On realistic expectations


There was a time, in the not-so-distant past, that George Steinbrenner would have been furiously scrutinizing the Yankees organization had they been eliminated from the postseason in the ALDS round. His wrath would have probably begun by challenging the players’ performance (not to mention, their resolve), and ultimately wound its way through each level of management. After a few tension filled weeks of wondering who the latest casualty of the proverbial chopping block would be, decisions would be made and life in Yankeeland would continue.

After all, winning championships was second only to breathing in Steinbrenner’s book. Consequently, ever since Steinbrenner took charge, New York has experienced a culture shift like no other franchise had before (in my opinion). Winning became valued above all else; so much so, that anything short of a championship was deemed a failure — a failure deserving of immediate recourse. Of course, this model appealed to a large population of fans who sought immediate compensation every time they experienced “disappointment” (despite the fact that the Yankees enjoyed far more overall success than many other organizations).  Obviously, it frustrated many fans as well as organizational moves weren’t always well thought out.

Unfortunately, this mentality revolves around extremely lofty expectations that are nearly impossible to fulfill (which makes the Yankee dynasty years all the more incredible). It has also led to a lot of very shortsighted, reactionary decisions over the years. My generally-very-level-headed-colleagues were petitioning, on Friday, for the immediate removal of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher (because that’s simple!) since they “sucked and weren’t clutch.” Despite the fact that the pitching staff did a largely brilliant job, Girardi received more than his fair share of criticism as well.  How dare he pull Ivan Nova?  How dare Nova not show more grit and deal with a little arm discomfort?  It wasn’t just the knuckleheads at work though; a not-so-rational Twitterland was in full freak out mode the day after the Bombers stranded eleven on base and lost the game.

While Hal Steinbrenner’s recent comments weren’t quite as provocative as his father’s undoubtedly would have been back in the day, they still managed to reinforce the “win all or bust” mantra. Steinbrenner remarked, “I personally share in our fans’ disappointment that this season has ended without a championship. That is, and always will be, our singular goal every season. I assure you that this disappointment will strengthen our resolve to field a team in 2012 that can bring a twenty-eighth championship to the Bronx. That work starts now.”

Personally, I see this type of passion as something of a double-edged sword. Sure, as fans, we invest ourselves whole-heartedly. We love our team. We bleed pinstripes. When they win, we win. When they lose, we lose. Or, at least, that’s how it feels to us. It’s also great that the team constantly strives for success and is willing to improve each offseason; I think that’s what all successful organizations should do.  Perhaps, though, we may want to consider another shift in culture though. Maybe if we can shift our expectations slightly, we can once again appreciate how much effort it takes to simply have the opportunity to win a championship year in and year out. World Series are the ultimate thrill, but making the playoffs and witnessing a representative effort is still pretty exciting too.

Categories : Musings, Playoffs


  1. JohnnyC says:

    Certainly a mature perspective. Absolutely the right way to think. Now please tell that to Red Sox Nation and Phillies fans.

  2. Tom Swift says:

    One way to think about it is that if Pythagorean wins counted, we would have won the ALDS. We outscored the Tigers. The runs were just not well distributed. This is a very good team; with a little better pitching and some luck, we will win it all in 2012.

  3. Yankee68 says:

    Lowered expectations are the problem today. There was no riot in the streets. What’s wrong with pushing for the best? These players make enough money to seek help from a therapist if their feelings are hurt. If you want the big bucks, earn them. Watch your weight (CC), work hard and curb your ego! Why when Arod looked old at the plate did we not see a replacement? why bring in a clearly tired and overweight CC in relief? Money spent! They get the big bucks to produce. You want to lower the expectations, lower salaries. Make the game affordable so the fan can enjoy it.

    • Esteban says:

      You keep on saying overweight like that was the problem. He as a a top 3 pitcher in the AL with that weight and threw tons of innings and is far from the first pitcher to tire down the stretch.

    • Death By BB Gun says:

      If the team lowered salaries, you’d complain that they weren’t spending enough, and therefore, “not doing enough to win”. (BTW, how stupid would we had looked if we rioted over a first round playoff loss? You want that, move to Montreal and root for the Habs.)

      • Yankee68 says:

        My point was since there were no riots we are willing to wait. We may wish for the World Series but have enough self control to wait. Could we not have the same results without A-Rod? If CC could keep the weight off would he not had more energy? would it be less strain on his body without the weight? CC is paid to produce. You carry 50 pounds and tell me you are not more tired. Now add in his workload. If you all are so crazy about stats check into what pitchers threw before 70′s. A time when an “Ace” threw more then every 5 days. When a pitcher threw a ballgame and would come in relief the next day. Today’s players are for the most part in much better shape but pitch less.

    • Plank says:

      Lower the salary of Hank Steinbrenner? Fine. Lower the salary for the workers? No thank you.

