimental of a fan than I am. I worry about the money more because of what will have to happen if someone finally marries big-market money with real baseball smarts and dominates the league thereafter.


Over 162 games and 6 months of my continuing interest, I prefer to watch more of the games between teams on a relatively even playing field. Regardless of the media hype (which I generally avoid), these days it's more interesting to look forward to games with the other "top franchises" like LAA and NYY than it is to look forward to games with the hopeless O's or Royals. Overall, these are the really competitive games, rather than seemingly foregone conclusions that can turn into disappointment when the game doesn't go as expected.

However, for me the biggest thrill growing up was watching up-and-coming stars change the fortunes of a team, and it still is. So I prefer a team that develops star players in the minors to plug into their own team rather than trade for superstars. Now, my perspective is built from growing up in central Pennsylvania in the mid-80's to mid-90's, pretty much equidistant from Philly, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and New York. I chose to root for the Pirates, because it was so remarkable to watch Bonds, Bonilla, Van Slyke, and Drabek all come up together. Then also, I had moved there from Washington state at 11, so my AL team was the Mariners...which was pretty damn embarrassing until the core of Griffey, Martinez, Vizquel, and Johnson emerged.

Frankly, the current Red Sox seem to be GM'd pretty similarly to the Mets of the mid-to-late 80's and Yankees of the 90's...who built powerhouse teams by smart integration of home-grown talent with superstar free agent signings. It's the blueprint for extended MLB success, but you need the money to do it, and that's what pisses off fans of low-budget teams, who have to suffer through extended rebuilding phases that big-budget teams don't. As a junior high kid, all the frontrunners at school were Mets fans, so that team was never appealing to me. Heck, rooting against them was what got me amenable to the Sox in the first place...long before moving up to the city for grad school in '98. I probably wouldn't ever have become a fan of the Sox at all, except that I happened to live a block from Fenway the two years that Nomar, Mo, Trot, Tek, and Pedro reinvented the franchise. And of course, I'll always have a soft spot for Wake, if only from memories of his sublime '92!

So yeah, the little kid baseball fan in me would never would have become a fan of the Sox as presently constituted, regardless of WS rings (and part of me wanted to see the Indians win it all last year) -- and I definitely would have been less inclined to follow the team if they'd landed Santana...probably would have stopped watching NESN altogether and gone for NL games on TBS for my baseball fix. I suppose it would have been the "right way to win" but I wouldn't have been interested in following the team very closely.

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Re: > Is there a right/wrong way to win?

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:29 pm

We sure would look scary for 2009 and behond....just imagine the heavy flow of rookies coming from the minors to the team within the next 3-5 years.....Hank would be a fool to let Cash go and not keep sticking to the youth movement....He and Theo are basically following the same plans and obviously for the RS it has already paid off with a WS win

The Red Sox won b/c they had Josh Beckett, Matsuzaka, Ortiz, Manny, and Okajima. None of those guys came from their farm. Their farm is supplementing the stars that they sign via free agency. But their core is imported.

I don't see how their farm has paid off with 2 World Series. Especially sicne the 2004 Red Sox did not have ONE single homegrown player on its 25 man roster

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