• Time For Torre To Earn His Pay

    Posted by on February 21st, 2007 · Comments (29)

    Are the Yankees a team, or, twenty-five separate entities? Former Yankee Bubba Crosby offers some insight. From The Cincinnati Post – (with a hat tip to Peter Abraham):

    Monday’s drama in Tampa was that Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter aren’t best friends. In Sarasota, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn were ganging up on Ryan Freel and busting up the entire clubhouse in laughter.

    “That’s something we lacked in New York. It felt like everyone would go their own separate ways. Here guys go out and do things together,” said [Bubba] Crosby, who was signed to a free agent contract in the off-season. “I think that’s a huge part of the game. The Yankees have had $200 million-plus payrolls the last few years. Money doesn’t mean championships all the time. You look at St. Louis, it looks like the guys love each other and hang out.”

    Is there any evidence to support this claim? Well, yeah. Take a look at The Post today – (hat tip to Bronx Banter):

    This was about E-6, error on Jeter for malfeasance as a leader. His relationship with Alex Rodriguez has mattered because Rodriguez matters so much to the success of the Yankees, and A-Rod has cared deeply about Jeter’s approval.

    Rodriguez attempted to recast the bond between the two and, perhaps, the power dynamics Monday when he admitted that their association had dwindled from “blood brothers” to “a working relationship.” It was, perhaps, a liberating moment for Rodriguez, a chance to stop having to act as if something existed that does not any more.

    Jeter’s opportunity to take the cathartic baton came and went yesterday with the Yankee captain defiantly sticking to his cover story that nothing is wrong, and nothing has ever been wrong. Jeter is not dumb, so we must assume he just continues to play dumb. The ice prince wants to freeze A-Rod out, and then haughtily dismiss any discussion of the subject.

    Should we be surprised by this? Bob Klapisch said it last October:

    They talk about pinstripe tradition, but the roster is plagued by petty rivalries and jealousies that act as a cancer in the postseason.

    Somehow, this Yankees team needs to come together. (Or, if it’s not possible with this current cast, maybe the Yankees need to find a combination that works?)

    I wish that Cashman would have thought about personalities fitting together when he constructed this team over the last three or four years. But, that’s said and done.

    Perhaps Torre could pull everyone into a room and hold them there until it gets worked out? That’s what he does best, no? So, Joe, how about it?

    Comments on Time For Torre To Earn His Pay

    1. SteveB
      February 21st, 2007 | 11:14 am

      Can you please post the correlation between Winning Percentage and number of times the “guys hang out.” Since it’s obviously such a big deal?

    2. SteveB
      February 21st, 2007 | 11:17 am

      Plus, if I recall correctly, Bubba Crosby blew the post season for the Yankees in 2005. Maybe he did it because he didn’t hang out with Sheffield enough? Also if I recall correctly, Bubba was none too happy when he was DFA, so mayhaps he is pouring out a cup of the ol’ sour grapes.

    3. Raf
      February 21st, 2007 | 11:29 am

      I wish that Cashman would have thought about personalities fitting together when he constructed this team over the last three or four years…
      =====================
      I’m not so much concerned about the personalities; the team has played near or above .600 ball for the past 6-7 years.

      Baseball isn’t a game where everyone has to love each other. It’s the most individual of team sports. Everyone has to do their job.

      The Reds may get along fine, according to Bubba, but that isn’t going to help nor prevent them from how they finish in the NL (Comedy) Central. Eric Milton’s going to get shelled again, Griffey’s going to miss time with another leg injury, Dunn is going to hit the isht out of the ball.

      They’re middle of the pack with their pitching and their hitting, and that’s probably where they’ll wind up this year. I don’t think that’ll be good enough to win the Central, not as long as the Cards and Stros are there.

    4. Raf
      February 21st, 2007 | 11:37 am

      Plus, if I recall correctly, Bubba Crosby blew the post season for the Yankees in 2005.
      ============
      It was a combination of things; Johnson getting shelled in gm 3, Small’s luck running out in the same game, Rodriguez’s GIDP in gm 5, not taking advantage of Colon’s injury the same game…

    5. baileywalk
      February 21st, 2007 | 11:42 am

      I agree with Raf: the great team chemistry on the Reds hasn’t helped them much.

      It’s also extremely galling to hear a total waste of a player like Bubba Crosby, who had no business being on the team and ended up being involved in a huge post-season blunder, trash the team. (Crosby is one of the players who’s totally average but gets on the team and somehow blinds Torre and Cashman to the fact that he’s utterly worthless. He stole Kevin Thompson’s job.)

      I find it hard to believe any team gets along collectively. The Yankees have pockets of friends like any other team. Giambi and Damon have a crew. Abreu, Cano and Melky have a crew. Jeter and Posada have a crew. I’m sure there’s a few pitchers that hang out.

