• Wild Thought: Are These Yankees Tough To Like?

    Posted by on July 15th, 2009 · Comments (40)

    Someone who’s been a Yankees fan for the last 25 years recently said to me “I just wish this Yankees team wasn’t so hard to like.” And, that leads to today’s wild thought.

    In comments left by readers of this blog, this season, I have seen laments, at times, about Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain, Robinson Cano, Brian Bruney, Jorge Posada, Chien-Ming Wang, Nick Swisher, Andy Pettitte and Melky Cabrera. And, there may have been other Yankees players mentioned along these lines as well – and I just don’t remember them now…

    And, in comments left by readers of this blog, this year and in the recent past, I’ve seen complaints about Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and Brian Cashman.

    So, here’s the wild thought…actually, it’s more a series of questions…

    Are these current Yankees a tough bunch to “like” – even for a dyed-in-the-wool Yankees fan? It is because of one player in particular, or a collection of players? Or, is it because of the Yankees front office? Is it because of one person, in particular, in the front office, or a collection of them? Or, are these current Yankees a tough bunch to “like” because of the players and the front office, combined?

    Or, is this all hogwash and do you find this Yankees team and/or organization easy to “like”?

    Comments on Wild Thought: Are These Yankees Tough To Like?

    1. redbug
      July 15th, 2009 | 6:47 am

      Arod and the ownwership make it tough for me – an almost 50 yr fan.

      Arod’s inability to hit when it counts, esp in the PS, his opt-out (and then ownership bringing him back for 10 yr’s, no less), steroids, dramatics, etc. The thought we’ll have him for so long, w/ the emphasis on the HR record is discouraging to me.

      Ownership w/ the ticket prices, the “condo-like ownership” given to the “fans” of the 1st 10 rows, Hank’s ignorance.

      Still, I love the Yanks. I love that Jeter recieved the most votes to the All Star game and that Mo had his usual 1, 2, 3 inning save last night. I’m a fan of 24 out of 25. More than enough.

    2. Raf
      July 15th, 2009 | 7:54 am

      My issue lies more with the organization than the players. People are fickle so they’ll come around on the players, depending on what they do. The organization, OTOH has a consistent track record of being douches.

    3. yagottagotomo1
      July 15th, 2009 | 7:59 am

      It is funny. When they were coming back every night and the pies were flying, I had plenty of Yankees fans tell me how much more likeable the team was. After the Angels series, not so much. Although I think this is a more likeable bunch than in years past, ultimately people are going to like players when they win and not when they lose. Look at David Wright. Is there a more likeable player? Yet he gets a ton of grief. It is all about results.

    4. MJ
      July 15th, 2009 | 7:59 am

      The organization, OTOH has a consistent track record of being douches.
      ——–
      For me, it’s always been my hatred of George (and last year, Hank) Steinbrenner.

      This team is extremely likeable in my opinion. Sabathia alone does it for me. Toss in Swisher, Teixeira and Rivera and you have a collection of great, classy guys.

    5. baseballbob
      July 15th, 2009 | 8:03 am

      I’ve been a big Yankee fan since the “Bronx Zoo” days, and I don’t find them any harder to like then before. My main issue is with the new stadium ticket pricing and ARod. I wanted to like him, but the steroids, opting out and all the Madonna stuff turned me off, along with the lack of playoff success. But overall, I still love guys like Jeter, Brett Gardner and Melky; have always liked guys with speed that don’t rely exclusivelyy on the long ball. I think they take a lot of heat unfairly due to the payroll.

    6. cr1
      July 15th, 2009 | 8:39 am

      I didn’t even know I had the problem of Iiking or not liking until Teixera turned out to be so likable and what I felt was relieved. Great — a LIKABLE Yankee, and he’s going to be around for a while! That was when I realized that I had this underlying irritation going on with my team, which I love, having a few too many not very likable pieces.

      I have not not been able to like Rodriguez although I wanted to. I never like people like Swisher who come in and within 15 minutes act like they are the team spokesman — my response is always going to be, ‘Oh, and you are ______ ???’ Shelley Duncan is another one. It’s a type that comes through regularly and fortunately disappears just as regularly. Cano? Hard to like a guy who seems so narcissistic. Gardner? That whole ‘ain’t I gritty/gutty’ schtick gets old quickly. I loved my Jack Russell Terrier, but as a baseball player please either do it or don’t, you can’t sell it to me by looking extra caffeinated. Hank? Please. Hal seems okay but distant. Girardi is too tense and defensive to be likable even if he turns into an above average manager someday.

