Irony: The Red Sox hopes were crushed last fall by one swing of Aaron Boone's bat. They labored for weeks trying to get Rodriguez in a deal for Manny Ramirez. Because of several factors, the deal fell through. Later Boone tore up his knee and Red Sox Nation uttered a collective Nelson-esque "ha-ha" as the Yanks sifted through the Enrique Wilsons, Tyler Houstons, and Mike Lambs of the world, looking for a third baseman that could take them up to the trading deadline. Boone's injury turned out to be the Sox worst Bucky F-ing Dent nightmare once Rodriguez told the Yanks he'd be willing to play third base.
More Irony: That the deal went down so fast goes to show that being Bud Selig's Public Enemy #1 has its advantages. The spin on the Red Sox foiled A-Rod deal was that the Players' Association wouldn't agree to the way Rodriguez's contract was restructured. But it doesn't take a genius to read between the lines and see that while there were ways of restructuring the contract that met MLBPA's rules, that restructuring would have put the Sox over the luxury tax threshold this year, joining only those big bad bullies from the Bronx. Since Bud had hand-picked the John Henry-Tom Werner-Larry Lucchino ownership group, they were essentially bound by his wishes to stay in line while the so-called Evil Empire broke the bank.
Even More Irony: The deal happened so quickly that the cottage industry of pundits who placed their round-the-clock reportage at the center of the affair were nowhere to be found this time around. Can a blockbuster deal happen without Peter Gammons telling us about it ten times a day? The answer is a resounding "Yes!"
It will be a matter of no small debate in the papers and online as to whether the other 25 major league teams lost here as well. Hands will wring. But one thing is clear: the way the last Collective Bargaining Agreement targeted the Yankees with its luxury tax has done more to exacerbate the so-called problem than it has to solve it. Winning ballclubs make money, especially when they want to win even more. Bud, who knows less about building a winning ballclub than the Butcher of Baghdad, did everything he could to alienate Steinbrenner and the Yanks during the construction of that CBA. He'll offer even more reactionary ideas the next time around -- a 50% Pinstripe tax, perhaps. The other owners might want to think twice about listening to him.