sabermetrics into all facets of the game (particularly fandom) and the consequent general devaluation of image—led me to believe that a team that still seemed to be playing the game and building their roster as if cameras and headlines were what decided titles—such a team could not triumph.
By the general devaluation of image I mean the paradigm shift that has taken place in the understanding of how to assess production and, to maybe a lesser extent, talent. The intuitive language of the scout's eye has been replaced by the almost humorously arcane jargon of the sabermetrician, the guy who can not watch the game but can with the aid of increasingly sophisticated instruments for recording pitch-by-pitch data tell you who's not swinging at the right pitches, who's throwing too many off-speed pitches, whose slump is temporary, and who needs to be benched.
Or maybe it's not image that has been rejected, but the idea of fluidity as the unit of analysis. Motions—pitching, batting, throwing, even watching the pitch—are disaggregated into discrete, precise elements to a fetishistic degree, rationalizing or even Taylorizing processes which for a long time seemed like they were at their best when they were at their most poetic, least mechanical (Charlie Gehringer to the contrary).
Either way, the Yankees assumed a position of not just villainy but almost blasphemy, of satanism: this was an organization that, no matter whether it ever adopted sabermetrics and other related studies, did so still under the banner of the image, of fluidity (capital and labor moving in and out lubriciously), of what they looked like in the camera's eye or underneath the headline. Victories on the field were to be produced by victories in the press—boffo free agent signings, prima donna players, inter-family power struggles—in short, by dominating the attention of the media. It is of absolutely no relevance if the Yankees only differ in degree from the Red Sox or other big spenders in terms of how they ran their club; they always seem to wish to differ in kind, as if being a baseball team in a baseball league isn't all they are, as if what happens in the media has a reality beyond what happens on the field.
This attitude isn't supposed to produce championships. This strategy isn't supposed to win. Not now, not knowing what we know about how much of what defines and produces success isn't what the headlines cover. Baseball is a game about solid, unassuming middle relief, and the Yankees are Joba fucking Chamberlain. How can that possibly work out?
There are terabytes worth of reasons for hating the New York Yankees—historical, personal, ethical, spiritual, aesthetic, maybe sexual—but now there's one more: the metaphysical. Winning the World Series is a gash in the fabric of both justice and reality. This simply shouldn't have happened.
Later (11/6): Let's hear it for the 'Nays!' 17 Congressional Representatives voted against House Resolution 893, "[c]ongratulating the 2009 Major League Baseball World Series Champions, the New York Yankees." I now have 17 new favorite politicians.