      I like Jeter and Mariano best. Men who have some dignity and baseball smarts and appear to act with integrity, yet can smile and make little jokes that dumb reporters don’t always seem to get. Posada. Teixera. Of the new guys, one of the reasons I root for Aceves is that he seems to be cut from this cloth, although it’s too soon to be sure. Sabbathia may turn out to have more than the grin going for him in terms of likability. Burnett seems too dumb to like except as the most recent avatar of Nuke LaLoosh.

      But I may be a very untypical fan. I always liked Mike Mussina.

    7. Bostowned
      July 15th, 2009 | 8:59 am

      I often remind myself this season that the team is so much better now then in recent years. Not just because of their record but in general. It wasnt to long ago when the Yankees had Mike Mussina and 4 question marks in the rotation. And if they lost Moose’s game it felt like they wouldnt win again for a week. Now, I find myself enjoyably getting frustrated that Joba allowed 3 or 4 runs again or that Andy stunk it up for the 2nd game in a row. The team nowadays, with guys like Jeter, Joba, Swish, Teixera, Damon, CC, Burrnet, Petitte and Mo combined with young guys that, as fans we can see, are trying so hard everyday. Combine those big stars with guys like Gardner, Melky, Cano, Hughes, Melancon, Robertson, Pena and Cevelli, and what you’ll eventually start seeing is a team feeding off each other.

      In the dugout you can see guys who appear to be best buds and on the field you can see guys that seem to feel as if they are never out of the game. 3 Angels loses was terrible, I didnt think we’d have 1. But look at the runs scored in the first two, if it wasnt for the worn out bullpen from the Aceves start, we’d have probably won 2 of 3 if not swept.

      Arod is the only thing not to like about this team. The guy is the team cancer, the focal point of negativity.

    8. Pat F
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:02 am

      the 2009 yankees are, by far, the most likeable team since the championship squads in my opinion. i actually find this particular group very easy to like. some of the new guys have made some people already on the team more likeable in my eyes. they’ve given the personality of the team the shakeup it needed. a welcomed change.

    9. Raf
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:03 am

      cr1 wrote:

      Burnett seems too dumb to like except as the most recent avatar of Nuke LaLoosh.

      And Boomhauer!

    10. Pat F
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:07 am

      in the end, though, i just want to win and that’s what will make them most likeable.

    11. YankCrank
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:07 am

      This is very simple. Everybody is likable when they win, and not when they lose. The 2004 squad was immensely successful is all facets of the game and were very well-liked until they blew the ALCS…now that team is forever known as a choke artist despite the amazing numbers they put up.

      I love this year’s team, and the only time i’ve been upset with them is how they’ve bent over backwards to the Sox.

    12. Corey
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:19 am

      Raf wrote:

      And Boomhauer!

      lmao boomhauer

    13. cr1
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:24 am

      YankCrank wrote:

      Everybody is likable when they win, and not when they lose.

      I guess we have different definitions of ‘likable’. Winners give us one kind of satisfaction and enjoyment, but there are also guys we like even when unfortunately the team loses — because they are likable in good times and bad. That’s what I was trying to respond to. Of course I enjoy the good plays and contributions to winning even of guys that are very, very hard to actually like, such as Rodriguez.

    14. YankCrank
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:32 am

      Of course I enjoy the good plays and contributions to winning even of guys that are very, very hard to actually like, such as Rodriguez.

      Just out of curiosity, what makes it so hard to like A-Rod? I only ask because people who say that seem to have conflicting responses. Some say they hate A-Rod because of the steroids, but are quick to admit they loved Giambi. Some say he’s “unclutch” despite all of the statistics that prove he’s been very clutch at times in his career. Just wondering your personal feelings…

    15. Bostowned
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:38 am

      @ YankCrank:
      Just out of curiosity, what makes it so hard to like A-Rod?

      Hes a lighting rod for media controversy. Hes Reggie Jackson without the winning. And without the winning all you got is a guy with head issues thats constantly bringing down the team with negative media attention.

    16. cr1
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:42 am

      I can’t use the excuse of steroids, because I found Rodriguez hard to like long before that was confirmed. He just seemed unusually phony and manipulative and self-involved.

