Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Albert Belle, 1999 Stadium Club #315
Ugh, I don't even feel like talking about Mark Teixeira, but I suppose I should get it out of my system. I never truly thought he was coming to Baltimore, but as the Hot Stove talk droned on and the Orioles were consistently mentioned in the short list of teams that had legitimately made offers and had not been eliminated, I got sucked in just like everyone else. He wouldn't have made this team a winner, but he would have helped with his power bat, his glove, and even his feel-good local boy story. Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis would have had a more tangible reason to believe that this team's efforts to rebuild a winner were in earnest, making them more eager to sign contract extensions. Now, back to the more gradual methods and blueprints.
I couldn't care less if Mark wanted to play for a winner, but it would've been easier to take if he had stayed with the Angels. I didn't want him in Boston, but even that may have been preferable to the stinking Yankees. I don't know how Bud Selig can sit on his sweaty, withered hands and pretend that nothing stinks with baseball when the Yankees squeeze hundreds of millions of dollars of tax money out of the state of New York to build their garish, egalitarian stadium and then turn around and toss out $425 million to grab not only one or two, but the three most prized free agents in this year's class. I know they haven't won the World Series since 2000, but they are able to get a helluva head start on everybody year in and year out with their pocketbook, and that just plain sucks.
I suspected that Teixeira was blowing smoke when he was quoted periodically about his childhood Oriole fandom and his great desire to play in Camden Yards and to be close to home, but I wanted to believe that he was at least a bit genuine. Considering the reality of the situation, and agent Scott Boras' final call to Andy MacPhail to let him know that they were "going in another direction" without allowing MacPhail to make a final proposal, Mark has shown his true colors as another disingenuous mercenary in a long line of them. May he win as many championships in pinstripes as Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, and the rest of the multi-million dollar gang did.
Albert Belle was the last prominent free agent that the Orioles outpaced the Yankees in order to sign, and that turned out swimmingly. Two years of production followed by an injury-forced retirement. Buyer beware.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I haven't lost sight of that. Come back for a much more pleasant discussion.