Updated Jan 22, 2014 - 9:56 am
I never thought I'd say this, but #letsgoYankees
A year ago I never thought I'd use that little sucker before the phrase "letsgoyankees" but I did and I meant it.
And today I'm happy.
At this point, I'm rooting for anybody but the Dodgers in the Tanaka sweepstakes. Including the Yankees. #letsgoyankees— Dave Burns (@Burnsy987) January 22, 2014
Make no mistake, I'd be happier had the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, though I'm not sure I would have wanted them to give him a seven-year deal worth $155 million and the opportunity to opt out after four years. That amount is triple the size of the largest free agent contract ever doled out by this organization, which is, remarkably, the initial Randy Johnson deal that brought him here from the Astros.
I would have been satisfied had Tanaka signed with the Cubs, Mariners, Angels, White Sox, Red Sox or yes, the New York Yankees. Anybody but the Dodgers.
Most will read that and assume I'm being super-homer; an angry reaction to a rivalry gone wrong, bananas in the dugout, parties in the pool and everything since.
Sorry to disappoint you but that's not the case.
#letsgoyankees stems from a story I read a week ago about the Dodgers' pursuit of Tanaka by Buster Olney of ESPN.
"The Yankees have the greater need, and maybe a little more pressure to sign Tanaka after learning they won't have to pay A-Rod in 2014," Olney writes. "The Dodgers are perceived by some rival officials to be more shameless in their bidding, untethered to market prices shaped by other teams, and more driven by what they want."
It's not enough to have Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu. Dan Haren is there. So are Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley, though they're both coming off injuries. The Dodgers' pursuit of Tanaka felt like an exercise in excess, driven by -- as Olney puts it -- what they want and not what they need.
It's like putting a hotel on Boardwalk and Park Place when you already have houses on Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Pacific Avenues. The line between winning and showing off is getting a little blurry.
Such is the nature of sports I suppose; everyone is trying to do whatever it takes to crush the other guy. I'm sure if I lived in southern California I'd have a decidedly different point of view. Come to think of it, if I lived in Boston, or Baltimore, Toronto or Tampa I'd probably have a decidedly different point of view about Tanaka in pinstripes.
And the truth is the Dodgers weren't doing anything against the rules in their pursuit Tanaka. Neither were the Yankees. They are driven by a desire to succeed and have the resources available to pursue that vision.
And it's not like the Yankees are Vince Vaughn going up against Globo Gym. They've shelled out $465 million this offseason to get Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and now Tanaka. They're no less a financial bully than the Dodgers. So why #letsgoyankees? Why them over L.A?
The difference comes in one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies, Hoosiers.
Coach Norman Dale: First of all, let's be real friendly here, okay? My name is Norm. Secondly, your coaching days are over.
George: Look, mister, there's... two kinds of dumb, uh... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with.
On second thought, maybe I am being a super-homer.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo