…themselves. Don’t worry, it will make sense at the end of this rant.
From George King -
Just like a year ago, when GM Brian Cashman talked George Steinbrenner out of firing Joe Torre, there are voices within the Yankee organization telling The Boss that boxing Cashman isn’t the right move.
Steinbrenner put his GM in the crosshairs Friday when he said, “He is on a big hook.”
Since the Yankees have lost all four games since Steinbrenner voiced his displeasure with Cashman, The Boss’ frustration rises with every defeat.
“There are people trying to talk him out of it,” an organizational voice said yesterday.
Since The Boss has been leaning on his sons, Hank and Hal, it’s likely they are backing Cashman, whom Steinbrenner’s family genuinely likes.
Another factor working in Cashman’s favor is there is no clear-cut replacement. Former GM Gene Michael, a VP and special adviser to Steinbrenner, has been mentioned. But it’s been a while since Michael was the GM and he may not want to jump back into the most demanding job in the Yankees universe.
Of course, there’s no clear-cut replacement. It’s not that simple when you’re hiring for a spot like this one. This is where the Yankees need to do their homework. You have to dig and find the right next guy.
I can tell you the type of guy that the Yankees need to replace Cashman with: Someone like Frank Wren…but not him. Someone with a resume like him though…a former player, did scouting, worked for the best GM’s, maybe even was a GM once as a learning experience…someone with all that. The Yankees need a “baseball” man at the helm…like Gene Michael and Bob Watson, when they were in charge…and not someone who is basically a “white collar” business-oriented type (like Cashman).
The reason why I say “not Wren” is that I’m not sure if he can handle the fishbowl nature of Yankeeland.
But, there has to be at least a half-dozen candidates like Wren out there now in baseball. The problem is: It takes a baseball person to find/spot a baseball person. And, who is going to find the next G.M. of the Yankees? Randy Levine? Hank and Hal Steinbrenner? They’re not baseball people…they’re more white-collar business people.
One month ago, I wrote:
It seems that the Yankees were better when someone with a scouting background was in charge of acquiring talent.
Actually, if you look at the Yankees “brain trust” now, you’ll see that it’s basically Randy Levine (Team President), Brian Cashman (Senior Vice President, General Manager), Mark Newman (Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations), and Jean Afterman (Vice President, Assistant General Manager). Of those four, only Newman has a “baseball” background.
Maybe that’s the issue with this Yankees organization – too many white-collar, pencil-pushing, general-ledger types and not enough people who have grown-up in the game calling the shots?
Thinking about it more…it is an issue. The Yankees are never going to find the right replacement for Cashman – unless the right candidate starts to campaign for the job and the media picks up on it…to the point where it becomes a no-brainer hire for the Yankees.
Until then, expect more of the following: The team will focus on getting the Yankees brand out there, as much as possible, and building up the draw for their TV network, ballpark, and merchandise…and continue to make tons of money. The ledger will be pretty…much more pretty than the baseball standings. The “business” side of the team will be fine…but the “baseball” side will continue to suffer.
You know, Yogi Berra once said “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” And, in a way, borrowing from that, you can now say “The Yankees aren’t successful anymore. They make too much money.”
Through the success of 1996 through 2003, the Yankees have become this huge money making machine. And, now, their management team is built to working that machine, squeezing out the money from it – and they are not equiped to build the machine…they can only work it. So, when the machine needs to be fixed, and, in a sense, re-built, they are both clueless and helpless.
Frank Sinatra once sang:
And there used to be a ballpark,
Where the field was warm and green.
And the people played their crazy game,
With a joy I’d never seen.
And the air was such a wonder,
From the hot dogs and the beer.
Yes, there used a ballpark, right here.
Pretty soon, Yankees fans will be singing:
And there used to be a Yankees,
Led by baseball men very keen.
And the team was always up on their game,
With a zest I’d never seen.
And the results were such a wonder,
It brought cause for fans to cheer.
Yes, there used a Yankees, right here.
And, to quote B.J. Thomas, it will be “another somebody done somebody wrong song.” The weird/funny/sad part here is that it will be the Yankees that did something wrong to the Yankees. People seem to like the old “Man Bites Dog” headlines. The story on this one should be “Man Bites Self” – because that’s what’s happened here: The Yankees Bite Themselves.