The Yankees remain on the prowl with daily shots taken at the Astros and Commissioner Manfred. But when is the line crossed from motivation to distraction?
The Yankees, much like the Dodgers, are in a tight spot. They have valid claims that World Series titles were fragrantly stolen from them.
And while Commissioner Manfred throws gasoline on the fire by proclaiming yesterday that the World Series trophy is merely a “piece of metal,” the Yankees are confronted with a tough decision.
Manfred’s claim spits in the face of baseball fans across America, but his words have special meaning in the Spring Training camps of the Yankees and Dodgers.
Yankees And That Piece Of Metal
Championships and that “piece of metal” mean everything to big-league ballplayers.
It is the sole reason why they will endure six months, 162 games, 1500 innings, constant travel and late arriving flights, rain delays, losing streaks, separation from families, slumps…all for merely a ticket to the postseason and the opportunity to claim that trophy.
Why, for instance, does CC Sabathia care? He’s retired, set for life financially, and on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame?
And yet, he keeps getting “angrier” every time he thinks about the title he believes was stolen from the Yankees by the cheating Astros.
We look at the millions of dollars these ballplayers are earning, and a portion of fans have the mind to say – “Get over it, will you? You’re set for life – what’s your problem?”
But for someone like Brett Gardner, for instance, his journey with the Yankees has seemed an eternity since 2009, and the last championship he has seen.
In 2020, Gardner, like Sabathia, has (probably) this one last chance to put a cap on a career that has stamped him as someone who will receive the loudest of cheers when he is introduced at annual the Yankees Old Timers Games in years to come.
Buttressing the emotion, though, is the stark reality that the Yankees will face the Houston Astros six times during the upcoming season.
Manfred Adds Fuel To The Fire
Commissioner Manfred will, in the next week or so, send a memo to the Yankees and all teams indicating that “retaliation” against Houston batters will not be tolerated. A formula for ensuing suspensions is also expected.
This is likely to tick the Yankees off even more. Taking away a pitcher’s primary weapon to go inside to major league hitters – at the expense of a pitch genuinely “getting away” – lays bare yet another advantage Houston will enjoy in 2020.
These are distractions thrown up in the face of the Yankees as they begin the 2020 season, having invested $324 million to secure a real ace of their staff in Gerrit Cole.
Yankees: Aaron Boone, The Ultimate Person Of Tact
This is real, and it is possible. The task now is thrust upon Aaron Boone, who has been as vocal as anyone in expressing his anger toward the Astros,
Somehow, he must find a way to stem the tide keeping the Yankees focused on the real target, amid a commissioner who adds only fuel to the fire.
It’s not a piece of metal. The trophy is a symbol of a goal the Yankees have sought for more than a decade.
Twenty-seven World Series titles mean nothing to the 26 players who will occupy lockers in the Yankees clubhouse when the 2020 season begins.
Rob Manfred (apparently) doesn’t get that when he views the ultimate target as a piece of metal.
Boone primarily must engage the Yankees despite the noise surrounding his team. The story has legs – and the Yankees can’t afford to have theirs chopped off by a constant mantra to exact revenge.