The Yankees are united on two fronts. The first is a World Series lying in wait. And then, there is all that anger directed at the Commissioner and Astros.
One by one, the Yankees are commanding the attention of the sign-stealing cheaters in Houston and the Commissioner of MLB, Rob Manfred. The expressed anger is fast and furious, and it’s coming from all quarters of the Yankees organization.
Today, Yankees Position Players – Yesterday, The Pitchers
In alphabetical order, the following is the lineage of that protest, with brief snippets and links to the full article that registers the depth of the Yankees’ concerns.
Brett Gardner (NorthJersey.com – February 19.2020)
Unlike his now-retired teammate CC Sabathia, Brett Gardner gets one more crack this year to his second World Series title. Accordingly, he takes a more philosophical approach when he talks about the cheating Astros.
“I’m definitely disappointed and frustrated by what went on, but I’m excited about the team we have and… beating every single team that we’re playing, especially those guys.”
“They’ve knocked us out of the postseason two of the last three years. Hopefully, this year we’ll be the last team standing. That’s our ultimate goal every year.”
As the Yankees longest-tenured player, Gardner has seen it all, and maybe he’s just absorbing this disturbance as yet another hurdle in a long career.
Around the game, “there’s a lot of people not happy” about the Houston scheme, “and I’m one of them,” Gardner said. “But the longer we stand here and talk about it, the longer it draws on and on.
Aaron Hicks (SNY-TV – February 19, 2020)
Aaron Hicks has taken a stance that drills down to the Civil War; we are witnessing pitting players against players. If it continues, the division within the ranks regarding their union acceding to Manfred’s desire to grant immunity to Astros players could become an even greater crisis than the cheating itself.
Hicks puts it this way. “Of course, with the Players Association, we want the best protection possible,” Hicks said. “But I feel like that goes against our code and what we want to do, as far as, ‘This is how we make a living.’
“And to be able to cheat kind of goes against why we’re here in the first place. We’re here to compete against the best of all teams.”
Stay tuned on this one.
Aaron Judge (ESPN.com – February 18, 2020)
Aaron Judge held back for quite some time while other Yankees went on record. As a player with a cool demeanor who does everything “right”, and reminiscent of Derek Jeter’s double non-talk, Judge did anything but mince words when he spoke out.
“I just don’t think it holds any value with me. You cheated, and you didn’t earn it,” the New York Yankees outfielder said of the 2017 World Series championship won by the Astros.”
“It wasn’t earned the way of playing the game right and fighting to the end. The biggest thing about competition is laying it all out on the line, and whoever’s the better player, a better person, comes out on top.
And to know that another team had an advantage — nothing that you can really guard against — I just don’t feel like that’s earned.”
And there was more. “When it comes down to a player-driven scheme, I feel like the players involved need to be punished. If I go out there and cheat the game —
I think [Yu] Darvish was the one that said, ‘If you’re playing in the Olympics, you win a gold medal, and you find out you cheated, you don’t get to keep that medal.'”
Gary Sanchez (MLB.com – February 12, 2020)
Gary Sanchez took a somewhat different approach in expressing his displeasure with the Astros, and in particular, Jose Altuve. Riffing on Altuve’s “Don’t Rip My Shirt” (buzzer’s inside) jog to home plate after he sent the Yankees home in the 2019 ALCS, Sanchez had this to say:
“I can tell you that if I hit a homer and I get my team to the World Series, they can rip off my pants,” Sánchez said through an interpreter, adding a broad smile. “Everything. They can rip everything off. If I get my team to the World Series, hitting a walk-off homer like that, they can rip anything off.”
It’s okay, Gary. Forget the pants, we’ll settle for the home run that brings the Yankees a title.
Giancarlo Stanton (Sports Illustrated – February 19, 2020)
Giancarlo Stanton was still with the Miami Marlins when the Yankees fell victim to the cheating Astros in 2019. And last year, he was barely a factor as injury upon injury forced him out of the lineup throughout the postseason when he finally did return.
Still, that didn’t stop Stanton from noting in response to Astros’ owner Jim Crane’s controversial comments on sign stealing having no impact on the game, Stanton explained just how much better he would be if he knew which pitches were being thrown.
“If I knew what was coming in ’17, I probably would’ve hit 80-plus home runs,” Stanton said.
Echoing what is now a widespread view that extends well beyond the Yankees, Stanton added, “I don’t think the penalties were harsh enough player-wise,” Stanton explained.
“I think that at the end of the day, it gives more incentive to do that if you’re not going to punish the players that took part in it.”
Gleyber Torres (Sports Illustrated – February 17, 2020)
Still a babe-in-the-woods in many respects, Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres did not hesitate to enter the fray. Perhaps, this is a signal he will soon be joining Aaron Judge as de facto leaders in the Yankees clubhouse.
Adding to a common theme, Torres noted, “It’s not respectful to baseball when you cheat,” Torres said. “We feel frustration to see we play our team legal, and others like Houston don’t play legally.”
“It’s really easy to compete when you know what is coming, and you know what I mean?”
Torres went on a more light-hearted sprint with this example.
“If I play video games with you and we face the TV, and I saw your controller, and I know what is coming and win if you tell me we play again, I do the same thing because I win,” he said jokingly, but still with frustration. “It’s true!”
Yes, it is true, Gleyber. And so are you.
Yankees: What About The Others
You probably noted some recognizable names are not included here. For reasons that are most likely none of our business, searches on Google did not reveal anything of substance on the topic at hand for these Yankees: DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, Mike Tauchman, and Mike Ford.
Voit, Tauchman, and Ford may be too busy fighting for a job with the Yankees, and at the moment, LeMahieu is more wrapped up with his desire to remain with the team beyond this year, hoping to be granted a contract extension.
The Beat Goes On
Controversy continues to swirl throughout major league baseball, and it extends far beyond the Yankees clubhouse.
Commissioner Rob Manfred remains under fire, and there is no end in sight.