With the season nearly upon us and the moans of Blue Jays fans everyone growing louder by the day, I thought I'd seek out the opinion of a Yankee fan. What are they thinking heading into the season? What do they think of the Jays? Do they think of the Jays? Below you'll find the hard work of J from 3:10 to Joba. Enjoy
(stumbles in out of a Rolls Royce)
Well, hello there Jays fans and Canadians alike. It appears I have left my usually friendly confines and wound up in the wrong corner of the Internet again. Damn this Garmin to hell.
(eats Almas caviar and crackers, wipes mouth with funny-looking Canadian money)
Lloyd graciously asked me to help him preview the Yankees season and let me tell you, after I finished playing squash in the indoor court in my house, I was all too glad to do it. You see folks, my excessive behavior before you today is actually a result of the team I love as much as my own family. Simply being a fan of the Yankees supplements your income... it's like being on welfare, except without the stigma. Or the lack of being white.
All kidding aside, with the way the Yankees front office conducts its business, the fans seemingly are only one step away from demanding that the Yankees start paying them for their loyalty too. Fans (and this includes me obviously) were all undoubtedly spoiled by the 1996 - 2000 dynasty, and as such we enter every season with ludicrously high expectations for success. Couple those four World Series titles with the fact that the brass has no qualms with outspending every other team on the face of the planet and it's hard to blame the fan base for expecting a championship every year. Spending that much money demands results and in an offseason where the team spent almost half a billion dollars on free agent talent, the expectations for 2009 have officially reached ludicrous proportions. CC Sabathia loses his first two starts? Booed. Mark Teixeira only hits .260 in April? Booed. A lot of outsiders seem to think the harsh treatment of the fans was solely directed at Alex Rodriguez in recent years, but we're talking about the same group of people that have willingly booed Derek Jeter as well. As a realist (who thought A- Rod was getting a terrible rap up until the revelation that he is liar and a cheater), this behavior is fucking absurd. You simply do not boo Derek Jeter. Ever. That would be like Lloyd heckling Roy Halladay. Both Derek and Roy have done too much for their respective franchises to have earned even a moment of ire from the fanbases, yet in NY it's a whole different ballgame. The "what the fuck do we pay you for?" mentality permeates every aspect of the organization from management down to the guy sitting in the bleachers. Sure it can be funny when a member of the Steinbrenner family threatens to have a pitcher deported for coming up short in the quest to reach 200 IP and 25 wins, but it makes any lack of performance by the team all the more brutal to witness. The amount of money that the Yankees spend on a yearly basis insists on the concept that nobody within the organization is safe and if a player or coach isn't comfortable walking on eggshells, he had had better get used to it. You know the saying, "Mo money mo problems"? You're looking at its physical manifestation on earth, people.
Having said that, it's a lot of freaking fun to see my favorite team outspend everyone. It makes the offseason a bit more meaningful and fun to watch when the checkbooks are opened and the team could have a new face added at a moment's notice. For all the complaining about the Yankees free-spending ways, people don't realize something: they almost have to do it this way if they want to succeed. Their success in recent years doomed them to having poor draft position so they couldn't necessarily develop a Mark Teixeira from the inside, but rather had to buy his services from teams that could no longer afford them. Heck even the players that we have drafted are generally flameouts to begin with anyway. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes mark the first time in years I've been excited about home-grown prospects and they still are not even fully on the radar within the organization's plans. I'm not looking for you to "feel bad for us" because we have to spend loads of money, I'm just pointing out that some teams just can't or won't play the Moneyball-style game.
No team in Major League Baseball gets extra wins or a World Series ring for being an idealist, you simply have to do the best you can with what you have. The Yankees have money (a lot of it, to be exact) and they do the best they can with it, and as a result are subject to an entire fanbase's excessive expectations. Yet in recent years, the absence of a championship has had the somewhat unintended effect of detracting from intensity. Both the team and the fanbase seems to be caught up in thinking that because of the Yankees bottomless coffers that the team can simply reload during every offseason. I don't have to share in the mentality of Jays fans that the year 2010 is a sort of a last ditch effort for the team to get into the big dance before they lose all of their stars because the Yankees can always reload with the "get 'em next year" mentality. Well next year has come and gone more than a few times now and with nothing to show for it except a lot of cash changing hands, the Yankees have to be a bit concerned about apathy growing within a perennially fickle fanbase. While this would never apply to me personally, the extended absence of A-Rod deals a huge blow to the lineup and no doubt there are some fans (read: insane people) already considering 2009 (or at least the first 2 months or so) a wash. Such is life when you expect a title every year. In a way, I almost wish the organization and fanbase shared the "now or never" mentality of the Blue Jays because really the only things that separate the two of us is a pile of money and a willingness to spend it.
Read J here 8 days a week. Thanks J!