Opening week is in the books and it didn’t go perfectly, but our Yankees came out just fine. The Yanks are 3-3 thus far and are looking like they could be contenders. Tanaka came out guns a-blazin’, our Captain moved up the all-time hit list, and Ellsbury looked so much better donned in pinstripes. There was some bad, too, of course. CC looked terrible, Tex is already on the DL, and the Yankees hit one home run all week.
Seriously, folks, the New York Yankees, the BRONX BOMBERS, hit one home run this entire first week of baseball. That is unacceptable, it is not what we fans are use to seeing. Someone must be to blame, right? The Bronx is boiling and I need to blow some steam.
I’M TIRED OF KEVIN LONG
I have been for about three years in all honesty. This guy has ruined some of our highest priced star’s careers. He is praised because the Yankees have finished first or second in team offense five times since he took over in 2007. The reality is he took over an offense that had Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada among others that had learned how to hit, and hit well, years before they knew Kevin Long. The Yankees became a team that once manufactured runs into a team that hit home runs or struck out under his guidance. And let’s face reality people. It’s not hard to hit home runs in Yankee Stadium.
Remember Curtis Granderson? Before he came to the Yankees he was a career .272 hitter who would hit double-digit amounts of triple to lead the league. He would hit loads of doubles, steal 25-30 bases, and score tons of runs. Once under Long’s tutelage, he slowly declined to a .230-type hitter who bombed 40 home runs. Gone were the triples, the doubles, and the stolen bases. Granderson turned from a legitimate threat in every aspect of the game to the league leader in… home runs?
Everybody loves to hate Mark Teixeira because “he’s done” and no longer “has it.” He too has been in a steady decline since Kevin Long got his hands all over his swing. Tex was one of the best all-around first basemen in baseball. He was a .309 hitter, averaging 34 homers a year and 37 doubles in his six years before putting on the pinstripes. He was a beast of a heart-of-the-line-up-hitter who could produce runs with a single, a double, or a home-run on a consistent basis. In his 6 years with the Yankees he is a .260 hitter as his doubles and OBP have been dropping considerably as well. This is not a coincidence, people, this is a pattern. And the person that started this pattern is a problem.
Who remembers when Derek Jeter went on the DL back in 2011? Jeter was hitting .260 with 12 extra base hits in 62 games which are very un-Jeter-esque numbers. While on the DL in Tampa, Jeter worked out his swing with his old manager and hitting instructor, Gary Denbo. I repeat, it was not Kevin Long, his hitting coach, but Gary Denbo. He finished that season raising his batting average 37 points to .297. The following year, at age 38, he lead all of baseball with 216 hits. Now that’s just a bit strange, isn’t it?
Then last year, as if I wasn’t irritated enough with the dismal offense he was leading to the cellar of the AL East in EVERY OFFENSIVE CATEGORY, he became this boisterous, loud-mouth, attacking Yankees’ players and officials. Last season, when Tex came back only to reinjure himself, he spoke out against Cashman and the trainers saying he knew Tex wasn’t ready to return yet. Oh yea, Doc, why didn’t you say anything then? Then, this past off-season, he decided to talk about how lazy Cano was after he left. Let me get this straight. Our hitting coach, who no one has ever heard of, is bashing last year’s only hitter worth a lick in HIS line-up? He needs to be quiet and figure out how to fix things and fix them fast.
Now we open 2014 and the Yankees line-up has many new faces: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Kelly Johnson, and Brian Roberts. They brought 815 career home runs to the New York Yankees line-up and we saw one home run over our first 6 games, none of which came from them. We saw our line-up struggle to solve the Houston Astros pitching staff. THE HOUSTON ASTROS!!! We saw endless amounts of runners left on base in scoring position. The only home run that was hit was from the least suspecting player on the team in Brett Gardner. This is just plain ugly. And I don’t think anything will change. If this keeps up and Kevin Long isn’t fired by Joe Girardi, then maybe it is time for Joe Girardi to go as well (but that is a whole other Bronx is Boiling). Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill. I can think of a lot of ample replacements, can’t you?
There is a lot to look forward to based on week one’s results. A lot needs to change and change fast if we truly want to contend. Manufacturing and scoring runs is atop the list. So is hitting a heck of a lot more home runs for the team with the moniker the Bronx Bombers. Only time and box scores will tell.