Feb
24

The joy of a controversy free Spring Training

By

The 2010 New York Yankees held their first official full workout of the season today, and already it’s easy to notice a big difference between this year and years passed: It’s quiet.

Fresh off their 27th World Championship, there’s no early season controversy surrounding the Yankees in 2010. Last year we had Alex Rodriguez‘s steroid revelations, and before that there was the PED clouds of Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi. In between we were forced to deal with everything from rotation questions to bullpen questions to questions about Bernie Williams‘ role to questions about the almighty Joba Rules. It seemed that anything and everything was fair game, and often it was.

Things are much different this year though, mostly because the team doesn’t have to answer questions about playoff failures or a mega free agent signing. Everyone seems to understand that Johnny Damon and Scott Boras overplayed their hand, and that they need not look beyond a mirror to find someone to blame for his being in Detroit. GM Brian Cashman replaced Damon and Hideki Matsui, productive yet aging players, with equally productive players in the prime of their careers and on affordable contracts. Nostalgia clearly has taken a step back in the Bronx.

Right now, the biggest issues facing the Yankees are the expiring contracts of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, the two longest tenured players on the team. Jeter addressed just that this morning, saying “I’ve never gone into a season focused on the next season … This is the only organization I want to play for. I don’t think I can say it enough times. I’m not worried about what my legacy is at this point.” The Captain then said he won’t be discussing his contract situation after today, and he’s never given us a reason to doubt him. Rivera – and also manager Joe Girardi – dealt with his contract situation the same way. The controversies were snuffed out before they even had a chance to begin.

We’ve already dealt with the MSM manufactured storyline of complacency, though there are sure to be attempts to drum up something else to fill the column inches. The Phil Hughes-Joba Chamberlain fifth starter battle is nothing more than a Spring Training position battle, something that’s happening in 29 other camps in Florida and Arizona. Ditto the Curtis Granderson-Brett Gardner leftfield-centerfield situation. But those dull topics have already been discussed ad nauseum this offseason. There’s nothing more left to talk about, all we have to do is sit back and watch. Like it’s supposed to be.

For the first time in a long time, it’s just baseball around Yankees’ camp. And I absolutely love it.

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP

Categories : Spring Training

85 Comments»

  1. Yages says:

    “Everyone seems to understand that Johnny Damon and Scott Boras overplayed their hand, and that they need not look beyond a mirror to find someone to blame for his being in Detroit.”

    … you mean… *sniff*… it’s MY fault Damon’s gone?!

  2. This camp is boring. Alex Rodriguez should murder someone, spice things up a little.

  3. Christos says:

    If the Yankees were a football team, would they franchise tag Jeter after the year?

  4. Evan NYC says:

    Amen. Baseball is finally back!

  5. Tom Zig says:

    When was the last controversy-free spring training?

    2009 – Ugh
    2008 – Andy Pettitte/HGH
    2007 – Will A-rod opt out?
    2006 – ?
    2005 – The year after 2004 :(

    • bexarama says:

      2004 – THEY DIDN’T WIN THE WORLD SERIES AGAINST THE MARLINS?!
      2003 – THEY DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THE WORLD SERIES?!?!?
      2002 – MO BLEW THE WORLD SERIES?!?!?!?

      There really hasn’t been a dumb-controversy-free ST in a long, long time.

      • rbizzler says:

        Let’s not count our chickens just yet. The NY media never ceases to amaze when it comes tot he drivel that they can use to sir the pot.

    • 2006 – We haven’t won a World Series in a few years. Should Joe Torre/Brian Cashman/both be fired immediately?

    • Salty Buggah says:

      2005 – The year after 2004

      Yea, that was a tough one. Everyone was wondering how the Yankees players and baseball itself would be after a year without any play. Man, that 2004 strike was tough.

      • bexarama says:

        It was really sad when the volcanoes destroyed all those stadiums just before the playoffs, too. Very tragic.

      • W.W.J.M.D says:

        So was the 2007 strike.

        • bexarama says:

          I dunno about you, I was very humbled by that story from that year about that small-market team that won the World Series while raising all their funds via bake sale and didn’t even spend $50M just to talk to a pitcher. That’s like something the (chortle) Yankees would do!