      However, I always thought he was, as Cashman would say, an ‘asset’ — because along with the unattractive personality came a lot of skill and hard work.

      As far as the un-clutch-ness, if I disliked every player who was unable to reliably step it up a notch in high-risk/high-reward moments then I’d be left with hardly anybody to like, wouldn’t I? No, I regard clutchness as a quality like being a good test-taker. People who test well are not always the people who know the most, they’re the people who don’t lose access to whatever it is that they do know under stress.

    17. YankCrank
      July 15th, 2009 | 10:00 am

      Just out of curiosity, what makes it so hard to like A-Rod?
      ——-

      It’s all perspective, honestly. I’m on “on-field” guy when it comes to which players I like because, honestly, what matters is what happens between the lines of the baseball field. I don’t care who players date, who they hang out with or what they do with their free time. I also don’t care who the tabloids choose to pick on either, and I think we can both agree some of it is Alex being stupid, and some of it is the tabloids making sensationalized stories over nothing because he’s A-Rod.

      When it comes to Alex, I see two MVPs, 225 HRs in 4.5 seasons, someone whose OPS is always amongst the league leaders, puts up a ton of walks and RBIs, plays a damn good 3b and was actually on pace to being the best hitting SS ever before he changed positions just to be a Yankee.

      It’s also gotten to the point where i empathize with him because the amount of irrational Yankee fans blaming him for the team not winning grows each year. Everyone seems to forget there would be no 2005 and 2007 postseason for the Yanks if not for carrying the Yanks with his MVP seasons, and how the Yankees pitchers ERA in the playoffs from 2004-2007 were astronomical and not his doing.

      Either way, Yankee fans are free to look at his off-the-field news and hate him for it, that’s your choice. Me, I care about what he does on the field and he’s been one of the best, if not the best, players in baseball since he put on a Yankee uniform.

    18. YankCrank
      July 15th, 2009 | 10:13 am

      In so many words, it comes down to…do you like the Yankees because of what their players do in the headlines, or do you like the Yankees because you want them to win baseball games? I care about baseball, and Alex helps the Yanks win games…a lot. That’s why I like Alex.

    19. clintfsu813
      July 15th, 2009 | 12:07 pm

      We all know that if Arod had been traded to Boston in 2003, he would have 2 rings with the Redsox right now. Thats not because he would have hit a bunch of clutch home runs..although he may have..it would be because Boston had lights out pitchers those years that stepped it up in the Postseason. I hate Schilling and Beckett, but those guys can flat out pitch in October. I also think that alot of teams have those “hard to like” players. We all know that Papelbon, Beckett, Varitek and Youklis are douche bags. They’re fans probably know it too. But they are beloved in Boston because they’ve brought 2 rings to Fenway in the last 4 years. I PROMISE you..if Arod has a Joe Carter moment in the Bronx, he will be loved for-ev-er.

    20. cr1
      July 15th, 2009 | 12:40 pm

      YankCrank wrote:

      Either way, Yankee fans are free to look at his off-the-field news and hate him for it, that’s your choice.

      Just to be clear I want to add that I don’t hate Rodriguez or feel any strong negative feeling about him. The question was about liking and not liking, and I mentioned several players that represent each side of that equation for me. I guess he’s the one that arouses a lot of passion in others, though, because he’s the only one anybody wants an elaborate ‘justification’ for our opinion about…

    21. G.I. Joey
      July 15th, 2009 | 12:44 pm

      Joba has been on my list of Yanks who rubbed me the wrong way ever since his post-game comments two starts ago. I can’t stand starting pitchers who can’t take responsibility for poor performances. He took responsibility in the beginning of the season for his atrocious first inning habit, but after that his maturity level seemed to digress.

