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Monday, January 3, 2022

Will this be the year the Yankees lose the back page?

Since we began tallying tabloid fish wraps five years ago, the Yankees have always dominated the count. Basically, it was easy. As the chart shows, they faced no competition.

But if you delete 2020 - the messed-up, mini Covid year - the back page numbers show a steady shrinkage of Yankee control over the attention span of New York sports fans. 

With a year of transition looming over Gotham, the Yankees' dominance does not look promising. 

In sports, attention is money. Old George Steinbrenner made no secret of his desire to "win" the back pages. NYC remains the only American city with competing tabloids that relentlessly - and ruthlessly - hustle to capture eyeballs. In the last five years, the Yankees have enjoyed the traditional advantage of being New York's preeminent sports franchise.

But you can't gush over 27 world championships forever, and the Yankees have been doing it now for 11 years. The franchise has blown through a 2018 talent surge with nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, Hal Steinbrenner seems more excited about soccer, football bowl games, and avoiding MLB luxury taxes than of restoring the Yankees to prominence.

Over the last few years, Tampa has eaten our lunches, and Boston owns the once-great rivalry. (Last year's greatest rivalry, by far, was LA-SF.) Toronto is ascendant, and even lowly Baltimore will soon unveil baseball's best young prospect. 

As for the Yankees? Jeez Louise. The hopes that once roiled up from future stars - such as Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Luke Voit, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres - have dimmed to frustration. To root for this team brings an unmistakable fatigue. 

Steinbrenner runs a self-sustaining machine that - by trading prospects and relentlessly combing scrap heaps - makes the postseason and fizzles. With ever-expanding playoff structures, it's not hard to do. Fans are weary of it.  

On paper, at least, the Mets enter 2022 as as not only a better team, but a more exciting product. (Of course, they remain the Mets, so anything can happen.) The lowly Knicks have risen - slightly - to challenge for the playoffs, and the Nets may surprise everyone.  

Only the Giants and Jets - franchises so sorry they should be moved into receiverships - will likely remain wretched and irrelevant. For them, our imaginations are not bold enough to envision success. 

In 2022, the  Mets will likely topple the Yankees' reign. It's worth noting that these cycles of dominance can run long term. For the Yankees to recapture their following, they need to win the world series. Hal better start recognizing this. The view from second-place will not be pleasant. And we will do everything we can to be heard.


Rufus T. Firefly said...

The Yankees would benefit from being in receivership. Look what happened when king George was banned from baseball.

JM said...

Is there any way Hal and the Brain can be banned from baseball? Maybe photos of sex with animals?

Just an idea, Photoshoppers. Just an idea.

AboveAverage said...

JM - as someone that photoshops please allow me to say that I'm very curious to see what this blog will publish in the coming days.
I however can not in good conscious be responsible for potentially bringing any creatures within the animal kingdom so much pain and suffering and embarrassment - so I will pass on this.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Great piece, as usual, O Peerless Leader.

I would only differ on one thing. We are about to find out that the Yankees' current business plan is NOT a self-sustaining machine that can go on making the playoffs.

I suspect that, in 2022, we will see the "machine"—already noticeably losing power over the last couple years—come completely apart, with the Yankees finishing out of even the Wild Card Play-In scrum.

Sure, anything can happen. Such as an extended lockout. But without a pitching staff, this team is going nowhere.

EDB said...

El Duque, even worse, they will lose New York. If The Mets are good, The Yankees will lose New York. Genius Cashman has done more damage than good. Cheapskate Hal, like most owners make a huge profit. In 2021, the Yankees had a profit of over 600 million. The bottom line to Cheapskate is the profit and not winning a World Series. If Hal was the opposite of what he is, a smart business man, he would do his best to win it all! If the Yankees won the World Series, Hal would see a lot of revenue in Yankees T-shirts, etc...,, The Season ticket sales and Yes ratings would rise. Instead, the Yankees feed us the BS that anyone can win who are in the playoffs. How has that worked out?

AboveAverage said...

where's the late 1990's when we need 'em