SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Imagine. . .

A league without a salary cap or a luxury tax, and where a gazillionaire can field the best team money can buy.

He's done it the last couple of years, and last year his team just ran away with the title in its league.

What league am I talking about, you ask?

It's the English Premiership, the top soccer league in England.

So I must be talking about Manchester United, you say, trying as an American to flaunt what little soccer knowledge you have, if only because David Beckham once played for the team, Rod Stewart sang about it and the Glazer family, who owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, shelled out north of $1 billion to buy the team?

Right?

Wrong!

The team is Chelsea, and you can read about them here.

To draw a baseball analogy, consider the following lineup:

Catcher -- Joe Mauer
First Baseman -- Albert Pujols
Second Baseman -- Chase Utley
Shortstop -- Derek Jeter
Third Base -- David Wright
Left Field -- Manny Ramirez
Center Field -- Carlos Beltran
Right Field -- Vladimir Guerrero
Starting Pitcher -- Johan Santana
Starting Pitcher -- Roy Oswalt
Starting Pitcher -- Pedro Martinez
Starting Pitcher -- Jose Contreras
Relief Pitcher -- Mariano Rivera
Relief Pitcher -- Jonathan Papelbon.

You get the idea. The stars on that team shine so much that on occasion they'll burn more brightly than those found in the solar system. Chelsea is a great team, so much so that it could really push its customary competition (i.e., the middle of the pack teams) -- teams with names like Charlton, Everton, Portsmouth and Aston Villa -- , off the cliff that is the Premiership. Those teams just might not be able to keep up with world football's "Greatest Show on Turf."

Let's see how the English address the problem of "Irrational Exuberance." Could there be a cap or a luxury tax in the future of the Premiership?

Or could Chelsea be to English football in the millenium what the New York Yankees were to baseball from 1949-1964?

This will be interesting to watch.

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