I just read this article on WFAN, and it finally got me inspired to write a post I've been wanting to write for a while now, but have just been too lazy to write. Now, I don't agree with the title that it stinks to be a Yankees fan because, despite all my problems with the organization, I still love this team. However, the article brings up a point I've been thinking about for a while now; is winning all the time bad?
More after the jump...For those non-nerds out there, the title of my fanpost refers to an episode of The Twilight Zone in which a character named Rocky gets shot and finds himself in what he thinks is heaven, where he winds up winning all the time and getting everything he wants. Soon, he finds that winning all the time is boring and annoying and realizes that he's in hell. There are days when I feel like that with the Yankees. Okay, I won't go as far as to say "I'm in hell" because the Yankees win all the time, but for me personally, it's been kinda disheartening.
One of the reasons I was so excited for this season is because I did not know if we would make the playoffs this year, what with the Sox being declared the WS Champs and all, and with the Rays coming off one of their best years ever. I would get to see new, young talent come up and show what they can do, talent like Ivan Nova or maybe ONE day, Jesus Montero. It's why I love Brett Gardner so much, because I love seeing young farm talent come up and strut their skills as best they can. It's also why it infuriates me when he is platooned for Andruw Jones, a player I want to see DFA'd about a month or three ago. If you need a 4th outfielder to come up, I'd much rather see Greg Golson get a chance, and not just because his name is Greg (it does help though, it really does.) It's why I love seeing Eduardo Nunez come to the plate for the Yankees. These things are honestly what I love about baseball the most.
But it's now the All Star Break, and here we are, with a lineup that no longer has Ivan Nova pitching, but rather Freddy Garcia in his spot. From young back to old again, with Nova sent back down to the minors. Jesus Montero is still not up in the majors yet, and I have to watch Russell Martin behind the plate, which mind you isn't as bad as I thought it'd be. And now, as the trade deadline looms its hideous Youk head, I once again have a sense of dread that Cashman will trade away more top prospects for stop gaps that will help the Yankees win this year, or at least help them secure the regular season. I do respect and like the idea that the Yankees want to put a winning team on the field every year, because there are much much much worse alternatives out there, but this "win now at any cost" mentality does get annoying at times.
I look at other teams and think, if Jesus Montero was in their organization, would he already be the starting catcher? Or, if Joba Chamberlain had come up in their organization, would he have been a dominant starting pitcher? Mind you, I do not know the answers to some of these questions, but I really think that they would be. Maybe Joba wouldn't be dominant, but I think he'd be better than just a relief pitcher. I really tend to think that I wouldn't be asking these questions if the Yankees did not have the "win now at any cost" mentality. In the long run, I don't really know. I just have to hope that Nova, Man-Ban, or our other pitching prospects do not have to go through the same thing Joba did.
Like the writer said, maybe I'm just crazy. How can I actually not want the Yankees to win? It's not that I don't want them to win, because I do. And I absolutely don't believe that having a god-tier high payroll makes winning a certainty, because anything can happen. But when I see things like last year's attempt to trade Montero for a monthly Cliff Lee rental, I just sigh. Or when I see talks about trading him or other prospects for a King Felix, I just cringe. It's not that I don't think these players are good, and I totally understand the Yankees reasons for doing so. To me, if we get these players, then what's the point of watching the regular season? Again, maybe I'm crazy, but I just hate the idea of sucking up every superstar we can possibly get our hands on. I'll root for them if they come here, but still, it just takes something away from the game to me.
I definitely agree with the writer about one thing though, in that I don't think Yankees fans will ever have that same feeling of joy about making the playoffs as a team like the Reds or Brewers. I will never forget 95' or especially 96'. What makes me so happy about 96 is what tends to piss me off about now, in that we gave a lot of young talent a chance to shine, and they helped lead us to 4 WS championships. That is what got me excited about this year in Spring Training, and what will hopefully get me excited about the next couple of years, seeing young talent grow (and hopefully not seeing them traded). And the great thing about being a Yankees fan is that we have the money to keep the home grown talent if they become big.
I have the privilege of being able to watch a lot of teams play, and right now I think the most exciting team to watch is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Currently, they are only 1 game out of first place and 4 games over .500. I honestly cannot remember a time when that team wasn't at the bottom of the barrel, and now they actually have a chance to win their division. I cannot imagine the joy a Pirates fan must be feeling right now, halfway into the season. The only thing that comes to mind is again, the 96' Yankees, or maybe even the 94' Yankees before the strike. Anything can happen though.
Anyway, here we are at the All Star Break. The Yankees have the 3rd best record in the majors, and already pretty much look to be a shoe in for the postseason. And yet here I am dreading what our front office does with Jesus Montero, with Ivan Nova, with Nunez, and with our other prospects all for the sake of winning here & now, no matter the cost to the future. I'm probably alone in thinking this, but I would honestly rather see the Yankees take a chance on prospects and possibly lose then sacrifice them and possibly win. Maybe it's just the gambler in me. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on this. Or just flat out insult me. Either is good.