Are you sick of watching almost every player on the New York Yankees put forth consistent, non-competitive at-bats since shortly before the All-Star break? Hell, are you sick of watching that for the better part of the last three seasons?
Well, just imagine how former Yankee Paul O’Neill feels! He’s stuck with broadcasting some of these snoozers on the YES Network, which has to be even more painful. Watching the game evolve over time and also watching a talented team fall far short of expectations has to infuriate the former champion, who won four World Series with the Bombers and had his number retired this past August.
Then, on Friday Sept. 2, when the Yankees faced the Rays in Tampa, O’Neill finally decided to speak up. Most fans are surprised he didn’t blow a gasket or say something like this previously, as the Yankees had already begun their collapse, but better late than never.
After finishing up a road trip against the lowly A’s and Angels with a 3-4 record, the Yankees then went to Tampa to lose another series and got off to a blazing hot start Friday (hehe just kidding), going 5-for-32 as a team with 13 strikeouts in a brutal 9-0 loss. Five Yankees struck out multiple times.
In one of the most flat, embarrassing losses of the season, here’s what O’Neill said in response to the offensive performance:
Paul O’Neill ripped the Yankees for their poor offensive output
Outside of 2000 when the Yankees faltered down the stretch to 87 wins (but still won the World Series in five games!), do you remember ANY roster O’Neill was on during his time with the team that looked anything close to whatever this is?
The Yankees have long lacked the “it” factor and it’s been proven time and time again. Getting punched into the ground by their chief rivals? Check. Playing down to their competition for long periods of time? Check. Choking in the postseason? Check. Letting former Yankees constantly get the best of them when the “revenge” games are on the docket? Double check.
You might think, “Well, O’Neill was part of a dynasty, so of course he’s going to say something if the Yankees aren’t meeting that standard of play.” If that was the case, O’Neill would’ve been an outspoken liability for a decade now!
But wait … there’s good news! Perhaps O’Neill’s words played a cosmic role in turning the Yankees around. Since that Friday night, the Yankees are 6-3 and have averaged five runs per game (though inflated by their 10-run outputs this past Saturday and Sunday). Still, we’ll take it! The Yankees clinched the tiebreaker over the Rays as a result and kicked the “collapse” narrative further down the road (they’re up 5.5 games with 21 left to play).
Maybe The Warrior needs to pop into the dugout and destroy some water coolers to keep the 2022 Yankees awake for the remainder of the season because there can’t be any slacking with remaining series against the Red Sox (six games), Brewers (three games), Blue Jays (three games) and Orioles (three games).