Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reader mail: The "corporate" Yanks

Got an interesting email last night. I'm posting it, not because I agree with all of it, but it at least made me think a bit.

It's from a long time Yanks fan living in upstate NY, far from metro NYC paranoia, crush, fear and loathing.

So I am watching the Yankee pregame today (vs Sox) when the following thought occurred to me:

When did the Yankees go from being an institution of winning, a paragon of power, to.....this? When you watch the Yankees, do you get a sense that they are inherently better than their opposition? I don't. I remember watching them against the Rays, the Royals, the Tigers....all this season....wondering if they were going to win THAT game? I see them tonight against the Sox wondering if they're going to win THIS game!

Can you remember...not all that long ago....being surprised when the Yankees lost a game where the star pitcher was starting? Cone.... Pettitte..... Wells.... Guidry.... whoever. Now when Sabathia takes the mound, we think "
Can they win this game tonight?" No matter who they are playing. It's kinda like Team USA in Basketball....the world caught up. Only with Team USA, they actually DID something about it. They got hungry. They got angry. They dug in and played HARD....even when they lost. (did they lose in the Olympics? I don't think they did, but I think Spain gave them a run, if memory serves).

It just seems like a corporate, stuffy, bloated, non-cohesive atmosphere, ya know?

A couple of years ago, the whole "Corporate" atmosphere led to the team being in line. There was no one individual who was "above the team". Now the "Corporate" atmosphere makes them seem cool and insulated from losing; like they think "oh, well...tomorrow is another work day. Punch the clock. Work more tomorrow." Girardi has not infused any Fire... grit... determination into this team. Instead, he has melded into it. He's become a younger version of Torre, with better bullpen management.

I wish I could say this team has got to be torn down to start again, but the atmosphere in New York will never allow that to happen. The Yanks aren't the Pirates. They can't grow their own talent, they're only going to buy it. sure seems like they need an overhaul, doesn't it?

You kinda wish....(Prepare yourself...this may be blasphemy) that the Yanks would deal for a guy like Piniella was who would come into the locker room and punch Jeter in the teeth. fire this team up. This .500 team is boring. Where is Willie Mays Hays?

There's a lot I don't agree with:
  • We CAN grow our own talent; we just need to give them a chance instead of locking them behind major long-term FA acquisition
  • Looking back on our heroes is dangerous; we tend to remember only the highs
  • I do think the Yanks tried to do something about it. Sabathia is a natural born leader and while he's struggled this Spring, I am not worried. I am looking forward to seeing the real Teix (which will coincide with ARod's return). Both are younger, in the midst of their primes, not Randy Johnson/Kevin Brown-types.
I do wonder about Girardi, though. I expected a bit more passion, at least that's visible to me, the fan. I also think Jeter's quiet leadership has either gotten tired, lost or something. This team needs more guys like Swisher and Sabathia, guys who can keep on everyone. I was really into Orlando Hudson (even though there was no obvious position for him) simply because he's a non-stop go-getter and I think this team is devoid of them. I don't think Jeter is that guy any more. Now, he's the classy vet, a guy to look up to, but not the guy to lead and rally the troops.

What's been tough for me is that I am in perpetual conflict: I root for the laundry but I find the ownership/leadership ugly and offensive. The Stadium snafus have become such a profound turn-off to me, I am having trouble finding the words to explain it. The otherworldy slide of ARod into this comical, embarrassing caricature of a MLB hero is staggering. That Hank allowed himself to be held up at gunpoint by Boras and ARod into paying MORE than he opted out of will never, ever make sense to me. I should stop now, I'm veering off a cliff. The point is this: The team can be hard to root for with all of the background noise.

But I think the thrust is this: The team is lacking that "desperation to win". Not sure how you get that back, but the team sure needs it.

Thanks for the email, joeorange31.


Alex K said...

Is it bad that after I read the part about someone punching Jeter that was all I could think of? Just think of all the hoopla if that actually happened. I get a smile on my face just thinking about it!

Soquel_andy said...

Would you have typed this line, 'The team is lacking that "desperation to win"' last Saturday morning? If the Yankees win it all this year do you think it's because they became desperate to win, or because their talent and execution in all facets of the game ended up being better than all the other teams in baseball? I honestly believe that 99% of all players in 99% of all game situations are trying their best for the best possible outcome in that situation. I can't ask for anything more than that.

mikel said...

I don't know - I'm 41 and my primary recollection of the Yankees are of a team that won a bit when I was really young and then sucked - badly - for almost 15 years straight, from 1982 on.

It was really impressive following the lockout year that the Yanks were able to put things in place for a great run - not many faded dynasties manage to do that (I'm looking at YOU, Montreal Canadiens).

But make no mistake, they were a faded dynasty, and they thrashed for a lot of the same reasons they are now - over-eager ownership, they were deadly old as a team (that's getting better in the 2009 edition, luckily), and some really stupid free agent choices.

Point being - to suggest that the Yankees have had an unbroken run as the class of MLB or even the AL is simply wrong. There was over a decade in which, like now, the team had little heart and little chance despite some huge "name" talent.