• Didn’t Need No Welfare States, Everybody Pulled His Weight, Gee, Our Old Lasalle Ran Great…

    Posted by on January 18th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    A look back at parts of a July 1990 piece that Dave Anderson had in The Times -

    Eventually the Yankees announced the attendance as 25,120, but according to American League policy, that total included tickets that were sold but not necessarily used. At the start of Friday’s twilight-night doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins, the spectators were so scattered they hardly outnumbered the pigeons swooping back and forth above the screen behind home plate and into the rafters under the upper deck.

    Maybe that’s the proper nickname now for the team that plays in Yankee Stadium: the New York Pigeons.

    The team is in last place. The principal owner is holding his breath that he won’t be expelled. The best player is in the trainer’s room with a bad back, and sitting behind the desk in his office the manager is in deep thought.

    ”I’m trying,” Stump Merrill said, staring at a lineup card, ”to come up with nine guys.”

    But on the Pigeons, there aren’t nine guys who can play baseball the way the Yankees once played it. In other years, the Yankees usually sent a delegation to the All-Star Game. But when the American League team is introduced Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, only the starting second baseman will be wearing a gray uniform with ”New York” across the chest.

    ”I never thought,” Steve Sax said, ”I’d be the only Yankee going to the All-Star Game.”

    In the years to come, Andy Hawkins will be remembered by Yankee historians as the symbol of this 1990 season. Against the White Sox in Chicago a week ago, he pitched a complete-game no-hitter but lost, 4-0, when his outfielders started impersonating the Marx Brothers.

    What it does mean is that Hawkins is now the symbol not so much of the Yankees’ failure as of the Yankees’ fiasco. In sports, it sometimes happens that way. Twelve years ago the fiasco of the pro football Giants’ losing seasons suddenly was brought into focus by the Fumble, a last-minute handoff from Joe Pisarcik to Larry Csonka that bounced to Herman Edwards of the Philadelphia Eagles, who ran into the end zone for a 19-17 victory.

    Soon after that, Giant fans were burning tickets and hiring a small plane to fly over Giants Stadium towing a sign that read, ”15 Yrs of Lousy Football We’ve Had Enough.”

    Now that the Lost No-Hitter is the Yankees’ version of the Fumble, their frustrated fans might be expected to mutiny as those Giants fans did. But the organizer of the Bring Back the Yankees movement, Bob DeMartin, has turned into a naturalist. DeMartin is a New Jersey trucking executive who was barred by Yankee Stadium security from displaying a sign reading ”Forgive Him, Father, He Knows Not What He Does,” at last September’s banner-night parade.

    ” My feeling now,” DeMartin said, ”is let nature take its course. I don’t want to get disappointed.”

    What a difference twenty years makes, huh? But, you have to be a Yankees fan born before 1978 to really “appreciate” what was going on in Yankeeland back in 1990. Talk ’bout a ‘hole diff’rent ball game, and then sum, a-huh.

    If Hank and Hal decide to cash out after Big Stein is 100% gone, maybe those days could return? I hope not – but, it’s possible, I suppose…

    Comments on Didn’t Need No Welfare States, Everybody Pulled His Weight, Gee, Our Old Lasalle Ran Great…

    1. 77yankees
      January 19th, 2010 | 12:12 am

      I hear you Steve. Back then, even though the Yanks went from 1982 to 1993 with no postseason, they were in the hunt for a good portion of them, particularly 1985-88.

      But the years of 1990-92, you knew in March those teams had no prayer of .500 – never mind the ALCS.

      I think the saga of Hank & Hal, as well as their sisters holdings as well, will take years to play itself out. I would severely doubt there’d be a quick rash decision to sell.

      And then there’s the matter of a buyer. Look how long it took Tribune to unload the Cubs. And I’m sure MLB would want the team to fall into the right ownership, and not into say, the Dolans – cough, cough.

    2. MJ
      January 19th, 2010 | 8:10 am

      I don’t think you had to be born before 1978 to “appreciate” what was happening. I was born in 1975 but I understood your meaning to be that teenaged fans such as myself didn’t “get” it back then. I think we got it pretty clearly. The Yanks were a last place team, they were horrendous, the ballpark was empty, there was talk of moving to Jersey, and every Mets fan I knew had a big mouth. That state of reality in 1990 played itself out for everyone, not just those that were alive during the CBS years or whatnot.