  4. Neal says:

    Well said. This team needs to build from within with younger players. Contrary to popular opinion, the fans waited from the Steinbrenner suspension until 1995 while Stick Michaels rebuilt the team. The key was Nederlander not interfering with Michaels. This is what built that dynasty. We easily forget that Steinbrenner had already talked about trading guys like Pettitte and Jeter. The result was wonderful. We will wait again if management is smart enough to bring up the young pitchers and perhaps a position player or two (Montero!!!!). Although Granderson has been wonderful, how would the team be today if we had Jackson in center and Coke and Kennedy on the pitching staff? An interesting question. CC is grossly overweight and has not been performing as well as age creeps up. Do we really want to add millions and years to his contract? In the coming years he will become another albatross like A-Rod. The landscape has changed and teams simply must build pitching from within. This organization displays a never-ending tendency not to trust its own player development. If this continues we need to get used to bowing out early in the playoffs, if we make them.

    • Zack D says:

      CC is grossly overweight and has not been performing as well as age creeps up.

      According to what? He just put up the lowest ERA/FIP/xFIP of his AL career.

    • “We will wait again if management is smart enough to bring up the young pitchers and perhaps a position player or two (Montero!!!!)”

      It’s not about being smart enough to bring them up. It’s about doing it at the right time. Oh, and Montero was up, see September.

      “Although Granderson has been wonderful, how would the team be today if we had Jackson in center and Coke and Kennedy on the pitching staff?”

      Probably worse off, that’s where they’d be. Although nice defensively, Jackson has been one of the games worse CF’s at the plate. We can take comfort in the fact that we aren’t stuck watching his poor offensive performance on a nightly basis. Phil Coke? Really? Kennedy certainly had an impressive 2011, but does he put up thos numbers in the AL East? Probably not. I’d still take the Yanks end of that trade.

      “CC is grossly overweight and has not been performing as well as age creeps up. Do we really want to add millions and years to his contract?”

      Yes, we most certainly do. He’s been performing as well as could have been expected, three stellar seasons, and will be paid that way. A few shaky October outings won’t change much. Not to mention, there aren’t any ace-like alternatives out there.

    • Matt DiBari says:

      I really don’t think this team is desperately missing Phil Coke

  5. OXXbow says:

    Sign C. J. Wilson and Yu Darvish – easier said than done. Trade Burnett and find another solid hitter.

  6. karel capek says:

    My mature response is that the players should be replaced by robots.

  7. Matt DiBari says:

    I really don’t think lowering standards is ever a good idea

    • mustang says:


    • gc says:

      Except nobody is saying that the Yankees should lower their standards. The Yankees will do what the Yankees will do. They’ll spend a ton of money, they’ll seek out the best players, they’ll do everything in their power to secure another world championship at all costs. What this article is really about is that the FANS would be better off by tempering their expectations and realize that having the highest payroll or the most talented players does not always guarantee championships. The Phillies assembled the finest rotation in baseball and they got exactly as far as the Yankees did with, shall we say, a much less heralded rotation.

      We all want someone to blame. We all think we know best as to how to solve all these problems. But in reality, sometimes the best team doesn’t win. Sometimes the best players fail. Sometimes, Trent Dilfer gets to be a Super Bowl winning quarterback and Dan Marino doesn’t. Sometimes the Florida Marlins can spend around $20M dollars and win the World Series because that’s just the way it plays out on the field. Payroll, statistics, reputations? They’re all very helpful, for sure, but they only get you so far in these short series. That’s why guys like Aaron Boone and Luis Sojo and Bucky Dent and Chad Curtis and Luis Vizcaino can all have their moment that cements their names into Yankee history forever as playoff heroes. There is nothing about them or their careers that indicates they were clutch players. They weren’t even particularly noteworthy in their playoff careers until they had that one moment. But they did have that one moment and sometimes that’s all it takes. The ball finds a hole, or scrapes the top of the wall and goes over. As trite as it may sound, that’s baseball. Demanding people to be fired? Or released? Or for them to lose weight?? Yeah, it sounds cool to pretend that we care so much, but we don’t know these players. We’re not around this team everyday. We have no idea what it takes to do the things they do. None of us here do. Enjoy the game for what it is. Celebrate when they win, feel shitty when they lose, that’s all fine. But understand that nothing is guaranteed. That’s what the article is about.

  8. Alibaba says:

    I think that one of the most important things in life is to have perspective (which I probably did not have in my younger years). Rash decisions almost never pays off. This team was capable of winning a WS, but as Joe Torrie said playoffs are crap-shoots. You have to be both good and lucky. We were not the latter. No matter what the Sox fans tries to say, we made the playoffs.

    The team has some weaknesses and they need to be addressed thoughtfully. A full season of Montero should help. A healthy A-Rod should help. A less pull-happy and pop-up prone Tex should help. Kevin Long should work with him to beat the shift. I hope Martin comes back. We definitely need pitching, but I am not sold on CJ Wilson. I would rather go for stop-gap measures this years + internal solutions and try to sign from the excellent better free-agent class of next year. (I know many will be off the market, but not all.)

