The New York Times had a bizarro world take on Masahiro Tanaka’s contract, and Yankees fans ratioed them.
For some reason, the New York Times chose violence on Thursday morning, attempting to prey on Yankees fans’ emotions when they were at their most vulnerable.
Rightfully, Masahiro Tanaka has a massive approval rating among Yankees fans at the end of his seven-year deal, which he fulfilled to the fullest before wishing the fanbase well on his way back to Japan. Depressing!
Tanaka suffered a partially-torn UCL in his pitching elbow in the midst of his very first season in Pinstripes at the age of 25, but never went under the knife, never needed Tommy John surgery, and simply gutted his way through it to some of the franchise’s all-time postseason performances.
Sure, his 2017-2020 Yankees teams didn’t take home rings, which you can hold against him if you’d like to in private. But no one on earth would blame him for those shortcomings — heck, no one even really blames the Yankees for losing in ’17 and ’19 to the league’s foremost cheaters.
Apparently, though, “no one on earth” does not include the editors of the New York Times sports section, who chose today of ALL DAYS to label Tanaka as some kind of failure.
Not only do you choose to put forth the take that Tanaka “never lived up to the hype,” but you put it in the FIRST LINE of the tweet? You got some nerve, Paper of Record.
And, of course, there’s the whole portion of this where no major leaguer is really paid his true value, and Tanaka likely deserved double his actual salary while the Steinbrenners lined their pockets on his back. But that’s not even the point we’re infuriated about here!
This was the easiest slam dunk in the recent history of the NYT sports section to get some emotional Tanaka retweets, and they still couldn’t fit the ball in the basket.
New York sports, outside of the Yankees and Rangers (with occasional contributions from the Isles), has been largely useless since 2012, so we do understand the Times’ obsession with failure.
But to label Tanaka as such simply because he…what, didn’t go 20-4 with 2.30 ERAs every year? That doesn’t feel right now, tomorrow, or a decade from now.
Don’t worry, though. Yankees fans showed up in droves to the rescue with the power of the ratio.
There is a point to be made that Tanaka’s arsenal never quite looked the same after his first half-season, but guess what? That has less than zero to do with his performance, which remained stellar, especially in October.
Traditionally, that’s how Yankees free agents are judged, right?
How does a 3.33 ERA in 10 starts sound, raised primarily by this postseason, when one of his two starts came in an unyielding monsoon in Cleveland? What about an 0.90 ERA in three starts during the 2017 postseason, which should’ve resulted in a World Series berth and a chance to further improve those numbers?
And, as commenters so helpfully shared, he was among the league’s top-10 arms in the regular season, too!
Every Yankee fan on this planet will miss Masahiro Tanaka and his contributions, even if they were beaten over the head this offseason by the team’s desire to stay under the luxury tax threshold until they realized his departure was inevitable.
Now is not the time to force us to defend his extremely defensible output, Old Gray Lady. We’re watching you.
What’s next? A Bari Weiss column on why Jaret Wright deserves the departing ovation Tanaka got?