    3. MJ
      January 19th, 2010 | 8:12 am

      77yankees wrote:

      And then there’s the matter of a buyer. Look how long it took Tribune to unload the Cubs. And I’m sure MLB would want the team to fall into the right ownership, and not into say, the Dolans – cough, cough.

      Actually, I think the Cubs example is a perfect reason for Yankees fans to be plenty worried about who buys the club after the Steinbrenners decide they want out. Ricketts was an MLB insider and got the deal over an equally-qualified other interested party (Mark Cuban). For that reason, I don’t believe that MLB is interested in the “right” ownership, they’re only interested in handing the team off to someone that will play by their rules.

    4. Raf
      January 19th, 2010 | 8:51 am

      The team bottoming out in 1990 was a combination of a series of GM’s and managers, and a blustery owner. They were competitive as late as 1988, and then as now, they threw a lot of money at mediocre pitchers.

    5. January 19th, 2010 | 9:26 am

      MJ wrote:

      For that reason, I don’t believe that MLB is interested in the “right” ownership, they’re only interested in handing the team off to someone that will play by their rules.

      It’s always been a country club – and the “boys” allow in who they want, etc.

      Ask Donald Watkins.

      http://www.netshrine.com/vbulletin2/showthread.php?t=1141

    6. MJ
      January 19th, 2010 | 9:54 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Exactly. That’s why I don’t believe that the “right” owner will own the Yanks when the Steinbrenners decide to cash in. It’ll only be the owner that MLB decides to install. And, given the way MLB dislikes the Yanks (even though they’re good for business), it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they shaft the Yanks with their pick of a new owner.

    7. 77yankees
      January 19th, 2010 | 10:43 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Exactly. That’s why I don’t believe that the “right” owner will own the Yanks when the Steinbrenners decide to cash in. It’ll only be the owner that MLB decides to install. And, given the way MLB dislikes the Yanks (even though they’re good for business), it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they shaft the Yanks with their pick of a new owner.

      Cuban’s only qualification is his $$ – he’s too much of a loose cannon and the last thing the owners want is someone screaming at opposing players & umpires from the dugout box.

      As stated, MLB owners know a successful Yankee team is good for baseball. I can’t see them in say, 2014 approving someone who’ll pay the Steinbrenners a billion dollars, and then look to recoup their investement by cutting the Yankee payroll to $80 million. The owners would be obliterating their beloved revenue sharing, the players union would crap themselves, the Yankees would go 78-84, and FAUX would broadcast color bars instead of the World Series hoping to get higher ratings.

    8. MJ
      January 20th, 2010 | 12:56 am

      @ 77yankees:

      Last I checked, $$ is the best qualification in an owner…especially one with a proven track record of successfully running another sports franchise from ineptitude to relevance. The Cubs could’ve used Cuban.

      77yankees wrote:

      Cuban’s only qualification is his $$ – he’s too much of a loose cannon and the last thing the owners want is someone screaming at opposing players & umpires from the dugout box.

      FYI – the owner you just described in your quote already existed. His name was George Steinbrenner from 1973-1990.

      Precisely because MLB doesn’t want another Steinbrenner, Cuban was denied. Precisely because MLB doesn’t want another Steinbrenner, MLB will make sure that the Steinbrenner family sells the team to a nice, quiet person that has strong relationships with several MLB owners already.

      That person may not cut payroll to $80M as you say, but that person won’t be as invested in winning as the Steinbrenners were/are simply by virtue of being clubby with MLB brass. You can’t puff your chest out if you’re a patsy.

    9. 77yankees
      January 20th, 2010 | 8:35 pm

      MJ wrote:

      The Cubs could’ve used Cuban.

      After 100+ years without a championship, they could use Fidel Castro as an owner – never mind Cuban.

      I don’t ever remember GS ever yelling at opposing players. His OWN players- sure, but Billy Martin yelled enough at the opposing team anyway.

      Not that I believe it got to that point, but I can see Used Car Salesman Selig dialing up his buddy David Stern for a reference on Cuban, and we know how that would have gone.

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