By Patrick Giorgio
As a diehard New York Yankees fan, I remember a few years ago when I saw the 2004 American League Championship Series. That Boston Red Sox team the Yankees faced was a loose, scrappy bunch that played together as a team and had fun on the diamond. On the Yankees side, you saw a collection of multi-millionaires who kept to themselves, expressed little or no personality in interviews and still this team robotically wound up in the playoffs year after year.
The 2007 Yankees playoff series against the Indians was as flat a performance you’ll ever see. No pitching, no hitting, no heart. No desire to rise above Paul Byrd, a guy the Pinstripes torched in the regular season. What else did we see? “True Yankees” like Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter go a combined 5 for 32 in the four game series. The whole perception of “True Yankee” needs to apply to everybody, right?
Well almost this entire team is full of “Fake Yankees” if you ask me. Sure, there are certain guys you do not get rid of. But the Yankees will need to weed out the likes of Kyle Farnsworth and anybody else in that clubhouse causing more distraction than production.
What do the Bronx Bombers need to do?
1-Bring in a fresh new manager. Joe Torre was 1,173-767 as a head coach in New York, but three straight ALDS losses just doesn’t get it done for me anymore. Would any other team keep a coach after three straight playoff exits? Could you imagine if Francona took the Sox to three ALDS’s and lost? Do you think the Fenway Faithful would be in line to keep him around?
Why should Torre get special treatment for achievements that took place a decade ago? The Yankees haven’t sniffed the World Series since bringing in baseball’s top player in 2004. If you bring in Don Mattingly, heâ€™s going to be the guy all the veterans like. On the other hand you can also think about Joe Girardi, and letting him work with all the Yankees upcoming talent such as Hughes, Chamberlain, Kennedy, Cabrera, Cano etc. Either way the Yankees are not going to become the Toronto Blue Jays if Joe Torre is not brought back.
2-Find a new ace.Â Wang is a great pitcher and a great story, especially since he came from the Yankees system and not via trade/free agency. But Wang showed us twice this week why he may not have the mental make-up to be a number one. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on Wang. Who’s the last ace to give up twelve runs in five playoff innings? If you know the answer to that, you have too much time on your hands.
3-If you don’t want to be here, get out! The empire must get rid of me-first players and crybabies and bring in team guys. Team guys is what the original core of the â€˜96-01 teams was made up of, why did they get over-hyped with big name guys like Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson? Did anybody really think Mike Mussina was going to be a heavy hitter in the rotation in 2007? Big moment players > big name players.
4-Alex Rodriguez. What do you do here? Soon to be a three-time MVP, a once-in-a-lifetime talent that just hit 54 dingers and compiled 156 RBI. No Yankees player has touched 156 RBI since the great Joe Dimaggio 60 years ago. As easy as it may be to forget, Alex showed that he can help carry a team through a playoff pennant. Did he fold up in the playoffs? Absolutely, he had a few chances to change games and didn’t come through on most. Not to beat a dead horse, but the home run he hit in game 4 wouldâ€™ve been perfect in game 2. Anyway, if Alex and his big shot agent Scott Boras want to ask old Georgie for 300 million dollars, I say let them get laughed at. New York failed to win the World Series four years in a row with Alex, so they can do the same thing without. Whatâ€™s Aaron Booneâ€™s phone number again?
Hereâ€™s to a healthy and productive off-season, and #27.