Move over, Joe Morgan. There’s a new idiot in town!
I wrote the other day about the Rick Sutcliffe Myth, as perpetuated by Tim Kurkjian. Now, I don’t want anyone to think I am picking on Sutcliffe, but I just have to say: the guy is a moron.
First of all, he is utterly obnoxious to listen to. I was watching the World Baseball Classic in March, and he was doing the game with Dave O’Brien and Eric Karros, and he kept calling them O.B. and E.K. Umm, RickyPoo, you’re a grown-up now, doing a grown-up’s job, so it’s time to start calling people by their names. It was the worst thing I have heard since Mike Piazza referred to Paul Konerko as KoKo during the playoffs last year. (Umm, MikeyPoo, any ground you gained in the “I swear I’m not the player Brendan Lemon was talking about” race when you got married Alicia Rickter was lost when you gave pet names to Konerko.)
Sorry, back to Sutcliffe. So I was watching the Indians/White Sox game today, and Sutcliffe was talking with Dan Shulman and Harold Reynolds about revenue sharing and other financial issues in baseball. On the topic of revenue sharing, they discussed the guidelines that teams are supposed to spend the money they receive through revenue sharing on improving the on-field product. No problem there. Then Shulman asked Sutcliffe specifically about the Florida Marlins. This seems like a logical choice, because the entire payroll of the Marlins’ roster is roughly $15 million this year, which is about half what they made in revenue sharing alone last year. According to Jayson Stark, the Marlins are one of four teams — along with the Pirates, Devil Rays, and Royals — who are taking in more from revenue sharing than they are spending on payroll, which means they are turning a profit before they ever sell a single ticket. So it made sense that the Marlins are part of the question. But here is Sutcliffe’s response when Shulman asked about the Marlins:
I don’t know how they’re getting away with it.
Here’s how, Rick: they have proven their commitment to winning. They have won two World Series in the past nine season, more than any team other than the Yankees. And among the players bringing home the $15 million bacon this season and the top-notch minor leagues they have in their system — nearly all of whom were acquired during their fire sale this past winter — they have the tools to win another one within the next four or five years. As a fan, I would gladly take a World Championship every five or seven years, even if it meant an occasional season of 100 losses with a $15 million payroll. No matter what happens with the Marlins this season, there is no question that they are committed to winning and they are doing it very intelligently.
Can the same be said of the Royals, Pirates, and Devil Rays? Well, under new ownership and new management, the Devil Rays appear to be more committed than ever, so maybe they will be okay, but the bottom line is that they have been in the league for eight seasons and have never lost fewer than 91 games. Until that changes, there’s a problem. A team that is is making a profit and getting top draft picks every year should be able to turn things around.
What about the Pirates and Royals? The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1993; the Royals have had one winning season since 1994. And both teams are (again) terrible. The Pirates at least SEEM to be trying, they just aren’t successful. The Royals? If they are trying, they are the most incompetent baseball people this world has ever seen.
So when Sutcliffe was asked about the Marlins, his response should have been something along the lines of, “At least they have a plan. What really bothers me is teams like the Royals, who don’t seem to have any idea how to improve their team.”
Is Sutcliffe as dumb as Joe Morgan? Of course not. But he’s mighty dumb.