Bryan Joiner

Why then I

Category: Yankees

Loving Hank, Part III

As this point you should probably just buy a subscription to baseballprospectus.com:

“No, I guess what I’m saying is we don’t want these huge media circuses that were associated with my father. I mean, he wasn’t Jonas Salk.”

Why Hank Is The Best, Pt. II

“The deadline is the deadline,” Steinbrenner said in a telephone interview. “I extended it a few hours more, and that was it. So it’s done.”

So was it the deadline or not?

I love the Yankees.

This is why I love Hank Steinbrenner

From Boston.com:

Steinbrenner told Newsday he expects the Yankees’ offer – top pitching prospect Phil Hughes, outfielder Melky Cabrera, and another prospect – to trump whatever the Sox place on the table.

“I think our offer is the best offer,” Steinbrenner told the newspaper.

“We have the best young pitchers in the game, even better than Boston.”

For those who say the Red Sox are the new Yankees… this is why that will never be the case. The arrogance here is striking. And we can’t match it, nor will we ever. And that’s why we’ll never be the Yankees, as big-headed and obnoxious as we get.

Santana Talk

Until he goes somewhere, I’ll more or less refrain from commenting on all the rumors that are out there, but needless to say I like this one. It sounds like the Red Sox and Yankees are going toe-to-toe again. About time.

This does bring up the uglier side of baseball, to some people, as these are the two teams that really don’t need to get better. My brother was excited by the Red Sox’ World Series victory, but he wasn’t all that surprised. His response was, “Yeah, but they spent a lot of money on players.” Which is true. The casual fan, these things can be offputting.

I am not the casual fan.

Fun With Obvious Contradictions

Here are two nuggets from Harvey Araton’s piece on A-Rod, the latest excoriation by a Times writer on “player as businessman” in the age of players as business men (it’s astonishing that they can’t wrap their heads around this):

Take this for what it is worth from the player who talked the talk but wouldn’t take the Yankees’ postseason calls for the privilege of handsomely compensating and (we could argue) eventually overpaying him after another playoff failure.

So the Yankees overpaid A-Rod. That would be good for A-Rod, right?

Rodriguez has long been a money magnet and serial attention grabber, but now we are supposed to believe that Boras alone bungled Rodriguez’s second free agency fling?

Wait… now team Boras/A-Rod bungled the negotiations?

Which is it? Did A-Rod bungle the negotiations, or is he overpaid? If he is overpaid, then it would seem he did not bungle the negotiations. That they did not go as smoothly as the Yankees would have liked is too bad for them and their reactionary fans in the press and beyond, who used the two-week window of A-Rod’s potential free agency as a time to bash the crap out of a guy who merely won two MVPs for the franchise. Even I joked that he came crawling back, but it was a joke — the guy is making $275 million as a base, the richest contract in sports history. A-Rod got his contract and the Yankees got their third baseman. What is everybody so upset about?

George Vecsey And The Yankees Character Assassination Machine

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?

A Perfect Match

God bless A-Rod for finally treating the Yankees exactly like the Yankees have treated the rest of Major League Baseball for the last 10 years. I have to admit, I was angry during Game 4 of the World Series, when Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Ken Rosenthal talked about A-Rod ad nauseam during the seventh and eighth innings of a clinching World Series game, but I was angrier that A-Rod had left New York than I was at the fact they wouldn’t stop talking about it. I mean, I realize there was no way A-Rod was going to stay, but A-Rod and the Yankees were a match made in heaven.

A-Rod lit a fuse under Yankees fans before he played a single game here, providing Yankees fans with the sort of dualism they’re not used to in the “Yankees way or the highway” atmosphere that prevails in the Bronx. The Yankees and their fans were clearly pleased with themselves for stealing A-Rod from under Boston’s nose, but they immediately began with the “A-Rod’s not a real Yankee” invectives, as if being a real Yankee involves anything more than pulling on the uniform. A-Rod’s aloofness in the face of this situation only exacerbated it, and the Yankees did very little to diffuse it while dude won two MVP awards for them. The Yankees wanted a little bit more, a little bit more. This year, A-Rod blew the roof off the building, but no one man can carry a baseball team to a playoff series victory (unless that man’s name is Josh Beckett or Jack Morris), and the Yankees fell to Cleveland. A-Rod and his agent, Scott Boras, mercenaries they are, decided that they wanted a little bit more from the Yankees and dropped the bomb on them in the hour of their greatest suffering — watching the Red Sox clinch the World Series title.

As I said yesterday, there’s nothing lonelier than being a Yankees fan, and the A-Rod situation is a glaring example of this. The reaction to the news was predictable. New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro blared that it was “always about A-Rod,” as if the years of the Yankees disposing underperforming players was about anything but the Yankees, who often humiliated them on the way out of town — if they waited that long. George Steinbrenner cracked that he was going to donate cartons of Hideki Irabu T-shirts to the Little Sisters of the Blind after an Irabu loss. That’s classy. Steinbrenner’s son, Hank, blasted A-Rod yesterday for not being comfortable with their contract demands, arguing that the Yankees’ unilateral negotiating tactics were justified because of the “privilege of playing for the Yankees” that such tactics entailed. It’s a lonely world. A-Rod said thanks but no thanks, opting to go examine the high-salary market that the Yankees virtually created.

That’s the irony here: the aloof, highly-paid, franchise-unbeholden star
is a New York Yankees creation, the weapon the Yankees have unsuccessfully tried to parlay into championships in the last seven years. When Jason Giambi came to the Yankees, the franchise invented some cockameemie back story about how it was his lifelong dream to play here, even while they were dumping loads of cash onto his front door. I have no problem with money in baseball, as it obviously cannot buy you a championship (though it can go a long way), and that’s why I loved A-Rod on the Yankees: you couldn’t have drafted a better script. The best player ever can’t get it done for the best team ever, and instead of that being a tribute to the dynamism of baseball, it becomes a pissing contest among brats who both just want a little bit more, a little bit more. It’s too bad the fun had to end. It was a perfect match.