    Having said that, I have been reminding myself since game 5 that it is only a game and life will go on. I have not quite convinced myself yet though.

  9. Yankee68 says:

    Stop treating the Killer B’s like babies! Bring them up and let them learn on the job. Nova proves this can work. In the old days you were in the pen and earned a starting job. The team needs to be smart with staff but shorten the time in the minors. Steinbrenner started the crazy salaries and his kids can reverse it. Stop paying big bucks! They have great kids in the system use them. When I pay big bucks to watch them, I expect the World Series. Spend my on A-rod, he best produce. How about a you suck clause in contracts. CC can opt out, why can’t the Yankees? A-rod did it look what happened, wasteful!

    • Alibaba says:

      We need to study the Tampa approach. I don’t remember any of their top pitching prospect completely flame out. We are yet to produce a home-grown ace since Pettitte. We destroyed Joba and I am worried about Hughes.

      • Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

        We are yet to produce a home-grown ace since Pettitte.

        aside from that freak injury, does CMW come to mind?

      • JohnnyC says:

        While patience is a virtue in developing prospects, using Tampa as a template is wrong-headed. Friedman’s expertise as a GM has nothing to do with scouting ability, it’s a variant of moneyball where prospects are brought up only when they are likely to perform at their optimal level…so that their free agency clock doesn’t begin prematurely and cost Tampa millions of dollars in unnecessary expenditures. The Yankees are financially able to let prospects settle in and develop at the major league level. They may not in every case because their goal is to win not rebuild. Cashman has to make the call on when the contributions of a prospect supercede the risks to the team’s fortunes.

    • Chen Meng Wang says:

      1. No. You cannot not treat your big prospect arms carefully. I guarantee that most of Texas’ arms go down the crapper after a few seasons of being completely unregulated. Nova was in his age 23 season this year and had been in the Yankees farm system for 4.5 years before coming up to the majors, and I’m pretty sure it was do to injury.
      2. If this team completely stopped going after big name free agents most Yankee fans would loose their shit withing a year, sooner if they didn’t make the playoffs.
      3. Players would never sign a contract if a team wanted to write an opt-out clause for them every year.

      • bexarama says:

        Texas’ arms aren’t “completely unregulated,” that’s a huge exaggeration. That said, guys like Holland have had injury issues already, and it’s not like Holland is an ace already or something. He is insanely inconsistent.

    • Plank says:

      That sounds like a perfect recipe for perpetual 75 win teams.

      How dare these Dominican bums steal the noble Steinbrenners hard earned money? If they were worth anything they would be rich enough to buy a baseball team in 1973 for $10M.

      • Mike D says:


        You must be a really stupid racist bastard. If you didn’t know the Dominican Republic doesn’t have the same resources as the United States, meaning that resources are scarce and people have to emigrate. Second, I bet you that you wish you was one of those “Dominican bums” making the money that you and the next 5 generations of your family will probably never make. Third, thanks to racist and closed minded people like is why we still have a lot of racism going on in this country. Fourth, please go educate yourself. Would you be calling Canadians or Europeans bums if the yankees were importing most of their players from there for just a fraction of what they pay American baseball players from college and high school?

        • W says:

          Seriously? I think it’s funny that you called him stupid in the first line, when you aren’t smart enough to pick up on blatantly obvious sarcasm. You can put your soap box away until it’s actually needed.

          • Plank says:

            Haha, thank you, W.

            Mike D. I was being sarcastic. I should have made that clearer. Sorry to get you riled up, sincerely.

  10. Jonny Podres says:

    The goal should be make the playoffs every year. After that, it’s really a crapshoot. Expecting the Yankees to have better luck than other teams in the postseason is the very definition of irrational exuberance.

  11. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    After careful evaluation, I have come to the conclusion that those players that we are now crucifying are the same guys who took us to the postseason in the first place.

  12. Teixeira should bat 7th. says:

    Make Teixeira stop switch hitting.
    Re sign CC
    Acquire Darvish or CJ
    Don’t resign Swisher
    Send Montero to winter ball and teach him some RF

    • Tyler says:

      You do realize that in a perfect world where everything goes right for Montero next year he’d put up the same line as Swisher has the last 3 years right?

    • jay h says:

      yes tell someone who hasn’t faced a righty while batting righty his entire career that he has to bat righty. That will work

    • Plank says:

      Who would you have DH? If they aren’t a better hitter than Montero and a better fielder in right than Swisher, then it’s a downgrade.

      • Plank says:

        Obviously, the plan would entail Montero being as good a fielder as Swisher (not likely.)

        But my point still stands.

  13. mustang says:

    “but making the playoffs and witnessing a representative effort is still pretty exciting too.”

    Yes, it’s very nice, but not enough for the Yankees. We shouldn’t be irrational, but we shouldn’t embrace failure either from a team with the resources that the Yankees have.

