• Verducci: Yanks Mission Statement Is Flawed

    Posted by on March 20th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    From Tom Verducci today –

    Here is a message for George Steinbrenner, Derek Jeter, Brian Cashman and everyone else who has bought in to the Yankees culture that the season is a failure if New York does not win the World Series: The ’90s are so over. The baseball world has changed so much from when the Yankees won four titles in five years that the Yankees’ world-championship-or-bust mentality has become awkwardly outdated.

    Don’t get me wrong. The aspiration to win it all should always remain paramount. But the Yankees continue to set themselves up for joyless seasons and their own definition of failure by thinking they should win the World Series every year. Last season they lost two-thirds of their starting outfield and they still won more games than any team in the league and blew the doors off the rest of their division — and went home horribly unhappy, ready to fire the manager, run a Hall of Fame pitcher out of town and heap more abuse on an all-time great third baseman. Their fans have zero interest in Division Championship hats.

    Do Yankees fans need to level-set their expectations these days? It’s a fair enough point – but, where do you set them? Winning 90+ games? Just making the post-season? Winning the LDS? The LCS? Or, should it still be ‘the ring is the thing’?

    I do not think that it’s wrong for Yankees fans, given the team’s payroll/roster, to expect the team to finish first in their division (and make the post-season). I also don’t think it’s wrong for Yankees fans to expect their team to play well in the post-season.

    Note that I said “play well in the post-season” – and did not say “win in the post-season.”

    It’s fine for the Yankees to be defeated by a better team in October – as long as the Yankees put up a fight. That’s what happened in the 2001 World Series. On the whole, the Diamondbacks played better that series – and won. But, New York took it to the very last game.

    However, in 2002, the Yankees did not play well in the ALDS. Ditto that in the 2003 World Series. And, we all know about the 2004 ALCS, 2005 ALDS and 2006 ALDS. Losing was not fun in these years, sure – but, what made those series painful was the way in which the Yankees lost them. When you get beat by the likes of Shawn Wooten, Alex Gonzalez, Dave Roberts, Orlando Cabrera and Curtis Granderson in big spots – and your big guys do little in big spots – that’s when you start to get your undies in a bunch (and rightfully so).

    It’s not about missing the ring that’s the failure. It’s about the way they missed the chance at the ring that’s the failure. There’s a big difference between the two.

    Comments on Verducci: Yanks Mission Statement Is Flawed

    1. JohnnyC
      March 20th, 2007 | 1:56 pm

      Agree, Steve. And it’s a bit infuriating to read Verducci giving this rote prescription for what the team and its fans SHOULD be satisfied with. Coming from someone who could give a spit what the Yankees do anyway. I’ll continue to expect the best out of the team…however far that takes them. As long as the effort and desire is there. As you said, Steve, there’s no shame in getting beat by a better team. People who are not Yankees fans somehow expect us to lower our standards to some sort of sunny day, head-in-the-clouds demeanor like, say, Cubs fans. Verducci seriously misses out on the angst that forms a substantial part of any fan’s obsession with their team. Yes, go ask a Red Sox fan if “playing well” is satisfying. Or a Mets fan. Just don’t ask any Royals fans…if you can find one.

    2. Raf
      March 20th, 2007 | 2:41 pm

      I’m trying to understand what Verducci means by “The baseball world has changed so much from when the Yankees won four titles in five years that the Yankees’ world-championship-or-bust mentality has become awkwardly outdated,” because it doesn’t make any sense.

    3. Pete
      March 20th, 2007 | 3:02 pm

      So Verducci’s telling the fans NOT to be disappointed if our team doesn’t win it all?

      Um, ok Tom. Whatever.

    4. Paul
      March 20th, 2007 | 3:35 pm

      I guess I so not see it Verducci’s way.

      I did not consioder last season a failure. Considering all the adversity the Yankees faced they ended up with the best record in baseball. That is hardly a failure.

      The playoff performances were brutally bad. And some people were run out of town as they should have been, notwithstanding their playoff performance. So that was a disappointment. Some of that could have been avoided by better management and better playoff roster planning.

      However, I still do not see last season as a failure.

    5. March 20th, 2007 | 3:40 pm

      To put it bluntly, this is pure and utter bullsh*t from Verducci. No team’s fans should be satisfied with not winning. Period.

    6. SubwayHeroes
      March 20th, 2007 | 6:51 pm

      Right on target, Steve. After I cooled down from reading the article, I had to vent too.

    7. Anonymous
      March 20th, 2007 | 11:23 pm

      As close as the Yanks got to winning it all in 2003, I was actually still riding the euphoria of the Boone HR (and, in my heart of hearts, felt that the Yanks were lucky to even be playing in the W.S.). It wasn’t the dagger that ’01 and ’04 were to me – not even close.

    8. March 20th, 2007 | 11:50 pm

      This is a good example of the baseball power elite’s successful campaign to kill the spirit of the Yankee fan. So far, it’s been working in many ways. The fans have been beaten into submission, made to feel like they don’t deserve to fight for their own team. Fans aren’t interested in doing anything about the fraudulent post season AL awards, as they’ve agreed to be somnambulent. They know they’ll be shouted down and have lost the will to shout back for what is right. The Yankees and their fans, like good socialists, have been convinced to shut up, give someone else all their money, & don’t dare ask any questions about it. In socialism, you have no hope of anything better, you must be like everyone else. Except of course the ruling elite. They live like kings.

    9. Raf
      March 21st, 2007 | 10:24 am

      No, fans are starting to realize and understand that a world championship isn’t a birthright. Hopefully, they see the difficulty in navigating the postseason tourney to become World Champs, and not take it for granted.

    10. March 21st, 2007 | 1:38 pm

      Great post. Winning the division and getting into the playoffs has become nothing more than a prologue for the Yankees and their fans (myself included). But, it’s hard to change expectations once you’ve tasted success.

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