A Short Note on a Busy Week

There’s a lot to discuss in Yankeeland these days. A great deal of turnover and change, with more to come. Like many Yankee fans, I was sorry to see Joe Torre go, and especially in such sloppy fashion. Now the team seems to have bungled contract negotiations with his replacement, Joe Girardi, but this might just have been unavoidable, and a deal will surely be completed. Girardi was a gamer as a player, he had the respect of his teammates, and had his moments of genuine Pinstripe glory. Most of us are familiar with the resume. It’s said that he understands baseball’s New Math but has not thrown out the lessons of the Old School. That makes him, in theory, an ideal skipper. I worry a bit about his NL pedigree; I hope the Yankees, now having lost their biggest bat, aren’t transformed into some kind of more-patient Angels. But we shall see. Girardi has yet to sign on the dotted line, and once he does he’ll have to remake the Yankee coaching staff (look for Dave Eiland as the new pitching coach). Given the circumstances, I suspect he will be given considerable leeway on the field as he eases into his job—obviously, he and Cashman have a healthy rapport. Even the tabs might cut him some slack. A manager is only as good as his players, and we really don’t know what the Yankee roster is going to look like right now. As for Joe Torre, I’m surprised at the rumors he’ll be moving all the way across country to take over the Dodgers, but it’s not the first time a Brooklyn-bred baseball operation has headed out to Los Angeles. Don Mattingly’s son is in the Dodger system; perhaps he will become the heir apparent there, and maybe, in the end, it will be a better situation for him. More on Mattingly later.

I know we’re all supposed to be bitter about the departure of Alex Rodriguez. Not me, and I’m not really disturbed by his rather tactless timing and message delivery—the business of baseball is skeezy, and maybe it’s best that we’re reminded of such from time to time. (And I’ll credit David Justice for seeing the writing on this wall on the evening the Yanks were bounced from the playoffs, and calling it in no uncertain terms.) Watching Alex this year was a lot of fun. It was fun in 2005 and a little less enjoyable in 2006, but still pretty good. Whatever you thought of them, the A-Rod-Shef tandem was pretty damned special, while it lasted. So now he’s gone. His perogative. It was, for the most part, fun while it lasted, especially for those of us who didn’t really buy into the soap opera michegas that, to my mind, had nothing to do with the team’s performance. Just where the Yanks are going to find all those runs that he’s taking with him is, obviously, a crucial question for the team as it goes forward. My hope was that he’d resign, and the the Yanks would be able to leverage some of their young talent for a true ace, of the Santana variety. Now they have several holes to fill. We’ll see what happens.

Finally, a congratulations to the Sox. They were the best team this year; and deserved their victory. Not a team for the ages–even our SFs had to avert their eyes for stretches—but the class of the league, if only barely. I wish the Yanks had gotten a shot at them, but it wasn’t to be. Blame luck (midges!) or design (flawed pitching staff!) or a little of both; however you slice it, the result is the same.

This was supposed to be a short note. Oops!

48 comments… add one
  • I am sure the Sox appreciate your (heavily qualified) congratulations.

    SF October 30, 2007, 10:55 am
  • Yeah. You’re right, SF. That sounds pompous. The Sox don’t need my congratulations, so let me rephrase that sentence: “Finally, a note on the Sox, World Series champs:”

    YF October 30, 2007, 10:58 am
  • Don’t want this to degenerate, but imagine if a SF had done the reverse, posted a congrats to the Champion Yanks (as if!) with a “but barely”, or “not a team for the ages”.

    SF October 30, 2007, 11:03 am
  • How much praise do you need? Did they not just squeek past Cleveland? Did you not spend most of the second half of the season lamenting the play of the team, including the aforementioned “break” at a time when they were—what?—9 games up?

    YF October 30, 2007, 11:20 am
  • Not that he needed to, SF, but he retracted.
    Give it a rest.

