Any Given Sunday

Ian Taylor, Sports Editor

Parity across the landscape of professional sports has been something left up to the imagination until this point.

It’s a grand idea that all teams, no matter the size of the market or the owners’ checkbook, would have a chance to wear Cinderella’s slipper on occasion, but that is something the conditions of main stream sports over my lifetime have made seemingly impossible.

That is, until now.

Granted, we still come across the juggernauts and the “notta chance teams” Florida Marlins, but in the grand scheme of things, the playing field has leveled like never before.

Why, you may be asking. This is really the key, and the common denominator ultimately is that the level of competition has been raised because the level of talent has reached new heights.

In years past, teams were bought, bought by consuming all the top tier talent like a dollar driven vacuum cleaner. But now, with revenue sharing and exponentially more players of a high level on the market, teams are forced to do it the right way.

The right way like the Kansas City Royals over the last 10 years: HOMER ALERT.

Yes, the Royals have suffered over the last 29 years, battling through times that would make Steven Seagal tap out, but after miles of despair, the team made its best choice since 1985 and brought in hungry General Manager Dayton Moore, a man with a vision.

Since 2006, Moore and the Royals have made move after move, all in the effort to align the stars in a manner that would lift the cloak of failure from atop Kansas City baseball, and after an improbable World Series run—What light through yonder window breaks? It is the MLB, and the Royals see the sun.

Look throughout sports; you can clearly see the heartbeat of professional athletics beating more soundly than ever before.

From the propensity for player movement to the emergence of new stars, it seems that literally every day we are shocked by a standout performance from someone that has never before arrived as a red dot on our radar.

But, as in all things, we assess the undertone, and what seems to be influential here is the idea of a team.

In yesteryear if you had the man, he was the plan. But following a fall classic that for the first time pitted two wild card teams that failed to conquer the 90 win plateau, it is apparent more than ever that there is no “I” in team.

If you still question that, feel free to make a collect call to Lebron James, whom some argue is the best basketball player of all time (not me), and see how he feels about his current unit. It’s a team primed with talent but lacking an identity, something that today leads down the old dusty trail to unproductive town.