      Last year everyone talked about how the Yankees had finally stopped being so cold and that it was “warm” and “inviting” and “looser,” etc. And now we’re back to “they are twenty-five individuals”? I think the team chemistry here is just fine, and probably took a huge jump with RJ and Sheffield gone.

    6. SteveB
      February 21st, 2007 | 11:43 am

      Raf, you’re right of course. I was just trying to point out that “How to Win a Championship” by Bubba Crosby is not high on my ‘to read’ list.

    7. Garcia
      February 21st, 2007 | 11:44 am

      So they beat Boston’s ass in that 5 game sweep and everyone was talking about what a close group the Yanks had become, and how loose the Yankees were as team in August of 2006. They lose a 3 – 4 games against the Tigers in October and they all hate each other. Which is it? I don’t get it.

      I don’t get the entire melodrama being played out. Maybe because I’m a simpleton. They continue to win a ton of regular season games, but in the playoffs they get that bad pitching performance, the unexpected double play, the unexpected slumps and the unexpected rain-outs. But it’s all a sign that they don’t stick together. Would Randy have pitched better against the Tigers if he was hanging with Moose and Wang more after the games? Would ARod be better in the post-season if he knew Posada wanted to go out to dinner with him more?

      Bubba….just went from our version of Rudy to T.O. in a matter of a few words. I got three words for Bubba, go f- yourself.

    8. rbj
      February 21st, 2007 | 11:57 am

      I agree. I think the quality of starting pitching is more important than # of times busted up clubhouse with laughter.

      BTW, I think there were personality issues with the 1977 & 1978 teams.

    9. February 21st, 2007 | 11:59 am

      ~~~Can you please post the correlation between Winning Percentage and number of times the “guys hang out.” Since it’s obviously such a big deal?~~~

      ~~~Baseball isn’t a game where everyone has to love each other. It’s the most individual of team sports. Everyone has to do their job.~~~

      ~~~They continue to win a ton of regular season games, but in the playoffs they get that bad pitching performance, the unexpected double play, the unexpected slumps and the unexpected rain-outs. But it’s all a sign that they don’t stick together.~~~

      I can document that, when adversity strikes in the post-season, the recent Yankees fold up like a cheap suit:

      http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2006/10/from_the_king_o.html

      Dealing with adversity is a key component of post-season success. The 1996 Yankees did it vs. the Braves. The 1998 Yankees did it vs. the Tribe, etc.

      How does one deal with adversity? You be optimistic, you have courage, have a sense of humor, and seek support. When the times are rough, people need to be there for each other.

      Jeter’s not doing that for A-Rod. I’m sure that others are not doing it for each other as well (Mussina and A-Rod)?

      See the 2004 Red Sox. They were down 0-3. They were optimistic, had courage, humor, and supported each other.

      It helps.

      Sure, you need talent too. But, talent alone does not get the job down when the going gets tough.

    10. February 21st, 2007 | 12:01 pm

      ~~~BTW, I think there were personality issues with the 1977 & 1978 teams.~~~

      Just Reggie. But, the rest of those players – Munson, Chambliss, Willie, Dent, Nettles, White, Rivers, Piniella, Catfish, Gator, Goose, etc., were extremely tight.

    11. Garcia
      February 21st, 2007 | 12:22 pm

      ~~~I can document that, when adversity strikes in the post-season, the recent Yankees fold up like a cheap suit~~~

      Is that so? Since 2001 this team hasn’t won, maybe they miss David Cone. We can point the fingers at a variety of things.

      In 2005 the Yanks had their worse start in the Joe Torre era, they stuck together throughout the regular season and ended up winning the division. But that’s not overcoming adversity or is it?

      In 2006 they had key injuries at key positions, would you call that overcoming adversity?

      Seriously, Steve, when does one actually say with 100% confidence that a team overcame adversity? At what point is it OK to say that? Is it only after winning a championship?

      Because if it’s only after winning a championship, then your comment about Steve Swindel saying that the only focus of the Yankees is to win a championship would be kind of hypocritical on your part. You can’t say that the only sign of overcoming adversity is by winning a championship. You can’t then turn that around and be upset when someone from the Yankee team or organization says to the press that the Yanks only goal is to win a championship.

      I think these Yankee teams have overcome plenty of adversity.

      I just don’t see your point or logic in any of this. Maybe you shouldn’t comment/post on the Yanks till the playoffs, since that’s the only time a team can overcome adversity or become a “team”.

      Everything that happens in the regular season must be bullshit then. Right? Or is it a different kind of adversity? There’s regular season adversity and post-season adversity and the Yanks have become really good at overcoming regular season adversity but not good at post-season adversity. Is that the distinction you are making?

