Saturday, December 15, 2012

Consider this: If the Yankees win next year, the Steinbrothers are screwed

A grand old trope of sports movies is the scheming, evil owner who secretly wants his/her team to lose. That's what makes the Cleveland Indians appealing in Major League. It's the real deal behind Paul Newman's sorry team in Slap Shot (greatest sports movie of all time, FWIW).

Add the 2013 Yankees to this list. With so many one-and-done contracts, the Steinboys are basically betting that the team falls short of the World Series, so they can press REBOOT next winter and save money.  Close your eyes and imagine the scenarios 12 months from now, when the brass intends to chuck out people like bails of hay in a barn fire.

What if the Yankees are coming off a 2013 World Championship? Well, considering the owners' goal of achieving a $189 million payroll, we would become, in essence, the Florida Marlins of 1997. (Remember how they sent Sheffield, Leiter & company packing? Remember how they dismantled everything - because they didn't have fan support. And remember, of course, how they blamed the Yankees for driving up salaries?)

Imagine next winter after a Yankee championship: Andy Pettitte - after another solid year - is angling to return in 2014. But the owners don't want him. Same with Mariano. If either - or both - pitchers decide to return, the $189 million payroll goes out the window.

If Kuroda gets a ring with the Yankees, won't he want to stay? And Cano... would the Yankees let our best player walk out the door, especially after the team just rode down the Canyon of Heroes? And then there's the Youk... half-Yankee now, but what if he is a World Series MVP? (Actually, we've been there before, haven't we? Like father, like sons...?)

Clearly, the Steinbrothers secret favorite outcome -- even if one side of their brains roots for the team -- is to almost win. If they finish close - but out of the running - August and September can offer a "Farewell Tour" of struggling Yankee greats, like watching The Who, putting boomer fannies in the seats. With the expanded playoff system, even a .500 team can chase that last wild card berth into early September. Then, poof.

Even if we completely collapse in May/June, they can run with the hope that A-Rod and Pineda - the cavalry - will soon arrive. That should float YES ratings into August. In September, they can trot out the kids - Jesus Sanchez and Brackman Betances - and keep the faithful watching.

But if the Yankees win... uh oh: Hal and Hank are totally screwed.

In other words, folks, be afraid. Be very afraid. In the movies, the team always rallies and wins. This ain't Hollywood. That's the land of Joshes. We're the city of the Youks.

We are designed to finish third.


Alphonso said...

We will pass third on the way to fifth, particularly if RA Dickey becomes a blue jay.

Bye Bye Balboni said...

I was going to tell you not to worry about winning anything in unlucky '13, Duque, but look at the Knicks - with an average age of 76.8, they're running away with the Eastern Conference. So who knows?

bennyboy said...

I just don't think you have to worry about the Yankees winning the World Series this year, Duque. Worry about them getting to 90 wins.