    • No one is saying to accept failure, but rather redefine the term failure. Through the singular lens of “World Series win or bust!” almost every season is going to be a failure. A World Series victory should always be the ultimate goal, but it should not be the only goal.

      • Kosmo says:

        maybe you could enlighten us to what the other goals might be ??

      • mustang says:

        “A World Series victory should always be the ultimate goal, but it should not be the only goal.”

        It should be the only goal what other goals are out there for the Yankees?
        They are not the Pirates with their resources I expect better than first round and out.
        There is no redefining the term failure it is what it is. You can learn from it but being satisfy with it only leads to more of it.

        • mustang says:

          And wrong or right George Steinbrenner not accepting failure turn a lost organization into a successful one and a 10 million dollar investment into 1.4 billion dollar empire.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            That’s quite a logic jump. Steinbrenner sure accepted failure for a long time in the 80′s.

            • mustang says:

              He surely did not believe me he tried to fix it. In all the wrong ways but he did try to fix it.

              • JAG says:

                I think the more relevant part of what Axisa was getting at is, what exactly came of Steinbrenner’s spastic efforts to achieve success during the 80s? I’m pretty the answer is “nothing.” At least until he got suspended and the level-headed folks in the front office got to draft, develop, and keep Jeter, Posada, Bernie, Pettitte, and Rivera.

                • mustang says:

                  And who hired those “level-headed folks” and kept them around until he gave up power.

                  Not too many people give Steinbrenner credit for changing his “spastic” style.

                  BTW if you think he didn’t still run things while being suspended I have a very nice bridge to sell you.

            • mustang says:

              BTW ask Dallas Green along with many others how Steinbrenner felt about failure in the 80?s.

      • Matt DiBari says:

        I see no problem with considering non championship years failures. It makes the 2009s more special.

        I never want this to be a team that raises division title flags.

  14. CS Yankee says:

    The goal is to win a WS every year, this should not change.

    Changes will need to be made to better the chance of winning the WS. It’ll be interesting to see what they do, my concerns are;

    1) SP…another top tier SP is unlikely to arrive & I like how they are slowly bringing up the cream. Freddy & Bart should be given 1-year options (3-5M$ each), try to secure Yu, but don’t go Dice-K crazy thing (maybe a Kei deal). Stay away from CJ and keep the dollars for a “Cole” type player.

    2) RF…would be ok with Swish for another year as the list of 40 (or so) Free Agents don’t seem to be much. Swish is fun, a solid player but not an elite bat for a power position and with the weak power at LF this compounds the issue. tough choice

    3) C…Martin is amazing with the glove but he looks pitiful with the stick…worse than Soriano did in 2003 PS. The option needs to be made though but hopefully Austin develops and Montero is serviceable.

    4) 1B…no changes in personel can be considered here or at third but Teix needs to develop spraying the ball to all fields. Being a SH, he is more pull happy than anyone else in the league and if this doesn’t correct we’ll have a .220 hitter with 30 bombs for another half-decade. Please work hard this off-season to not drop the back shoulder and pull everything. If he corrects this, he is MVP-type guy

    5) 3B…6 more years for a 6-type hitter may be the case. I expect a big rebound for Alex and feel more confident in him correcting than I do for the right-side batters.

    Overall, there is more concerns but the top five all don’t have an easy solution. They can stay with what they have and will likely be back in the PS again. However, they do need to get somethings corrected with the pull-sticks, get a real #2, and try to get that Montero to be decent as a Catcher.

    Overall, I still grade them at a 8 for current and 9 for future. Much better than any other teams current structure due to their fortune, management & farm system.

    • Nick Swisher had the second best wOBA among qualified AL RFs this year. He was also fifth in Iso and second in walk rate/OBP.

      • Kosmo says:

        …and he is a stellar 16 for 100 in his postseason tenure as a Yankee. SSS ? He also sucks during the regular season with 2 outs RISP. Swisher is an OK player with a few unfortunate holes in his game.

        • So we should judge everyone on a random sampling of 100 PAs spread across three different years? Good idea.

          • Kosmo says:

            how is that a random sampling ?? He has sucked in every postseason in his ENTIRE career. I think the proof is in the pudding.

            • He’s had 147 PAs in the playoffs in his career. I’m not going to damn a player for that, especially when he’s as productive as he is.

              • Mike Axisa says:

                Just for perspective, that’s 3.2% of his big league plate appearances.

              • Kosmo says:

                That´s roughly a quarter of a year in ABs. That´s more than enough to judge his inability to get it done in the clutch. He´s productive because he compiles OK stats ?

              • mac1 says:

                I think that its worth considering that maybe ba is a bit undervalued. The current line of thinking that a high obp is much more important than ba might be a bit overstated.

                Also high k rates combined with the low ba I think is also more meaningful. It seems to me that Swish and Tex suffer in the post season b/c of the type of hiters they are.

