The Dallas Cowboys of Baseball

Why the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys have become two peas in a pod.

 It was around eleven last night when I first saw the highlights of the Yankees loss, a 10-2 collapse to the generally hapless but kind of dangerous Cleveland Indians. As I sat in a dark corner in a bar on Greenville Avenue, watching the Yankees bullpen crumble on itself to chants of “We want Nick Swisher,” I was vaguely comforted.

 Not by the fact that, simply the Yankees lost; my stance of bitter loathing towards New York, from those late nineties playoff series with Texas, has devolved into a benign and unremarkable sense of distaste.
Forty legends and around forty-eight thousand fans packed the $1.3 billion shrine to baseball; expectations were high, and why not? The Yankees prize acquisition, C.C. Sabathia got the start, just part of $200 million worth of athletes on the field for New York, a veritable Steve Austin of a baseball team.
Sabathia wasn’t at his best, giving up five hits and five walks over six innings of work, but he did enough, probably, to give New York a chance. The game was tied 1-1 when Sabathia left in the sixth.

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Then, the Yankees bullpen happened; Damaso Marte and Jose Veras combined to surrender nine runs in the seventh. Boos and a stunned silence could be heard from the crowd intermittently. The game was, for all intents and purposes, over.
New York’s solid start was torn asunder so quickly and definitely that no one, it seemed, really knew what to say; of course, if the Yankees get hot, maybe win a world series, this game will be a mere afterthought. If they don’t, however (and this looks very likely), fans will decry April 16, 2009 as a dark and hideously shameful day in Yankees history.
And here’s where I take my comfort; the Yankees fans on Thursday got a taste of what Dallas fans were feeling last December, as: (a) Dallas played three quarters of good football against the Ravens in the last game at Texas Stadium, (b) trotted out just about every former player that’s alive and of any consequence and (c) crumbled on defense, falling victim to a quick, decided and heartbreaking offensive explosion.
Jerry Jones was one of the 48,000 or so in attendance on Thursday; I like to imagine him clutching a sobbing George Steinbrenner, patting him on the back and saying, “I know, I know—it hurts.”
Call it sour grapes, but misery loves company; and I’m glad to welcome Yankee fans to this particularly ignominious brand of misery.
What’s so intriguing in all this is the vast similarities between the two organizations; they are the largest franchises in their respective sports, they have long, storied and successful histories, and both, after (relatively) long championship droughts, have found themselves looking down the barrel of make-or-break-type seasons.
Deion Sanders recently suggested that all hell would break loose in 2009 if the Cowboys continued to fall short of the generally lofty expectations set forth by public sentiment; there’s really no reason to think he’s wrong.
Just what all hell breaking loose entails, within the context of major American professional sports, I don’t know. But the Yankees, all $200 million worth, currently sit in third place in the uber-competitive A.L. East; if they don’t make some serious strides in the next six months, they just might give us a hellacious preview of things to come in Dallas.
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