It begins already.

As soon as the Boston Red Sox signed Carl Crawford to an absurd seven-year, $142 million contract, ESPN delegated the team as a “bunch of grinders.”

Grinders don’t make $142 million.

Grinders don’t make $68 million like Josh Beckett or $82.5 million like John Lackey, $70 million like J.D. Drew, $62.5 million like David Ortiz, $41.1 million like Kevin Youkilis, $52 million like Daisuke Matsuzaka or $40.5 million like Dustin Pedroia.

A team of grinders is not worth $165 million.

Stop trying to paint the Red Sox as some sort of winning with a small market team like the Tampa Bay Rays, the Minnesota Twins or the Oakland Athletics, so that fans of the other 29 teams won’t hate them as much.

They are not.

Granted, I will give Theo Epstein the benefit that he spends money on the right players with a mixture of home-grown players and trades for prospects far more than the New York Yankees, who simply overpay the biggest name on free agency, no matter who it is or what their history.

Or in this year’s case, the Yankees overpay old way past their prime guys rather than focus on what’s good for the team.

Although, some times the best name on free agency fits that description, so it wouldn’t be the first time the Yankees have done that.

Epstein is arguably the best GM in baseball, but don’t act as though he has nothing to work with. He is basically Billy Beane with $100 million more.

Since 1999, the Red Sox have been in the top five in payroll every year except 2003 when the team was sixth, including second-place finishes in 2001, 2002, 2004 (yes, that team of “grinder idiots” got paid), 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and soon to be 2011.

So please, don’t paint this it’s us against the world picture or that rooting for the Red Sox is like cheering for the middle class.

Red Sox, you are just as bad as the New York Yankees, but just a tad smarter. Although, looking at those contracts for Lackey and Dice-K may say different.

And no, this isn’t “Red Sox hate”, but rather a plea to stop trying to get other fans to root for the Red Sox and hate the Yankees, when they both have a monopoly over baseball.

Here’s to an Oakland Athletics versus Pittsburgh Pirates World Series for those of whom want to cheer for the real little guy.

Read more MLB news on