Yankees Five Reasons To Start Aaron Hicks Over Aaron Judge
By Cory Claus
Reason Number Three: This is an Example of Hal Steinbrenner’s Sense of Humor
I want to be clear that I am a big fan of Hal’s. He has put the money back into the team and intends to win every year. But he is also a realist. He knew that the team was not going to win anytime in the last two or three years. And he might have looked at projections that told him the baby Yankees would not arrive in force until 2018.
Add to all of that how Hal has been treated in the press and by the fans. His dad, George, went out while the Yankees were on top. The team’s success over the last 15 years of his active involvement placed George in a mandorla.
His passing also gave Yankees fans amnesia. All of a sudden he was always great and the team had always been successful during his tenure. They seemed to forget little things like the 1980’s. George traded players and reassigned managers and general managers the way Joe Girardi shuffles pitchers in a tight game.
What he did not realize was that stability is the mark of a great organization. Teams like the Spurs, Steelers and St. Louis Cardinals know that even good managers can have losing seasons. It is better to stick with coaches and managers who have been successful in the playoffs rather than search for the Next Big Thing. Big George never got that and the 80’s Yankees were never a serious threat to win anything.
But Which Steinbrenner is more Fun?
Not so for Hal. He got that from day one, and the team has been a model of professionalism and consistency since he took over. They might not have won much lately, but they have neither bottomed out in any season nor quit on the field. And now that the farm is starting to provide players, the continuity and planning should pay off handsomely.
But no matter what he does, Hal is always going to be compared unfavorably to his dad. Just two years ago I heard the prominent co-hosts of a mid-morning show—with a damn catchy theme song—predict Hal would sell the team within five years. No one believes him, or in him.
So maybe he thought he would put Hicks on the team just to frustrate critical Yankees fans and commentators. He might have thought that, since the Yankees were not likely to win it all for a couple of years, a part-time player will not make a difference. I have never seen or heard of Hal making a joke so this is in the range of possibility, as much as any other reason I have heard so far.
If so, good one, Hal. I will try to pay you back by mismatching your socks.