                I get that it could just be sss and/or luck, but I like to have a mix of hitters on the team – guys like Cano with lower obp’s and don’t k as much and hit their way on as well as guys who get on at a higher rate via the walk.

                • I can get on board with what you’re saying here, but even a player with a good batting average is going to see his playoff performance fluctuate because of the nature of BA and playoff ABs.

                  • mac1 says:

                    Definitely, there are no absolutes – and I know you are not saying there are, it just saddens me that many will shut down a discussion of something like this by saying poor performance in 100+ AB’s in high pressure games against supposedly better pitching can’t be analyzed due to it is sss.

                    Tex is a bit more scary since both his ba and obp have taken a noticeable hit and he’s got 5 more years.

                    • I’m not trying to say it shouldn’t be analyzed; by all means, let’s analyze it. I’m saying that we shouldn’t try to draw too many (if any) meaningful conclusions out of those 147 PAs.

                  • Tyler says:

                    He has a sub .200 babip to go with these at bats too.

        • jay h says:

          and then holes in his game happen to be bad luck and small sample sizes. okay

          • Kosmo says:

            In 38 postseason games Swisher is hitting .169 over a span of 124 AB´s. That is not a SSS . What does bad luck have to do with it ??????? He´s a consumate choke artist.

            • 124 ABs is still a small sample size, especially when not all of them are consecutive and spread out across three different teams.

            • Mike Axisa says:

              124 at-bats is in incredibly small sample. 300 at-bats is a small sample.

              • Kosmo says:

                Are you serious ? Most postseason performers are lucky to get 100 ABs. That´s 38 games. I think it´s safe to say Swisher sucks in the postseason.

                • I wouldn’t make any guarantees, but I’d bet that if Swisher were to get ~600 playoff PAs, his numbers would be equal to his career numbers. Look at Jeter and Pettitte, for example. They’ve both had basically a full season (or a little more) in the playoffs and their numbers there are almost identical to their numbers in the regular season.

                  • Kosmo says:

                    For that kind of RAB reasoning , you can also find a slew of players who don´t match up to regular season stats. See Mantle and DiMaggio for starters.
                    Most players never see the light of day in the postseason let alone 600 abs.

                    • That’s the point. Chances are that most players will never see enough playoff PAs for those numbers to be a reasonable determiner of how good/bad they actually are. The samples are (almost) always going to be too small.

                    • Mike Axisa says:

                      Most players never see the light of day in the postseason let alone 600 abs.

                      Doesn’t mean 100 AB are any more meaningful.

                  • CMP says:

                    You’d be right if players were robots with a specific level of skill but anyone who’s ever played sports knows it’s a hell of a lot harder to perform in pressure situations. Some shine and others wilt on the big stage.

                    Just like it’s unfair for Kosmo to definitively say Swisher is a choker or postseason bust based on 147 ABs, it’s equally unfair and untrue to assume all players will perform to their regular season level if given a big enough sample size.

                    • That’s why I said there’s no guarantee. It could always not happen, but I think it probably would happen given enough time.

                    • CMP says:

                      Maybe or maybe not but as sure as you are that given a large enough sample size a player will reach his regular season level, I’m sure there are a fair amount of players who will achieve far below or above that level for reasons that has nothing to do with chance or sample size.

                  • MannyB ace2be says:

                    Yes your point is valid but wouldn’t swish have to hit like 350-400 for the next 3 years in ps to correct his stats to the regular season type numbers? I just can’t see that happening

                • Mike Axisa says:

                  I’m very serious. Just because “Most postseason performers are lucky to get 100 ABs” doesn’t mean smaller samples are more meaningful.

                  Swisher’s 147 PA in the postseason is even less meaningful than 147 PA in the regular season because they’re spread across what, five seasons?

                  • Tyler says:

                    I’ll take Swisher at $10.25m on a one year deal over anything you can find at that rate of the FA market x100. Easy re-sign he’s a very good if not elite RF right now who’s performed poorly in a small sample size with some poor batted balls in play numbers (.198) I’m not sure why this is even a debate.

                • JAG says:

                  The fact that most players won’t get even 100 PS AB seems to indicate to me that…you can’t possibly judge almost ANY player as being “good” or “bad” in the postseason, because there isn’t a large enough sample size. Jeter and Pettitte and the other dynasty Yankees are exceptions to the SSS dilemma…and it is easy to see they are just as good in the postseason as they are in the regular season. They were/are exceptional regular season players too, but that doesn’t make them better or worse postseason players; it just makes them good players, period. Just like Swisher.

            • jay h says:

              the bad luck was a reference to his 2 out risp babip in the low 100s this year

          • There are holes in his game, sure, but the holes aren’t the majority of his game. He’s not a great contact hitter, but he makes up for it with tremendous on-base skills, well above average power, and average-at-worst defense. Nick Swisher’s a productive right fielder and picking up his option should be a no-brainer.

