Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rough week for Yankee fans

To say it's been a rough week for the Yankees is as much of an understatement as the franchise normally overpays for free agents every year.

In the span of about five days the pinstripes have suffered several major blows.

1). First, on the doorstep of trading for this year's trading-deadline prize of LHP Cliff Lee, the Texas Rangers upped their offer on Friday and yanked lee out from underneath, like the tablecloth underneath a table full of dishes set for thanksgiving dinner. Fantasy Spin: Lee may get more wins in Texas, but his numbers will suffer across the board when he pitches in Arlington. He's still a Top 10 option.

2). On Sunday, the Yankees family lost long-time announcer Bob Sheppard. And when I say long-time, I'm talking 57 seasons-worth. Sheppard started announcing Yankees games in 1951 and did so until 2007.

His style and voice was so crisp and unique that Derek Jeter has requested a recording of Sheppard announcing "No. 2, Derek Jeter...No. 2" be played when he bats. Players have often said they never truly felt like they made it to the big leagues until Sheppard, also known as "The Voice of God" introduced them as a batter.

Here's a quick clip of Sheppard reading a farewell poem during the final game at Yankees Stadium:

3). The final crushing blow was a big surprise as long-time owner George Steinbrenner died Tuesday of a heart attack. Love him or hate him (and most people where in the latter camp), "The Boss" brought back the Yankee Legacy, bringing seven world championships and 11 pennants to the Big Apple during his tenure (1973-2009).

The biggest rap against Steinbrenner was he was too competitive, always wanting his teams to win championships, and paying whatever it took to get them. But don't blame George. He was playing well within the free-agency rules that baseball agreed to long ago.

Personally, the bigger crime would be for Steinbrenner to hoard the money he makes from the Yankees cash cow and not reinvest it into the team. There's no crime in wanting to win as an owner. Even before his death, this tribute ran on the Yes network, and the common theme you hear from his players was that above all else George cared deeply. About baseball. About winning. About his players.

There's a lot to be said for that.


Anonymous said...

Many do not understand how poorly the NY Yankees were doing when George bought them. He could have easily taken big $ and moved them out of the Bronx, but stuck with the people of that poor section of NY. Ask Peter Angelos (Baltimore Orioles) if just spending a lot of money guaranteed anything.
MLB has a lot of issues it needed to improve, but George was not one of them. All fans of other teams would love to have a dedicated strong owner who wants to win.