• Young & Old Yankees Bloggers Share Thoughts

    Posted by on February 7th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    The Yankees’ 2009 season will be the fifth one that I’ve covered here at WasWatching.com. And, if you’ve been paying attention during that time, you know how long I’ve been a fan of the team and what my thoughts are regarding the last half-decade of Yankees play.

    Thinking about this, to myself, I wondered about some other Yankees bloggers and web-analysts. How long have they been fans of the team? What are their thoughts about the Yankees since 2004? So, I recently asked a few of them the following questions:

    Q1: How old were you when the Yankees last won a ring in 2000? Were you:

    a): 19 years old or younger
    b): Between the ages of 20 and 28
    c): Age 29 or older

    Q2: How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?

    I reached out to about 30 Yankees blogger-types and 15 responded. Amazingly, there were none from the “were between the ages of 20 and 28 when the Yankees last won a ring in 2000″ group among those to get back to me. It was just the “young” group “a” above and the “old” group “c” above. And, here’s what they had to say…

    From those who were 19 years old or younger when the Yankees last won a ring in 2000:

    From Rebecca of This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    Trying to grasp onto an outdated notion that the team is still the dynasty team of the late nineties. I think the last couple of years have done a lot to alter that, though, and I think the team is beginning to turn around and head on the right track.

    From Ross of New Stadium Insider answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    DENIAL over the collapse of the dynasty (Acquiring aging, quick fix guys such as Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson to replace the David Wells’ and El Duque’s). UPHEAVAL to steer the ship in the right direction (King George relinquishing his post, Cashman taking over baseball operations, Torre getting the cold shoulder, Hal taking charge). ACCEPTANCE that it is no longer the late 90′s and it is time to build a new dynasty (signing A-Rod to a 10 year deal, giving the young pitchers a chance, throwing money around in free agency ONLY to sign top notch players entering their prime, not backing down when a dynasty Yankee demands undeserving money to come back for one more year such as Andy Pettitte).

    From Kevin of Zell’s Pinstripe Blog answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    Over the last five years the New York Yankees have gone after the wrong players. It’s not bad to go after big name players, but you need to go after the right guys. Sheffield over Guerrero? Big Unit over Beltran? The Yankees won in the 1990′s with clutch players who were hungry to win. They weren’t all about the big bucks. The idea over the last five years was to buy everyone they could. I don’t blame the organization for trying to get the Yankees back on top, but spend the money wisely. Don’t just get a player just for the sake of bringing in a big name. Get a player who will help benefit the team and is devoted to winning a World Series ring. Some other mistakes they made…Kevin Brown, Jaret Wright, Javier Vazquez, Raul Mondesi, Kei Igawa, Clemens. (in ’07) These moves just didn’t make sense. The Yankees finally made the right moves this off-season. They brought in the two best pitchers out on the free agent market. (Sabathia, Burnett) They obtained Mark Teixeira to play first base, which is a big upgrade over Jason Giambi. They finally have a legitimate top of the line rotation, and have depth in the minor leagues. They haven’t had that for a long time now. They improved their defense as well. They have a gold glove winning player at first base, and they will have either Gardy/Melky playing in CF over Damon. If this isn’t the year they win it all, then I don’t know when it will come…

    From Patrick of YanksBlog.com answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    Obviously, the team has continued to spend money, both on retaining talent and bringing in new talent. They’ve put a capable team on the field, a team that could win, every season. Whether or not we win, that’s a matter for the game of baseball, which isn’t a game played on paper or on calculators. The two shifts that jump out to me are the ownership shift and the shift in prospect management. Going from a volatile George Steinbrenner, to a man softened by age and then having various faces emerge and eventually come into power. Brian Cashman has been given increased authority and, with it, has made a point of more highly valuing our prospects and giving them more of an opportunity to develop in our system. I think that this is a good change. With our resources, we should invest heavily in both the farm system and player contracts. They need to go hand in hand and will give us the greatest chance to succeed. The funny thing about the timing of this question is that consulting the new Joe Torre and Tom Verducci book will likely give you more valuable insight into the state of the Yankees over the last five years, than most any other source. I’m not saying I like the book, but I also wouldn’t call Torre a liar.

    From Steve of The Yankees: Minors to Majors answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    I am happy with how things seem to have been turning around the last couple of years. Honestly, with the teams that the Yankees have had, they have had the ability to win the World Series any team (except for ’08). I personally am a Cashman supporter; of course he has made some terrible moves (Igawa, etc.), but he has been the marionette of George Steinbrenner until recently. Cash knows what he is doing for the most part – he knows that he should get as much young pitching as humanly possibly. I believe that Hank & Hal are good changes for the Yanks. They are clearly different from their dad. They seem to be a lot more reasonable and understanding of how to put a team together. In conclusion, the state of the Yankees is very strong. They have a rotation with a bunch of aces, they have some good veteran players whose contracts will expire after this season – leaving a bit of flexibility (Pettitte, Nady, Damon, Matsui), a solid core of vets with long term deal (CC, Tex, etc.), a plethora of young pitching waiting and hopefully ready to help this year (Hughes, Kennedy, Aceves, Coke, Robertson), and in a year or three (Brackman, Bleich, Heredia.) I just wish the Yankees would be a little smarter or creative in player acquisations. For example, Rich Hill is avaliable – probably for relatively cheap; wouldn’t he be a good option in the bullpen, and if that works, the rotation? Felix Pie would have been a good option to compete for center – the Yankees could have matched Garrett Olson. Things like that. Also, I think they really need to develop some hitting prospects.

    From Jimmy of The Fowl Balls answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    For the past half-decade, the Yankees have done their best to acquire the players that they felt gave them the best chance to win a championship. Although many fans will berate the team for returning to “the way it was in the 80′s”, and buying players with limited success, I disagree. The team has no choice but to spend big. While teams like the Ex-Rays could wallow in complete suckitude for the better part of a decade and piling up top 5 draft picks, the Yankees have a reputation to uphold. Who wants to watch that garbage? Over the past five seasons, the Yankees were in the playoff mix four times. Though the lack of championships is unacceptable, who knew Giambi was on juice when he signed? Or that Carl Pavano is made of balsa wood? The team has done its absolute best with what it has to make their fans happy, and fans should be nothing less than grateful. Though they may not agree with every signing (or non-signing) that the team makes, Yankee fans have the great luxury of knowing that their team cares about winning. For this reason, there are only two types of fans; Yankee fans, and those who wish their team could spend like the Yankees. That being said – it’s time to win. You know it. The Yankees know it.

    From Andrew of Scott Proctor’s Arm answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    The Yankees of the last five years has, unfortunately, been different from the teams I grew up watching at the end of the 90s. Unlike the older teams these teams have not seen much success via the free agency and trade markets. Where to begin? Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright. The list goes on and on. Then while the team realized its mistakes and tried to develop within, we get the early failures of Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. You can’t fault the Yankees for trying. They have just hit patches of bad luck, which are magnified due to the high payroll and the Boston Red Sox winning two recent titles. What’s different about this offseason is that the Yankees have signed free agents who are in their respective primes. It’s easy to argue that A.J. Burnett could blow up in the team’s face, but we should all expect big things from CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. A championship this season could wash away most, if not all, of the hurt we received in 2001, 2003 and 2004. And it’ll be hard to expect anything less than a World Series title. Not after the offseason this team had.

    From Greg of Sliding Into Home answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    Things were already going south after 2001, but after the 2003 season things really got bad. They brought in too many big egos and too many mediocre pitchers. (And no, I’m not blaming A-Rod; I know it’s not his fault.) After letting Wells, Pettitte, and Clemens (who was supposed to retire) go they decided to replace them with a bunch of NL pitchers and I believe that was a major mistake. Guys like Kevin Brown, Jarret Wrigtht, Javy Vazquez, and Carl Pavano were disasters, and Randy Johnson was nowhere near the pitcher they thought they were trading for. I hate to say it, but the only NL pitcher that actually would have helped – Curt Schilling – ended up going to Boston, and we all know how that ended. In the last two or three seasons I believe they’ve slowly began to get back to do the right things. They’re focused more on building a solid farm system, and I believe they’ve brought in the right people via free agency and trades. Hopefully I’m right, and it leads them to # 27.

    From those who were age 29 or older when the Yankees last won a ring in 2000:

    From Mike of The Sommer Frieze answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    Transitional. Players are getting older (Posada, Mo, Jeter, Pettitte, etc.) or retiring. They have needed to incorporate new people into the team, be it from the farm system (Wang, Cano, Joba, etc.) or free agency (CC, AJ, Teixeira for example). We’ve seen a managerial/coaching staff change as well. Unfortunately, and to my chagrin, some people incorporated into the team in those last five years were retreads or old. Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens were aged and on the way downhill. I’d have preferred young blood from the system (tried last year with Hughes and Kennedy, who are still young and who still could develop) instead of the aged, washed up ex-stars we saw, but the system didn’t have too many major-league ready players, especially in the positional player department. But the old guard won’t be there much longer. Jeter will be 35. Same with Matsui. Pettitte turns 37. Mo is 39. Damon is 35. Posada is 37. There is still a transition to be done at spots. Some will come via free agency. For others, you hope an Austin Jackson, a Mark Melancon and a Jesus Montero develop into stars.