    22. July 15th, 2009 | 12:51 pm

      Arod’s opt out completely put me off… i had been hoping he would come around in the PS and deliver the WS…. but, when he opted out it completely POed me and i couldnt stop cursing when Hank brought him back… we would have been a weaker offensive team, but i believe they would have gotten the next best available player at 3rd and added other production where needed to make his loss minimal… he completely grates me… as far as ownership, ‘new stadium prices and their treatment of average Joes’ is something that hurts… i also think the new stadium has been a disappointment for most of us and i think that alone has made people feel a bit .. ‘ blah ‘ … the games look different, they feel different… i hope they win a ring soon here… cant imagine how the “curse of the new stadium” stories will look like… yeesh

    23. butchie22
      July 15th, 2009 | 1:02 pm

      And, in comments left by readers of this blog, this year and in the recent past, I’ve seen complaints about Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and Brian Cashman. Quote from Steve’s Post

      Yeah, that’s who I despise , what I refer collectively as Yankees Inc, the so-called brain trust. I can’t wait to see them all gone especially Brainless Cash Man. The Steinbrenners aren’t going anywhere unless they get an offer to end all offers, so that probably won’t happen. Hal is more concerned with the business ends of things and not so much if they win. And Hank? Hank was a gas when he shot his mouth off every other week, that’s for sure!

      I don’t like AJ Burnout that much or Aroid(a mess off the field and a fake ,phony fraud if there ever was one) BUT as long as they take care of business on the field I really don’t care what strippers Alex dates or if AJ the Cream Pie Thrower does in his off time. Teix seems like a cool guy and of course, Old St Nick as well. Otherwise, there seems to be more cohesiveness on the team this year.

    24. Evan3457
      July 15th, 2009 | 1:59 pm

      I never liked A-Rod all that much since the collapse of 2004.

      With each succeeding postseason failure I grew more and more despairing that he would ever have a big postseason, and lead them to the title.

      But the piling on in all aspects of his life, including the exposure of his relationship with the stripper last year that led to his divorce, and the release of a single name, his, from the list of 104, produced such a torrent of abuse and invective in his direction that I now find, perversely, that the more people pile on him, even for his failures in the clutch, the harder I root for him.

      This, of course, leads to frequent high hopes and all-too-frequent disappointment. Now I know what it’s like to be a Mets fan.

    25. YankCrank
      July 15th, 2009 | 2:27 pm

      With each succeeding postseason failure I grew more and more despairing that he would ever have a big postseason, and lead them to the title.
      ——

      Alex actually hit .339 in the 2004 playoffs, and was one of the only Yankees who hit in the 2007 playoffs. I understand everybody’s disappointment with his 2005 and 2006 playoff performances, but I feel a lot of Yankee fans confuse why we’ve struggled in the playoffs since 2003. Look at our pitching ERA in the playoffs each year:

      2004: 5.17
      2005: 4.40
      2006: 5.56
      2007: 5.89

      If your pitching gives up an average of 5-6 runs a game in the playoffs against guys named Scilling, Lackey, Verlander, Sabathia, Carmona etc. you’re not going to get our of the first round. Our pitching is why we fail in the playoffs, not because Alex doesn’t hit .800 with 6 home runs.

      (btw Evan this wasn’t directed at you, just general info for everybody)

    26. maxw
      July 15th, 2009 | 5:11 pm

      two words: Lonn. Trost.

    27. maxw
      July 15th, 2009 | 5:12 pm

      oh yea, Randy Levine, too.

      PURE EVIL

    28. BOHAN
      July 15th, 2009 | 7:04 pm

      if this team makes/wins the world series everyone that is saying they dont like this team will be saying they absolutely love this team. in my opinion they only thing i hat ebout the team is how inconsistent they can be they can win 9 out of 10 games at one point then loose 9 out of 10 right after that. just seems to be no consistence. overall they are a fun to watch play. the young guys bring alot of energy and the older guys are feeding off that when they need to. theyve had a bunch of walk off wins and come from behind wins. how is that not fun to watch? and everyone hating on arod are only hating because of what hes done off the field. in ’05 and ’07 he carried that team into the playoffs and no matter how good u are one guy isnt going to win you alot of games in the playoffs. and when ur pitching sucks giving up 5 runs a game there no chance ur going to get out of the first round. u win in the playoffs with pitching. pitching and defense wins championships not offense

    29. Corey
      July 15th, 2009 | 7:10 pm

      BOHAN wrote:

      if this team makes/wins the world series everyone that is saying they dont like this team will be saying they absolutely love this team.

      bingo. with that being said, i adore this team.

    30. July 15th, 2009 | 8:45 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      But the piling on in all aspects of his life, including the exposure of his relationship with the stripper last year that led to his divorce, and the release of a single name, his, from the list of 104, produced such a torrent of abuse and invective in his direction that I now find, perversely, that the more people pile on him, even for his failures in the clutch, the harder I root for him.

