Memo to Buster: Enough Already

He’s still selling, we’re still not buying. We admire Buster Olney and sympathize with his efforts to push his book, but his “death of a dynasty” michegas is getting old at this point. What is a dynasty? When does it begin? When does it end? The sports “dynasty” is an artificial construct if ever there was one. Now we’re told the presumed Yankee dynasty of recent days is “crumbling” and in its “last vestiges” (so, not completely dead?) but that it also “effectively ended” in 2001. (So which is it Buster, alive or dead?) Also, Alex Rodriguez is the key to the formation of a new dynasty. Okay, Alex is great, no question. But what about his contemporary, Derek Jeter, also having a spectacular year, and one that follows upon what might well have been an MVP season? Wasn’t he on those “dynasty” teams? Mariano Rivera? And what about Joe Torre, who led them, and still holds the batton of command? It’s worth noting that the Yankees have won the division in every year since Olney first issued the team its death certificate. Olney’s a fine reporter, but it’s time this conceit has seen its own last day.

22 comments… add one
  • Derek Jeter Derek Jeter Derek Jeter Derek Jeter.
    (just trying to see if my keyboard enjoys the experience that YF’s gets on a daily basis, just for kicks)

    SF May 10, 2007, 3:42 pm
  • I tried, but mine burst into flames, SF.

    Brad May 10, 2007, 4:06 pm
  • Yes, well, we couldn’t expect a Sox fan to comment with any authority on the concept of dynasty, now could we? However specious the conceit, it is certainly one with which the SF is unfamilliar. And so they resort to name calling. Kind of pathetic, but not surprising.

    YF May 10, 2007, 4:28 pm
  • who called anyone a name?

    Brad May 10, 2007, 4:30 pm
  • Depends, if you want to talk about the Celtics or the Pats, sure. Being a Sox fan doesn’t exclude you from understanding a dynasty. Just not a Sox dynasty. But you’re talking about something beyond just baseball, the idea of a team that dominates over a stretch of years, earning that title. It’s not baseball-specific. So yeah, we’ve got plenty of authority on the subject.

    SF May 10, 2007, 4:30 pm
  • Olney’s book is a very engaging piece. But as YF points out here and in the past, the basic argument and premise of the book is flawed. I like Olney’s writing a lot, and I think he’s great reporter, but I don’t much care for his analysis of roster contruction and baseball performance.

    Nick-YF May 10, 2007, 4:34 pm
  • Brad, i was being a bit facetious, based on this: “Derek Jeter Derek Jeter Derek Jeter Derek Jeter.”
    In any event, now that we’ve gotten the cheap shot out of the way, and established some kind of bona fides, please feel free to address the subject of the post (olney’s contention) or move along…..

    YF May 10, 2007, 4:37 pm
  • “Derek Jeter Derek Jeter Derek Jeter Derek Jeter”
    Technically, you are right: that’s the definition of “name calling”. But colloquially, it would really be something else, right?

    SF May 10, 2007, 4:38 pm
  • SF is right. Artificial construct or not, the Celtics are always discussed whenever the topic of greatest dynasties is brought up. Anyone that doesn’t enjoy a good Red Auerbach story (i.e. Bill Russell’s contract)…

    QuoSF May 10, 2007, 4:42 pm
  • “the Yankees need Alex Rodriguez more than ever — even though he has one foot out the door.”
    does buster know something we don’t? or is he pulling a schill?

    sf rod May 10, 2007, 4:44 pm
  • Well, you are unduly harsh on Olney, YF. This article is not a bad “state of the state” summation, the use of the term “dynasty” aside. Your post makes it seem like this article is about nothing but that term, when in fact Olney uses it only as, like you say, a conceit. I was actually surprised to read the article when I clicked through, based on your post I was expecting something entirely different than what I got.
    And it certainly reads more like a magazine article (which it is) and not web-writing, or blogging. I sense that the structure of a magazine article enticed Olney to deploy that term “dynasty” in more dramatic fashion, and it comes off a little odd, ill-advised. So I don’t disagree entirely with your post, just that Olney’s column is as single-minded as you make it out to be.

    SF May 10, 2007, 4:46 pm
  • move along?
    I happen to agree with the piece one hundred percent. If you’re a Yankee fan who never deemed the late nineties team a “dynasty”, you’re the only one. And, since zero trophies have been shipped to the Bronx since that time, I have no choice but to agree.

