Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Yankiverse is seething, and some sites simply don't get it

First came the shock, as we realized that - holy crap! the Yankees aren't just posturing; they're really going to pass on Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. 

Then came the rage, as the revelation settled in: The grand and glorious Yankees, who spent the last two years cutting payroll in preparation for the 2019 free agent class, is turning its back on two generational talents, both of whom want to play in New York.

Now, we're seeing an "on the other hand" backlash from sites and Gammonites, assuring us that - no, the Yankee ownership isn't cheap. It's just doing what all teams do.

Listen: That's why we're angry. Yesterday, a lengthy thumb-sucker popped up on a website called The Runner Sports, arguing that Yankee fans should stand down. Here's the final paragraph:

The New York Yankees are not being cheap. Fans need to realize this. They will be over the luxury tax threshold. Likely, their payroll could compete for the highest in 2019. Cashman is still determined to add one more reliever (waiting on Adam Ottavino). Plus, the team will add a player during the trade deadline. That will only add to the payroll. Fans need to stop spewing nonsense about how cheap the team is right now. It is not cheap. It is paying for the value that is needed rather than the value fantasized.
First, I don't mean to pick on a fellow blogger. It's like firing on your own troops. But folks never go wrong by agreeing with the status quo. You weigh and assess, mull and deliberate, figure and finagle - and then announce that, yes, all considered, it's not raining outside, merely drizzling. Rather than be defined by someone who has painstakingly counted the beans and found us to be spending far more than the Cincinnati Reds, I'd like to explain Yankee fan-rage one more time. This is not an attack on a writer, but an attempt to clear the air on why we Yankee fans feel betrayed.
The Yankees used to represent the greatest and most glorious tradition in American sports. They were always the team to beat. There was baseball, and there was the Yankees. They spent the most money. When Curt Flood knocked down free agency, it allowed the Yankees to buy their way out of 1960s mediocrity and restore the brand. Ever since, when stars became available, the Yankees would set the market on their value. That was their place in the baseball universe - at least until Hal Steinbrenner took over. Today, as team revenues skyrocket, Yankee payroll has flat-lined, leaving fans to wonder, where is all the money going? Worse, the Redsocks have now won three straight AL East titles and are poised to win the World Series again. Last year, they outspent us by $40 million, while Hal wheedled to get below the luxury tax threshold. 
The Yankees used to be capitalism's great gift to the working fan. For most of us, rooting for the Yankees was as close as we'd ever get to being rich. The Yankee fan never had to worry about money. If a player came on the market, we could afford him. We were the gold standard. We were never supposed to hear the owner whine or poor-mouth about player salaries. For most of the last century, the Yankees offered the working class the same level of escape as millionaires. In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway made the great Dimaggio signify the promise of America. The team is not supposed to run by a cold, calculating money-grubber. The Yankees are supposed to offer an escape from the hardships of daily life. That's why they have fans in every city. We are not supposed pull out our pockets and plead poverty.
Everything changed ten years ago, when the Yankees scrapped the greatest cathedral in American sports and built a concrete symbol of power and corruption. In many ways, it's right that they won the 2009 World Series and have done next to nothing since. Instead of providing an escape for working people, they have done all they could to alienate them. Their security guards police the stands tightly, so that the rich and poor never co-mingle, even in late innings, when the box seats sit empty. They serve food that doesn't even meet Health Department standards. And when two great free agent stars emerge - both in mid-20s, both expressing their desire to play for the Yankees - they turn their backs. 
You can compare the Yankees to small market teams and rightfully say that - no, they are not cheap. Trouble is, this is the fucking New York Yankees. Compare them to who they were and - yes, they are cheap bastards. And the fan base knows it. 


TheWinWarblist said...

I'd so shove a ... what's it called? A halberd? I'd so shove a halberd up their asses and plant Hal's head on it outside the D-train as a warning to all team owners.

13bit said...

