The Yankees And The Acceptance Of The Law Of Diminishing Returns

Yankees lose - is there anything else to say?

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner insisted in 2012, “My family will provide a championship-caliber team year after year.” Yeah, so what?

The Yankees are not what they used to be, the team that swaggered onto the playing field, with a front office that insisted on winning nothing less than “it all,” and most significantly, a team that was feared throughout baseball.

Yankees Top Brass (Mike Strobe - Getty Images)
Yankees Top Brass (Mike Strobe – Getty Images)

The words above were spoken by Hal Steinbrenner in 2012, just after the Yankees had suffered a four-game sweep in the ALCS at the hand of the Detroit Tigers.

Steinbrenner may wish to believe “nothing has changed.” Damn if he isn’t right, and nothing is more revealing than a repeat of the mantra oozing from Steinbrenner’s mouth yesterday in declaring the Yankee’s season anything but a failure.

We live in a world today where David ( the Tampa Bay Rays) trumps Goliath as a norm in the Yankees universe, and the only thing that seems to matter from ownership is that the Yankees put a “championship-caliber” team on the field this year and every year.

Years in which losing becomes synonymous with winning and no one in the Yankees organization recognizes the difference between the two, as losses in the postseason pile up.

Truth In The Yankees Universe

Socrates did not have his own definition of truth; he only believed in questioning what others believed as truth.

What happens, though, is if the Yankees resist answering our questions about the truth, creating a virtual world in which “the truth” doesn’t matter, we risk succumbing to drinking the Kool-Aid because that “feels” much better than the truth.

Living In Hal Steinbrenner’s World

When we live in a virtual world, we don’t question Hal Steinbrenner’s claim yesterday that “He’ll be back,” referring to a major decision confronting the Yankees this offseason on Gary Sanchez.

He’ll be back? Oh, okay, I just didn’t realize he had gone somewhere.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone - It This really the team we've dreamed about?
Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone – It This really the team we’ve dreamed about?

Similarly, Hal Steinbrenner set us up to decrease the Yankees’ payroll because COVID has resulted in “huge losses” incurred by the team and its shareholders.

We know of the cutbacks we’ve been forced to make in our purchases, vacations, and regular doctor visits.

So why question the Yankees and their need to economize – even though it’s hard to conceive the minuscule dent that could have been made in the Yankees value set by Forbes at $5 Billion.

Similarly, we are called on to accept Brian Cashman’s defiance to anyone suggesting that he and his analytics brain trust are not Aaron Boone’s puppeteers. To accept that Boone dreamed up the misguided strategy to use Deivi Garcia as the “opener” for Game 2 in the dead of night, alone in his hotel room?

Yankees Comfortable As A Ho-Hum Team

These people, our leaders at the top echelon of the Yankees organization, comfortable in the virtual world of their own reality, cannot seem to utter the truth, even when it’s staring at them in the face.

Do we know the difference, anymore?
Do we know the difference, anymore?

When a team can lose fifteen of twenty games played, how does a ten-game win streak erase that in a season where teams making the playoffs barely edged those that did not (16-14)?

I won’t get into it because it stretches into the world of politics, rightly banned from posting on all Yankees-related Facebook groups. But you can see the parallels drawn to the presidential campaigns, can you not?

How About Some Reckoning With Reality

I want to hear some reckoning of the truth from Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman, and to a lesser extent, because he’s there to protect his players, Aaron Boone.

How refreshing it would be to hear from the Yankees:

  • The trade for Giancarlo Stanton set us back ten years, and there’s no escape.
  • We were wrong for not signing Didi Gregorius last year.
  • Gleyber Torres is a lot of things, but he is not a major league shortstop.
  • We did everything we could with Gary Sanchez, but the experiment is over.
  • The offseason is a failure if we can’t re-sign DJ LeMahieu.
  • Aroldis Chapman‘s time as a lights-out closer is over.
  • Clint Frazier, the job in left field is yours.
  • It’s been nice knowing you, Mike Ford, but back-up first basemen are a dime a dozen.
  • Tyler Wade, as Boone’s first off the bench go-to guy, is not the best we can do.
  • We have no idea what we’re doing with Miguel Andujar and Thairo Estrada.

Yankees Losing Sight Of A Tradition Lost

Hal Steinbrenner in believing that putting a “championship-caliber team” on the field, undermines Yankee’s history and tradition.

That definition may fit those who sit in the “blue seats” behind home plate at Yankee Stadium (when they feel like it), as well as Yankees’ shareholders who wait only for that dividend check every year, but it doesn’t cut it for fans of the team.

If it’s really about us, the fans, the Yankee organization owes us answers to the raising questions.

But that may be the sobering conclusion we reach when we realize our virtual world as a fan of the Yankees doesn’t exist – either – and no one is listening at the other end…


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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.