    From Mark of YFSF answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    An enjoyable product on the field, a consistent winner, some wonderful highs and great disappointments. It’s unfortunate that the period will be forever marred by the failure to bring home a title, and sad decision to leave the team’s historic home at immense cost to the public, despite assurances to the contrary. One also hopes/wonders whether the end of the Steinbrenner Era will lead to more enlightened decisions, especially in terms of player development and the free agent market.

    From Jane of Confessions of a She-Fan answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    I think the team moved away from the strengths of the late 90s: pitching and defense. We scored over 950 runs in ‘07, and while I love offense as much as the next person and hope A-Rod hits another 50 homers this year, I’m glad to see the focus is back on the starting rotation. It’s pitching that will carry us into the postseason and through to a championship. That said, I think the signing of Teixeira was key; not since Donnie and Tino wore pinstripes have we had a first baseman who can not only drive in runs but actually catch the ball. His solid play at first will only help the other infielders with their defense, not to mention be a boon to ground ball pitchers like Wang. The other problem over the last five years was the lack of an everyday centerfielder. Not since Bernie have we had someone we can really trust out there. Damon didn’t have the arm. Melky regressed. Gardner is unproven. Still, the ‘09 team is the best we’ve had in years. I honestly believe a 27th championship is a real possibility.

    From “El Duque” of “It is high, It is far…It is caught” answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    Nervous, unfulfilled and more fearful of losing than hopeful of winning. We keep telling ourselves that we’re one key player away, and that sooner or later, those who fail in clutch situations somehow will get hot and thrive. The truth is, we are terrified of the Redsocks, their organization, and their reputations for big-game heroics. Everything we do seems predicated on trying to out-think Boston. It’s a bad recipe. We stumble beneath the weight of our own bloated salaries. Until we get an influx of young players from our own system, we will continue to flounder.

    From Phil of WCBS Newradio 880′s 10th Inning Journal answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    The Yankees have underperformed since 2003 mainly because of the increasing ineptitude of former manager Joe Torre. Brining in Jeff Weaver in Game #4 of the 2003 World Series while Rivera sat, sleeping through the 2004 ALCS when he clearly could have bunted on Schilling, failing to run on Wakefield when Varitek could not handle the knuckler, not signaling for Rivera to throw to first on Roberts, ignoring statistical analysis. (Those are just a few examples. The list of Torre’s blunders can not be chronicled in the 225 words allotted for this exercise.) If Torre had done his job, the team would likely have a few more titles. Torre also blew out bullpen arms during this time, and presided over an increasingly fractured clubhouse while clearly taking sides with “his guys.” Now that the Torre era has passed, and Joe Girardi has his first season at the helm behind him, I expect the Yanks to get back to the World Series. GM Brian Cashman’s record has been mixed, but he (along with Damon Oppenheimer) has done a good job these past few years restocking the Yankee minor league pitching depth. (Expect big things from Humberto Sanchez.) The competition from the Rays and the Red Sox will be fierce in the years to come, but the Yanks are in fine shape to hold them off.

    From Jason of It’s About The Money, Stupid answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    Joyless. Having been raised an orthodox Yankee fan from birth, the past five years have joyless. The “dynastic” run of the late 90’s allowed us to witness a team build, grow, achieve. And then, after Luis Gonzalez’s broken bat single against Mo dropped in, management changed course. No longer content with finding the “right” guys to fit within the team atmosphere, management turned the team into a cast of mercenaries, misfits and mistakes. The 2003 season may have given me my last truly joyous fan moment, watching Aaron bleepin’ Boone take Wakefield deep to send the Sox to yet another miserable off-season without a title. Then came 2004 and the baseball world changed. The Sox had new ownership, leadership and most of all, a sense of calm even when it wasn’t. This was something that the Yanks had cultivated a decade earlier (mystique and aura). That loss hurt more than any and will probably hurt more than any other I will ever witness. The slap by ARod. The blown saves by Mo. Ortiz. Manny. Damon’s grand slam. Now, we’ve resumed chasing the biggest names with the most dollars. This team has gotten old, slow and terrible defensively. Only this year have we been able to address the biggest gaps (at an obscene cost): front line pitching and defense. The organization has moved from respected to reviled, just like the old days, I guess. Long live the Evil Empire. Getting to the playoffs is now a relief instead of a joy, and that’s a crappy way to root for a team.

