A free-agent signing is more or less an auction with soft factors such as location, co-workers, etc. infrequently playing a minor role over monetary considerations. If you really want to be a skeptical reporter, this should have been your opening paragraph lede last November, “Oddly, the Boston Red Sox outbid everyone else for Pablo Sandoval.”
It turns out that the lineup card Bruce Bochy has been submitting to umpires this month is far different from the team he led to 88 wins during the regular season. It’s much, much better and to the benefit of astute handicappers, the difference seems to have escaped not only commentators but oddsmakers as well.
The narrative that’s emerged, unanimously as far as I can tell, from the digital-based sportswriting set is that the Royals are a wonderful story – for the city of Kansas City, for those who love underdogs, for small-market teams, etc. – who have created the perfect post-season team. However, the narrative continues, despite a masterful combination of speed, defense, and an unhittable bullpen, the Royals are one of the worst teams to ever play in the World Series. They are, the thinking goes, in the midst of a heater all while residing in a bed of 4-leaf clovers, lucky charms, and horseshoes.
To my wife, who puts up with this nonsense annually, I have a pre-emptive answer for you when you walk into our play room for the next six months, see me in the fetal position with the TV tuned to yet another Mariners game and ask, "Are you rooting for Seattle?" In the words of Marc Cohn, from Walking in Memphis, "Ma'am, I am tonight!"