The Ultimate Revenge of the Fleeing Free Agent

Mitch MansfieldContributor IJanuary 3, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Starting pitcher John Lackey #41 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Angel Stadium on October 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Now that John Lackey’s 5-year deal for $82.5 million with the Boston Red Sox is inked, to Angel fans across Southern California, Lackey has officially become that disloyal bitch of an ex-girlfriend that immediately hooks up with your worst enemy. Trust me, I know a lot about not-so-happy endings. When you have a personality like mine, relationships end poorly. And by poorly I mean most involve hysterical crying, crazy eyes and thinly veiled threats of dipping my balls in acid while I sleep. When you target girls with low self-esteem and a morally casual attitude, these types of rough goodbyes are to be expected.

While the average male hasn’t experienced my epic break-up wraths, most would agree that trusting an ex-girlfriend is about as smart as hiring R. Kelly to baby sit a middle school cheerleading team. Ex’s ride the wave of break-up emotions, and act irrational, frustrated, confused, angry, and insecure. They will do anything to bring you pain, even if that means playing hide the pickle in the bathroom stall of the local pub with the same guy you fought last weekend for erasing your name from the dartboard waiting list.

Like the rational male in the break-up, true fans are loyal to their MLB team despite the stress and emotion of the off-season goodbyes. We continue to pay increased ticket prices in a faltering economy, we accept our GM’s stupidity when a rising star is traded, and on Opening Day, we optimistically tell ourselves that this will be our year—even if the Yankees have almost twice the payroll of every other team. Despite the live-and-die mentality of most fans, Lackey’s deal confirms what we have always expect; that athletes will chase the almighty dollar, even if that means joining the team that has been your hated rival and perennial playoff nemesis.

The Red Sox have faced the Angels 4 times since 2004, and until 2009, the Red Sox had dominated Lackey and the Angels bouncing them 3 times from the playoffs winning 9 of 10 overall. Deliberately picking the one team that has tormented you and your fans for nearly a decade? – Talk about shitting in the hand that fed you.

As Red Sox fans can attest, the same thing happened when Johnny Damon signed with the Yankees for $52 million just 1-year after leading the idiots to the greatest comeback in MLB history and toppling the Evil Empire. One year later, that same Johnny Damon was cleanly shaven with short hair, giving reach arounds to George Costanza in his private Yankee bathroom. Turns out that most teams’ free agents are as loyal as Jamie Grubbs, and will release your creepy voicemails or don the pinstripes with no remorse if it means collecting some extra coin. An ex-girlfriend’s loyalty is destroyed by her weak will power and nympho tendencies. Your free agent’s loyalty is destroyed with an extra year and incentive clauses.

And the phenomena is not uncommon. Wade Boggs went from the Sox to the Yankees. Mark Teixeria went from the Angels to the Yankees. And as late as this year, Green Bay fans got salt on the wound as Brett Favre ripped out their hearts for 2 games, and threw it for 50-yard TDs.

Just like I have protected myself from scorned psychos by installing a remote engine starter and checking all Christmas cards for Swine Flu, baseball fans need to protect themselves from pending free agents in the last year of their contracts. Sure we had some good times, like that night in Vegas with the Ambien and school girl outfit, or Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, but now you are just that asshole sleeping with the enemy and throwing fastballs at Torii Hunter’s head.