Join me in doing the right thing: “Let’s go Yankees”

October 28, 2009 | Drew Forrester

Your father and his father (that would be, of course, your grandfather) decide to open a steak restaurant. 

Let’s call it “George’s” just because.

When they open the restaurant, they pledge to feed their patrons the best steaks possible, accompanied, naturally, by the best vegetables, potatoes and wine and spirits list. 

There are other restaurants in the area that fancy themselves “steak places”.  Some of them are good, some are just OK and some are just money makers for the owners.  In other words, some of the proprietors are interested in serving a great meal and others are interested more in making a buck — often times at the expense of the food.

Your dad eventually brings you into the business after your grandfather passes away and now it’s YOUR steak restaurant too.  Dad sits you down one night over a filet and a bottle of Silver Oak cabernet and says, “Son, we can go in one of two directions here. We can continue to buy the most expensive steaks from the people in Kansas — they’re about $12.00 each to us — and sell them for $30 to our customers and make a nice living here.  Or, we can buy a $6.00 steak and still try to charge $30 to our customers and make a lot of money.”

Seems simple enough, right?  You can either continue to strive to be the best restaurant in the area — deliver on the promise of the best steak, best food, best wine list, etc. — or you can reduce the level of quality just a bit, try to keep your customers with good coffee and desserts in addition to your now-average food offerings, and be “just another restaurant.”

So, what do you do?  Do you buy the BEST cuts of meat that you can?  And then have the highest priced steak in town, albeit the one everyone raves about.  Or do you cut back, buy a “decent” piece of meat, overcharge for it, and hope you fall somewhere in the middle of the pack as far as restaurants go? 

If you say “I’d like to have the best restaurant in my community, with the best steaks, the best food and the best reputation”, then I’m quite certain you should be rooting for the New York Yankees to win the World Series in 2009.

The Yankees ARE the best steak restaurant in the community.

And just because other restaurants in the community either CAN’T compete with them or WON’T compete with them, should the Yankees stop doing business THEIR way and just fall in line with the rest of the average places that serve filet and red wine?

I think not.

And that’s why I’m rooting for the Yankees.

While other teams have decided that making money – at the expense, perhaps, of fielding a competitive team – is more important than providing their fans/community with a winner, the Yankees decided not to cave in to that kind of pressure. Rather than spend less and reduce the potential for quality, they said, “No, thanks, we’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing — which is be the best organization we can be, reward our fans with a winner, and, if we don’t win, we’ll come back next year and go at it even harder.”

I want the Yankees to win because they care about their fans.  Oh, sure, they care about making money too…there’s NO doubt about that.  But last winter, they went out and spent roughly $420 million on baseball players.  They did it for one reason:  they want to win.  They didn’t spend $420 million to immediately make more money.  That math doesn’t work.  They spent that money because they want to win.  

They want to win for themselves, their fans, their sponsors and their community.

If only we had a team here that subscribed to that type of thinking, we’d all be thrilled to pieces.

Our franchise in Baltimore has access to gobs and gobs of money through their well-oiled TV network in which they generate in excess of $125 million per-year in revenue — but all the O’s have done since opening the network in 2006 is spend LESS money on players, not more.

There will be one or two of you who whine about how the Yankees “spend more money” than the Orioles and all of that other Who Struck John? that doesn’t attach itself to the real issue.  The Yankees make a lot of money and spend a lot of money.  The Orioles make a lot of money and don’t spend much of it.

That’s not a low blow…that’s a fact.

The reality is, as much as YOU want the Yankees to fail, you also WISH our baseball franchise in Baltimore had the dedication to winning that the Yankees clearly have, right?  Of course.

You’d give the proverbial left nut to see OUR team make the playoffs year after year after year.  

Right? 

Right.

I used to be jealous of the Yankees.  I always disliked them.  It was chic to hate on the Bronx Bombers.  

But my baseball team in Baltimore has shown me the light. 

And the light goes right up I-95 into the heart of The Big Apple.

I want the Yankees to win because last year, when they didn’t win, they said to their fans, “This mediocrity will not be tolerated.  If you’re going to pay “New York prices” for major league baseball, we’re going to provide you with a product that’s commensurate with the expense you incur to enjoy it.”

That’s what sports teams SHOULD do.

All of them.

The Yankees do it.

And before you throw out your flimsy excuse about how they “have more money than everyone else”, you should also keep in mind that they SPEND more of it than anyone else.  They absolutely DO raise the most revenue of any team in baseball.  Should they be penalized for that?  Absolutely not.  

The Orioles have revenue issues of their own and not ONE of those issues has anything to do with the Yankees.  The Orioles don’t sell enough tickets.  That’s THEIR fault.  The Yankees and any other quality franchise in major league baseball shouldn’t be held accountable for the dismal attendance numbers in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Cincinnati, etc.  

It might also be suggested that perhaps the Yankees work harder at appeasing their fans than anyone else. 

It’s probably true:  they DESERVE to win more than anyone else because they WANT TO WIN more than anyone else.

Those are facts, kids.

When the Yankees miss the playoffs, they open their checkbook and buy better steaks to serve to their customers.

When the Orioles fail to break .500 for the 12th straight season, they spend LESS money on the food and promise a better experience in two years or so.  

“Please keep visiting our steak restaurant while we collect a whole lot of money.  In a year or two, we think we might be a great restaurant again and we’re quite certain you’ll enjoy our food.”

It’s the difference between operating with the fans in mind and operating with making a profit in mind.

So, like I told you all in August, I want the Yankees to win the whole thing.

Yes, it feels weird.  (By the way, I actually think the Phillies are going to win…better overall pitching and a hair better at the plate.)

But I didn’t write or say that in August just to get reaction.

I meant it.

I would thoroughly enjoy seeing the Yankees win.  It would remind the Orioles that they aren’t just going to decide to win in 2011 and, magicially, it’s going to happen.  It would keep Andy MacPhail and his staff honest — they promised us their “plan” would yield results as far back as 2007.  I’m holding them to that.

I’d actually like to speak with Andy about his “plan” and the progress he believes he’s made over the last 29 months but we’re not allowed to speak with the club ON the record.

That cheats the baseball fans in Baltimore, of course.  It robs them of the opportunity to hear the club analyze their progress and success.  The fans in Baltimore, it seems, never get rewarded.

And if the Yankees DO win, their fans get the ultimate reward.  And since the people of New York are the ones funding the club, shouldn’t they reap the biggest benefits?

I think so.

That’s why the state of the Orioles franchise is so aggravating.  We all are funding this outfit through ticket sales and our monthly cable bill and they still can’t spend our money the right way. 

We want a winner. 

Period.

We want people in the stands again.

Period.

New York has it.  

Then again, they’ve earned it.  They put in the work and now they get the reward.

No pun intended, I think the Yankees deserve to be told, “Well Done!”.

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