George Vecsey And The Yankees Character Assassination Machine

by Bryan

The Yankees character assassination machine continues. Just when you thought the lackeys of this organization couldn’t be any more embarrassingly myopic, George Vecsey writes an article entitled “Yanks Should Treat Rodriguez the Way He Treated Them.” The absolutely phony premise of the article — that A-Rod hurt the Yankees’ feelings, so the Yankees should move on — belies the fact that the Yankees are a particularly ruthless baseball organization. When things are going well, the plaudits never stop, from inside the organization and out. When they’re not, the Yankees are quick to point the blame at the players or coaches for underperforming, making sure to emphasize that losing is a character defect, not a side-effect of giving one’s best in gamesmanship and coming up short.

Don’t believe me? Here’s what Michael Kay, the Yankees television broadcaster, had to say about Joe Torre on Torre’s way out of town:

There are things about Joe Torre, if I wanted to come out and say, would show how cold and calculated he really is… Joe Torre is for Joe Torre. … The graveyard of Yankees coaches is loaded with bones of coaches Joe Torre did nothing about.

Is that so, Michael? Well, that’s just a classy move on your part. Joe Torre hurt your feelings by leaving the Yankees, so you need to start completely unfounded rumors to tarnish the four-time World Champion manager. Well, done! You should be proud of yourself.

Now Vecsey somehow tries to similarly indict Rodriguez, basically saying A-Rod should have expressed fealty to the Yankees by not attempting to maximize his value on the open market. That A-Rod’s ploy didn’t work is irrelevant: baseball is a business, the Yankees are in the business of winning, and A-Rod gives any team a great, great chance of winning. That’s why he’s going to command money no matter where he goes, even back to New York. The Yankees haven’t forgotten his 54 home runs, even if Vecsey has. He writes:

He is an enigmatic figure in their clubhouse, clearly not a player who improves his team.

Such an embarrassing quote is worthy of his equally embarrassing brother. Calling A-Rod a player “not a player who improves his team” is possibly the most unbelievably stupid statement I have read in The New York Times.

In fairness, he probably means “in the clubhouse,” but A-Rod’s job is to play baseball, not rah-rah his teammates. Mike Mussina never gets called out for his surly ways, but he’s not the iconoclast that A-Rod is. A-Rod wants to be the best player ever and the biggest name ever, and the Yankees fancy themselves the greatest organization and biggest name in sports, and both are ruthless in search of their goals. As I’ve written before, it’s a match made in heaven. How is this not obvious? To make the claim, as Vecsey, Kay and others have, that certain players are big enough to hurt the Yankees’ feelings is to undercut the entire foundation on which the Yankees empire stands. That notion is that the Yankees are so big that no one can touch them, even the Red Sox, in wake of two titles in four years. Remember Hank Steinbrenner? He said that the Red Sox “would never be the Yankees,” even after the titles. And he’s right. You’ll notice that he’s not saying anything any more. He knows he can win with A-Rod, and win the negotiation, and others will do the dirty work. And he will win the negotiation. Why? Because the Yankees always win in the end. Admitting A-Rod hurt their feelings would make them losers, and that’s not what this organization is all about, is it, George?

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