Dear Mr Duque,

I - @ZiegsAssistant - in my capacity as the personal assistant and sidekick to @RealHalSteinbrenner - am writing to inform you that my boss and savior - @RealHalSteinbrenner - is far from cheap.

He would be composing this himself if he were not out, panhandling in the streets of West Palm Beach at this very moment for some change. We may have more to say on this subject in the future, but he wanted you to know that he is more certainly NOT cheap and that, in fact, the allegations of cheapness are distressing. He was also wondering if you could vouch for him the next time he applies for SNAP benefits.

And Ms Warblist, is a halberd the skewer that one makes meatballs with in foreign countries?


for the honorable (and truly broke)

Mediasavvy said...

I'm sure Hal wishes he had the Royals payroll, not his own. His is the mind of the factory owner in a dying mill town. I have no sympathy or mercy for Hal or his social class.

I also have the burning desire to see Randy Levine in an orange jumpsuit. After all, Randy Levine is the former NYC Deputy Mayor who negotiated on behalf of the citizens of NYC to finance a stadium that none of us can afford to attend by ourselves, let alone with our families in tow. The fact that Randy took a job with the Yankees after negotiating those stadium deals would land him in jail in most western countries and a few US states.

But I also don't want Machado anywhere near the Yankee clubhouse. I think he's a very bad apple. Andujar is a bright young player with comparable offensive skills, and no worse a third baseman than Beltre or Boggs were when they were rookies. The youth movement has given us the best and most exciting Yankee baseball in 20 years. Leave the kids alone!

Had Yankee fans had been playing fantasy baseball in 1990's (as much as they are now), they would have clamored to trade the core five before they ever won a pennant. Because - you know - they sucked, as demonstrated by derivative, tertiary and speculative statistics.

If the rich have ruined NYC, fantasy baseball has ruined baseball fandom.

Anonymous said...

Mediasavvy is Cashman’s burner account. I feel it in my sagging ballsack

TheWinWarblist said...

The core five did not suck. Not by any advanced metric. And the Yanks could add both Machado and Harper and STILL go with the youth movement. Both of those players are young enough that they are still in their prime years.

TheWinWarblist said...


John M said...

It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham. Hal must have other fish to fry.

As long as he doesn't do it at the Stadium, where it will undoubtedly fail a health inspection.

Anonymous said...

A particularly good post.

If Martin Luther were alive he could halberd it to GATE 4.

If Lex Luthor were alive were alive he would feel right at home in the Yankees front office.

Seriously, Duque Explains It All. Or, as the less articulate among us might write, "This!"

Other Comments:

"If the rich have ruined NYC, fantasy baseball has ruined baseball fandom." I would like to add Draft Kings and Fan Duel to that as well.

"I also have the burning desire to see Randy Levine in an orange jumpsuit. + "Hal must have other fish to fry. As long as he doesn't do it at the Stadium, where it will undoubtedly fail a health inspection."
= Lox him up!

Doug K.

Publius said...

At a minimum, Yankees Inc has to start explaining itself. The fan base is being steadily turned off. Look south to the nation's capital and its pro football team for a case study of the the incremental, then sudden and complete, collapse of a loyal fan base. The process is beginning in the Bronx. Explain yourself, Hal. Explain yourself, Cash. "We're smart, you're not, and its our money anyway" will not cut it. If the current plan leads rationally to beating Boston and competing regularly for world series' championships, explain why and how. We're all ears. Otherwise, go fuck yourselves. We'll watch the NBA summer league like ESPN wants us to.

ranger_lp said...

Why Machado and Harper are not on Yanks...3 words...

Analytics ruined baseball.

Alphonso said...

Let me also point out that any player we have acquired from the Rockies, since 2000, has performed far worse as a Yankee than as a Rockie.

So the aspirations of acquiring some hot third baseman from them should draw a look of concern, rather than a look of hope.

It is a terrible franchise from which to expect real talent.

Anonymous said...

Levine didn't want the Trump WH job because he knew Mueller would discover his sleazy history. He'd be sharing a cell with Manafort.

KD said...

