• Stein On The 2006 ALDS

    Posted by on October 8th, 2006 · Comments (11)

    From the AP:

    “I am deeply disappointed at our being eliminated so early in the playoffs,” Steinbrenner said in a statement issued Sunday by spokesman Howard Rubenstein. “This result is absolutely not acceptable to me nor to our great and loyal Yankee fans. I want to congratulate the Detroit Tigers organization and wish them well. Rest assured, we will go back to work immediately and try to right this sad failure and provide a championship for the Yankees, as is our goal every year.”

    Rubenstein said he spoke with Steinbrenner on Sunday.

    “Clearly he was upset,” he said.

    Every time I read one of these Big Stein “statements” via Rubenstein, all I can think of is John Gill from Star Trek lore. I miss the old George reactions.

    Comments on Stein On The 2006 ALDS

    1. MJ
      October 8th, 2006 | 5:47 pm

      I guess I’m the only one that just doesn’t enjoy anything about Steinbrenner. Besides giving him credit enough for wanting to win and spending the dough to put his money where his mouth is, I hate how he’s transformed the team into “losers” every time the team doesn’t win and how he and his staff of advisers have spent the better part of a decade dismantling what was once so great about the team during the 1995-2001 run.

      Screw Steinbrenner. I’m happy he’s been more and more absent. You think the team would’ve been happier this season, with all that the team went through, if his loud mouth were constantly in the way? Give us your money and stay the hell out of the way, I say.

    2. baileywalk
      October 8th, 2006 | 6:38 pm

      I somewhat agree, MJ. It’s better when Stein stays out of the way, though it’s his 200 mil and he can do whatever the hell he wants (to be fair).

      But I don’t think Big Stein is Big Stein anymore. I think he’s old and his health is poor and I don’t think he has anything to do with the team anymore. Apparently his son-in-law runs the show (talk about marrying into an Empire). Stein may put out his statements and all that stuff, but he probably hasn’t made a significant move in a long time.

      It’s a weird dilemma about the Yanks. Individually, you can’t kill them on the moves they’ve made. The problem is that this excess spending on free agents happened in tandem with a lack of interest in the farm system. If they had continued to draft well and spend money on the farm, while concurrently spending money on free agents, things would be a lot different. It has only been in the last three years that the Yankees finally put money back in the farm — and the results are already showing (Cano, Wang, Hughes, Cox, etc., etc.).

      A lot of people point to Mussina and Giambi as the start of the big-star-a-year downfall of the Yanks. But Mussina was a smart move. He’s a great pitcher and he has pitched well for them. They needed a first baseman, and Giambi was a perennial MVP candidate. The contract was too long, but Giambi was a Yankee dream player: a left-handed power hitter who walked a lot. The Yankees needed to solidify left field and they picked up Matsui. Again, not a move you can really question.

      I think everything fell apart with Sheffield and A-Rod. They happened to come along when all the pitching left the Yankees. So maybe it’s not totally their fault, but since they’ve been on this team the Yankees haven’t felt like “the Yankees.”

      The bigger problem is that the farm was barren. So when Vazquez and Weaver and Wright didn’t work out, there wasn’t anyone down there to fill in the holes. Pitching is too hard to buy not to develop your own. And the Yankees are learning that the hard way.

      They finally have a handful of young pitchers — with more on the way — but it’s three years too late.

      And just to get back to reality a bit, sometimes things do just happen. The 2002 Yankees got embarrassed by the Angels — Roger, Andy, Wells and Mussina got WHACKED in that series — and then they came back and went to the World Series the next year. I’m not saying this team is that team (our pitching isn’t as good), but sometimes I think it feels like it’s the end of the world even if it’s not.

      But I seriously think we have to get rid of A-Rod. Whatever stink that is on him, that makes him unable to win, has spread to his teammates. He’s a headache, too (if it’s his fault or not).

      The only real interest I have in this team now is Hughes. I also want to see what Matsuzaka does in America. If those two guys aren’t on the team next year, and we instead have Johnson again, then we might be here again next year lamenting all over again.

    3. MJ
      October 8th, 2006 | 7:00 pm

      I agree with you 100%, it’s Steinbrenner’s money and he can do and say what he pleases. I guess my quarrel with him is that for a guy smart enough to make all that money, he’s not smart enough to know how to behave. One would think that a guy like Steinbrenner (or Jerry Jones, or Daniel Snyder, or James Dolan) would simply look around and realize what sort of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t.

      Anyway, that’s all besides the point. The bottom line is that some of the Yankees moves, in a vaccum, were good ideas. But collectively, the Yanks still lost their way by depending on the 2 walks and a 3-run homer approach. It showed in the playoffs how sometimes the Yanks were too patient and too passive in their AB’s.

      As long as the Yanks continue to re-dedicate themselves to the minor league system then I’m sure that with their market power, they’ll get back to the right formula of building through youth and signing/trading for the spare parts they need.

