I KNEW the Yankees would win tonight. I looked at the matchups, and I mentally conceded this game to the pinstriped devils.
When CJ Wilson pitched six scoreless, and the Texas bats gave him a five-run cushion, I was still nervous. A five-run lead is not enough when you're going up against the best team money can buy, even when you're at home.
So why is this loss so upsetting? I knew it was coming. With the inevitability of fall sliding into winter, I saw this loss for the Rangers, but I never stopped hoping, not until the final out was made.
This will be tough for the Rangers to bounce back from. Is it possible? Yes, anything can happen in baseball, but a win tonight would have given the Rangers unimaginable momentum heading into the next few days.
But why was this loss so viscerally upsetting? Precisely BECAUSE it was unsurprising. The Yankees are supposed to win. If they don't win the World Series, every year, with a payroll like that, it is a failure. Losing in the World Series? Failure. Getting eliminated in another round of the playoffs? Blasphemy. Missing the playoffs altogether? Unheard of.
It's grating. The Yankees unlimited ability to spend and spend and buy wins that no other team can afford based simply on the size of their captive audience is detrimental to the integrity of the game. It's like if US Steel had been part of MLB. The person with the most money always wins, and I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of this storyline.
I think baseball needs a salary cap. I know this is a long shot, and that the player's union would fight a proposal like that to the death, but the sport is suffering because the playing field is anything but level right now. Alex Rodriguez alone made more money this year than the entire roster of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Yankees represent everything that is wrong with baseball - and even their fans deserve better. The championships they've bought aren't nearly as special as those won by other teams, because the frequency of victory has made pennants commonplace, and even boring.
Tonight's Yankee victory was upsetting on a visceral level, because it represented more of the same: the upstart Rangers, who have only won a single playoff series in team history, getting beaten by the powerhouse Yankees, the Enron of Major League Baseball.