  15. TomH says:

    Matt wrote that: “Winning became valued above all else; so much so, that anything short of a championship was deemed a failure — a failure deserving of immediate recourse.” Well, yeah, that’s true, and especially that Steinbrenner insistence on “immediate recourse.” There was impatience, and this, in turn, led also to decisions that were often ill-advised.

    However, as someone who has followed the Yankees since 1952, I have to say that the Yankee fan base that I remember from that decade and from the first half of the 1960s (until The Fall, in ’65) always valued winning above anything else. Hell, our motto for the team might have been one that the Boss may have himself considered: Victory or Death (just kiddin’).

    And if my father were to be believed (his baseball memories went back to the W.W. I A’s), “you Yankee fans” (i.e., me) “always want to win, win, win.”

    If the Yanks lost a pennant in 1954 or a Series in 1955, immediate corrective action had to be taken.

    I would make only one qualification in all that: I have a suspicion that this latter bit (correction after failure) began falling off in the 1960s, after the humiliating loss in 1963′s Series, and after the loss in the 1964 Series. The Webb/Topping alliance seemed, by then, to have lost its jizzum; although my memory may be misleading me on that.

    • Kosmo says:

      before the draft was instituted the Yanks had the clout to go after the best prospects in the country if they so desired. The reason the draft came about was to create parity which translated into destroy the Yankee Dynasty. Remember NY from 1949 to 1964 participated in 14 WS in 16 years winning 9 times.

      • TomH says:

        This is great for MLB, as long as it doesn’t care about tv ratings in October.

      • Plank says:

        Parity was a by-product of the draft. The draft was instituted to keep money out of young players hands.

        • Kosmo says:

          True, but what helped initiate the draft was the Yankee dominance over the years. The “bonus baby“ days came to an end . Now prospects are set for life before they even play a game in the bigs.

          • Plank says:

            Being “set for life” is an arbitrary cap you are putting on these players. Baseball brings in billions of dollars in revenue. The players bring in billions in revenue. Brett Gardner got a $210,000 signing bonus, plus a few years of minor league minimum salary. He is “set for life” if he wants an okay life. If he gets in a car crash tomorrow and gets his legs amputated, he will never earn another dollar playing again.

            That doesn’t seem like anything near proper compensation for someone with his skills and the value those skills bring.

  16. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    John Harper writes in The Daily News that the Yankees could trade Montero for Cain. The last time the Yankees traded a player for a pitcher was at the end of 62 when they traded Moose Skowron for Stan Williams of the Dodgers.
    Williams was a flop and Moose one of my favorites then came back to kill us in the 63 WS. History should teach us a lesson or two.

    • Plank says:

      Um, they’ve traded for a few pitchers over the years. I’m dumbfounded as to where to begin.

      If that were true, the premise would still be wrong. One trade 50 years ago has no relevance to a trade today.

    • OXXbow says:

      I would never do Montero for Cain. Montero is going to be a beast with the bat. The new Cabrera (Det)? The Yanks can trade for a solid starter without giving him up.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      Everyone is on Montero for Cain now. A couple of days ago it was King Felix what will it be next week.

    • Sarah says:

      Giants are trading away Cain. If anything, they are going to lock him down to a long term contract this off-season.

  17. Now Batting says:

    You play to win championships not make the playoffs. Aim for the stars and if you fall you’ll land on a cloud.

  18. Rainbow Connection says:

    The problem is that the Yankees spent over $200 million to fail. It was a failure. Don’t try to spin it.

    • CMP says:

      Exactly right. When you outspend your competition 2,3,4 to 1,just making the playoffs isn’t any great accomplishment.

      Not making the playoffs in fact would be abject failure.

      IMO, they need to at least make it to the WS for the season to be considered a success And I applaud the Steinbrenners for setting such high standards even if it does lead to the occasional rash decision.

      • Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

        Just because they spend more money doesn’t mean they are going to win more. It means that they have a greater CHANCE of winning year in and year out than say, a small market team that is really good for 2 years and then has to trade their good players away because they can’t afford them. This year is the perfect example of that with the Red Sox missing the playoffs, and the Yankees and Phillies getting bounced in the first round.

        • CMP says:

          I’m a Yankee fan and I wouldn’t apologize if they had a $400 million payroll but to think that their huge payroll isn’t a major factor in their making the playoffs in something like 15 of the last 16 years is Naive. It may not guarantee anything especially in short playoff series but over a 162 game season it GREATLY enhances their probability of reaching the playoffs because they have better players

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      This argument is only valid if your favorite team didn’t spend 180 million to suck dick in the regular season.

  19. TomH says:

    He’s made a perfectly reasonable point and is not “spinning” anything. Given the nature of contemporary baseball, with these 3 different playoffs (DS, CS, WS), no payroll figure can guarantee a championship. The most it can do is make it highly probably that you’ll get into the post-season mix. It’s best to make your target the World Series, of course, and if you run the gauntlet of division and league series games, you may pull off a WS. But, you may also run into some hot team with a hot pitcher in a 5-game series, and pffffft, it’s over. And the press follows with a week of stories about your $200 mil. payroll. Cut that payroll to league average, though, and you can be damned sure that the same press–especially in the NY area–will begin calling you a cheapskate.