    ATLyanksfan October 30, 2007, 11:21 am
  • “the business of baseball is skeezy, and maybe it’s best that we’re reminded of such from time to time.”
    the question becomes when are we not reminded of this nowadays? Not trying to be a crotchety old fart (I’m only 29), but the cliche over and over is that it’s a business first. I suppose one of A-Rod’s legacies now is that he forced this cliche down our throats when we just wanted to watch the biggest baseball game of the year.

    Nick-YF October 30, 2007, 11:22 am
  • The retraction and my comment were cross-posted, I didn’t see that until after I put the comment up. Rest given.
    Also, my newest thread was put up prior to seeing YF’s comment, as well. Our minds think alike.

    SF October 30, 2007, 11:32 am
  • Girardi Accepts Manager Offer
    Three-years, $7.5 million.

    ATLyanksfan October 30, 2007, 11:36 am
  • Also Kevin Long is supposed to be getting a 3-year contract, and Tony Pena should remain too.
    As a side note, in no way does Mattingly leaving mean he is saying ‘Screw You’ to the Yankee organization. They picked their choice, and Donnie handled it with class and dignity. No bad feelings there, no way.
    Also: Boras is an oaf, I think him screwing the Yankees will come back to bite him in the ass BIG time (the Yankees were one of the only teams left really willing to deal with the guy), and A-Rod is, sadly, clueless. After thinking about it, I can’t bring myself to hate the guy. He’s socially inept, and his unhappiness stems from relying on being Daddy Bor-bucks prized possession.
    I would really like to predict Boras getting screwed this off-season, because it looks like most teams around baseball have a pretty tepid interest in A-Rod (not the player, but the contract he would require), but it only takes one Tom Hicks. We shall see.

    AndrewYF October 30, 2007, 12:10 pm
  • Heard Kevin Long was following Torre to L.A.
    So this is wrong?

    ATLyanksfan October 30, 2007, 12:44 pm
  • Andrew –
    By all accounts, A-Rod told Boras on Sunday. He knew exactly what and when would happen from there. There’s no way he’s that socially inept yet managed to snooker most YF’s and many in the press to believe he was staying. The guy is an utter disgrace to the sport. And me, I can’t believe any YF would still even consider him for the team. Of all the moves Paul cited, A-Rod’s was the biggest “Go f%$& yourself” to his former organization and to the sport. He’s wants to be bigger than the game, even as he already was. What a fucking douchebag.
    By the way, cause I had to read it to put it together, but how much you think the Rosenthal in the stands was worth? Figure a 30 second commercial during the Series costs a few million, and they spent a few minutes on the “report” during the game (i.e., when no one would switch away). Boras basically stole not only the attention but also at least 10 million worth of free publicity. And I have little doubt it was planned that way from the beginning. He waited until the game just seemed out of reach, and pounced. They both need to go fuck themselves, preferably with a pineapple or cactus.

    Pete October 30, 2007, 12:44 pm
  • // It’s said that he understands baseball’s New Math but has not thrown out the lessons of the Old School. //
    Y’know, I _think_ I know what this means, but it might be interesting to flesh that out a bit…
    Baseball’s New Math: Presumably this means the stat-driven, Beanian think-with-the-head-not-the gut approach to player development, trades and in-game decisions alike.
    Lessons of the Old School: Show faith in your players, don’t overmanage, create a stable, happy but competitive clubhouse so players perform at their highest levels, recognize that experience counts (e.g. Timlin in the postseason)… what else?

    Hudson October 30, 2007, 12:50 pm
  • // Did they not just squeek past Cleveland? //
    I do so love the selectivity of Yankee fans. I guess the Yankees’ performance in the 2003 ALCS was nothing much to crow about…

    Hudson October 30, 2007, 12:52 pm
  • Hudson, I dont think any YF would claim that the 2003 yankees were a team for the ages either. Dont be so sensitive!

    Sam-YF October 30, 2007, 12:56 pm
  • And one more comment about YFs, just to keep the rivalry brewing through the winter:
    On other boards, and to a lesser extent, I hear Yanks fans guushing about how much they love seeing guys like Mattingly and Guidry in pinstripes in the dugout.
    This strikes me as a big part of the Yankees’ problems in recent years. Yeah, it makes you feel good to see the likes of Donnie Baseball in a uniform, but shouldn’t that be saved for throwing out first pitches and the like?
    Why does The Boss, and so many of his fans, think that being a great player qualifies you to be a good coach?
    Much as I’d love to see Yaz and El Tiante riding the pine every game in the 21st Century, there is no evidence to suggest that they’d be good coaches.
    After all, what kind of a ballplayer was Terry Francona?

