Monday, October 18, 2021

Dear Mr. Steinbrenner: It's been a long time since your Yankee fanbase has been so demoralized, and there are a few things I'd like to say...

First, hi from IT IS HIGH. I assume some anonymous employee - the cleaning lady? the GM? - pushed this printout under your door? 

I suspect you generally avoid our site. Can't say I blame you. Here, we have a way of expressing ourselves with uncomfortable words, and we direct our anger toward those who run the Yankees - um, that's you - rather than the "overpaid players" narrative pushed by the media. Thus, yeah... we talk about you, sometimes unpleasantly.

Your fan base - aks "the Yankiverse" - has now endured two years of a pandemic and 12 of a world championship drought. We are on the verge of the least successful period in Yankee history. On your watch. 

Sir... the Yankees cannot go on this way. 

This policy of spending just enough each year to chase the wild card... it's not working. 

We're now watching Boston chase another championship - (or it will be Houston, which is almost as bad) - while Yankee fans ponder a roster full of disappointments and medical excuses, and wonder if Aaron Boone will return?  

Listen: THIS ISN'T ABOUT BOONE. IT'S ABOUT YOU AND YOUR POLICIES.  THEY ARE NOT WORKING. THE YANKEES CANNOT SIMPLY CHASE THE WILD CARD EVERY OCTOBER. IT'S TIME TO EITHER GO BIG OR GO HOME.

Sorry. Apologize for the caps. I lost myself.

Twice in your time as Yankee owner, you pushed the nuclear panic button. In 2009, you shelled out for the three best free agents available - CC Sabathia, Mark Teixiera and AJ Burnett. We won the World Series, and I suspect you came to think it was too easy. You started regularly saying that a $200 million payroll was enough -and maybe, back in 2009, it was. But it sure isn't now.

You pushed the spending button again in 2014, following an embarrassing season, which was characterized by a lineup of Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay and Pronk. The Yankees didn't even make the wild card. The following winter, you signed Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury - plus Masahiro Tanaka from Japan. (You let Robbie Cano walk.) The Yankees opened as favorites, then collapsed under the weight of injuries - an excuse that still prevails. You never since touched the nuclear button.

In the summer of 2016, you tried a new tactic: A limited, controlled tanking. The Yankees traded Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman and Beltran for the likes of Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier - players we're still waiting on. Ever since, you've let luxury taxes dictate Yankee spending, while the team chases the wild card. 

Enough. 

Go big, or go home. 

The Dodgers opened 2021 with a payroll near $250. They are what the Yankees once were - America's dominant baseball franchise. Frankly, the Yankees aren't even runners-up. The Redsocks and Rays regularly eat our lunches, Houston owns us, and Toronto is almost there. Baltimore has the game's top ranked farm system; they won't be down forever. Meanwhile, the Yankees are coming off a summer where they traded 10 top prospects for the away-game birth in the wild card, which they promptly lost. Frankly, next year looks gruesome.   

I can't tell you who to trade and who to get. But it's time to either push the panic button - sign a slew of top free agents - or call for a rebuilding - a "tanking," as Boston regularly does.  

Have you been following the news? Have you heard about the worker shortage? Economists are calling this "the Great Resignation:" Underpaid workers standing up to big corporations, big government and billionaires with unchecked powers and out-of-control egos. 

Sir, I offer a friendly warning: 

Do not think Yankee fans are incapable of finding a new obsession. 

And if we do, do not think we will automatically return to the Yankees next spring.    

We are at a crossroads.

Go big, or go home. 

Your friend,

El Duque

23 comments:

DickAllen said...

Fuck yes.

Only, I can barely see the crossroads in my rear view mirror.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Double FUCK YES!

And I've been sooooOOooo beaten down by this franchise, I can no longer dream of glory in any way, shape or form.

Ironbow said...

Hard to follow the Yankees these days. Management has totally messed up the most prized franchise in baseball. Sell the f#@^ing team, Hal!

13bit said...

TRIPLE FUCK YEAH, MOTHERFUCKER!

Duque, you know that we all stand behind you on all of this stuff.

Here, at the Yankee Think Tank known as IIHIIF, we have been developing and promoting these theories - under your leadership - for a long time now.

As was just said about climate change by somebody with a higher rank than I, THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE.

We can do a total gut renovation - which is what we need - of baseball operations and then build back better.

Or we can keep skimming the same thin layer of shit and vomit off the surface of the holding tanks, then make smoothies of it and do it again next year. Rinse and repeat.

