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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  • Riddering

    I’m glad someone gave this article the FJM treatment as the author seemed to be begging for it from some of the points he made.

    I’m curious as to why you think it’s foolish that Jeter was in consideration for the MVP award. Were you just referring to the fact that there was no all-around better player than Mauer or do you think that Jeter didn’t deserve to be in the race at all as a runner up?

  • Andrew Corselli

    Riddering,
    If you put numbers aside, Jeter wasn’t even the MVP of the Yankees. I know it’s tough not to take numbers into account while talking about the MVP, but hear me out. If you look at the big picture, A-Rod was hands down the most valuable player for the Yankees last season (but by no means of the AL).

    My main reasoning here is that they didn’t start winning until A-Rod came back. IIRC their record was 13-15 in that first month without him. It might have been early-season slumps by some other players, but you can’t deny that when he came back the Yanks went on a roll. Not only did his 30 homers and 100 RBI in 124 games help, but his presence in the 4 spot gave Tex more pitches to hit.

    I’m not trying to take anything away from Jeter, he had a phenomenal season, but A-Rod was the most valuable Yankee last year if you’re not taking stats into account.

    Regardless, you can’t deny that Joe Mauer deserved the MVP last year.

    I wouldn’t have scoffed if Jeter won his first MVP Award last year — I might not have agreed with it, but I wouldn’t have scoffed.

  • http://academyelite.com Dubs

    Not a defense of Leitch, just some things that stood out…

    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.

    Actually, sort of. With nobody out, yes, you would like a groundball to the right-side, but not with one out. The reason you try to advance him to third with nobody out is that even an out will usually score the runner. It increases your odds of scoring tremendously, but with two out, not really. You still need a hit (or rare error/past ball–roughly half of a percent in the bigs) to score that run, which most players will anyway from second. Kind of a waste of an out, most times.

    Furthermore, you also need the right batter up. Using the Yankees as an obvious example, sure, you want a Brett Gardner or maybe even a Jeter to do that, but to expect that from an A-Rod or Teixera is just stupid. Big, highly-paid, hitters’ jobs are to drive in runs (including themselves) regardless of the amount of outs.

    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.

    Calling Will’s post pretentious (which it is) and then making that statement is rather hypocritical, no? Anyway, I will take that bet. Rationality is not really a strong suit of any fan (nor should it), let alone a Yankees fan.

    And FYI, they don’t use shaving cream, they use whipped cream. Idiot.

    Nothing really to add. Just struck me as bit harsh, especially if you’re not 100% sure of that fact.

    Good shit.

  • mattc

    So, invoking the great name of Ken Tremendous, you go ahead and post a FJM-style breakdown that defends every lunkheaded baseball cliche (the importance of “chemistry,” the myth of the “productive out,” an an over-reliance on small sample size) that Tremendous et. al. ridiculed so roundly? That’s finely ground irony, right there.

  • Andrew Corselli

    Dubs,
    Fair enough, you’ve got me on the first point. Touche.

    Moving on to the second point, I don’t consider it pretentious and wasn’t trying to be. Sorry if I came off like that.

    Also, any Yankee fan that would boo Derek Jeter after all he’s accomplished in pinstripes (regardless of the circumstance) is a f***ing idiot. I wouldn’t consider someone who did that a fan in the true sense of the word. It would probably be some clown who doesn’t even watch the games. I guess what I should have said was any Yankee fan who knows his @ss from his elbow would never boo Jeter. And for that I apologize.

    Lastly, I’ve heard Michael Kay (not that his word is official by any means) say many times that they don’t use shaving cream anymore because the menthol burns players’ eyes. In lieu of that they use whipped cream.

  • Andrew Corselli

    Mattc,
    Obviously you didn’t read the final two sentences of my post. Let me help you out:

    “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.”

    Are you ugly, stupid AND illiterate?

  • mattc

    Yes, I also read this part: ” I will attempt to FJM his Matoonian ass” Now, you self-deprecatingly promised to “do a miserable job of it,” but that ridiculously over-the-top reaction to criticism suggests that you don’t REALLY think you did too bad a job. Trust me, you did.

    How the hell does one pitch thrown five years ago outweigh a 238 K, sub 3.00 ERA last season? Where is the overwhelming evidence of the importance of clubhouse chemistry that allows you to dismiss Leitch’s dismissal of it so righteously? You remember clubhouse cancer Reggie Jackson and his five World Series wins, right?

  • Andrew Corselli

    Vazquez pitched well and put up great numbers in the NL East last year. You’re right. However the AL East is A LOT different than the sub-par NL East. Look at his numbers in the AL, his ERA was below 4.6 ONCE. I just don’t think he’s a good AL pitcher.

    OK, fair enough, Reggie does have 5 rings. But that’s just one example. What about Barry Bonds, arguably the biggest clubhouse cancer in the history of MLB. How many rings does he have?

  • Ryan Mangalone

    Pretty funny post.

    It’s amazing that this guy has lived in our city for X amount of years and he still is pretty clueless on NY sports. How he got that gig over at NY Mag is beyond me. Thank god, they have that other guy there that actually knows what he’s talking about. I feel somewhat embarassed for him reading his take on our local teams. His outsiderness comes out in every post.

  • JoePo

    Came here b/c Leitch linked it. It’s nice to see this format done well. All the FJM imitators I’ve seen ’til this post have been pretty tedious.

    Also, as a Cards fan, I guess it’s better to have the “best fans” thing than a reputation for throwing batteries at opposing outfielders or whatever, but it’s still depressing how many people take that designation seriously.

  • Andrew Corselli

    JoePo,
    Thanks for checking out my site. For the record, this post was never meant to rip on Cards fans at all, sorry if you took it like that. It was simply meant to point out that not all Yanks fans are drunken idiots (a few bad apples…). Also, if you’re being for real, where did Leitch link from? I’d love to see it. Lastly, I think you have Yanks fans confused with Mets fans. They are the ones who threw batteries at John Rocker IIRC. Yanks fans and Mets are completely different species.

  • Nick

    And throwing batteries at John Rocker is completely defensible.

  • Riddering

    Sorry it took me so long to get back to this post but, wow, do I have to take exception with your MVP evaluation.

    1. You can’t attribute the team’s record after A-Rod came back to one variable. It’s difficult to prove causation from one source for any field but in baseball it’s nigh impossible. Did A-Rod’s return give the team a big boost? Yes. However, many of the players in the lineup began really getting into gear as May and the summer months came upon the team. The pitching staff improved greatly. CC and A.J. went on great runs, Pettitte improved at home and Wang was no longer being shellacked every fifth day. The bullpen went from being a huge liability to being a source of confidence by the end of the season.

    2. The statement “If you put numbers aside” immediately shows me that we’re not going to agree on this. There’s no good way to evaluate baseball players or teams or lineups or rotations or bullpens without numbers. Even if you watched every game that every team in baseball played, you still wouldn’t be able to conceptualize what happened in whole throughout all those games. You need numbers. MVPs should not be awarded due to some intangible force a player brings to the team. (For example: A-Rod’s “presence” being the reason the Yankees had the best record.) Although it is funny to give A-Rod more credit due to an intangible idea rather than Jeter. Taking into account Jeter’s defensive improvement, his amazing offensive season, the number of games & innings he influenced as well as the position he played, he provided the Yankees with 7.4 WAR. I think that is more substantial to deciding the MVP than a person’s point of view on the season after A-Rod came back.

  • Andrew Corselli

    While I don’t agree with what you say, I’ll fight to the death your right to say it.

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  • http://atlbravesblog.info MadeleneHammet0439

    i like this post. thanks.

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