If you’re going to Yankee hate, at least be accurate


Caught this post on the Huffington Post this morning, written by historian and basbeall fan Warren Goldstein. He’s been writing a lot about steroids and the Mitchell Report lately, and today talks about — well, I’m not sure what he’s talking about. I can’t tell if the inclusion of many Yankees and few Red Sox means poetic justice to Goldstein, but that was my first thought.

Anyway, he blames the Yankees for a lot of things:

During that time it’s been New York, and the Yankees, who’ve led the U.S. economic powerhouse, and built the most successful and lucrative franchise in the history of American sports. Whose screw-up opened the door to free agency? Who built the most gigantic payroll in the game, all the while complaining about “high-priced free agents”? And which sports town trains the most scrutiny on its teams, from all kinds of media? In which city do athletes most worry about the “pressure” of the hometown media and fans? In which city team is winning a pennant and losing the World Series considered a deep failure? And on which team do we have the most evidence of widespread steroid use–and I love this, given the economic parallels–and distribution?

Yeah, well, you’re going to have more evidence when the only two people to testify for the report were in New York. Had they nabbed a Boston trainer, you can be sure more Red Sox would have been on this list. But for a Yankee hater, that’s neither here nor there. Someone implicated some Yankees, and that’s good enough for them.

Notice the line I bolded, though. Uh, how did a Yankees screw-up lead to free agency? Anyone with a knowledge of baseball history knows that Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith opened the door to free agency when they didn’t sign their contracts for the 1975 season. An arbiter ruled that because they hadn’t signed contracts, they were not subject to the reserve clause, and thus granted free agency. McNally moved from Baltimore to Montreal, and Messersmith went from Los Angeles to Atlanta. Notice that the Yankees aren’t involved here.

Perhaps he’s referring to Catfish Hunter, whose incident occurred a year prior to McNally and Messersmith. The story is that A’s owner Charles Finley didn’t make an insurance payment on time, and Catfish had his contract voided. He then signed with the Yankees. So it was Finley’s screw-up there. The Yankees just took advantage of the situation.

Going back even further, we can tie the destruction of the reserve clause to Curt Flood’s Supreme Court case, which he ultimately lost. Thing is, Flood never played for the Yankees.

You’d think a historian would know all this, though…

Categories : Days of Yore
  • Steve S

    I got to be honest, I just read it and I have no idea what he is talking about. Its almost as if he is trying to sound sophisticated. And by the way, Boston only became baseball backwater because the organization and the city were a bunch of bigots. Its well documented and its the major reason why the Red Sox had such bad karma and bad press (and failed to attract a lot of free agents).

  • steve (different one)

    agreed, i am not sure what point this guy is trying to make.

    also, why is Free Agency spoke of as if it were a bad thing?

    i guess it’s bad for the crowd of people who fixate on the high salaries that athletes make compared to the rest of the world, but when it comes to paying out the money to players or paying it into the owners’ pockets, i don’t really sympathize with that position.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Dear Arianna,

    Love your site. Tell your people to stick to politics, though.


    • Joseph P.


  • The Omnipotent Q

    Have to correct a factual error you made. Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith were declared free agents in March 1976, and McNally was already in Montreal, having been traded there after the 1974 season. He actually never played in the majors again after he was set free.

    • Joseph P.

      Ah, thank you. I guess the history I read was a year off. But the point remains valid, thankfully.

  • pounder

    This is not only a Yankee bias,but also an anti New York bias.The big apple is very expensive,check out the price of a broadway show,or a nice dinner somewhere.The point is,to be competetive in New York requires an exorbitant outlay of cash,and that is reflected in the way business is conducted here.The Mitchell Report is nothing but a hatchet job,aimed not only at our sports teams and their heros,but at our financial standing as well.

  • nick blasioli

    i am sick of the mitchell report and steroids deal…lets just slap wrists..and go on from here…if it turns up again after the report..then lets have something done..otherwise..because of slow baseball news lets just have a blank page instead of steroids info….thank you….

  • Pickett

    Huffington Post, huh? That’s one of the most radical left-wing blogs on the planet. Sort of how Little Green Footballs functions for the right wing. Ever hear Arriana Huffington? It’s like hearing finger nails scratched across a blackboard. She is repulsive. Anyway, what I’ve learned about politics and especially people who post at those places in the last few years is to ignore almost everything they state. It is tinged with extremism whatever the subject matter. So I am not at all surprised to hear that an extremist tries to bad-mouth the Yankees based on false information, also known as “lies.” Warren Goldstein is the new Jason Blair. To be a journalist means you have to actually do some work. Peace on earth to all…even to Red Sox fans.

    • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

      Pickett, i’m sorry, but you really have no idea what you’re talking about – at all. I’ll address two of your statements.

      “The most radical left-wing blogs on the planet.” Geez, you couldn’t be any more wrong about that. What? Do you just throw those adjectives around to bash anything that you disagree with? Since you’ve probably been on that site for a total of 30 seconds, you probably haven’t noticed some of the Post’s frequent bloggers.. hmm.. like Alan Dershowitz. Yeah, he’s a real radical left-winger huh?!

      “Ever hear of Arianna Huffington?” Um, yes I have actually. She used to be a registered republican who ran against Governor Schwartznegger in California.

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    I think you meant to say, “Have you ever heard Arianna’s voice?” Yeah, she’s greek. I don’t see how that’s relevant – but sure. I’d also like to state for the record that Joe Scarborough is also a blogger on Huffington Post. Yes, the conservative MSNBC host. I believe I once saw Republican Congressman Tom Davis (VA) on there too. For the future, before you slander a website in which you know nothing about, please do some research. Perhaps, take a Political Science 101 class. Want to see what a real radical left-wing site look like – check out… K, i’m done with round 2.

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  • Lanny

    You’re first mistake was even going onto the Huffington Post. Just a wacko far left rag.

  • Lanny

    “Since you’ve probably been on that site for a total of 30 seconds, you probably haven’t noticed some of the Post’s frequent bloggers.. hmm.. like Alan Dershowitz. Yeah, he’s a real radical left-winger huh?!”

    Actually if you knew anything you would know that Dershowitz is as far left as you can get. He is a radical left winger as he even admits.

    • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

      As far left as you can get? God – you’re also dead wrong. Is this a joke? Please tell me you’re also exaggerating. I don’t get it with you people. You know there are political ideologies to the left of “liberal?” Right? First off, Dershowitz is pro-war. He’s spent his life time bashing the likes of Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and even Jimmy Carter. Yeah, real liberal Lanny.

      Both you guys need to stop lumping anyone to the left of Bill Clinton as “radical left-wingers.” Want some names of real radical left wingers – here – Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky. Anyway, no one is denying the fact that the Huffington Post is liberal. It’s the Drudge Report for liberals, except with journalistic intergrity. But to call it far left is just illogical.

      Lanny, we applaud your rhetoric.

  • Alvaro

    Free agency was what rescued baseball from the hole it was in during the 1970s.

    It’s also kind of funny for a guy on a lefty website (it is a lefty web site and I’m a lefty so I can say so without it being pejorative) to be decrying a system (free agency) that broke up the lock that teams had on the players services and spread the welath to the guys who did most of the work.

  • Realist

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…btw, how can anyone sound “sophisticated” with that stupid Bawhstan accent………..wicked! Lol…….

    As that great historian Forrest Gump once said….”Mama says , stupid is what stupid does!”

    That Mama was right……so if ole’ Forrest can be a historian this turd can be one as well….means little to nothing to me

  • Realist

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…btw, how can anyone sound “sophisticated” with that stupid Bawhstan accent………..wicked! Lol…….

    As that great historian Forrest Gump once said….”Mama says , stupid is what stupid does!”

    That Mama was right……so if ole’ Forrest can be a historian this turd can be one as well….means little to nothing to me .

  • Realist

    Sorry for the double post! I guess I gots some Forrest in me ;-)???????????

  • Warren Goldstein

    You got me, Joe! I was in fact thinking about Catfish Hunter, and since I was such a Yankee fan in the 70s, mixed up my owners. I’m fixing the Huffpost entry.

    But the piece wasn’t meant to be about Yankee-hating, though I can indulge in that too. It was meant to be about the centrality of New York in American and baseball history, and the “poetic justice”–your term, and not a bad one–of the Yanks and Mets being at the center of what we know so far. Anyway, thanks for the correction. Historians make mistakes too.

    Thanks for reading.


    • Joseph P.

      Ah, sweet. I actually tried to email you about this, but an address was nowhere to be found. It’s always good to hear back from people we rip into a little bit — and even better to see them being a good sport about it. Hats off, Warren.

  • Akes

    The Huff post is nothing more than a hate spewing rag. Joe scarbourgh is as much a conservitave as Jimmy Carter. LOL Chomski was a comunist so I would expect any Red Blooded american would oppose him Bad example. As for the Clinton’s take your pick to the left or just left of center all depends on wich way the poll winds are blowing. They couldn’t make a desicon with taking a poll (all depends on what the definition of is is) That was a classic!!! And please don’t compare Drudges site to the Huff that is a whole oter insult to our inteligance. So keep drinking the KoolAid. While the rest of us think rationally.

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