HOW BIG A SAMPLE SIZE DO YOU NEED, ANOTHER TWO DECADES OF MEDIOCTIRY?

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

I have been a fan for six decades. When you're in danger of losing guys like me, you're fucked. I'm a true believer. I might not switch allegiances, but I might retire from watching baseball, and that would be bad for everyone.

Hal - Food Stamps Hal, Money Bags Hal, Luxury Tax Hal, SELL THE TEAM ALREADY. YOU HAVE PROVEN THAT YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT IT.

Take the money and invest it in something that pays a better return. Then go to therapy.

13bit said...

please excuse the typos. I was moving the fingers too fast.

Celerino Sanchez said...

Let's face it guys, the Dodgers have won 1 WS since 1988, they aren't the model franchise. Houston, TB, Red Sox (and I'd even throw in STL & Oak) are the teams to emulate. Suck a few years get some draft picks and grow your own players. The advantage NY has have over all of these teams is they can resign their players. They've gone the $$$ route for 20 years and came up with nothing. It's a dead business model. I'm 61 and for the first time in my life I hope the R Sox win, because they at least fun to watch, unlike the pile of shit that is thrown out in the Bronx.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


13 Bit et al:

I'm in the same sitch -- 6 decades as a fan of the NYYs.

And: I'm trying to figure out what to do with my summer of 2022.

I'm thinking of taking up needlepoint...

Ironbow said...

@Celerino Sanchez

Yeah, and the Dodgers won the WS in a severely shortened season. An asterisk goes along with their 2020 championship.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

In addition,, I recently discovered just how profound my R Sux hatred is, when they won that 2nd game I was absolutely despondent. Unfortunately they seem to be doing everything right to win,,,,,,, URRGGGGGGG!!!!!!

EBD said...

The big-spending gambit is a nonstarter--as much now as it was in the Steinbrenner-blighted eighties. By the time you can acquire free agents, their best years are usually behind them, so you end up with millstone long-term contracts that are paying big names for their past, not future, performance. This organization desperately needs a tear-down--but it won't happen under current ownership. The Israelites spent forty years in the desert--that seems a reasonable estimate for the Yankees in the coming decades under the auspices of Kinsman Stable, Inc.

ZacharyA said...

The Rays have won 0 titles in 24 years of existence.
The Athletics have won 0 titles in the last 33 years.
The Dodgers have won 1 title (*shortened season) in the last 34 years.
The Astros have won 1 title (*cheating) in the last 57 years.

The Yankees need to stop trying to emulate certain teams and just copy the specific things they are doing well. For example, please copy Tampa Bay and Oakland's talent evaluation and development strategies and couple that with Los Angeles's willingness to spend BIG at the right moments.

That's what the Red Sox have done. Boston has solid development and talent evaluation, plus a willingness to jettison great-to-good players (Betts, Gonzalez, Beckett, Lester, Benintendi, etc.) just like Rays and A's. They've coupled that with the willingness to spend big at the right moment like the Dodgers do. Additionally, the Red Sox have been willing to try different approaches in roster building: high-contact guys, big meaty sluggers, speedy stolen base guys, tall lanky flamethrowers, boring ground ball arms, etc. They're not obsessed with adding ONLY ONE TYPE OF PLAYER to their roster like Cashman is. And when a teardown is in order, they do it quickly instead of twiddling their thumbs over when to bite the bullet.

Boston is going to win its 5th title in 18 years with this approach. The San Francisco Giants have an identical approach.

There was a time when Boston tried to model itself after the Yankees, but now the Yankees need to take a look at how that franchise builds a championship roster.

Side note: Do you notice how the universe is aligning itself to ensure Boston wins another championship? Gerrit Cole hurts his hamstring and is ineffective in the WCG. The Rays without Tyler Glasnow have no starting pitching and fold immediately. The Astros lose Lance McCullers and have no starting pitching and will be clubbed to death. And waiting for Boston in the World Series? Either the Dodgers without Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw, or more likely, the 88-win Braves without Ronald Acuña. Disgusting. The baseball gods have rolled out a red carpet for Beantown.

DickAllen said...

I have a better idea.

Get rid of the dead wood that runs this organization.

I don’t care about analytics or anything else that poses as current thinking in baseball.

I just want these sodden brains to go away. The Intern has proven beyond any reasonable measures that he’s merely an office boy incapable of building a winning team.

