As a non-Dodgers fan, and in fact someone who used to openly loathe everything about them, their dominance over the rest of baseball is fatiguing at best, life-draining at worst. Though some will point to just one World Series title, make no mistake that by any logical measure they’ve been baseball’s yardstick for at least the last half-decade. They are the standard-bearers.
And it’s easy to get bored, jealous, and derisive, simply because it’s all so simple. They have all the money, they have all the prospects or soon will again after trading those prospects for more good players, they have owners who spend, and they have a runway through their division.
We all get excited about what the Padres could be, but with the way baseball works now, the Padres don’t have an endless window to turn their promise into results. Their owners will get scared by future checks to be signed, or attendance won’t be what they expected, and they’ll circle back down the mountain with only one assault on the summit or two, just as countless others have done. They could easily become Cleveland West just as easily as they could become Dodgers South, getting a look or two at a parade before deciding it’s not worth it.
The pandemic’s main effect on baseball is allowing almost every owner to act to the full extent of the ghouls they are without having to couch it or have anyone question it. They can claim massive losses, without actually providing any numbers to back it up or prove why their standing as multi-billionaires shouldn’t prevent anyone from giving a flying or land-based fuck. Even the Rays, who certainly missed out on the least income given no fans in attendance, are claiming they have to slash payroll, when they already had the third-lowest payroll in the game. They constantly bitch that they can’t draw fans to their park and that’s why they need one or two cities to help them build a new one, but now that number of fans that wasn’t acceptable is moving them to the poor house? Fuck all the way off to hell.
The Cubs and Red Sox, two of the biggest brands and markets in the game, have either already uncontrollably burned their teams or are about to, simply because they feel like it. The only “buyers” this winter, apparently, either have a new owner (Mets) who hasn’t been part of baseball’s nuclear summer at all and wants to act like he has all the money in the world (because he does and so do the rest of them), or up-and-coming teams that weren’t spending anything anyway.
So with the news that spilled last night that the Dodgers are making goo-goo eyes at Nolan Arenado, and that Blake Snell will be on the block because his salary is now above “change for a button,” let’s point out just how stupid all of this is and move them to the Dodgers. Move them to the one team that is run not just as a business or simply for franchise value, but as a baseball team. Move them to the one team that shows just how much of a mockery it is that any other team would claim poverty. Move them to the one team that doesn’t give a shit. Let them win 121 games with a run differential of +649 and shove everyone else’s dick in the dirt.
Show everyone that how the seemingly small difference between running a team as just a business and one that’s a baseball business is actually gargantuan in practice. Turn the whole operation into a cartoon. Give us the real-life Gashouse Gorillas, with no Bugs Bunny in sight. It’s what this evil and petulant cabal deserves.
While the Dodgers’ market and TV-deal (struck before RSN Armageddon) gives them an advantage, don’t fool yourself into thinking that most every team could be the Dodgers. The luxury tax isn’t there because teams would have gone bust. It’s there so other owners can shame the ones who want to go above it. Most of them can. They only love beating each other slightly less than beating the players’ union. And so what if they spend themselves into oblivion? It would show just what born-on-third morons these guys actually are. And there’s always another one to pick up the torch. There’s always a Steven Cohen behind the Wilpons. There’s always Magic Johnson and friends behind the McCourts.
So let’s see the Dodgers become Thanos. Or hell, let the Mets do it, too. Fictional John Henry in “Moneyball” said that having money means not having to care what people think. Owners have taken that to mean they don’t have to care what fans think. Let the owners who don’t care what other owners think win the day.