Friday, October 16, 2009

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

By Coral Marshall - Columnist

Perhaps the scribes of ESPN’s miniseries “The Bronx is Burning” wrote it best when they had John Turturro as Billy Martin proclaim: “You’re damn right I know about Yankee tradition. We only won six pennants and five World Series while I was there and I was MVP of one of them, so I think I know a little something about Yankee tradition.”

The Yankees do have a storied legacy and 26 World Series championships is hard to argue with. That being said, it is easy to see why one of the best (if not the best) position players in Major League Baseball would want to be a part of that tradition.

But that doesn’t make it any easier when you are the team, or the fans of the team, that offered Mark Teixeira $160 million only to be turned down at watch him instead become a Bronx Bomber.

That is money from which Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson — the original Yankee free agents — would have been hard pressed to walk away.

While there is “Yankee tradition,” this postseason the Angels have “unfinished business,” as has accurately phrased it. Sweeping the Red Sox in the American League Division Series was sweet. Handing Josh Beckett and Jonathon Papelbon their first post-season losses was something that, for years, seemed like only a dream for Angels’ fans and players.

But, as personal as the Red Sox series was, the Angels have an even larger task ahead of them.

The Angels seek to show the East Coast that West Coast baseball (from which so many of the classic Yankees hail — Joe DiMaggio and Billy Martin just to name a couple) can be just as dominant. No matter how many wins the Angels seem to rack up against the Yankees (more than any team in recent memory), those 26 championships get thrown in your face. (It seems that many fans don’t realize the Angels were not an MLB team until 1961; 48 years after the Yankees were established. To put that in perspective, DiMaggio was a rookie in 1936 and retired 10 years before the Angels became an MLB franchise.) But maybe it is time to show the Yankees, their fans, and the rest of the sports world, that this isn’t a new era of free agency like 1977, when they could just buy the league pennant. Instead it is time to work toward it.

Teixeira is, no doubt, a great player, but ultimately his production was not much greater than Kendry Morales’. While Teixeira had 66 more at-bats than K-Mo, he only had five more hits. Morales’ batting average was even 14 points better. And there is no way that the five more home runs Tex hit were worth all that money — even his most avid fan has to admit that.

So, perhaps while the Angels take care of their unfinished business, they can prove that open pocket books do not open doors to the World Series. And even more importantly, it is time for the Angels to show the Yankees, Teixeira and baseball fans alike, that the Angels are creating their own “Angels Tradition” — one of which any player and fan should be proud to be a part.
Love to hear what you think!


Anonymous said...

Good read, Coral. Thanks for posting this. I'm exciting about tonight and you're right, its business time.

PulledPorker said...

If Kendry got to play 81 home games with that wind tunnel in right field, he would have hit ten more home runs than Teixeira.

Don Mattingly said...

I think it's time for him to find a new job:

Tammy said...

Been a slow start but 3-0 up in the bottom of the first of Game 5 with no outs!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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