I want to see younger players hustling for extra bases instead of bug-eyed wannabes strolling back to the dugout. I’d be happier to see a less successful club that actually looks like it’s playing baseball instead of waiting around for three-run homers (regrets to Earl Weaver).

I want to see baseball, not this three outcome garbage I’m getting.

And I want to see a a manager in the dugout who knows a thing or one about managing a baseball team.

Anything but what we got right now. Anything.

Anonymous Bosch said...

“The Curse of the Naked Tire”. The Hardy Boys? Nancy Drew? Our own backyard (again)?

I assume you good gentlemen have scoured the meagre 12 comments in the NYT at present:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/sports/baseball/garrett-whitlock-boston-red-sox.html

and trust you to pepper them appropriately.

I have no interest in watching any of the teams who’ve bought their ways into … I mean who’ve wormed their ways into the playoffs, so I’ve been focused on our local ballet (great), one of our five symphony orchestras (so-so), and new movies (“The French Dispatch” premieres on Thursday). I also got diagnosed with a hernia on Friday evening and am awaiting advice on my stay on the DL (my doc was out of the office today).

Somebody please text me if there is any reason to tune in. Breaking news of a change in management? I like to dream …

13bit said...

Make Yogi pillowcases

HoraceClarke66 said...

I think you all have part of the solution, just as I was writing about how we were all right about what went wrong—at least a little bit.

First, they have to clean out The Office Boy who, in 24 seasons now, has never won on his own. Second, the analytics guy—who reportedly has been there at least 15 years—must go.

The Yanks' money and market size SHOULD give them the ability to apply a couple solutions simultaneously. Spend the money to compete seriously now AND rebuild.

The way to do it is closest to what Zach is talking about in general: great farm system combined with key acquisitions at the right moments. That's essentially what the 1996-200 monster was. (The 1976-81 team was more just other teams picked clean in trades along with free agents—that ain't happening again.)...

HoraceClarke66 said...

...I think what the game today shows is that you not only have to have a well-balanced team, analytics or not, but also the stud starting pitchers for the playoffs. The Yanks don't have either.

By spending some money, they should be able to get both. But there's the rub. That's the gamble HAL does not want to take.

He's a fool.

Imagine what a Yankees team like the old dynasty ones would make today. There are no NY Giants or Brooklyn Dodgers with incredible fan loyalty to limit enthusiasm in NYC as they did in past years. And even then, the Yankees continually led the league in attendance and—when it came in—broadcast revenues.

A Yankees team that is a perpetual champion would generation money through the roof for HAL. But will he take that risk? I doubt it. Which is how we're screwed.

DickAllen said...

Hey, Bosch!

I hope all goes well with your operation. And I hope your stay on the “IL” (we live in very correct times) is a short one and that you’ll be ready in time for spring training.

EBD said...

Zachary A.--why don't you count pennants instead of just World Series titles? Then you'll see how far the Yankees are lagging behind the teams that have wholly embraced analytics--which includes Boston and the Dodgers, if you know anything about their front office operations over the past quarter century.

EBD said...

pennants and division titles

13bit said...

We all know that Brian has to go. We all know that Hal does not care.

We have all known this for a while, while we wring our hands in despair and publicly present a spectacle for Red Sox fans to read on this blog. I’m OK with that. We watched them suffer for a long time and now they can watch us suffer.

We are all on the same page when it comes to rebuilding. And it’s like one of those shitty diagrams. This brings us back to “Hal does not care.”

So the real problem is either: how do we get Hal to care or will he sell the team?

Because until either one of those two things happens, we will continue to suck on a consistent level. Or if Spidey missed his handhold on the wall, that might change things, but only if Hal hired somebody good and Hal does not care. Back to square one.

Doctor T said...

Dear Mr. Steinbrenner,

Please sell the business. You don't care about winning. You don't understand baseball and your attitude toward the people who paid for your stadium (the people of NYC) is offensive and disgusting.

Sell the business and go back to Cleveland where you belong. You've worn out your welcome.

JimmyEatsHotDogs said...

In Pro sports the problem usually falls at the feet of ownership and with the Yankees the problem has always been Hal! Yankees are classic example of "Corporate Baseball" which is boring baseball. Owner doesn't really care so nothing really changes. Expect more of the same. Depressing!

bennyboy said...

I've been losing interest since they didn't sign Harper and then didn't sign Michael Brantley, who I figured would be a consolation prize. I increasingly see them as a chore.