    Hudson October 30, 2007, 12:57 pm
  • Correction: // and to a lesser extent // here,

    Hudson October 30, 2007, 12:58 pm
  • Let’s hold the phone for a quick second. I don’t condone how Boras and ARod handled this situation, but keep in mind that by announcing his free-agency hours before the end of the WS, Boras ensures that all those phone calls different teams are making (i.e. Angels, Dodgers, Chicago, Boston…) to sign free-agents or make trades stop.
    In order for ARod to get anywhere near the money and years he is asking for a team MUST take a very serious accounting of how much and which way they can create a deal without destroying their basic prospects. YOu want to trade Chone Figgins or Reggie Willets and then sign Tori Hunter or Andruw Jones? Well, you can’t do that if you want to free up big money for a player that will affect your teams bottom line over the next 10-50 years but costs over 1/4 billion dollars. Boras pulled the plug on the charade that Rodriguez was going to do anything but opt-out. It allows him to control the market from the outset.
    God forbid, after meeting with the Yankees and both realizing that they are far from a deal, the Yankees start leaking information that Boras can’t control, that affects future negotiations with other big teams.
    I’m just saying that that is pretty much exactly why they announced it. The result, all of the media, the lightening rod that is A Rod…all goes to prove, by example, to any prospective team, how large a player, how much national attention he can provide a team (and don’t think for a second that big money teams care about what “kind” of attention their team gets–as long as the person playing can play)

    walein October 30, 2007, 12:59 pm
  • Actually, mattingly was by all accounts an excellent batting coach. Not sure I can say the same about Gator as a pitching coach. Good/Great players can be good managers too and part of the yankee business model is to use their past stars in visable ways when they can. That said Im sure that these guys got their jobs because they thought they would be good at it from the baseball perspective not just because they were past yankee stars.

    Sam-YF October 30, 2007, 1:01 pm
  • Sam-YF October 30, 2007, 1:05 pm
  • Walein: C’mon now, pretty much everyone assumed that Boras would get ARod to chase the money.
    And I hardly think that any big deal was going down late Sunday night during the late innings of the World Series that Boras “stopped” by making his announcement. He could have waited 12 hours, at least.
    There is just no defending Boras’s actions, or his post-gaffe spin (claiming that the news mysteriously got out, when he was clearly the leaker).

    Hudson October 30, 2007, 1:24 pm
  • walein –
    That explanation would work just as well Monday morning or even Friday when there was no game. Further, most players haven’t even opted out yet, and we all know the Hot Stove gets hot around Thanksgiving. Right now, teams are figuring out which of their own players to keep then in the next two weeks they’ll shift to the free agent market.
    No, Boras timed the announcement perfectly for maximum exposure. I always thought he did well by his clients, and I respected him for that. Now I hope he gets cancer.

    Pete October 30, 2007, 1:31 pm
  • Hudson, Girardi is a great coach, and a great manager. He was by no means a great player.
    I don’t know too many people who would rather have Mattingly becuase he was a ‘great player’. In fact, it’s the ‘great players’ who make not-very-good managers: Ted Williams comes to mind, so does Yogi Berra. Frank Robinson is another prime example.
    Joe Torre, I think, is one of the only exceptions to this rule. Jeter only just passed Torre’s hit mark this year, and Torre was a catcher.

    AndrewYF October 30, 2007, 2:05 pm
  • great coach, and a great manager..
    We’re stretching here. Yes, he did an acceptable job in Florida with a few great players and in the weakest division in baseball, objectively.
    He may be great, but we’ll have to wait on that.

