The Yankees brand extends to “rules” that even govern the length of their player’s facial hair. What will they do when faced with Domingo German…
The Yankees 2019 season took a big hit when their winningest starting pitcher was caught with a domestic violence charge that ended his season. The probe by Major League Baseball is still underway, but the powers that be took the allegations seriously enough to ban Domingo German from the team through the World Series.
We can argue all day about the impact of German’s suspension on the Yankees in the postseason, but there is an issue far more significant than that.
There is a building history of domestic violence cases and how major league teams react to them. Most recently, the Chicago Cubs brought Addison Russell (right) back into their fold, despite the scare of a media and fan-based uprising.
After this, players around the league were asked to vote for somebody they “most respect based on his leadership on the field and in the community,” according to the MLB Players’ Association. Yup – you guessed it. They voted for Jose Reyes.
The Yankees At A Crossroad
Draw your own conclusions but make no mistake – the Yankees have a public relations tiger by the tail on this one. Either way, the team loses. Keep German and expect the wrath of a portion of the fan base that is sure to be coming – if they opt for strictly baseball (they need him) reasons.
Or do they trade him or release him, with little or no money lost as he’s under team control, and not even eligible for arbitration until 2021, for the foreseeable future?
Surely, there’s a team out there like the Cubs, who need starting pitching together with an apparent tolerance for players with a cloud over their heads.
This is a time when the Yankees storied history and legacy has a chance to bit them in the butt. Pair the German behavior against the battles waged by Don Mattingly, and more recently, Clint Frazier about the length of their facial hair – and the Yankees “problem” quickly comes into focus.
For the moment, the Yankees remain in limbo awaiting word from Major League Baseball regarding additional suspension time reaching into the 2020 season for German. But in the interim, there is no time to be lost in planning for the 2020 season.
The team, by now, is hopefully convinced they cannot achieve the ultimate goal of a World Championship in a short series without the starting pitching studs their competitors have.
Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and Luis Severino do not match up against the Astros Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke. Likewise, the tandem of the National’s Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin easily outweigh what the Yankees have.
Bringing It Back Home
But we’re still talking baseball, and that’s not the point.
This is or should be, strictly, a decision made by the New York Yankees that details to what extent the Evil Empire intends to be evil in 2020. Accept German back into the fold whenever MLB says he can pitch again – or hold the line to protect and save the Yankees Brand. There is, unfortunately, no in-between.
From where I sit as a Yankees fan for more than a half-century, I believe the team has no choice but to cut ties with German and send him on his way. This is not shoplifting at Walmart. Instead, the man is involved in an incident that permeates and blots our country and our culture. Sorry, one strike – and you are out.
That’s my story, and I will never wavier from it…