By Jet/Bosox Fan
Well, well, well, Yankee fans, here we are at the end of another season and for the fifth straight year we have NOTHING to show for it. In â€œJBFâ€™s Preseason Forecastâ€? I laid out the oncoming year as I saw it and 99% of you laughed when you saw that I did not predict the Yankees to bulldoze their way toward a World Series title. You wrote me off as partisan hack with an inferiority complex. Strange, since the team I have pledged my allegiance to exorcised any and all demons last fall at this time. Nevertheless, you Yankee fans clearly had tunnel vision toward another World Series championship! None of the Yankee greats would be denied, not Derek â€œCaptain Overratedâ€? Jeter, nor A-Rod (I believe John Sterling calls him Alexander the Great,) nor Jason Giambi*, nor Gary Sheffield*, nor Randy â€œThe Skulletâ€? Johnson. Truly, this was a $210 million team to be reckoned with, right? WRONG! But just what the hell happened to this team? How could they (with such heart and time-tested leadership) have fallen so embarrassingly short of their goal? This is simply mind-boggling. Until now, that is! Your friend JBF is here to offer you all the answers youâ€™ve been racking your pea-sized brains for AND to offer you the elusive solutions to return the Yankees to prominence as opposed to a perennial laughing stock/waste of $1 billion.
Why the Yankees tanked:
As george steinbrenner (that name must never be capitalized) was suspended from baseball in the early 1990â€™s, his baseball lieutenants (Bill Livesely, Stick Michael, etcâ€¦) stockpiled quality young players with unlimited upside as the Yankee MO was a focus on success at the minor league level. The result? Guys like Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams came together to form a dynasty that rivaled that of Casey Stengel running off 4 titles in 5 years. Since then, george has quite clearly de-emphasized HIS guys and shifted the focus to the prizes other MLB teams. Spacial limitations prevent me from listing all of the mercenaries brought in since 2000â€¦oh, Hell with itâ€¦Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi*, Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield*, Flash Gordon, Kevin Brown, Kenny Lofton, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Steve Karsay and last but not least Alex â€œA-Fraudâ€? Rodriguezâ€¦that have not been able to get the job done for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that the Yankees no longer scratch and claw out a HUGE run in the late innings like the dynasty of the 90s because they are too busy sitting around and waiting for someone else to hit the walkoff homerun.
Since turning his cash cow ballclub into a bottomless money pit, the gluttonous pig of an owner, george steinbrenner, has basically taken a ship an proceeded to sink it. Poor pitcher evaluation is another root cause of the lackluster 2005 Yankee campaign. Since Joe Torre was hired as the skipper of the Yanks, he has preached one thing and one thing only: Pitching, pitching, and more pitching (not that anyone listens to Joe anymore in Yankeeland.) Yep, the same owner that thought it was a good idea to trade Wily Mo Pena for Drew Henson thought it was a good idea to bring in Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright while letting go of Jon Lieber and El Duque for fear that the latter two pitchers might be â€œinjury prone.â€? Oh, and he didnâ€™t think making a serious offer for Pedro Martinez was in their best interests either. But bringing in an over-the-hill Hall of Fame pitcher with a skullet seemed like the Yankeesâ€™ saving grace. Mind you, this is the same fool who thought it was a good idea to lowball an offer to Mark Prior in 1999, only to watch the future phenom pitcher promptly flip fat george the bird and go to college, where the Cubbies wisely scooped him up. But if there was one piece of the pitching puzzle that was missing in 2005â€¦and this was a mind-boggling brain freeze on georgeâ€™s partâ€¦it was Andy Pettite.
Andrew Pettite, the personification of supposed Yankee mystique, was a Yankee Haters worst nightmare. The bigger the spot, the more likely AP was to succeed. And as we watched AP carry the Astros on his back since the All Star Breakâ€¦deep down Yankee fans (even the dumb ones like EB and smizzy) knew that this year would have been different if Andy Pettite was on the hill every fifth day. But he leftâ€¦and not for money reasons but because fat george put him on the backburner for several months without so much as a phone call because he was too wrapped in day-to-day negotiations with Gary Sheffield* and Doc Gooden at Malioâ€™s in Tampa. When Pettite left for Houston, Yankee Haters cried tears of joy!
And why is Joe Torre being ignored (and Stick Michael for that matter) as notorious lackey Brian Ca$hman is dispatched to sign these HOF showcase players to Earth-shattering contracts? Because the demented old fool in charge is too busy listening to his devilish soothsaying (pun intended) minions, namely Damon Oppenheimer, Bill Emslie, and â€œPitching guruâ€? Billy Connors. They stroke georgeâ€™s ego on a daily basis while undercutting Torre, Ca$hman, and formerly Stottlemeyer and Zimmer, otherwise known as the New York administration. Itâ€™s almost like a check/balance division that is going on in Yankeeland, with delusional pr*ck Randy Levine acting as president, who perhaps has more control over senile steinbrennerâ€™s wallet than anyone else! The Tampa idiots tell him itâ€™s a good idea to go after Giambi*, Matsui, Sheffield, and A-Rodâ€¦when nobody in their right mind would touch any of those players because the Yankees have had plenty of offense. They spent money on all of these players out of pure gluttony and at the expense of their pitching staff.
