When Bill Simmons created his book, Now I Can Die in Peace, he made it a collection of several years worth of Red Sox articles he had written. He also included an article about the Patriots 2001 Super Bowl championship. His reasoning? That victory allowed the Boston fan base to picture themselves as champions. It changed the whole mental outlook of the region. After the Patriots traded Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings, I realized it should also have been included for another reason. The two teams handle themselves almost exactly the same, whether it’s good or bad. With the Moss trade, it’s the bad way. (Although, it’s nice that it puts Moss in Minnesota in time for the Monday Night game against the NY Jets and a certain gimpy hamstring.)
Both Bill Belichick and Theo Epstein have the same opinion of themselves. They both had some success early in their reigns, which has led them to believe the hype. They both feel they can do no wrong. They don’t need a hall-of-fame wide receiver, or left fielder. After all, any loser they pick up off the scrap heap will instantly become a superstar. They can build their teams on the cheap, and look like geniuses in the process. Of course, the Patriots haven’t won a title since the 2004 season, and the Sox since 2007. But, that’s beside the point. They can do whatever they want with their golden touch.
They both think they can have more success with teams full of interchangeable parts. Who needs actual talent on your team when you can have a bunch of mediocre guys all playing the same positions? Now, I have to give the Patriots a little slack in that area. They have a salary cap to deal with. They have to try to save money when it makes sense. Theo only tries to save money because he thinks it makes him look smarter.
In either case, the two teams have become really dull for their fans. When the Pirates keep trading away their players, everyone mentions how awful it is for their fans. They could only keep Jason Bay so long before he became too expensive. The Indians couldn’t afford to keep Victor Martinez. How awful for their fans that they can’t enjoy these great stars for longer than that. Of course, they both played longer in those cities than they did in Boston. Why would fans create attachment to teams or players when the parts keep leaving in exchange for another, often less talented, part? Why would I watch either team? Take Adrian Beltre. The Sox signed him to a one-year deal. One of two things could have happened. He could have been lousy. In that case, he wouldn’t have deserved my attention. Or, as actually happened, he could have a great year. In that case, you know the Sox will let him walk rather than pay him. Why would I invest my attention into a player only around for one year? In the Patriots case, I know I had little interest in watching the Patriots games before Randy Moss arrived. Now that he’s been swapped out for a generic part? I don’t imagine I’ll watch many games in the future. Five-yard dumps are only exciting for so long.
So, both the Red Sox and Patriots seem to make decisions for the same reasons. Both covet draft picks. Both seem to think the future is more important than the present. Both are intent on creating a balanced organization, as opposed to a talented one. Both don’t want to have many long-tem contracts on the team, for fear of being bogged down.
I just can’t decide if either team wants to win a championship.