    From Matthew of The Yankees Republic answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

    Any Yankee fan old, loyal, and stoic enough to have kept the flame during the Dark Ages between 1987 and 1992 would be churlish to bemoan the present twilight. After all, no fan can expect to bask in glory every year. And over the last five, regrettably, the Stadium lights have faded earlier each season. Still, the Yankees have radiated a kind of tragic grandeur by what they have achieved notwithstanding — achieved despite the fatal flaw that has beset them ever since 2003 — an infirm and ill-conceived patchwork rotation. They’ve fought. They’ve persevered. They’ve contended into September. And in their failing, they’ve endeared as a consequence. The megalomaniacal insecurity of A-Rod. The brash insouciance of Cano. The irascible bluntness of Mussina. The brilliant consistency of Abreu. The irrepressible passion of Joba. The proud dignity of the Dynasty’s withered and fading core. That isn’t quite to say losing is beautiful. No, for the criminal negligence of those responsible for the farm system between 1998 and 2005, the team still suffers. Moreover, the Man in charge since has yet to demonstrate as much prowess in evaluating players as he has at clinging to power. Indeed, its brouhaha notwithstanding, The Yankee Years only reinforces my gravest doubt and deepest fears about a universe where the paranoia, cronyism and office intrigue of the Dark Ages still endures.

    Well, there you have it. Overall, among the “younger” Yankees blogger-types, it seems as if they’re feeling pretty good about now. Several of them talked about a turnaround in Yankeeland and expressed a sense that the team is making the correct moves and is on the right track. And, what about the “older” Yankees-blogger-types, overall? When I read what’s been passed along from that group, I sense a greater sense of suffering and strong distain over what’s been going down in Yankeeland in the last five years or so.

    I wonder if this sample can be applied to Yankees fans, in general? Is it safe to suggest that the majority of young adult Yankees fans, say, those between the ages of 18 and 27, are more inclined to be enthusiastic about the Yankees present chances, above anything else, whereas the majority of older adult Yankees fans, say, those age 37 or older, while still ardent followers of the team, are more inclined to be experiencing some form of post-traumatic reaction to Yankees-happenings over the last half-decade?

    In any event, my thanks to all my fellow Yankees Bloggers for taking the time to share some thoughts on this topic. Your kindness is very much appreciated.

    Comments on Young & Old Yankees Bloggers Share Thoughts

    1. lisaswan
      February 7th, 2009 | 10:34 am

      Sorry I missed the deadline for this – for some strange reason, I thought it was Saturday. Anyhow, I’m part of Group C for the first question, which makes Subway Squawkers part of the old bloggers group. Get off my lawn, you young whippersnapper Yankee fans!

      Anyhow, here are my thoughts as to the state of the Yankees over the past five years:

      The state of the Yankees? Isn’t that New York?
      Seriously, two big problems the Yanks have had over the past five years have been the lack of good pitching, and the missing “all for one, and one for all” team spirit. Of course the pitching has dramatically improved this year. I hope the team chemistry issue does as well.

      There has been way too much divisiveness – both in the clubhouse and with the fans – between the dynasty Yankees, and the post-2000 acquisitions. And that needs to change.

      To paraphrase Rick Pitino, Scotty Brosius is not walking through that door. Paul O’Neill is not walking through that door. And while Bernie Williams would like to walk through that door, Brian Cashman is going to prevent him from doing so!

      At any rate, the Yanks need to forge a new identity, instead of it being the four-rings guys (the so-called “true Yankees” – oh, how I hate that phrase!) vs. everybody else. Alex Rodriguez, like it or not, isn’t going anywhere. And Joe Torre isn’t coming back – ever.

      I’d prefer to see the Yanks stop being one of those lightbulb jokes. You know, like how many Yankees does it take to change a lightbulb? Two: One player to change it, and one to complain that the lightbulb wasn’t as good as the one from 1998.

      Lisa Swan
      SubwaySquawkers.blogspot.com

    2. larnov
      February 7th, 2009 | 10:45 am

      I just saw this just now. I am of the over 29.(Way Over)..The State of the Yankees is just like it was during the 80s..Lots of big names but absolutely nothing to show for it. Also I see no passion in the team play. This year the Rays were so much more fun to watch and as much as I hate to say it, The Red Sox play the game with more passion, spirit and as a team than the Yankees have the past 5+ years.

    3. February 7th, 2009 | 11:29 am

      My pleasure, Steve. Thanks for asking.

    4. February 8th, 2009 | 12:04 pm

      [...]      I shared my thoughts on the state of the Yankees over the last five years over at WasWatching.com. This is what I had to [...]

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