    Brad October 30, 2007, 3:35 pm
  • A-Rod dropping his handkerchief to potential suitors in the middle of the final game reminds me of the cheerleading captain in high school who struts by you and winks. “Yeah, I’m interested,” you say. “You’re hot, and I want to. . .Hey, wait a minute. Is that a sore on the corner of your mouth? Where else do you have them?”

    JD October 30, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • “It wasn’t unexpected,” Schilling said. “Between them and the Yankees making sure we were updated every 15 minutes about when they were actually going to name their manager, I didn’t give a crap. Bottom line was they’re playing golf and making organizational decisions and we’re still playing games.” -38pitches.com on WEEI.
    I am going to throw a party the day this joker retires. Send me your addresses YF’s.

    John - YF October 30, 2007, 4:25 pm
  • I have always thought very highly of Mr Steinbrenner as well, anyone that pours that much of himself into his team, is that dedicated to his teams fans is ok by me and I would think ok by pretty much anyone that plays for him since he never makes issue with paying the huge salaries players make these days but only adds the caveat of “Just win a World Series”. I don’t think players have ever had problems with owners like that.
    Then he gets ‘offered’ a pay cut with strings? That sucks. Was very cool to see the mass of Yankee fans at the “keep Joe” rally though. Amazing how that loyalty card plays out in the public eye and through the media when the shoes on the other foot. Managers don’t win ballgames, players do, and I think you’d be surprised to know how bad we feel when managers we care about get fired because we know, if we have one ounce of integrity, that our failures as players are, most times, what gets a manager fired.

    Also from Curt. Seriously, what a clown!

    SF October 30, 2007, 4:38 pm
  • Didn’t Girardi have a big blow-up with management in (relatively low-pressure) Florida?
    Andrew — As far as Mattingly/Guidry, I was reacting to blogposts and comments I’ve seen around the net (not so much here) and heard on the radio which seemed to make the false assumption (or just were full of homerish boosterism) that Don & Ron had merit based on their playing careers, as opposed to any objective evaluation of their qualifications and performance.

    Hudson October 30, 2007, 4:54 pm
  • John — What did Curt say in that quotation that was inaccurate?
    SF — What did Curt say in that quotation that a thousand YFs and New York commentators haven’t also said a zillion times in the past few weeks?

    Hudson October 30, 2007, 4:57 pm
  • Hudson, I was kidding about the “clown” thing. Curt says a LOT of stuff, and though he’s a blowhard, he often says stuff that is spot-on. Like you state, nothing he said was inaccurate: the Yankees fueled the media fire with their manager decision quite intentionally – Hank Steinbrenner was visibly proactive with his exposure over the last two weeks.

    SF October 30, 2007, 5:01 pm
  • I just think it’s funny that even on top of the world, Curt Schilling can’t stop thinking about the Yankees.

    AndrewYF October 30, 2007, 5:50 pm
  • “John — What did Curt say in that quotation that was inaccurate?”
    Absolutely nothing. Although I don’t know that it was the “Yankees” giving updates every 15 minutes, but rather the media and George Jr’s. The “Yankees” followed Selig’s instructions and didn’t make an official announcement until after the WS. Either way far be it from that loudmouth (What’s inaccurate about that statement) from letting something go regarding the Yankees. Plus that golf reference is so 2004, I remember seeing it on a sign back then “Jeter’s playing golf…Bla Bla Bla…”

    John - YF October 30, 2007, 6:37 pm
  • I wouldnt call his comments classy or from a humble winner.

