Here's my conundrum: I was born and raised a Yankee fan. It's my hometown team, the team that my Dad rooted for as a kid. The team that my kids root for. No different had I been born in Kansas City; we woulda been Royals fans (damn you, Larry Gura!). However, being a Yankee fan, to me, doesn't mean I have to like or agree with everything they do.
Back when George was suspended (early 90's), the Yanks got back to basics and built a vibrant farm system which bore fruit resembling Jeter, Posada, Mo, Soriano, Bernie, etc. That core helped the Yanks become the dominant team of the 90's, even when George returned from suspension. Suddenly, after the team lost in 2001, George returned to being, well, The Boss. Overspending on free agents, aging players, mercenaries. Cost: stripping the farm system bare. As a result, still good teams that make the playoffs every year, but not very much a "likable" team and surely not a championship caliber team. Surly guys like Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson, guys will fancy resumes but well past their peaks made the team unlikable. Still rooted for the team because that what loyal fans do; we root for the laundry even if the bodies inside them make us squirm.
Fast forward a bit and since George hasn't been himself due to age and/or illness the last few years, Cashman & Co. have rebuilt the farm system into a Top 10 ranked system, with guys like Cano and Wang the first to emerge, along with younger guys like Hughes and Joba and IPK also starting to shine.
This off-season, we have all witnessed the emergence of The Boss II, also known as Hank, or Hankenstein. I've made many comments about him and most of them have been critical for his handling of the media and his inability to just say "no comment".
With all that as a certified pre-ramble, I present some of Boss Junior's latest comments from the past 48 hours or so. I'll hold back from searching any further.
Here's a doozy, not-so-quietly getting ready to toss Cashman under the bus if the team falters at all this coming season:
"I will be patient with the young pitchers and players. There's no question about that because I know how these players develop," he said. "But as far as missing the playoffs - if we miss the playoffs by the end of this year, I don't know how patient I'll be. But it won't be against the players. It won't be a matter of that. It will be a matter of maybe certain people in the organization could have done something else."
Here's another, showing precisely what I mean about Hank's inability to just take a pass or "no comment":
"Don't make any mistake about it," the Yanks' senior VP told an Associated Press reporter in Tampa, "our teams in the late '90s beat everybody, and we beat everybody because we were that much better than everybody. And they had just as many players doing stuff - all the teams. I guarantee you, go through every team in baseball and they all have the same basic percentage of players doing stuff. They just weren't as good as us.
"You think the Red Sox didn't have players doing stuff back then? Give me a break. They just weren't as good as us, and neither was anybody else."
Hank, the RedSox have kicked our tails the last 3 years, starting with the debacle in 2004. How have they done it? Youth, the homegrown kind, along with selected trades and FA signings. They are a model worth emulating, not mocking. Get over it. We have the ability to remain a top team for YEARS without skinning the farm system for Johan. If Johan wants to be here and we can't get him in a trade (where the terms are in our favor, ie no Hughes), then he'll come as a FA. If not, we'll continue to survive and thrive. Give the kids a chance. They give the Damons and Matsuis and Abreus and Giambis and ARods a boost when they needed it in August last year. Just give them a chance to see what they can do. And don't panic, we'll be OK. Always will be.
What more can I say, other than: Hank, we, the fans BEG you to please SHUT UP. Seriously. Have some faith in those around you. They are smart people with the best interests of the organization at heart. Let them guide you.
That's all. Have a good Sunday everyone...
MONDAY UPDATE #1: Shysterball had a discussion about Cashman's trashing of Bernie Williams and Torre that's worth reading. He mentions a Yankee fan friend of his who is OK with Hank being Hank, but thinks Cashman's bashing of Bernie is worse. I respectfully disagree, but have a read for yourself. Thanks to Craig for the link.
UPDATE #2: The guys at The Pride of The Yankees wanted nothing to do with this muck and mire. Can't blame them, actually. They're already stretching and getting for PFP (pitcher fielding practice). Still, worth a daily visit their way, even if not a Yankee fan. Good baseball stuff there, without fail.