        • Salty Buggah says:

          Yea, that was legit. Like Bexy said, it was heartwarming story. The little engine that could vs the Juggernaut Rockies. That’s what true baseball is about.

  6. Chip says:

    It’s amazing to think that a 103-win WS champion team upgraded both their pitching and their offense in the offseason. I can’t wait for this season to get started!

  7. bexarama says:

    Amen to this whole post.

    So far the only bad thing about Spring Training this year is Teixeira’s hair.

  8. GM Brian Cashman replaced Damon and Hideki Matsui, productive yet aging players, with equally productive players in the prime of their careers and on affordable contracts. Nostalgia clearly has taken a step back in the Bronx.

    Taking a step forward into nostalgia’s vacated space?

    Mystique and Aura.

    Dot com.

    /buildingthebrand’d

  9. Frank1979 says:

    I think for shits and giggles A-Rod should announce that he’ll be making an important statement tomorrow. Then he should come out in front of the press in the bottom part of a horse costume and say, “I would just like to remind everybody, that I am the one and only Centaur. Thank you for your time.”

    You know…just to mix things up a bit.

  10. pete says:

    But teh left field!!!! Teh 5th stahtah!! TEH 8TH!!!!!!

    From the looks of it, the yankees have a strong team, but any time that you have question marks at your three most important positions, it’s hard to call you the best.

    /MSM’d

    • What is it that made the MSM fall in love with the set up guy? Was it Mo in ’95/’96?

      • bexarama says:

        It had to have been Mo in 1996, but what he did in 1996 was different than just JOBA TO TEH 8TH in a team with the pitching staff (and the innings they’re expected to give us) of the 2010 Yankees.

      • DP says:

        Because the “position” of set-up man had gone for quite some time being general crap on the Yankees until Joba showed up. The media isn’t used to the Yankees having a “hole” in the roster for so long, so this stark change got everyone to cream themselves.

      • Mike HC says:

        I think so. It was the dominance of the Mo and Wetteland connection, into the Stanton/Nelson to Mo years.

      • A.D. says:

        Mo started it, followed by the Circle of Trust.

  11. steve s says:

    Maybe no controversy involving players but if you look hard enough there is still controversy surrounding the delay in finishing the promised parks to the Bronx and saving Gate 2 which looks to be on life-support.

  12. Mike HC says:

    It always seems like controversy pops its ugly head up after losing seasons. If the Yanks did not win a championship, I’m sure there would be a lot more negative focus on the CC, Teix, AJ signings of last season. Will they earn there money? More negative focus on letting Damon go, etc …

    But after a World Championship year, there should be at least a small drama free off season. I mean, the Yanks did make two trades for all star players in Granderson and Javy. It is just that there does not need to be any talk of “is this the year the Yanks make it back.” Are Granderson and Javy the answer, or just overrated above average players, blah, blah blah. With the title in hand, the criticism goes away. At least until the first loss.

    • JGS says:

      every single time Javy loses a game, there will be “it’s 2004 all over again” articles

      • bexarama says:

        every single time Javy loses a game gives up a run, there will be “it’s 2004 all over again” articles

        Fixed that for you.

      • Mike HC says:

        exactly. He better run off like like five straight shut outs to start the season to quiet the critics. And even then, they will all be saying he will collapse in the second half again. Javy really has the most pressure this year if you really think about it. Although he is only a mid rotation guy, so far less expectations, but I still agree with you.

  13. pat says:

    Us/Switzerland mens puck on NBC rite now.

    Don’t respond, just a heads up.

  14. larryf says:

    Controversy-free hopefully means less crowds this weekend and more spring training autographs for my very eager son…..

  15. YankeesJunkie says:

    If the Yankees get destroyed in the 2011 CBA to make room for small market teams like the Boston Red Sox a chance to win, who will you root for.

    I am going to say the Royals or Giants, leaning towards the Giants just because Tim Lincecum.

    Oh…also the Sox, everybody loves them. They are God’s gift to the world.

    2010 Red Sox: Greatest team since 2009 Red Sox

  16. [...] year we enjoyed a controversy-free Spring Training, all because the team was coming off a World Series win. That was great, everyone was happy, and [...]

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