    12. February 21st, 2007 | 12:28 pm

      It’s been a two-team race in the AL East for a long time. The Yankees just have to win more games against bad teams than Boston does. Winning the AL East is not as hard as winning against good teams in the post-season.

    13. Raf
      February 21st, 2007 | 12:32 pm

      See the 2004 Red Sox. They were down 0-3. They were optimistic, had courage, humor, and supported each other.
      ===============
      I would think the 2001 Yanks ‘were optimistic, had courage, humor, and supported each other.’ Some memorable games came out of that series, but at the end of the day, it didn’t do them a lick of good.

      What about the ’03 ALCS? You don’t think coming back with 3 runs against Pedro isn’t ‘dealing with adversity?’ You don’t think Unit’s relief effort in game 5 (2005) wasn’t ‘dealing with adversity?’

      You don’t think that Jeter, Posada, Williams & Rivera, who were there from 96-00 don’t know what it took or takes to win? You don’t think guys like Unit (2001), Sheffield (1997), Damon (2004), don’t know what it took or takes to win?

    14. Garcia
      February 21st, 2007 | 12:38 pm

      ~~~It’s been a two-team race in the AL East for a long time. The Yankees just have to win more games against bad teams than Boston does. Winning the AL East is not as hard as winning against good teams in the post-season.~~~

      Didn’t the Blue Jays end up in 2nd place last year?

      Winning the division is not that hard….hmmm….I guess that’s why Sox fans can’t wait to win the division against the Yanks. Because it doesn’t matter and the Sawx are always happy to win the wild-card.

      At least concede the point. The Yanks have overcome adversity, but maybe they haven’t overcome “enough” adversity. At least in your eyes.

    15. Raf
      February 21st, 2007 | 12:45 pm

      It’s been a two-team race in the AL East for a long time. The Yankees just have to win more games against bad teams than Boston does. Winning the AL East is not as hard as winning against good teams in the post-season.
      ======================
      Given that they have to play teams in the AL West & Central, as well as interleague games, is that even relevant?

      If that’s the case, why were they able to beat the Twins, but not the Tigers? Why were they able to beat the A’s, but not the Halos?

    16. February 21st, 2007 | 1:05 pm

      They were lucky to beat the Twins in 2004. When was the last time they played the A’s in October?

    17. February 21st, 2007 | 1:19 pm

      ~~~The Yanks have overcome adversity, but maybe they haven’t overcome “enough” adversity. At least in your eyes.~~~

      Since 2004, when have the overcame adversity in the post-season? Did I miss something?

    18. Garcia
      February 21st, 2007 | 1:49 pm

      Steve, so that’s my point…this is all based off of your perception of post-season adversity. So them being awful in 2005 and banding together to win the division doesn’t count as overcoming adversity, right? Them suffering key injuries in 2006 and winning the division doesn’t count as overcoming adversity, right?

      In the software development industry they refer to the process of teams “gelling” as going through these four stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing. By the time the post-season starts the team has found its identity and the chemistry has been set. Overcoming adversity falls under the big umbrella of a fully gelled team, if the Yanks still need to learn how to overcome adversity by the time the playoffs start then they haven’t gelled. A team can’t win that many regular season games and not operate as one cohesive unit. I think by the time the playoffs start they’ve already gelled but haven’t been successful in winning it all. You don’t stay together and win 90+ games and still not know how to overcome adversity. Sorry, Steve, you are not only wrong….but I think you are dead wrong here.

      I’ve been on good project teams at work but outside of work I wouldn’t have a drink with a whole lot of them. The Yanks don’t need to joke around and go out to dinner in order to be a good team. And those things don’t help a team overcome adversity either. Don’t believe the hype.

    19. Raf
      February 21st, 2007 | 2:26 pm

      They were lucky to beat the Twins in 2004.
      ===========
      Lucky? Are you sure they didn’t “overcome adversity?”
      ;)

    20. February 21st, 2007 | 2:37 pm

      Garcia – I’ve been a professional in the working world since 1985.

      I’ve been on teams where we loved each other and I’ve been on teams where everyone was a back-stabber. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to get your project done,and deal with road blocks, on teams where people get along and enjoy each other.

      It doesn’t mean that lovers get more work done than back-stabbers, or are less successful, but, it just means that it’s easier to meet your goals when people work together without secret agendas. And, when you hit the bumps, it’s a lot easier dealing with them as a unified team.

      That’s pretty much common sense – not being “dead wrong” IMHO.

