Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cash v. A-Rod: A war between the two biggest reasons the Yankees are in this mess... is a war we cannot win

Last night's big Yankee victory - (Note: Every Yankee victory is a "big" Yankee victory) - was overshadowed by off-field news, and I don't mean the jubilation of hearing that some Atlantic Coast Conference football team - (Syracuse! again?) - will suit up for the ever-shrinking Pinstripe Bowl. Nope. It was about the latest food fight between baseball's wealthiest team and richest player. And it came from Johnny Cash, himself.

For years, everyone viewed Brian Cashman as a mild-mannered family man. One day, out popped Louise Meanwell, straight from Basic Instinct, transforming him into a party lugnut from Hangover III. (And when we become perfect, we can judge him.) Still, I never thought we'd hear Cash cuss in public. I thought he was too cagy. Last night, he told reporters Alex Rodriguez should "shut the fuck up."

(By the way, I struggled over whether to print the word or use the slimy "f--k up" or "(eff) up" - or all the variations that allow writers to seemingly rise above the barnyard mentality. Frankly, they don't belong on a higher level. Everybody who makes an issue of foul language should quote him all the way; otherwise, they're just third grade tattletales. And - yes - I'm no better.)

From here, the war between Cash and A-Rod makes the Yankees look cheap, bitter, stupid and in trouble. Nothing good can come from this, unless you root for Boston.

First, A-Rod is hardly the first player to join the New Millennium and start a Twitter account. My understanding is that most MLB teams want players to interact with fans, and Twitter is one part - albeit a vapid one - of the process. The Yankees were always slow on this. They prefer control. They have a former TV announcer as manager. They have their own network - the Yankee version of Fox News - to broadcast a daily message. They never warmed up to Nick Swisher's willingness to say or do anything. They prefer guys like Jeter and Mo, who - as much as we love them - might go their entire careers without ever saying anything controversial, or maybe even memorable. That's OK, I get it: NY is a hellhole of skanky reporters, each one looking to drive a wedge between teammates (Reggie v. Thurman, Mo v. "Don't Shush Me" Joba, et al.) And this little battle seems to be based on the argument over who gets to hold the microphone during Karaoke Hour.

A-Rod yesterday tweeted that he'd gotten great news: his doctor has cleared him to play in rehab games. He announced it, quite possibly thinking the Yankees would react with applause. After all, the team sucks right now. I can't help but think he was blindsided last night by Cashman's angry reaction, which was basically to tell A-Rod the Yankees don't want him, don't want to pay his salary, and they're happy with Jayson Nix and David Adams anchoring the infield. (I think the AL East is happy with Jayson Nix and David Adams anchoring their infield, too.)

This baffles me. All season, I've believed we had one hope - yeah, one fleeting hope: that A-Rod would find 60 games left in his body and bat. Now, you sense the Yankees don't want him at all - they're content with third place - scoring 2 runs a game and no hope, as long as they can escape paying the guy the money they foisted upon him. (You'd think he held them at gunpoint.) Now this.

For the last four months, A-Rod's story has been shadowed by the presence of the MLB investigation into PEDs. I always assumed that - at the bottom line - the Yankees stood in A-Rod's corner. Once upon a time - (remember how they backed Steve Howe?) - they always backed their players. Now, jeez, I dunno. It looks like they want MLB to suspend him, so they can fight him in court and maybe save money. You can have any opinion about A-Rod you wish - it's as good as mine - but I say this is no way to run a baseball team.

Have we learned anything from the last 12 years? It's easy to start wars. It's much harder to stop them. Launch World War A in court, and the subject might blow up in directions you didn't expect - or want.

Lately, I've spent a lot of time lamenting the death of old George, who generally loved his players, even if it sometimes meant horrible trades. I'm sure many of you remember the dark days - the 14-year barf, when everything George did backfired. It took him years to be a successful owner. Maybe Hal and Hank are going through that period. Maybe vindictiveness is part of their DNA.

But a team at war with its marquee player is a team headed for trouble.

And mighty Duke playing in Pinstripe Bowl won't burn away the shadows.


Moe Sahd said...

classic. brilliant el duque.

Parson Tom said...

looks like Cashman is taking management courses from Jimmy Dolan over at MSG: The less said the better, and all statements must be vetted by a team of 15 lawyers and 42 PR consultants. He's already aced the Isiah Thomas symposium on assembling the highest-paid team that can't win, and his improvisation in the independent study on public sex scandals was impressive. These guys are making the Mets look wholesome.

Mustang said...

Maybe Cashman isn't the villain in this case.

It looks like he was just telling A-Rod that the team doctors will make the decisions and the team PR department will make the announcements. Fair enough?

He made it public because he learned about A-Rod's announcement from that reporter and reacted in the moment.

On a team where everyone down to the short-season backup infielder is trained to say nothing of substance to reporters, it was refreshing to get a good honest "fuck" out of the GM.

A-Rod is experienced enough to know that Dr. Kelly can't clear him for games; maybe he was trying to stir the pot.

Ben Dover said...

mustang's a management flunkie moron. he should be included on that "who's the villain" poll.

JM said...

I think everyone has a good point. There are two sides to every story. One man's ceiling is another man's floor. I say tomato, you say tomahto.

Let's call the whole thing off.

Q: Why are A-Rod and Cashman both like beef?
A: They're a little jerky.

Thank you, folks, I'll be here all week, try the veal!

el duque said...

Hey Mustang,

Shut the fuck up.

Louise Meanwell said...

Ooooooooouuuhhhhhhh, Brian! Me so horny when you talk DIRTY! You want me spank A-Rod's pretty bottom for you?