      Bingo. The more people hate on him, the more I root for him. I tend to gravitate towards A-Rod because, for as amazing as he is on the field, he is flawed just like all of us. He has lied on the biggest stage, he sometimes fails when the pressure is on, and his human faults are exposed within the constant media exposure. With the off-the-field stuff, I empathize because I know liars, cheaters, fakers and the like among the people I know, whether they publicly expose their faults or not. Heck, when people talk about his problems, most of them problems (some people say) comes from his mental state.

      To me, A-Rod has shown himself to be ridiculously human, and though I don’t admire the guy, I root for him.

    31. July 15th, 2009 | 11:29 pm

      [...] Yanks’ fortunes improve with bullpen / Are These Yankees Tough To Like? [...]

    32. Evan3457
      July 16th, 2009 | 5:52 am

      Bingo. Bingo.

      What is this; a bingo parlor?

    33. Garcia
      July 16th, 2009 | 7:59 am

      I love he’s parading around with a stripper out in public, even though he’s married, and you paint him as a victim. Listen, I am hardly preaching from a soapbox about cheating or anything like that, but sorry, that is ALL A-Rod’s fault. He’s a public figure and the possibility always exists that he’ll be taken a picture of.

      This just tells me A-Rod is incredibly stupid, along with being the biggest prima donna on the team. I root for A-Rod, but do I think he’s a person of high character? No, sorry, he isn’t. He’s not an easy person to like, I root for him cause he’s on my favorite team.

      He’s not a dick like Albert Belle, he’s just a different kind of dick. But a dick nonetheless.

      The steroids stuff doesn’t bug me, his excuses do though: calling it tic-tacs, blaming it on his cousin, blah, blah.

      The other thing that I find hilarious that it’s always the media’s fault when it comes to A-Rod, when it is A-Rod contributing quotes to Esquire, talking about waking up earlier than everyone to workout (putting himself on a pedestal), taking pictures in front of mirrors, etc, etc. This is all on him, if you want to have a scapegoat then the A-Rod supporters refuse to look at anything wrong he does. Bottom line.

    34. Garcia
      July 16th, 2009 | 8:05 am

      BTW, this Yankee team is easy to like. I also liked the 2005, 2006 and 2007 teams as well. I really felt that all those teams gelled quite well before the playoffs and they just got beat, it happens. I didn’t like the 2004 all that much, I didn’t like Kevin Brown, Quantrill, and Lofton.

      On the other hand, I don’t look at a team’s overall success and equate that to likability. Was the 2002 easier to dislike than the 2000 team? I don’t think so, I liked them both as much, just that the former didn’t end with the Yanks losing in the playoffs.

    35. YankCrank
      July 16th, 2009 | 9:00 am

      This is all on him, if you want to have a scapegoat then the A-Rod supporters refuse to look at anything wrong he does. Bottom line.
      —–

      This isn’t true. All I was saying was I don’t care about that stuff or what he does off the field. I care about the A-Rod between the lines, the exact A-Rod every Yankee fan should care about (right? we do want him to help the Yankees win, don’t we?) and that A-Rod is dirty.

    36. Garcia
      July 16th, 2009 | 11:31 am

      I think as a Yankee fan you have to care at some level, and that helps shape our opinion of the person.

    37. YankCrank
      July 16th, 2009 | 11:44 am

      I think as a Yankee fan you have to care at some level, and that helps shape our opinion of the person.
      ——

      That’s true. I do care, at a very, very, extremely low level…which isn’t enough to compromise how I feel about Alex Rodriguez the Yankee.

    38. Garcia
      July 16th, 2009 | 11:55 am

      Well I think that’s the difference between you and me, you don’t care as much therefore your opinion of A-Rod is what it is. I care enough that I won’t defend him against the attacks being levied against him, I feel most are justified.

    39. YankCrank
      July 16th, 2009 | 12:00 pm

      Well I think that’s the difference between you and me, you don’t care as much therefore your opinion of A-Rod is what it is. I care enough that I won’t defend him against the attacks being levied against him, I feel most are justified.
      —–

      That’s cool with me, we’re certainly entitled to our opinions :)

    40. April 17th, 2010 | 5:32 pm

      [...] something is different now. It goes back to a question that I threw out there last July…regarding the likeability of these current [...]

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