    In fact, when the Jays were kicking ass in the early 1990s, I think they may have been outspending the Yankees (and BoSox) on payroll. No one in the Toronto press sneered at their payroll then. When they got bought out by some tightfisted EuroBrewer, and the Jays fell into a ditch, then the cheapskate stuff started.

    • JohnnyC says:

      People forget that the highest payrolls in the late ’80s and early ’90s belonged to the A’s and the Jays (for which they got 3 rings and 5 WS appearances). It was only when the Yankees started to outspend the Red Sox, the Dodgers and the Mets in the late ’90s (and winning) that people lost their friggin’ minds.

    • gc says:

      EXACTLY. Thank you for articulating that so well.

  20. mustang says:

    BTW ask Dallas Green along with many others how Steinbrenner felt about failure in the 80′s.

  21. Jorge (needs a new name) says:

    There were certainly a ton of wannabe Steinbrenners on boards like this after the ALDS loss. Just like The Boss in the 80′s, though, all they were left with was their own hot air.

    At the end of the day, only one team can win a championship and, despite your own righteous indignation, it’s not going to be your favorite team every year. It’s been three years since the Yankees’ last championship, and they’ve had a fighting chance every year for almost 20 years now. They’ll get there.

    People born in 1990 will be 22 years old next year. While there are plenty of younger people who exercise a level head and are patient with this franchise, there’s also a lot of now-adult fans raised in a very different era. My first Yankee World Championship came when I was three years old. They’d win one the next year, but I wouldn’t see another one until I was 22 in 1996.

    Feel free to tell me I’m telling you to get off my lawn. :)

  22. Zack D says:

    I have no problem with WS or failure expectations; I have a problem with the knee-jerk moves that those expectations have lead to in the past.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      Completely agree.

      Consider the postseason and the regular season when making moves for the next year, not just one mediocre series.

  23. Nate D says:

    Gonna keep it simple…..GREAT READ, well said. I couldn’t agree more with you Matt.

  24. nsalem says:

    “Consequently, ever since Steinbrenner took charge, New York has experienced a culture shift like no other franchise had before (in my opinion).”
    The culture of winning existed on the Yankees long before The George Steinbrenner era. Since 1923 this mindset has defined the Yankees except for the CBS decade which proceeded Steinbrenner’s ownership.

  25. Monteroisdinero says:


  26. JobaWockeeZ says:

    I would accept not looking pathetic in the postseason as a success.

  27. Jimmy McNulty says:

    DFA this guy ASAP. Lower expectations, please? Why on earth would they do that? The have the deepest pockets in the sport, they have one of the best GMs in the game, their farm director is one of the most sought after in the business, so why shouldn’t the goal be to win a championship every year (at least on a micro basis)? They have the resources to win every year, this year they had the best run differential in baseball, and they outscored their postseason opponent by ten runs, yet still lost. They can’t win a WS every year, but every year they can win a WS. Why should we as fans lower expectations? It wasn’t Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander who beat the Yankees in the post season, it was Delmon Young and Max Scherzer. The middle third of the line up looked useless at the plate, and the team’s best pitcher laid an egg. So if the team’s best and highest paid players perform at least halfway towards expectations they win the series, again, why should we as fans change our expectations?

    I’m glad Hal wants to win a WS every year, he should. Every year the Yankees are one of the best teams in baseball and they’re always in position to win a WS. If you figure their odds to win it all are slightly better than 1/8 say 1/6, about twice a decade you’d take home a championship. I mean yeah, obviously we’d all like a repeat of those late 90s teams, but that’s not happening; however, it’s not like winning it all every six years is a bad thing either…if you’re always in the playoffs you’re always close to your white whale. So I’d say Hal’s expectations are right in line with what he spends on the team, and more importantly where the team’s talent is .

    He’ll provide Brian Cashman the resources to improve the team so that he’ll hoist the rock next October. There’s work to be done, but not all the solutions will be available to him. Somehow, he’ll have to get Alex Rodriguez to hit again. Nick Swisher will need to do work on the corners, and Mark Teixeira will need to stop getting so pull happy (in fairness it looks like he’s made some strides).

    FWIW: Swisher’s heat maps:


    SG noted: “So looking at the graphics, are we to infer that Swisher does most of his damage on pitches in the middle of the plate and that any pitcher that can hit the corners against him will effectively shut him down? I mean I suppose that’s true for all hitters, but maybe Swisher is more susceptible to good pitchers than a typical hitter? If so, then his postseason issues aren’t just small sample size flukes, right?”

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      Swish is a guy who works counts and hits well in hitter’s counts which he gets lots of during the season. In the post season, there are fewer walks to be had and alot more secondary pitches are thrown in hitter’s counts. He needs to make adjustments.