Is there really no chance top acquire harper at this late stage? God help me, I still retain some hope. I don't know why but there it is. Like a waterlily in a sewage lagoon.

Joe F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


I feel the same way.

I keep picturing a call to the Yankees with the final offer Harper is going to accept to give them a chance to match or come close. Harper makes too much sense.

Plus, the article about Hal and social media was interestingly timed. So, there's no way that the front office is unaware of the deep dissatisfaction of the fan base as evidenced here and elsewhere.

Hal could (But sadly most likely won't)come off like a hero by making that deal (and one with Ottavino)

He gets to say that he heard the fans and wants us to be happy. Not to mention signing Harper isn't exactly chopped liver for his bottom line and legacy.

Doug K.

Joe F said...

Look if Mgmt. would come out and say " We can't sign Manny because him and El Ice Cream Sandwich in the same clubhouse is toxic soup for Andujar, and Torres" Id be ok with that not happy but ok.....

However a bunch of old orange privileged millionaire motha**** complaining about "the new gen athlete" or financial commitments when you have revenue pouring in from tv deals et al. Coming from the same group that signed ancient of days Arod to massive undeserved contract extension is both insulting to a paying fan and disingenuous.

We pay to watch the fuckin Yankees not the San Diego Padres

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Go back into history: It's November 1919.

Gammonite opinion: The Yankees definitely SHOULD NOT acquire George H. Ruth for $125,000.

People were eating lunch (with a beer) for about 5 cents back then. This Ruth guy can't possible be worth 3.1 million lunches, can he? Heck, you could feed everyone in Cincinnati -- the whole place -- for one week, and have some lunches left over!!!

Forget the whole thing. But, hey -- they can get a real deal on Ty Cobb's youngest nephew.....

Ceeja said...

They're making up reasons not to sign a power hitting infielder in his prime. It's an insult to our intelligence. Just match the white Sox offer.

Hal is either stupid or he's colluding with his fellow owners.

TheWinWarblist said...

He's colluding. They are all colluding. They've done this before. They do it every decade or so.

TheWinWarblist said...

Imma gonna get me a pile o' halberds.

HoraceClarke66 said...

This blog is so hot my computer is literally smoking. Wait, let me get the fire extinguisher, or maybe the cat.

There, better! (Don't worry, I actually love the cat.)

First, Duque...yes, yes, yes!

One small caveat: the Second Yankee Stadium wasn't really a cathedral, more a 1970s pile of plastic built on the SITE of a real cathedral.

But point taken: the new stadium was a completely corrupt con job, built with the sole purpose of maximizing income. It has, what, 6,000 fewer seats (and 17,000 fewer seats than the original)? The bleachers needs a TV screen just for and to see the whole field?

But we might—MIGHT—have gritted our teeth and borne that, had the extra money been pumped into the team.

It was not. It will not be.

This is a fraud. And it's only the beginning of a larger fraud, as the Yankees move from being the greatest franchise in North American sports to one small piece of Hal's Worldwide Entertainment Empire.

13bit said...


HoraceClarke66 said...


"...derivative, tertiary and speculative statistics."

I could NOT have said it better myself! Sabremetrics is further proof—as if we needed any—that there is no idea so good it cannot be ruined in application.

Originally, Sabremetrics was a brilliant way to look at the game anew, and after much foolish opposition it finally began to transform how people created teams.

But like every other statistic, it has limits. It cannot tell you—statistically—how many balls you SHOULD have made plays on.

This is, at least, the one good thing about this fiasco. It looks like—knock wood, spit through fingers, salt thrown behind back—El Matador is coming back.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Hoss, & ranger lp, You too have nailed it.

Warbly, If you find a bulk deal on those halberds, could you let me in on 'em.

Damned right, we're riled up, duque!

13bit, please go back and tell your boss, the Sports Emperor to go fork himself.

Go fuck yourself, Brian. LB (No J)

tomtaaffe@gmail.com said...

If I am Cashman's burner account, he must really hate his bosses.