Before we even get started, let me wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. I want to get the good wishes out of the way early because I’m pretty sure the rest of this blog is going to be filled with hate and venom.
I live in Milwaukee, which just happens to be the smallest market in all of Major League Baseball. I also was born in New York, but it was my good fortune to be born a Met fan as opposed to a Yankee fan. Met fans know misery. Met fans know what it’s like to share a city with an evil force bent on world domination. That’s what the Yankees represent to me.
I was driving through yet another snowstorm to pick my wife up from her job yesterday when I heard the news that Mark Teixeira signed with the New York Yankees. The Yankees, who had already shelled out $243.5M to buy (er, I mean sign) free agents CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, shelled out another $180M for Tex.
In the end, there was always something wierd about the possibility of Washington signing Teixeira. The Nats are years away from winning. Scott Boras doesn’t do a whole lot of business with the have-nots of Major League Baseball. But the Yankees winning this sweepstakes was surprising, considering that they already spent all that money on two pitchers, that they had been connected to Manny Ramirez in a much shorter and cheaper deal, and the fact the Red Sox were still rumored to be the front runner to land the former Ranger, Brave, and Angel.
The signing is also utterly appalling. The Yankees are moving into a new ballpark, so they are going to be swimming in money. They have raised ticket prices, luxury suites have been priced out of this galaxy, and every game is a sellout. Yet, they had the unmitigated gall to ask New York City for more tax free bonds to help with the completion of their new stadium. In fact, they asked NYC for an additional $259M.
That’s what ticks me off so much. They ask the people of New York for that kind of money, which sends the signal to me they didn’t have the quarter-billion just lying around, yet they just spent nearly a half-billion dollars on these three free agents.
I am not going to begrudge any of these players their money. I covered CC Sabathia in Milwaukee, and he is more than deserving of what he got. He is a throwback. And, he’s also a guy that will never give you a problem off the field. Burnett may not wind up being worth the $82.5M he got, but it’s not that crazy of a contract considering that Gil Meche got $55M from the Royals two years ago. And, Teixeira is one of the top sluggers in the game. There were at least four teams falling all over themselves trying to sign him.
But, did they all have to sign with the Yankees? Did The Sons of George really have to buy everyone on the market?
This is why I hate the Yankees so much. They don’t think they can win it unless they buy it. They’ve always had more money than anyone else, but they seem to have forgotten what won them those World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. Believe it or not, the strength of those teams, even though they always made big trades and signed big free agents, was home grown talent.
You’re not seeing things. I’ll repeat it. Home grown talent. Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and the best closer ever, Mariano Rivera. When George Steinbrenner was suspended in the early part of the 1990′s the Yankees were forced to groom players through their minor league system. And it paid off with a dynasty.
But it all changed after the Diamondbacks beat New York in the 2001 World Series. Boss George went off the deep end. He started signing anyone and everyone. Some signings worked out (Mike Mussina), some have not (Jason Giambi). The man spent more money than the GDP of some Third World countries.
It was arrogance to think they could buy more titles. That’s why I hate the Yankees so much. They could never accept that there may be a team that’s better than they were. It’s okay to strive for excellence, but it’s another thing to try and buy it.
Look, I try to be the best talk show host I can be, best writer I can be. But I’m not naive enough to think that I’m the be all and end all. There is always going to be someone that is better than I am. It just makes me work harder. It motivates me to step my game up.
What the Yankees are doing is pretty much saying they don’t need to step their game up. They think if they buy enough all stars they will win it all in October.
But, the strange thing is they have not. They have made exactly one World Series since 2000, and that was in ’03 when the Marlins beat them. There have been playoff losses to the Red Sox, Indians, Tigers, and Angels.
The worst part about the Yankees, though, is their fans. They are no less arrogant than Cowboys fans and Bulls fans (of the Jordan Era) are and were. They have a sense of entitlement that’s just unreal. And, there is no bandwagon fan worse than a Yankee bandwagon fan. You know what I’m talking about. The one that wears all kinds of Yankee gear, yet can’t tell you who any of the players are. The kind of fans that annoy you to the point that you just want to punch them in the mouth.
If there truly is a higher power, and at this time of year we all believe there is, then the Yankees will not be rewarded for their extravagance with a World Series Title.
That’s enough venom for one blog. I now have to buy a Teixeira jersey for my wife the Yankee fan. It’s her only fault. But then again, none of us are perfect, right?
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah again!