    • mustang says:

      “but maybe Swisher is more susceptible to good pitchers than a typical hitter? If so, then his postseason issues aren’t just small sample size flukes, right?”


      I know so many people that think this.

    • gc says:

      It’s not so much about lowering expectations as it is about tempering expectations. You yourself said, they can’t win it every single year. Of course we’d all be ecstatic if they could, or if they could experience another dynasty-like run like we had in the late 90′s. But as you said, those things don’t come around often. You’ve already tempered your own personal expectation level to being thrilled if they can take home two titles a decade, or once every six years or so. To some fans around here, that’s blasphemous and an insult to the Yankee Way (TM). They’d be the one calling for YOU to be DFA’d.

      The reality of the situation is that the Yankees will do what the Yankees will do. They will NEVER temper or lower any expectations for themselves. They will continue to hold true to their mantra that anything less than a WS victory is deemed a failure, so long as a Steinbrenner is running the team. That much has been made patently obvious. But I don’t see any harm in examining or discussing how we as fans treat our own personal expectations for the Yankees. It makes no difference to how they actually run the team, but I think it’s a worthwhile conversation to have amongst fans.

      • A-Rod's Wingman says:

        Once every five years is Plenty often enough, over a lifetime that’s about fifteen championships, which is still more than most organizations have in their history.

  28. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    I forgot that the Yankees also traded Al Leiter for Jesse Barfield in the late 80s and look how that turned out.

  29. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    Guess I contradicted myself this time pitcher for hitter. Was right the first time.

  30. mustang says:

    The sign that hangs in the Yankees clubhouse says it all: “There is no substitute for winning.”

  31. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    Follow up on Montero: this kid is one of those hitters that come along every 30 to 40 years and it behooves the Yankees not to trade him or they will regret it.

  32. mustang says:

    The talk as already started Matt Cain anyone.


    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      Ehh…I think he’s the perfect fit for SF, I’m unsure how he’d translate to Yankee Stadium and the AL East mainly because he is a DIPS destroyer and Rags has a way of keeping pitchers’ HR/FB ratio down. No thanks, I want Darvish.

  33. Jimmy B says:

    MONTERO FOR MATT CAIN!!!!!! DO IT CASH DO IT we have surplus of catching and aroid has to be our full time dh soon. Giants need a bat and they can put montero at first and belt in the outfield. montero and posey would be a good tandem and CC and Cain would be a good 1-2 punch..it works perfect for both teams

  34. Nefarious says:

    Aren’t Cain’s flyball rates really high? I know he’s getting away with it but that could be a recipe for disaster in the Bronx.

  35. Nefarious says:

    His GB% is 41.7% It’s his incredibly low HR/FB% of 3.7 that would probably jump in the Bronx. (Halladay was second in HR/FB with 5.1)

  36. TomH says:

    Re Long’s working with Tex during the off-season:

    Why is it, exactly, Teixeira plays into the hands of the opposition and its shift? Is it that he thinks he may corrupt his swing by going the other way? If so, I find this hard to understand. It would take maybe 5 hits through those left-side holes to make them begin to play him more honestly.

    On this board most of the year, people have complained about what seemed almost a homerun-or-nothing attitude. If that’s what he had (and it did often seem that way), well, hell, Williams could get away with it because Williams was a super-genius with a bat. And Ted did think it cost him some points on his ave. to take up the Boudreau challenge. I read somewhere years ago that they tried shifting against Musial in the early 50s until he whistled a few liners into left field.

    Teixeira can’t get away with taking up the challenge. Maybe he can hit 30+ hr’s and 100+ rbi’s, leading all sorts of statistically myopic people to say Hey, man, I’ll take that anytime. I’ll take the .290/.378 he averaged from ’03 through ’09–when, he also could hit 30+ hrs. and 25-30 hrs

  37. Kiko Jones says:

    Nobody buys a Ferrari expecting it to perform like a Hyundai. Or a ’59 Gibson Les Paul guitar to sound like a $200 knock off. Big money = big expectations. Fans are upset not because the 4-5-6 hitter got beat in ALDS, but because they beat themselves by under-performing when facing mediocre pitching. (That second instance of bases loaded with one out in Game 5 was a prime example of the heart of the order not being able to capitalize on a shaky pitcher.) I mean, really, with the exception of Verlander it’s not like they were facing the ’96 Braves on the mound.

    Although they will never admit to it publicly, after a few drinks friends of mine who root for other teams admit they wish their team had Steinbrenner-type ownership b/c it means their team will always be in the mix. That’s where a lot of the Yankee hate comes from: misdirected frustration at their ownership not doing enough to win. (And plain envy, of course.)

    People don’t own teams to lose money. If you ask any owner whether they would rather make $20 million and come in last place or lose $20 million and win a World Series, there’s only one guy who honestly would take that championship: George Steinbrenner. Nobody else.” – Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo

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