Hal Steinbrenner does not get it.
We already knew this, of course. We have known for years. But the Yankees owner made sure to remind us Wednesday when he entered a friendly room — team voice Michael Kay’s radio show — and poked his paying customers in the eye.
“I’m a little confused, this year, being the third week of June, why they’re so upset,” Steinbrenner said when asked about his fans and their feelings toward the third-place ballclub they support. And in a vacuum, yes, you could defend Steinbrenner and chalk this up as a clumsy way to comfort.
The Bombers have been riddled by injuries and they are still eight games over .500 and sitting in a wild card spot. Yes, maybe they cannot catch the Rays. But just be patient. They will get healthy and all will be well. The sky is not falling, OK?
But we do not do this in a vacuum. The Yankees have not won the World Series in over a decade. And when they reached a clear fork in the road last October, Steinbrenner inexplicably stayed on the path to nowhere.
We wrote it hours after the Astros wrapped up their ALCS sweep: The Yankees will never win a championship with Brian Cashman picking the players and Aaron Boone managing them. They have screwed this thing up so thoroughly, there is no way to fix it. It has to be blown up and built back with a radically different vision. This was all very clear to anyone who analyzed the situation objectively.
Steinbrenner decided to give Cashman another four-year deal and run it back with basically the same flawed roster. And here we are. The free agent splash — Carlos Rodon — has yet to pitch a big-league inning. The older, injury-prone guys are still older and injury-prone. Josh Donaldson still stinks. And it has been made painfully clear that if Aaron Judge gets banged up and his performance level slips from historic to just MVP-caliber, it all falls apart. And Steinbrenner wonders why people are upset.
The Yankees will get healthy. They’ll rally and manage to win 90-something games. They’ll get everyone’s hopes up. They’ll beat the Twins like a rented mule in the wild card series. They’ll get taken out by the Rays. And then we will do it again. And again. And again.