Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, and the rest of the New York Yankees brass need to finally recognize what they are: a mediocre organization.
Not only were the recent arrogant words from Randy Levine embarrassing to the New York Yankees organization, it was just another complete smack in the face to the diehard fan.
To sit there, as a hardened Yankees fan, and hear president Randy Levine say the things he said, completely boggled the mind beyond belief.
Here were Levine’s words recent words, all said in very smug and irritating fashion:
“You (reporters) obviously have nothing more important to write about than to write nonsense about that,” Levine said at the press conference to announce the new deal between the Yankees and StubHub. “When we decide to become sellers, if we decide to become sellers, or if we decide to become buyers, you’ll know about it. I guess the difference is most of you guys have never run anything. We have a lot of history here of knowing what we’re doing and a lot of confidence in our baseball operations people, so we’ll see what happens.”
A few things immediately come to mind when hearing what Levine had to say.
First off, the words came at a presser to introduce their new StubHub deal. This is the very same StubHub they so arrogantly believed fans could live without at the start of the season.
Secondly, about the media not understanding how to run things or understanding Yankees history, perhaps Mr. Levine doesn’t realize how his team’s latest dynasty came about.
It didn’t come around thanks in part to holding onto aging high-priced veterans. It came thanks the diligent work of Gene “Stick” Michael and Buck Showalter. When George Steinbrenner was suspended by baseball, those two literally built the foundation of the 1990s dynasty. The likes of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera were products of shrewd team building under development principles.
The 1990s Yankees were formulated through a long, drawn-out process with a strong eye towards development that finally paid off when Charlie Hayes caught Mark Lemke‘s foul popup on that October night in 1996:
Lastly, don’t become edgy when the media presents the idea of “selling” in 2016. You, Mr. Levine, now seem to be the last person in the world who hasn’t received the memo that your Yankees are a mediocre baseball team headed nowhere. Your words are only hurting your own credibility.
Levine went on to add this beauty of a nugget:
“I think the team has under-performed and there’s a lot of talent here. So would I rather be in first place? Yeah, I’d rather,” Levine said. “But there’s a long way to go, and last I looked there are about eight teams in the American League in playoff contention that are a game or two away from us.”
So, in this baseball landscape of 2016, these words lead us to believe the Yankees are content with just “hanging around,” rather than building something special.
That’s essentially what Levine just said.
For many years now, general manager Brian Cashman has attempted to get this ship on the right footing. Evidence through the years has pointed to just that.
Take the Alex Rodriguez opt-out during the 2007 World Series as Exhibit A. Cashman, through the media, reaffirmed his stance that should A-Rod opt-out of his current 10-year, $252 million contract, he would not be welcomed back to the Yankees.
Weeks passed only to see A-Rod come crawling back to ownership. The Steinbrenner’s went over-the-top and welcomed Rodriguez back with open arms. His massive new deal included marketing bonuses as the potential “clean” baseball home run king.
The ying and yang between Cashman’s understanding to rebuild in such a new baseball climate and ownership’s unwillingness to do so has gone on for a decade.
Levine and company are terrified of seeing empty seats come August. They simply cannot imagine a lost Yankees season. They say, “It goes against everything the Yankees stand for. We never give up.”
Hal Steinbrenner recently had these idiotic comments printed, seven days ago:
“The last month has been promising,” Steinbrenner said at an event in Midtown Manhattan hosted by Harlem RBI. “Look, I think the offense up and down the lineup is starting to produce. [Chase Headley] had a rough start but he’s hitting now, and you’re starting to see other guys contribute, too. I like what I’ve seen the last month. We just have to stay healthy.”
“I think the last two homestands have been good,” he said. “We’ve seen some good play, some good offense, and decent pitching, so we’ll go from there. But we’ve got to give them the product to watch, I understand that.”
The only thing these words prove is that Yankees ownership has lost touch with reality.
If Steinbrenner truly wanted to provide fans with something to watch, he’d greenlight Cashman’s complete rebuilding plan and allow fans to see youth and enthusiasm on the field.
This is what he doesn’t understand: The real fans are smarter than this. The real Yankees fans would much rather see development in the Bronx while understanding it’s going towards something real, something tangible in the not so distant future.
The real Yankees fan would much rather lose and see youth on the field, than stay mediocre and suffer through witnessing other team’s leftovers parade around Yankee Stadium as past superstars.
The Brian McCanns, Carlos Beltrans, and Jacoby Ellsburys of the world were once owned by Atlanta, Kansas City, and Boston. It’d be OK if they were the final piece to the puzzle en route to a 28th World Series Championship, but they are the incorrect nucleus to the 2016 mediocre Yankees.
Ownership hasn’t given the Yankees enough credit as of late. They believe their fanbase is unintelligent. They believe empty seats will be abound if they take the full on “sell” route.
Well, they’re are sorely mistaken.
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The worst thing ownership can do, they are actively doing. They are “halfway-ing” things in the Bronx. They are looking to rebuild on the fly while trying to fool everybody that they field a competitive team on a nightly basis.
We’re too smart for it.
Just because the Yankees field recognizable names doesn’t mean they can contend.
In this new age baseball era that brings with it an extremely harsh luxury tax and an incredible importance on development, the “halfway” approach will never work.
It simply delays the process.
Smarten up Levine, Hal and Brian. Yankees fans are much smarter than the credit you provide and we welcome the youngsters with open arms.
As long as we know it’s headed for greener pastures, bring it on.
You’re not only a mediocre team, you’re a mediocre organization. Please get therapy, recognize this already, and start the process to bigger and brighter things.
Empty seats are inevitable. Hell, just look around Yankee Stadium now. It makes no sense to delay the rebuilding process.
You’ve been mediocre for years now. Do you really need another season of therapy to understand this?
You are no longer that dynasty team of the 1990s. Stop acting like you are and start building something new.