Take the Sheffield* situation for example. Not only did they lose Pettite to the simple fact that george was too busy dicking around with Garroid, but they lost out on Vladimir Guerrero too. Lest we forget that Garroid negotiated the terms of his 3-year deal himself, causing the usual drama that follows Garroid around. Then, a slighted Andy Pettite departed to the chagrin of all legit (read: non-bandwagon) Yankee fans only to watch Garroid back out of the deal days later. Then george told Ca$hman (GM in name only) to pursue Guerrero. Tampa wanted Sheffield (oh by the way, uncle Dwight Gooden was part of the Tampa group before getting arrested on MORE domestic violence charges and several relapses with illicit drugs) and NY wanted Vladdy. Fat george then called a â€œGarroid-or-Vladdy meeting.â€? He cast the deciding vote for Garroid and the rest is history. Garroid has been integral (1-for-17 in games 4,5,6,7 in 2004 and the mind-numbing crash with Bubba in the outfield allowing the winning runs to score in game 5 of this year) for the past 2 Yankee playoff eliminations. Oh, and now youâ€™re stuck with Sheffield* because he has told everyone else in MLB that he wont accept a trade to their team or else heâ€™ll proceed to â€œmail it inâ€? like he has done in the past, so he is holding the Yankees hostage.
In short, there are no more easy ways out for the Yankees. Yes, they have a future HOFâ€™er at each position and an ominous day-to-day lineup (on paper) but the Yanks are a team that relies on trades/salary dumps to address glaring needs at the midway point of the season. They have relied on such abusive, detrimental tactics ever since making the transformation from a baseball team to a puke-inducing baseball monopoly. Furthermore, they have put together a record shattering roster chock full of un-tradable pieces. As impressive as these playersâ€™ track records are, the fact of the matter is that the rest of baseball has no interest in the Giambis* and A-rods of the world because those multi-year deals would cripple anyone elseâ€™s payroll and ability to stay competitive. By the way, to the surprise of nobody, there is already talk of bringing Bernie back. Simply stunning.
Where do we go from here?
Before I can even finish typing this sentence, Yankee fans will be clamoring for BJ Ryan, Billy Wagner, Paul Konerko and Torii Hunter. Have they learned nothing? Overpaying for the top-of-the-food-chain players (again) will put your team up Sh*t Creek without a paddle (again). You need to keep your roster somewhat flexible so addressing glaring needs and vexing problems in mid-season will be possible for once. So first you have to cut the dead weight:
-Obviously Kevin Brown is out!
-Donâ€™t be afraid to let Bernie walk the plank before it gets too sad (Vinny T. anyone?)
-Forget bringing Hideki Matsui back. He is un-clutch in the postseason and his bat was never a necessity. I know he brings in Japanese money, but george doesnâ€™t need more money before he diesâ€¦he seemingly needs another ring. Matsui is a good hitter, but his bat wonâ€™t be missed.
-Needless to say, Mike Mussina needs to be gone as of YESTERDAY.
Simply put, losing Mel Stottlemeyer is not gonna get it done. Like he was the problem!?! The problems in Yankeeland are much deeper and george hasnâ€™t even attempted to scratch the surface. We have Randy Johnson assaulting reporters and acting like a massive pr*ck all year in spite of the fact his pitching abilities have significantly diminished. We have Sheffield holding the team hostage to the tune of $13 million per year even though you donâ€™t need him to win either. Quite the contrary, if his dumb ass doesnâ€™t crash into Bubba Whatshisname (the funniest play of the year) then the Yankees might be playing the Astros as you read this). And lastly, you have A-fraud sucking up a storm in the postseason (where have we seen that before) then making excuses for his awful play and whining that his silly hair isnâ€™t properly bleached or his eyebrow waxing appointment hasnâ€™t been made on time. Which leads me to my final point: Alex Rodriguez needs to go NOW!
He has brought the Curse of A-Rod in all itâ€™s glamour to New York City. We saw Seattle win 116 games the moment A-Rod left town for Texas. While in Arlington, Alexâ€™s team finished in last place every year. Until, of course, when A-rd decided to leave town againâ€¦and the Rangers came within 2 games of winning the pennant. And now he resides in New York and proudly dons the pinstripes. And what do they have to show for it? Two early exits from the postseason in as many years! And as the Curse states; the better A-rodâ€™s stats, the worse his teamâ€™s fate becomes. Needless to say everyone in Red Sox Nation is pulling for A-rod to win the MVP Award. Sorry Big Papi! One has to assume that the Yankee higher-ups are well aware of the VERY real Curse of A-Rod. The saving grace in all of this is that nobody in their right mind will accept him on their team for a lot of reasons.
It should be a very interesting offseason not just in Yankeeland but in all of Major League Baseball. Hell, weâ€™re off to a good start already with the Chisox winning the World Series and ending their 88 year drought of titles. Too bad for Houston, though. Maybe next year the AL team can throw the All Star Game and give the National League a fighting chance in 2006. Either way, with each passing day, it is becoming more apparent that we will be treated to yet another Yankee free World Series.