    21. Raf
      February 21st, 2007 | 2:38 pm

      Since 2004, when have the overcame adversity in the post-season?
      ==================
      Hmmm,

      2005… Gutty, gritty, Yankees win game 4, overcoming the adversity that was the game 3 loss. Gutty, gritty Randy Johnson & Tom Gordon pitch their fannies off in an eventual game 5 loss, in relief of an ineffective Mike Mussina. Yanks display fighting heart right up until their last AB.

      I still think Wang should’ve started game 4, in 2006, but I understand why the organization wouldn’t want him to.

    22. SteveB
      February 21st, 2007 | 2:43 pm

      Dude, winning a two team race is harder than winning against good teams in the playoffs???? First of all it’s wrong, because of course the Jays finished second last year. But second of all

      So winning 95 games against lame ass teams is easier than winning 11 against “good teams” like the Tigers? Well that’s a strength of schedule argument that doesn’t hold up, because the Yankees beat the Tigers last year. The Yankees were a better team. They took the season series 5-2.

      The point is, that winning in the post season is highly dependent on luck in tiny samples. Luck is a much bigger factor than whether or not the fellas all head out for steaks and hookers together after the game.

      I’m seriously starting to think that you just write this stuff to generate controversy, and thereby perpetuate your readership. Which is fine. But it’s also what all the mainstream guys do on a daily basis.

    23. Don
      February 21st, 2007 | 2:43 pm

      It’s all Derek Jeter’s fault, all of it. The Alex thing is the final straw.

      If only DJ would change Alex’s Pampers in the locker room, give Alex his bottle, burp Alex, tuck Alex in his crib, then rock Alex to sleep, all would be well in Yankee-land.

      Of course DJ would have to do this in full view of the press corps.

    24. SteveB
      February 21st, 2007 | 2:44 pm

      Eighth word of my post should be “easier” followed by all the incredulous bs.

    25. rbj
      February 21st, 2007 | 2:49 pm

      ~Just Reggie. But, the rest of those players – Munson, Chambliss, Willie, Dent, Nettles, White, Rivers, Piniella, Catfish, Gator, Goose, etc., were extremely tight~

      I’m not sure that most of those guys were tighter than most of the current guys. But Munson vs. Reggie vs. Billy vs. Steinbrenner made for as many backpage headlines as Jeter/A-Rod do.

      And Steve, what is your metric for whether or not the Yankees have had a successful season. is it that they have had to win the World Series?

    26. Raf
      February 21st, 2007 | 2:57 pm

      It doesn’t mean that lovers get more work done than back-stabbers, or are less successful, but, it just means that it’s easier to meet your goals when people work together without secret agendas. And, when you hit the bumps, it’s a lot easier dealing with them as a unified team.
      ==========
      I agree with the caveat that if a goal isn’t met, it’s amazing how quickly someone will throw someone else under the bus.

      It has been my experience, that there isn’t so much a “unified team” as a “consensus.”

      Everyone has their own agenda, it’s just a question of how far they’re willing to push it. Hate to be so cynical, but there it is

    27. Garcia
      February 21st, 2007 | 3:01 pm

      Steve, Have the Yanks overcome some form of adversity in the regular season in the last 5 years? If yes, then how do they lose it as soon as the playoffs start? How do you have something as substantial as learning to overcome adversity and then lose it when the post-season starts?

      I haven’t been a professional for as long as you, you are older than electricity, but I have been on project teams where things go smoothly but I still dislike a whole lot of the people in the group. You don’t need to like the people you work with to make things work. And liking people doesn’t translate to learning how to overcome adversity either. That’s my point.

      You throw around the words “overcoming adversity” but many here have given you exmamples of how the Yanks overcame some form of an adverse situation. However, you dismiss each of them and you’ve even gone as far as calling the Yanks lucky in some of those situations. I think you are putting yourself in a position to win every argument w/o understanding each of the points being made or even conceding a point.

      It is your blog so you are put in the unenviable position to win every argument, I guess membership does not have its privelages in this case. :-)

    28. February 21st, 2007 | 9:37 pm

      My experience is: it’s the boss (in this case, Torre) who sets the tone. None of us knows the real story with Arod–Once as a game had just concluded and cameras were recording the Yankees leaving the field, Arod thought he’d try to fix things. He came up behind Jeter, put his arms around his waist and lifted him up in the air, like you’d do with your 5 year old kid. I saw the look on Jeter’s face. At that moment for all the world to see, he was powerless–Arod may not’ve realized what he was doing, but he often doesn’t. My point is, if you’re a person with boundary issues, that can make you a lot angrier than any Esquire article. Again, the boss must be the leader.

    29. February 21st, 2007 | 11:19 pm

      ~~~It is your blog so you are put in the unenviable position to win every argument~~~

      Not true. As proof, I will allow you, and others, to have the last word here. I’ve pushed my point far enough. If someone wants to disagree, that’s great with me.

      I will not comment further on this thread.

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