      After all, Big Daddy Cecil, Rock Raines, Chili Davis, Strawberry, and Cone were the perfect “mercenaries” to add to the then-young Bernie, Jorge, Mo, Jeter, and Andy. The Yanks are not that far off at all. They’ve already developed Wang, Cano, and Cabrera. Within the next 24 months there’s a chance that Hughes, Clippard, and Eric Duncan will be up here too.

    4. JohnnyC
      October 8th, 2006 | 8:19 pm

      The Yankees modus operandus of signing free agent pitchers (mostly “veteran” proven-winners)was not invented by the Tampa mafia, as everyone would like to believe. In fact, it was the cornerstone of the Yankees’ re-emergence as a perennial championship contender in the mid-90′s, sanctionned by Gene Michael and others. In that innocent era, pre-luxury tax and revenue-sharing, this was the “moneyball” concept of its time for high-revenue teams like the Yankees: develop position players through the system and, then, add to the foundation by using your financial resources to outbid everyone else for the best pitching talent available. It was the right plan for that time and it worked beautifully. When Bud Selig’s anti-Yankees measures kicked in, other teams started to do the unthinkable — pick off the pitchers the Yankees might have needed to maintain their post-season dominance: RJ, Schilling, Schmidt, Colon, even someone like Brad Radke.
      Since the emphasis had been to procure pitching from free agency, naturally we ran dry of big-time pitching prospects and the few legitimate ML-level pitchers we had, we traded away to get those “mercenaries” bailey refers to. Cashman tried to buck this trend of relying on over-the-hill veteran pitchers by trading for Weaver, Vazquez, signing Contreras, Pavano, and Wright. But, for whatever reason, most of these pitchers pitched better elsewhere and not in pinstripes.
      The problem really is that no one at the helm — blame George, Cashman, Tampa, Torre, Michael Kay, if you will — fully realized this shift in the dynamics of the way baseball operated, post-luxury tax and revenue sharing. You know, the 2 walks and a home run thing does win championships. But, the other half of the equation has always been dominant starting pitching that allows the offense to explode late and decisively (“5 o’clock lightning, y’all”). And dominant pitching usually means power pitching. Again, this is nothing new. I’m sure even the biggest idiot in Tampa knows this. As bailey said, the real change that has to occur for the Yankees to return to the Canyon of Heroes is to make sure kids like Hughes, Clippard, Garcia, et al. get a real shot at developing at the major league level, something that would’ve been very difficult under Torre’s watch.

    5. tkitrickjr
      October 8th, 2006 | 8:30 pm

      Great writing this season Steve. This is my first full season reading your great blog and I hope you can make this offseason a little less painful than it seems like it’s going to be. Keep up the great work.

    6. jonm
      October 8th, 2006 | 9:00 pm

      Thanks, Steve, for another great season of writing. The blog represents a perfect mixture of analysis and fandom.

      It’s nice seeing my favorite Torre critic, JohnnyC, here. I was looking for some comments from you on the manager situation today.

    7. October 8th, 2006 | 10:23 pm

      Thanks for the nice words guys!

      Baseball is 24/7/365 for me – always has been. So, I expect to be plugging away during the “off-season.” Maybe not as much as last year. If last winter was a 10, in terms of posting, on a scale of 1-10, this winter will probably be closer to an 8. But, always, if there’s Yankees-news, I will be commenting on it – no matter what.

    8. Don
      October 9th, 2006 | 2:11 am

      Frightening to think of Piniella dealing with Phil Hughes and other young Yankee players.

      Maybe though we’ll return to the really old days if Piniella comes to pass and deal all the young talent for washed up veterans.

    9. Raf
      October 9th, 2006 | 9:28 am

      t’s a weird dilemma about the Yanks. Individually, you can’t kill them on the moves they’ve made. The problem is that this excess spending on free agents happened in tandem with a lack of interest in the farm system. If they had continued to draft well and spend money on the farm, while concurrently spending money on free agents, things would be a lot different.
      =============
      We’re on the same page about this. With all the resources they have, that farm system should be the class of baseball. Chances are, there wouldn’t have been a need for the FA signings, since options were developed down on the farm.

      Even before the crop you mentioned, the system was producing; Nick Johnson & Mike Lowell come to mind.

    10. Raf
      October 9th, 2006 | 9:30 am

      I haven’t driven by the Stadium yet, is there an apology on the marquee? :)

    11. Raf
      October 9th, 2006 | 9:34 am

      When Bud Selig’s anti-Yankees measures kicked in, other teams started to do the unthinkable — pick off the pitchers the Yankees might have needed to maintain their post-season dominance: RJ, Schilling, Schmidt, Colon, even someone like Brad Radke.
      ==========
      Despite those measures, the Yanks still spent $$. The guys you listed aren’t Yankees because either the Yanks had no interest in them, or because they didn’t want to play here.

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