Friday, January 11, 2013

Hal: If the 2013 team collapses (like a lot of people think it will), the Yankees will try to spend their way out of it (like his father always did)

Hal Steinbrenner, aka "the smarter one," took to the conference call podium yesterday to try and defuse a growing hostility within the Yankiverse, a fan base that sees the family ownership as more interested in profits than pennants. He said it just aint so. The vaunted $189 million payroll - which the Steinbros have pitched as the Prime Directive for 2014 - is not so all-important that he would allow the team to slide into the fiery pits of Pittsburgh Piratehood. 

“I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger if you see what we’ve done this offseason,” Steinbrenner said.

Well, where do I start?

What the Yankees did this offseason was watch two key players walk, buy a retread thirdbaseman to replace the hobbled boondoggle known as Arod, and let an antique lineup grow yet another year slower, older and more frighteningly fragile. Nobody but a Steinboy would say the Yankees improved their team with free agents or youth from the farm. And the reason is that pitbull commitment to the magic $189 million goal.

Listen... to me, baseball has always resembled the national model for college football. You have your Alabamas, and you have your Vanderbilts. They play in the same conferences. One spends a billion dollars on its weight rooms. The other teaches kids to read. (OK, that's another morality, which we won't bother with.)  If I grow up as a diehard fan of the Crimson Tide, well, I damn well expect Nick Saban to do whatever the hell it takes to recruit the best players, appease the ghost of Bear Bryant and beat the living smegma out of Vanderbilt, 54-0, every damn year. Hell, I pay $20,000 for season tickets, and they rattle a cup for more donations. So if the owner - or college president - suddenly says, "We're not going to spend any more than Vanderbilt next season," you better believe that I'm going to go bonkers. 

By the way, how convenient is it that college football and basketball - the NCAA's two cash cows - put absolutely no restrictions on how much money can go into weight rooms, private jets, coaching salaries, child abuse coverups and payments to coaching mistresses -- but it stipulates that no college athlete ever gets one extra thin dime in payment for putting his head on the chopping block for the old Alma Mater? 

Meanwhile, in pro sports, where the owners must bid on on talent, the scions of the game artificially - socialistically, you might say - cap payroll spending, seeking to make all the teams equal. They want no Alabamas - or New York Yankees. They want everybody to be Vanderbilt (without, of course, learning no kids to read.) Remember - and I've said this many times - the MLB owners are just billionaires pretending to be millionaires, so we'll feel sorry for them. AND I NEVER FEEL SORRY FOR THEM.

And Hal can't understand the anger?

Well, a couple more things here, because it's Friday and I'm on a ripping coffee jag....

Imagine the Yankees as Alabama, OK? Imagine the Crimson Tide if it abruptly stops recruiting. Because that's us. And imagine the Alabama fan base after it loses to Vanderbilt, 36-0.  Because that's us. The 2013 Yankee lineup will be ancient. One injury domino could follow another, and you can easily envision a Boston-baked meltdown by mid summer, with the Yankiverse absolutely exploding into rage. What happens then? Will Hal abandon the $189 million plan, which caused this problem? Will we scrap the long-term strategy and start trading youngsters? Because that's how Old George launched the Yankees' 11-year barf  back in 1983: He couldn't stick to a plan.

This winter, the Yankees did one thing that inspires hope. They added a second team in the Gulf Coast Rookie League. They're using their money to build a bigger pipeline. Hopefully, they'll hire the best scouts, best coaches, etc. - and build from the ground up.  If we're capped at the payroll - damn - let's build an infrastructure like Alabama's. Trouble is, it won't bear fruit until arond 2018 - and God knows what the Steinbros will be doing by then.

A storm's a brewin,' folks.

This will be a memorable Yankee year.

Trouble is, we might want to forget it.


John M said...

Of course, you realize that if Hal is at all actually worried about fan anger or even disinterest, Cash may swing into action and pull off another Pinata deal. Or worse.

Hal might simply tell him flat-out to rent someone for the year with box office appeal, sacrificing what little we have in the minors to do it.

Yet that won't, of course, put fannies in the seats. Thanks to their stupid assessment of the marketplace..oh, I mean fan base, that StubHub nix will probably mean more empties than last year. I know I only go when I can get choice seats for minimum bucks. The face values are beyond ridiculous.

The only good thing is that an overpriced Stadium v&t contains Ketel One, the official vodka of the New York Yankees. Something I'm sure Suzyn also appreciates.

My trips to the Bronx will become fewer and fewer, I fear. At least until they start selling the official hashish of the New York Yankees and turn that stupid center field restaurant into a smoking lounge.

Doc Ellis said...

Yeah . . uhh . . . yeah, we smoked hash in centerfield . . . uhh.

Tom said...

the biggest surprise would be if this collection of fragile ancients doesn't collapse in 2013. Hal is deluded.

the only thing we have to hope for is that Kuroda has a good year so the Yanks sign him to a 10-year deal.

Mark said...

The problem isn't the 189 plan, it's Cashman's failed player development program. He's been selling Hal hyped film-flam. Now, reality hits the fan

Mark Serio said...

The problem isn't the 189 plan, it's Cashman's failed player development program. He's been selling Hal hyped film-flam. Now, reality hits the fan