Never mind that the Yankees clinched the division a day before the season's end. Never mind that the Red Sox gained a virtual, though not actual, tie with the Yankees due to a season finale that meant the world to the Red Sox but no more than homefield in the first round to the Yanks.
For decades the winner of a league or division was established by the teams' record of games won and lost. When two teams remained tied at the end of the regular season, they would play a tiebreaker to declare the champion.
However, the introduction of the wild card and an extra round of playoffs necessitated that baseball establish an intricate set of tiebreaker rules to avoid an actual tie-breaking game whenever possible.
Of course, if the Sox unveil a banner that contradicts the final standings as established by the MLB rules, baseball will be up in arms, right? If it cannot determine its champions, its record holders, etc., then there's really not much point in having an organization like Major League Baseball.
Bud Selig must be ticked off at his old buddy John Henry, right? Ah, no. Selig rubberstamped it, "If I were running the Red Sox, I would declare myself cochamps one could make that case."
Well, thanks for chiming in, Alan.
By the rules of MLB the Yankees won the division. If those rules are meaningless, then why not have a World Series next week between the Phillies and A's, for example? OK, so those teams didn't qualify for the playoffs and as the commissioner's office considers the tiebreaker rules grist for playoff seedings.
I guess it boils down to an academic exercise, but if the Sox are already talking about the co-champs banner, they have resigned themselves to doing nothing further this postseason. "We forego any claim to a second straight World Series ring, just call us AL East co-champs!"
At this point, the Yanks should use it as incentive to make the banner meaningless. If the Yankees win the AL pennant or the Series, who cares if the Red Sox want to call themselves co-champs of the measly AL East.
As a baseball fan, I can't think of a better way to sum up this miserable period by one of the more obnoxious teams in recent memory. I hope that soon the recrimination and finger-pointing phase of this team's story arc will commence. Let's hope it's Friday.