Sunday, December 27, 2015

Joel Sherman outlines the Yankees' "strange place... being called cheap while having a huge payroll," but gives the owner a pass when it comes to his own wealth

I was a news hack for 35 years - the son of a hack, who was also the son of a hack. I know hacks. And whether they be lug nut hacks or tin god hacks, I can tell you their one, overwhelming obsession - even more so than the Wonder Bra ad on page 4 - is always the same: Money.

The media always sucks up to money. It's primal. It's instinctive. It's instantaneous. It is coded into the hack DNA... like bad teeth and Dr. Scholl's shoe inserts.

Today, we see this on display with the daily coverage of Donald Trump. Here's a candidate who calls reporters "scum" and who jokingly wonders if they should be killed. Any other profession would treat the guy like toxic waste. But the media cannot resist every Trumpian utterance. They blame Trump's ability to draw crowds, which is partly a result of media coverage. One candidate - Bernie Sanders - consistently draws larger crowds, yet he barely gets mentioned in the nightly news, compared to the other money candidate: Hillary. It's the classic media blind spot - money - and it brings me to this morning's column by my fave Gammonite, Joel Sherman.

That's not sarcasm. I see Sherman as NYC's best Yankee beat-writer. Last winter, he nearly stood alone in refusing to pile onto A-Rod, while the Yankee brain trust tried to run Alex out of town. Today, Sherman actually wonders if the Yankees wouldn't have been better off with Francisco Cervelli, John Ryan Murphy and Gary Sanchez catching - rather than signing Brian McCann to seven years. (That's blaspheme on YES.) Sherman also ponders how the Yankees have avoided a full collapse - like Boston or Phily - while "contending" - though, let's face it, they are chasing the newly created Wild Card slot, which allows every team over .500 to "contend." It's a decent column. Read it. Let me know what you think.

But once again, Sherman's hack DNA will not allow himself to question the basic premise of Hal Steinbrenner's super-wealth birth right. We cannot criticize the fact that Hal is a multi-billionaire owner of an American legacy, which - by virtue of its historical and cultural prominence - cannot lose money. Sherman accepts Hal's right to set an arbitrary "budget." He starts the column this way:

Let’s save for another day whether Hal Steinbrenner should have a budget for the Yankees and deal with reality — he does.

Here's the truth: Sherman will never get to that other day - the day when he questions how much much money the Steinbrenner family should be making off the Yankees, while they accept stadium tax breaks, bundled cable TV fees (which viewers cannot control), and the prestige of their inherited power - while they charge outlandish prices for seats, luxury suites and handfuls of old Yankee Stadium dirt. This will never happen. It's the fundamental hole in our media reality.

It's not Joel Sherman's fault. It's in his hack DNA. Nobody can ask what Hal Steinbrenner does with all the money he saves by not bidding on a free agent that would make the Yankees an honest contender in 2016. It's none of our business. Hal gets to run a sacred piece of Americana - the frickin' New York Yankees - and we're expected to be grateful while chasing a one-game wild card.

And that's why we call him "I'm Not Cheap."


Tom said...

Sherman's column may unintentionally reveal the Yankees' fate for 2016: A Philadelphia-style freefall in the standings.

And that may be our best hope for avoiding another few years of treading water: Bad team, poor attendance, weak television ratings. All of which leads ownership to recognize that it's better to field an exciting team.

What's to prevent it? Strong seasons from A-Rod, Tex, Ells and Beltran? Consistent starting pitching? A great bullpen? It's hard to see how this team is going to be any good. But who knows? Maybe Chase Headley suddenly remembers how to hit and throw the ball. That would make a big difference.

John M said...

The stupidity of signing Beltran, Ellsbury and McCann to idiotic multi-year contracts is beyond comprehension. It's a continual marvel how some people keep their jobs in the organization.

Anonymous said...

Also, who gave Randy Levine a multi-year contract??

Fidel said...

All history is class struggle. The Steinbrenners are destined to go the way of the French aristocracy. MLB teams must be owned and run by soviets consisting of the genuine-fan base that funds the game, and the Players Association. All power to the soviets!

W. Guthrie said...

That's why I like Duque's books. He has the true heart of Bolshevik! You're no hack. Capital doesn't fool you.

Mustang said...

Anonymous, Randy Levine was the Grand Moff of the Giuliani Empire who managed the transfer of New York tax money to New Yankee Stadium. His secret Yankee title is President-For-Life.

Buhner's Ghost said...

You weren't a hack. You were a beleaguered, pitiful hack.

el duque said...

Thank you, but you are too kind.