As I sat in my seat, enjoying every second of the 2014 Old Timer’s Day, a thought occurred to me and stuck with me like a pebble in my boot. The roars from the crowd were loudest for the “newer” Old Timers. Sure, Yogi and Whitey still get their well-deserved due, but there is a real volume differential in applause…even for a guy like Reggie Jackson.
The truth of the matter is we ARE in fact a fan base that is
now comprised of those who never knew losing…yeah, you saying, “We missed the
playoffs last year!” Sit down. As Yankee fans, we have grown to expect to be in
best in the game every year. I am in no way saying that that is a ridiculous
mindset. Why play if not to win ALL. THE. TIME! Al Davis said, “Just win,
Baby!” Uncle George said, “Just win or else!” When it came to winning Al had
nothing on the Steinbrenner the Great…sorry, Raider fan…wait, no I’m not.
The larger point I am making is that many of the younger
Yankee fans may think it’s easy to win it all. The formula is simple right?
Give Brian Cashman the checkbook and tell him to fix it. Not so fast,
youngster. Turn down that awful “music” and listen up. The Yankees ALWAYS want
to win. They did in Yogi’s day, in Reggie’s day, Paulie’s day and even in Kevin Maas’s day!
And now they want to win in…well, let’s call it “Brian McCann’s
day.” The club doesn’t ever say, “We have 27…let’s let somebody else have a
It’s true the current roster is not so much a hitting bunch.
Yes, they’ve had runs here and there, but they are pretty darn bad with the
Tino’s Yankees. These guys look more like the Mike Pagliarulo’s
Bronx Bombers…who, by the way wanted to win every day…they just didn’t.
The question then becomes, why? Why can’t these Yankees blow
the doors off Toronto and the O’s? That flock of birds certainly doesn’t look
like the New York Yankees. Sure Chris Davis is a big name, but even as much as
I get on him, I’m still happier to have Tex.
We still have Derek Jeter. And
although he is not version 1999, The Captain is far from lousy. So why don’t
they hit? Why aren’t they fiery? Why don’t they seem like the New York Yankees?
It’s because they aren’t yet. The process that brought New York the teams of
the late 1990’s started in the late 1980’s.
We developed the farm and saved
money for the pieces we really needed or paid our homegrown kids when they
became stars (See the Core 4). We took chances on trades (Paulie) and free
agents like Scott Brosius.
There was a real and calculated method to the
madness in the Yankee front office that even taught Mr. Steinbrenner a lesson.
Now? Well, we fell back into “Buy & Fix”. Now, I am NOT saying the club
should have kept the roster from 2013 in place and I am glad to have the new
crop of Yankees, but like any perfect storm it will take a bit to develop…and
even then may just be a passing shower. It is possible to buy names, but you
CANNOT buy titles.
Yankee fans we are spinning in The Cycle of Baseball. We
will go through growing pains and failures…but never think the Yankees aren’t
trying to win. It may be a homer in many regards, but it is fair to say that Big
Leaguers do take on a responsibility when they put on that uniform. They
realize the history.
They know they want to win in New York. They want to be
cheered at an Old Timers’ Day.
The Dynasty teams were not easy to create. It’s baseball and
anything can happen. These Yankees are struggling and maybe this is not the
next great crew of Bronx Bombers.
But maybe, just maybe a move was made in this
current Circle of Baseball that will bring the next Yankee Perfect Storm.
Maybe. The bottom line is you can’t predict this game, you can only play
it. The New York Yankees always try to
win, but even the New York Yankees don’t have a can’t miss strategy. This club
has to find a way to win or the next one will.
** For the youngster…you may not want to listen to my take
on the Yankees, but try some real music.
This is for you:
--Mike O'Hara, MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
"Paulie was always my favorite player."
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