    Sam-YF October 30, 2007, 7:00 pm
  • Hudson/Pete-
    I’m not condoning Boras choice of timing. I’m pointing out that Boras has one idea that he tries to follow through: control the market and get the best/highest price for his client. The fact of the matter is, there is very little bad publicity a talent like Alex Rodriguez cannot weather. On the scale of recent “PR nightmares” Scott Boras announcing AROD’s free-agency in the middle of the final game of the world series DOES NOT EVEN RANK (think Rape charges, Dog-fighting, Assualt cases…).
    Boras has both proven his point (A Rod is as big a story if not bigger than the world series) and taken control of the market. The Yankees did not even get a chance to present their deal, release publicly a “standard” for A Rod bidding.
    I am also sure there are behind the scenes (totally dubious a-la-JD-Drew-opting-out) vocal agreements being made that has lead Boras to believe he will get the ten years, get the 300+ million dollars.
    The one aspect that MUST be understood about Boras’ announcement is that any deal for ARod comes with the very specific theory that he is a player that will do what has never been done, will achieve what has never been thought possibly. 300+ million dollars for a baseball organization is a much larger aquisition than something like Youtube would have been for Viacom and Viacom completely changed their leadership (from top to bottom) as a result.
    In essence Boras has proven to the organizations of Chicago, Boston, Angels, Dodgers, and Giants that Alex Rodriguez is a player that can put you on the stage in terms of baseball importance and recognition with The New York Yankees.
    Regardless of who you cheer for or who you hate, as a business and a brand, the Yankee organization is a big and successful as it gets. That is what Boras is selling for 300+ million dollars.
    To shorten the Boras message:
    “You don’t need a fucking world series ring if you have this guy on your team.”

    Anonymous October 30, 2007, 7:25 pm
  • that was me…

    walein October 30, 2007, 7:28 pm
  • I don’t doubt any of that, walein. But he could have just as easily done that on Friday (still upstaging the World Series) or Monday (upstaging the Yankee manager announcement) and had the same exact effect. I really hope he gets cancer and Alzheimer’s.

    Pete October 30, 2007, 8:12 pm
  • Part of me hopes that A-Rod gets less money than he was supposedly offered by the Yankees, for a couple of reasons. One, it means that there is a possibility that Boras was wrong about the market, and that he misjudged what he could get Alex. It could embarrass Boras, which isn’t a bad thing.
    The second reason, more desirable at least symbolically, is that Alex willingly takes less money just to get away from the irresistable carrot-on-a-stick that is playing for the vaunted New York Yankees.
    Someone SPURNING THE PINSTRIPES! Perish the thought! Yankees’ fans heads might collectively explode, the thought of someone not wanting to play for them just not plausible.
    Hence, the second scenario will never transpire: if Alex takes less that will be because, in the minds of everyone here in New York, Boras screwed up. And we likely will never know the truth, since Alex is obligated to never admit that he wanted out.

    SF October 30, 2007, 8:20 pm
  • Trisk:
    Curious to know the source of those quotes – I can’t find anything at his blog to match, and it says they came off WEEI – can you point me to them?

    SF October 30, 2007, 8:27 pm
  • I disagree, SF. With the way this was handled, he’s going to get a persistent stream of questions about why he didn’t want to go back to NY. At his press conference. Whenever his team visits. When his team plays on national television. And if he learned anything while in NY, it’s that he better address it early and be done. Me, I don’t expect him to tell the truth, but he better come up with a better excuse than the lame crap his agent was offering.
    Meanwhile, there are other reasons the Yankees got spurned. Namely that baseball is doing so well, other teams can afford great players. It’s not a salary cap, but it’s not a bad start.
    But I also hope Boras has misjudged the market. Even more reason that A-Rod will have to explain himself. More likely to me is that A-Rod take a longer deal at less money (10 years) or a shorter deal at more money (6 years). Either way, Boras will make damn sure he tops at least his Texas salary. But how much of a kicker would it be if he also falls short of that?

    Pete October 30, 2007, 8:38 pm
  • Found the quote Trisk – in full context it comes off more as a minor dig, not a throwdown-worthy insult. Plus it was to the EEI audience, not known for being bright bulbs.
    Not the classiest comment from Curt, but it reads far less acerbic and insulting when seen in the fuller context.

    SF October 30, 2007, 8:50 pm
  • The direct quote comes from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3086804
    I was referring to Schilling as 38pitches.com, not that the quote appeared there. Sorry for the confusion.
    I don’t know what the conversation looks like in full, but the quotes that ESPN prinited certainly made it seem like Schilling had the Yankees on his mind a few times. “”Let’s do the math: When you’re a free agent and the Yankees are not only in the mix, but now one of the potentially most interested suitors, the price changes. And that’s not a bad thing for him.” (Him being Mike Lowell) But you are right he may have covered many different topics in full and ESPN just didn’t provide the whole thing.
    “Someone SPURNING THE PINSTRIPES! Perish the thought! Yankees’ fans heads might collectively explode, the thought of someone not wanting to play for them just not plausible.”
    I know you are going to say this statement was made tongue in cheek but again with the entitled Yankee fans angle…come on.

