Friday, May 9, 2014

At the rate Monument Park is expanding, by 2030, the Yankees will need to annex the Crimea

Yesterday - finally finished with fighting the Evil Umpire - the Evil Empire announced plans to enshrine Paul O'Neill, Joe Torre, Goose Gossage and Tino Martinez in Monument Park, which is expanding at a rate that would give Vladimir Putin a chubby. Next year, they will add Bernie Williams. Of course, they eventually will toss in Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, Why not? The more the merrier.

But these guys are rolling past us like chocolates on a conveyor belt.

Currently, there are plaques or doohickeys honoring 27 Yankees in Monument Park, plus three Popes, Jackie Robinson, George Steinbrenner and Nelson Mandela. There is a plaque for announcer Bob Shepherd, and for the 9/11 responders, and the great Mel Allen. Great. Everybody deserves a plaque. But is there a philosophy here? I sure don't see it. Apparently, the Yankees don't think much of Martin Luther King, the Dali Lama, Sully the Pilot, the Hurricane Sandy relief teams, and all U.S. presidents. Why aren't they in Monument Park too? I love Tino Martinez - everybody does (except the Rays, who complained about him for being brusque) - but who moved him to the front of the line? It's as if Hal Steinbrenner woke up with a hangover, saw the memo about dropping Tino from the YES broadcast booth and said, "Hey, let's give him a plaque!"

Don Mattingly and Ron Guidry are in Monunment Park. Bobby Murcer and Catfish Hunter are not.

Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson and Billy Martin are in. David Winfield, Lou Piniella and Gregg Nettles are not.

I don't mean to nitpick - especially against players who have given us great memories - but if we are "immortalizing" Tino and O'Neill, how do they leave out Willie Randolph, Sparky Lyle, Mel Stottlemyre, Moose Skowron, Mike Mussina, Bobby Richardson... I can go on for days here. Get the picture? And I'm not even going to add a joke about Yangervis.

You could say these new inductees happen to grace this new Yankee Stadium, so that's why they've jumped to the front of the line. In fact, none of them ever set foot in the new stadium during his playing career. Are they lifetime Yankees? Nope. In fact, Torre - whose uniform number six is being ridiculously retired - never hit a ball for the Yankees. This is overkill, folks. You can love Joe Torre, but you could also honor his number by saving it for deserving players.  Retiring it? Insane. In five or 10 years, some kid with greatness written all over him is going to rise through the Yankee system, a future superstar, and he'll wear an offensive lineman's number.

Listen: It's nice to have a Yankee Hall of Fame. Roger Maris justifies it, right off the bat.  (Roger isn't in Cooperstown, which is a travesty against humankind.) And - really - it's nice to think of Paul, Tino, et al getting their days in the sun. But the trouble with a big wedding is not the relatives you invite, but the ones you have to exclude. I'd hate to think the Yankees are honoring Old George's personal faves, because that means we'll soon hear a speech by Fran Healy. What about David Wells? Wade Boggs? Gooden and Strawberry? Sheffield? Where do you stop?

Look down the road.The list gets crazy. Jeter makes it, no brainer. Joe Girardi? Probably. He's the quintessential organizational man. CC and Tex? Maybe. David Cone? And what about A-Rod and Roger Clemens - who in their sixties won't look so evil.

And let's get to the real nitty-gritty here: Robbie Cano. He's 15th on the all-time Yankee hit list, well above O'Neill, Bernie and Tino. If it were a race, he'd have lapped them. He's done more for the Yankees than many of the immortals already enshrined.

But we all know the deal. They'll never even give Robbie a certificate of achievement. Damn, this just seems out of whack. Vladimir, do you have any vacant land on the asteroid landing fields of Siberia? Let's talk. The Yankees need a Fortress of Solitude.


John M said...

Two words: Danny Cater.

I rest my case.

Tom said...

Lupica, for whom I otherwise have little interest in quoting, was making fun of this Yankee propensity for making legends out of molehills years ago. He wanted a plaque for Hector Lopez with the rallying cry of "Put Hector in the sector."

ceeja said...

It's all a metaphor for this organization's general arrogance and lack of overarching vision. I'd love to see the Steinbrenners sell the team. But they're too stupid to sell before the crash. Well, that's o.k. When the Steinbrenners sell for half the money they could have gotten, that will mean someone smart has bought the team, and they might actually do something.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of Russia said...

Unless you show up with data, technological advances, and names that interest me (such as my dear friend little Eddie Snowden), it's "Yankees Go Home!" for you corrupt enemies of the people.

Bill Castro said...

Hey, Vlad do I fit your requirements?

Vick said...

The most glaring omission hitherto is Bernie Williams, the greatest Forgotten Man of Yankee history. Core Four? You could make an argument that Bernie, over a seven-year peak, was a better player than any of the everyday Three of the Four--yet there's no branding of the Core Five, I guess because it doesn't rhyme. Now it appears that Bernie will get his due in 2015--a curious and unforgivable delay (and just to be a bit naughty, we might point out that Bernie had a higher lifetime OPS than Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett--ergo . . . ?)

The next most glaring omission is the Yankees' Prophet Outcast, Buck Showalter. Without his visionary zeal in the early nineties, there would have been no Team of the Decade and hence no Joe Torre. It was Buck who pushed hard against the Boss to keep Bernie Williams when the Fat Man wanted to trade him for PTBNL; it was Buck who recognized Jeter as the next great Yankee when Michael and Steinbrenner were still hedging their bets with Tony Fernandez and even pushing for a trade for Felix Fermin. Without Buck's prescience, no Mo--Fat Man was ready to ship him out for Joe Noname as well. It was Buck's baseball genius and iron will that forged the championships of the ensuing decade. But honoring Buck would mean dishonoring the Mad Tyrant who forced him out--and nobody's ever going to get a plaque as big as the Boss's--until Yankee Bastille Day arrives and the dispossessed of Yankeedom storm the outfield and hammer his glowering, bulbous likeness into dust.

Vick said...

Oops--make that everyday Two of the Four.

KD said...

Right on, Vick!!!!