During Friday night’s broadcast of MLB Tonight on the MLB Network, Joel Sherman who is a baseball writer for the New York Post, compared fans of the New York Yankees to that of cracks addicts and said they are spoiled. “Yankees fans need to suffer through a couple of 76-win seasons…”.
The conversation was taking place on-air between Sherman, host Greg Amsinger, and former major league reliever Mitch Williams. Sherman and the crew were discussing how Yankees’ fans abandoned the team last season–one in which produced 85 hard fought wins, with less than championship-caliber talent on the field. Williams went on to say that the Yankees don’t rebuild, ever. Sherman continued by talking about how spoiled Yankees fans have been over the past two decades, and if the front office was going to cut budget and put less than adequate talent on the field for the Bombers with an eye towards getting under the $189 million dollar threshold, then why abandon that thought process now?
I’ve got a few thoughts of my own for Mr. Sherman. First of all, is he also referring to team captain Derek Jeter as a “crackhead”? Wasn’t it the face of the franchise himself who has stated on more than one occasion that anything short of a championship is considered failure? The Yankees don’t celebrate and hang banners all over the Cathedral for division crowns, Wild Card berths, and American League pennants. The Yankees are too much of a class organization for that. This is a franchise that has 27 World Series crowns, and in New York, anything short of that is indeed failure. It is not that Yankees fans are spoiled or addicted to crack cocaine. It’s the idea that in New York, second best is never acceptable, ever. New York is like no other sports city in the world, and one would think that Joel Sherman would understand that better than most.
Here’s another thought for Mr. Sherman: did he ever once think that with the opening of new Yankee Stadium, and the outrageous prices of tickets, parking, refreshments souvenirs and the like, that Yankees fans are dumb enough to support a franchise that is trying to rip them off on a nightly basis, while providing second-class talent for the cost? If the Yankees and their “House That George Built” was truly concerned about the Yankee fan, and their nightly support in the ballpark, then they should have adjusted prices accordingly when the front office–Brian Cashman specifically knew full well that the team was going to go forward with players like Lyle Overbay, Luis Cruz, Reid Brignac, and Ichiro Suzuki. Let’s face it, these guys were duds, a cheap carbon copy of what is expected in pinstripes. It’s not being spoiled when the team leads all of baseball year in and year out in player payroll, to expect more than 85 wins and the failure to reach the postseason.
Mr. Sherman, this isn’t the 1980s and Don Mattingly‘s Yankees. This isn’t even the late 1960s and early 1970s and CBS’ Yankees. This is the 21st century, and with a $1.5 billion dollar stadium that is less than six seasons old, you are damn right Yankees fans expect more. The franchise changed for the worse when George Steinbrenner died. It went from win at all costs, payroll be damned, to the corporate bottom line–making money for the Steinbrenner Brothers. The problem is, someone forgot to tell Yankees fans.