[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Sports Central

[an error occurred while processing this directive]


Please Visit Our Sponsors
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

MLB - World Series a Tale of David and Goliath

By Gary Cozine
Saturday, November 3rd, 2001

America loves an underdog. It's the reason we like Bill Murray. The sentiment can be seen in movies like The Rainmaker, A Civil Action, and The Insider where the little guy takes down big business. This is a vital form of escapism because 99% of this country - to say nothing of the world - identifies with the underdog and the sheer thrill of watching the small fry topple the huge corporation is irresistible.

There is solid historical reasoning for this. After all, this country was founded by men and women who broke away from an empire that, at the time, controlled a good portion of the world. But our affection for the little guy even predates the 18th century - it is at least as old as David and Goliath.

It's hard to believe a team that won the second most games in the National League this year, has a player in Luis Gonzales who put up legitimate triple crown numbers (that is. if you forget about a guy in San Francisco named Barry), has the best 1-2 punch of starting pitchers of any team in a very, very long time, and who got off to a 2-0 start in the World Series could still be considered an underdog - but that's exactly what the Arizona Diamondbacks are.

Even taking all of the above into consideration, Arizona still have a lot going against them - this is only their fourth year of existence in MLB; they are being lead by a rookie manager who's job last year was to comb his sparse hair, put on a suit and tie, and talk into a microphone; they have $28 million less to play with than the Yankees, and for all the experience on the team roster (7 of the players are older than 35), only one has a World Series ring - Craig Counsell, when he was with the Florida Marlins (another underdog team).

Compare all of that to an opponent that has been to the World Series 38 times, whose shortstop is 27-years-old and already has four World Series rings (some players - Tony Gwynn, and (thus far) Barry Bonds, just to name a couple - play their entire careers without ever getting their fingers sized), has been to the postseason the past seven years running, whose current players have 58 World Series titles collectively and have had, at one time or another, players on their roster with names like Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Gehrig and you begin to understand that the Diamondbacks aren't playing the Yankees, they're playing Goliath.

Arizona and New York illustrate a paradox that is inherent in another American institution - Capitalism. The free market rewards companies that are ruthless on their competition and seize control of the market.

Microsoft is now a very large company run by a geek. But it was once a very small company run by a geek. At one time, IBM was Big Money and Microsoft was Loose Change. As Microsoft gained influence and forced out smaller rivals, its stock price soared which infused additional capital into the company coffers, providing powerful leverage. Eventually, this lead to Microsoft toppling IBM. What is ironic is that at that point the government stepped in and instead of rewarding the company for achieving its mandate, it declared it a monopoly and punished it by threatening to break it up.

Once a company or a team ceases to be an underdog, it falls out of our favors. It becomes Goliath and we start searching the horizon for a new David to defeat it. I'm not suggesting that we break the Yankees up and distribute the players among lesser-known teams like the Devil Rays, but I think salary caps are in order for baseball. Smarter people than myself have pointed out that professional sports is one of the few businesses in the world where the quality of the game is dependent upon evenly matched teams. If the Yankees were to destroy every team they played, every time they played them, eventually people (including Yankee fans) would become bored and stop attending games. Revenues would dry up, and the integrity of the game itself would be jeopardized.

This year the Yankees have made it difficult to root against them without feeling like a traitor to the nation - they have traded in their Yankee caps (symbols of baseball hegemony) for NYPD and NYFD hats (symbols of martyred heroes) and are from a city that has been the locus of our grieving universe for the past six weeks. You have to remind yourself that you are not cheering for the defeat of New York City and its people, but rather for the overthrow of Goliath.

Have something to say? Visit the message boards and discuss this article.

Comments? Agree? Disagree? Send in your feedback about this article.

     Back to MLB
     Back to Home

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Interested in advertising with us?
More information.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]