Will Leitch "previews" the New York Yankees

Deadspin founder Will Leitch “previews” the Yankees 2010 season. His pretentiousness can be summed up in this excerpt:  “The only True Yankee is a winning Yankee.” Nice. On second thought, it’s not so much a preview as it is a slam on all things pinstriped. Then again, what should I have expected from Deadspin?

So, with all due respect to Ken Tremendous, dak, Junior and Co., I will attempt to FJM his Matoonian ass (and fail MISERABLY in comparison).

I never quite understand when a baseball team says a guy just “isn’t a good fit.”

Are you stupid? Maybe the guy is a self-important asshole and nobody likes him. Maybe he brings so much negativity to the clubhouse that it takes a toll on the other players/coaches/manager. Maybe a pitcher’s shitty clubhouse demeanor wears on teammates and they don’t feel like laying out for a fly ball. Maybe they resent a player’s high salary/contract demands and that divides the clubhouse. Maybe a player just signed a big deal and doesn’t feel like legging out a ground ball. Maybe a player is just lazy (like Robby Cano, j/k) and doesn’t mesh well. Can you understand that?

This is baseball, in which one man stands at the plate, facing another man, and no one else is particularly involved at all.

Except for the manager. Imagine a situation where Player X is in a contract year and wants to build up his stats to secure a big deal in the offseason. Player X is at bat with a runner on second and less than two outs — a situation where you want to ground the ball to the right side to advance the runner. However, Player X doesn’t want to do that in a contract year so he swings away and makes an out, which eventually goes to thwart the RISP. Do you think the rest of the team will be happy he did that?

The ability to interact with others, whether it’s one’s teammates, one’s fans, or one’s city, strikes me as irrelevant. If you are unable to block out the clutter that surrounds you when you are at the plate or on the mound, it is bewildering that you could reach the Major Leagues in the first place.

Really? Ask Milton Bradley what he thinks about that statement. Maybe if fans are shouting racial slurs (which has been known to happen once or twice at Yankee Stadium) or other demeaning remarks at a player — or the papers are slamming said player for lack of productivity — it inhibits his ability to lay off the “1-2 slider in the dirt”. Jesus Christ I can’t believe I just defended Milton Bradley.

Derek Jeter is the perfect Yankee, obviously, at least until there’s a potential contract disagreement, in which case he’ll become the player who doesn’t realize how good the Yankees have been for him. (This is unlikely to happen, but GM Brian Cashman is savvy and knows that, idolatry aside, paying Jeter $25 million a year for the next five years isn’t a smart play…)

I’d bet dollars to dimes no Yankee fan EVER mutters an ill-word about Derek Jeter. Even if he leaves after his contract is up, signs with the BoSox (God forbid) and eventually wins them a WS, I can’t imagine a Yankee fan ever taking Jeter’s name in vain. We will never see the day.

However, I have to give Will points for admitting this is unlikely to happen.

It might not be a smart play to give him 5 years at $25 million, but he just came off one of his best defensive seasons and was in consideration for the MVP (as foolish as that was). Who’s to say that he can’t keep up this production for a few more years? (For the record, I think the Yanks offer Jeet a deal in the range of four years/$20 million per.)

Last year’s Yankee championship happened because everything broke right…

As opposed to every championship, in which things break the wrong way.

A.J. Burnett would seem exactly the type of player Yankees fans would chafe against, but because he stayed healthy and learned how to put shaving cream in a hand towel, he’s now in the upper echelon. It’s a constant shifting of the goalposts.

It’s kind of like how Phillie fans wanted to run J-Roll out of town for the “front runners” comment…until he won them a World Series. Now he’s as beloved as any other Phillie. You could make the same argument for Pat Burrell. But he’s right, Yankee fans are the worst fans; the goalposts only shift in the Bronx, nowhere else. And FYI, they don’t use shaving cream, they use whipped cream. Idiot.

The rest of us might look at the addition of Javier Vazquez and think, “Damn, the Yankees just grabbed an ace as their fourth starter.” Yankees fans say, “Man, that guy can’t pitch in New York! We haven’t forgotten 2004!”

Really? You’d be willing to forget/forgive a guy who gave up a grand slam in the deciding game in one of the worst playoff collapses in sports history? Mr. Leitch, imagine, as a Cards fan, the Holliday situation from last year magnified 100,000,000 times. Would you be able to trust that player ever again? If so, I guess you are a better man than I.

Until you win one, here, you’re nothing. (Unless you’re Don Mattingly.)

Urge to kill fading; he left Hitman alone.

It has been a long decade since the Yankees won a World Series before last season, and it is to Yankees fans’ credit that they’ve forgotten so much of the negativity of that decade now that they’re back on the throne. But it always comes back.

Urge to kill rising.

And Curtis Granderson: I know everyone thinks he’s the perfect Yankee, and he’s obviously a personal, friendly fellow. But he’s due for a dropoff this year, and all it will take will be one or two misplays in center and a .220 average in April for the tide to start to turn.

A dropoff from hitting .249 the year prior? Let’s hope not. I don’t think any fan would cheer for that. Not even the “greatest fans in sports” would put up with that shit. Also, I don’t think he’ll match his 30 homers from 2009, but you never know in the new Yankee Stadium. Furthermore, he went from hitting .280/.365/.494 in 2008 to hitting .249/.327/.453 last year. I say he’s due for a bounce-back year, forget the dropoff. And as far as the misplays in the outfield go, Johnny Damon wasn’t exactly the strongest fielder but he was still loved…while with the team.

Where’s Buzz Bissinger when you need him?

I regret having had to write this; I am a huge fan of Deadspin and Will Leitch (and always will be), but I can’t take it when people group all Yankee fans together as knuckle-dragging, beer-swilling, ignoramuses that only the follow the team during good times. Sure, there are plenty of yahoos in and around 161st St. and River Ave, but can any ballclub say that all its fans are well-behaved, knowledgeable, disciples of the game? You know, except for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I thought only Yankee fans were allowed to act uncouth (photo: riverfronttimes.com)

My sincerest apologies go out to the readers of Yanks Go Yard for the lack of FJM-quality this post has compared to the Real McCoy. I am no Cousin Mose, by any means.

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