By Nick Bakay
Page 2

My relative indifference to "Star Wars" can be summed up pretty simply: So many aliens, so little probing. However, with the opening of its final installment, the franchise has come to a glorious end. Such is life. Evil Empires come, Evil Empires go.

MORE ON "SPORTSCENTER"
Can't get enough of the "Star Wars" talk? Then tune in to Nick Bakay's TV version of the "Evil Empires" Tale of the Tape this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET on "SportsCenter."
And speaking of Evil Empires on their last legs, how 'bout them Yankees? Oh, I still say they circle the wagons and squeak out a wild card, but consider the word choice: Wild card? Squeaking? Not exactly the stuff of evil, or empires. Win streak aside, the Bronx Bombers still have a butt's-eye view of the Orioles, Sox and Jays, with the hot breath of the Devil Rays on their backs. OK, maybe not so much. I just wanted an excuse to say "hot breath of the Devil Rays."

But could we be saying goodbye to two hugely successful franchises? One with a flourish, one with a whimper? Yankees/"Star Wars," George Lucas/George Steinbrenner, Evil Empire versus Evil Empire: Let's see how they stack up at the tale of the tape …

Evil Empire vs. Evil Empire
Category  
"Star Wars"
 
Yankees
  Advantage
Potent quotables   "Luke, I am your father."   "Pedro, I am your daddy."   Push – kids, no one wins with patricide.
Organizational goals   Utter domination and destruction of all those who stand in the way.   Wait, isn't that what I just said?   Push
When the going gets tough, they:   Reach for their laser   Reach for the roster of the nearest small market team.   "Star Wars," until that checkbook pays for someone under the age of 30.
Title fights   Maul/Kenobi   Zim/Martinez   "Star Wars," and dignity
Biggest party animals in franchise history   Jabba the Hutt   Ruth, the Babe   Push
Home-field advantage   The Death Star   South Bronx – the other death star   Yankees
Who you meet in line for tickets:   A 29-year-old virgin with a plastic light saber.   A 29-year-old felon with a plastic beer bottle   "Star Wars"
You know a fan has sipped the Kool-Aid when:   He thinks chicks dig a guy in a Darth Maul mask that smells of sweat and acne medication.   He thinks George has mellowed.   "Star Wars"
You'll never lose ...:   Your spot in line, thanks to your officially licensed "Revenge of the Sith" catheter.   A free agent, as long as they keep raising the subscription rates for the YES Network.   Let's just move on ...
Uniforms   White storm trooper unis fashioned from leftover Mazda 280Z panels.   Classic pinstripes left over from the days when they were in first place.   Yankees
Tactics of victory   Rely on the Dark Force to lure the unwilling with the promise of unlimited power.   Rely on the checkbook to lure the unwilling with the promise of unlimited funds.   Push
Hired guns just there for the money   Boba Fett, Jango Fett ... hell, any of the Fett's.   Mike Stanton, Mike Mussina ... hell, all the Mikes.   Push
The price of disappointing your leader   You might lose a hand   You get to be one of 12 designated hitters   Yankees
Tall 'n hairy   Chewbacca   Randy Johnson   "Star Wars" – when was the last time Chewie went on the DL?
Short 'n scary   Jawas   George's temper   Yankees
Laments   If only Jar Jar Binks had kept his mouth shut.   If only Giambi had used "The Whizzinator"   Push
Elusive sources of power   The Force   The Juice   Yankees. You can get 'roids at any high school gym
Leader of the Dark Side   The Emperor   The Steinbrenner   Yankees – who else can ooze power while wearing a simple white turtleneck?
Every emperor needs a servant   Darth Vader   Brian Cashman   "Star Wars"
How the mighty have fallen   Darth Vader is now the voice of "Verizon Wireless 411 connect"   Kevin Brown – still angry, still surly and now awful.   "Star Wars"
The Resistance   The rebel forces   The Red Sox   Red Sox – they had a better year.
Fonts of wisdom   Yoda   Yogi   Yankees
Theme song   "Don, don, don, don-da-don, don-da-don!"   "New York, New York"   Yankees. Don't think Sinatra ever closed a show singing "Don don don, you kookie don, doodle-di-don!"

So there you have it. It's all so simple when you break things down scientifically. In the battle of the $200 million opening weekend versus the $200 million payroll, the advantage goes to … "Star Wars." You know they'll be in first place next week, but hang in there George. You still have a Derby winner by the name of "Bellamy Road!" Oops. Well, good luck! And until next time, I'm Nick Bakay, reminding you the numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a Web site at www.nickbakay.com.




Nick
Bakay
TALE OF THE TAPE