    Brad May 10, 2007, 4:47 pm
  • YF: you asked the most cogent question first, as I think it comes down to a definition of terms. “Death of a Dynasty” has nice alliteration; it is an engaging title. The Yankees themselves are the trumpeters of the “anything less than a WS trophy is failure” mantra, but “Death” is such a final word, and “Dynasty” is a word to describe a forgone conclusion, which baseball is anything but.
    Personally, I am not cut from the cloth of absolutes. The regular season occupies much more of my mind than the post season (where I truly believe anything can happen, regardless of previous performance). For that late nineties/2000 stretch, things worked out really well for NY in the post. However, the last ten years of the regular season have been a great time to be a Yankees baseball fan, recent post-season failures included:
    Year – Wins – League Rank
    2006 – 97 – 1st
    2005 – 95 – T-2nd (CHW 97)
    2004 – 101 – 1st
    2003 – 101 – 1st
    2002 – 103 – T-1st (OAK)
    2001 – 95 – 3rd (SEA 116, OAK 102)
    2000 – 87 – 5th (CHW 95, OAK/SEA 91, CLE 90)
    1999 – 98 – 1st
    1998 – 114 – 1st
    1997 – 96 – 2nd (BAL 98)
    1996 – 92 – 2nd (CLE 99)
    That’s not a bad stretch. However, that completely ignores totality; I’m speaking from a personal perspective from the mid-70’s when things were bright (because of Munson, Randolph, Gator, Chambliss, Dent, Rags, Reggie, etal viewed through the eyes of a kid). Side note: I’m probably a Yankee fan because of WPIX, which was the only channel we could get that regularly showed games on TV; geographically, I probably should have been an Orioles (their farm team was in Rochester, closest to where I grew up), Jays (closest city with a team) or Indians (almost as close as Toronto) fan. Then came the dark ages of most of the eighties and early nineties, wherein tracking the games day to day or at least as often as possible, I found a continuity that can’t be measured by rings. One of my favorite rituals was in the late eighties/early nineties, tracking the team as a teen/young adult, when the Yankees were often atrocious, I would read the morning paper and then catching the evening street final so I could read the west-coast boxes to follow the leagues, fully expecting the Yankees to lose, again, but hoping they might not, which may have started because I had a morning-evening paper-route when I was in school.
    I am not saying that a devoted fan of any team deserves a medal, nor that the track record of the Yankees describes a “dynasty”, nor am I saying that Olney completely misses the mark (I’ll reserve judgement until if/when I read his book) but off the cuff, this kind of aggrandizing only serves to extenuate the myth that a dynasty existed in the first place, and displaces the concept of being a “fan”, regardless of the team. Olney’s choice of title discards the reason why baseball is the greatest game ever invented.

    attackgerbil May 10, 2007, 4:53 pm
  • That’s a nice comment Gerb. You’ ve got me.
    SF and Brad: It’s not the body of the article I’m addressing, just Olney’s tiresome “dynasty” conceit, which he continues to trot out for tabloid effect.
    If Olney were a doctor, he’d write up a death certificate every time he saw a patient with arthritis.

    YF May 10, 2007, 5:04 pm
  • Understood, YF. I don’t think it’s Olney’s conceit, though he may act like he has ownership over it. It’s a conceit trotted out by fans of all teams that have enjoyed a stretch of success, by most sportswriters at one point or another. I agree with you: I think it’s a construction that doesn’t really drive intelligent, critical debate. It’s a crutch, most of the time.

    SF May 10, 2007, 5:13 pm
  • agreed.

    Brad May 10, 2007, 5:17 pm
  • I seriously doubt Olney invented the concept of the Yankee dynasty. It seems misplaced to call it “his” conceit, though I’m sure he’d love to claim it, and the fact that he makes money off it does give him some propietary claim. I don’t think the story is very well written. It’s full of cliches and trods the same old ground — “A-Rod has saved the season for the Yankees,” “you can’t create dynasties without home-grown talent.” blah blah blah.
    But I wouldn’t be as quick to criticize Olney for making money and continuing to publicize a concept that long ago fell into accepted usage.

    Paul SF May 10, 2007, 5:22 pm
  • Gah, you beat me to the point, SF. Sorry. Got distracted at work and posted too late…

    Paul SF May 10, 2007, 5:29 pm
  • I found the entire article rather silly –
    “The Dynasty Ended But The End Is Near!” Huh? Trouble coming up with new ideas or something?
    “For at least the next month, no one will ask him to prop up a fractured monolith.”
    Give me a frickin’ break.
    ” After trying to rush young arms like Hughes and Chase Wright”
    Might want to mention that 3/5 of the rotation was on the dl at the time.
    Jesus, Buster. Next time, less bullshit drama, and more worthwhile content, please?

    Andrews May 10, 2007, 5:33 pm
  • is it olney, only, or lonely?
    ag, you and i may have been neighbors…well sort of…i grew up near syracuse ny, and also watched games on wpix with rizzuto, white, and messer…i think i’m a bit older than you though because i remember a number of games televised on nbc when i was a little kid…i also caught almost every game during the summer on the radio on my front porch…good times…my favorite player as a tyke was the mick…i got his signed [fake] baseball glove and a signed [fake] picture for christmas one year…i remember the down years when it wasn’t so much fun being a yankee fan…that’s why the late 70’s was so good for me…as a young fan i listened or watched games even if the yanks had no chance to win…remember horace clarke?…he was once one of the best players on the yankees during the late 60’s/early 70’s…i watched games just to see him hit…how pathetic am i?…or, am i a fan?…dynasty/schmynasty, some folks are rooting for the yanks demise because it’s fashionable to do so, goliath and all, but to yank fans that really love the game, this is tough…do i think the season’s over?…no…my friend sf convinced me a week or so ago not to throw in the towel…he’s right…i have seen the rise and fall and rise again of a dynasty….

    dc May 10, 2007, 10:53 pm
  • i forgot to acknowledge jerry coleman…another favorite announcer from the early days…

    dc May 10, 2007, 10:58 pm
  • dc, yeah, we’re from similar sticks; Scottsville is my home, if that means anything to you, and you probably have a year or three on me; I never got to see Mick. Those younger days, listening to the games on AM radio with Scooter, Mom says turn it off, go to sleep; I turn it way down as low as I can, holding the speaker next to my ear; it’s frozen in my mind, forever. It’s baseball, and I can not imagine myself should it be subtracted from my experience, as hackneyed as that may sound.

    attackgerbil May 10, 2007, 11:42 pm

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