Is the Yankee Dynasty dead? Have we turned back the clock to the 1980s, when reckless, feckless George gutted the Yankee farm in favor of over-the-hill stars of dubious character? Buster Olney thinks so (see his Op-Ed in yesterday’s NYT), and he’s not alone. Olney, in fact, has argued that said “Dynasty” died after the 2001 postseason. (See Book Notes #4 for our review of Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty.) Now, he tells us that Derek, Bernie, Mo, and Jorge gathered in the Stadium training room following the loss to the Sox, distancing themselves from this year’s losing mates. Perhaps. But Jeter also spent most of the game on the bench next to A-Rod, including the last, bitter moments. So we’re not sure what relevance Olney’s “revealing” glimpse actually holds.
The question of where “dynasties” begin and end is, to a large degree, semantic. History is generally not discreet, even in the cut-and-dried world of sports. The more serious issue is whether the Yankees are now doomed to future failure by their barren farm system and the intense pressure to win (from the Boss, the fans, and the media) that will make a rebuilding process impossible. A lack of prospects was, indeed, a serious problem this year, preventing the organization from trading to fill holes and from regenerating through youth. That said, pessimists should keep in mind just how close this team was to moving on. They won 101 games. If Beltran, Pavano, and Leiter (or some other combination) are added in the off season, and we all expect some big moves, they will be even more dangerous. The DBacks purchased a WS victory in 2001. The Yankees have the economic power to remain highly competitive down the road.