    John - YF October 30, 2007, 9:54 pm
  • John, surely you know the radio format by now. If Curt is asked about the Yankees, I suppose he could say no comment, but the point is the conversation was not instigated by him.
    To say he has them on his mind a lot is a bit disingenuous to me, as if he called up WEEI and started just talking about the Yankees.
    Also, I don’t really see a problem with what he said. I imagine he, like many people across baseball — and even MLB itself — is a little ticked that the Yankees seem to have stolen the limelight from the Sox, even if it’s not the Yankees themselves that did it. And there were certainly some talkative people in the Yankee front office, as the NY papers certainly kept the world well apprised during the Series who the managerial front-runners were, how the interviews went, when an announcement might be made, etc.

    Paul SF October 30, 2007, 10:17 pm
  • “Either way far be it from that loudmouth (What’s inaccurate about that statement) from letting something go regarding the Yankees.”
    That’s my earlier comment, so I am not arguing the point. I know how radio works and I am sure it was instigated by the folks at WEEI, but like I said far be it from Curt to pass up a chance to take a crack at the Yankees.
    MLB is not ticked with the Yankees, MLB is ticked with Scott Boras and Alex Rodriguez. “We were very disappointed that Scott Boras would try to upstage our premier baseball event of the season with his announcement,” Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer, said Monday in an e-mail to The Associated Press. There was no reason to make an announcement last night other than to try to put his selfish interests and that of one individual player above the overall good of the game,” DuPuy said. “Last night and today belong to the Boston Red Sox, who should be celebrated for their achievement, and to the Colorado Rockies, who made such an unbelievable run to the World Series.”
    Where did the Yankees steal the limelight? New York? It was a huge story in New York because it was a huge issue in New York. The updates as everyone keeps referring to came from the media and surely you of all people know how the media works by now :)
    The Yankees did as MLB requested they didn’t make any announcements until after the Sox sweep of the Rox. Any leaks or info came from the media’s interest and inquiring. Buster Olney said on Sportscenter last week even though the announcement won’t come until Monday at the earliest it will most likely leak out before hand who has been made manager. If Hal or Hank are asked about who is going to fill the open mangers spot, I suppose they could say no comment, but the point is the conversation was not instigated by them. :)

    John - YF October 30, 2007, 11:20 pm
  • Trisk:
    Hank Steinbrenner was all over the media during the World Series, rightly or wrongly. Though the Yankees didn’t make any announcements during the games (nothing credit-worthy there, that’s MLB’s policy), Hank couldn’t shut up the entire week, saying nothing loudly.

    SF October 31, 2007, 1:00 am
  • “any leaks came from the media’s asking or inquiring”
    Seriously? It takes two to tango, Trisk.

    SF October 31, 2007, 1:02 am
  • You can’t blame Curt for talking about the Yankees when asked, then give the Yanks a pass because the media asked them for information during the World Series. If anything, because Curt was live on the air and the Yanks were talking on background anonymously to print reporters, their officials get LESS of a pass. There was no pressure whatsoever for them to say anything.

    Paul SF October 31, 2007, 1:21 am
  • You can’t blame Curt for talking about the Yankees when asked, then give the Yanks a pass because the media asked them for information during the World Series. If anything, because Curt was live on the air and the Yanks were talking on background anonymously to print reporters, their officials get LESS of a pass. There was no pressure whatsoever for them to say anything.

    Paul SF October 31, 2007, 1:22 am
  • So, did anyone go get a free taco today? Took the kids and they thought it was a hoot.

    Anonymous October 31, 2007, 2:03 am
  • I can complain about Sox fans hijacking this thread instead of letting Yankee fans talk about where we go now.

    Anonymous October 31, 2007, 8:26 am

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