Did Yankees fans bully Hal Steinbrenner into signing Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodón?


We are hereby nominating, “Yankees Fans Booing in 2022 Playoffs Will Chase Stars Away” as the Wrongest Take of the Millennium, right ahead of “Invest Safely With FTX.”

Not only did nobody get scared … not only did Anthony Rizzo return to the Bronx immediately without even shopping around … not only did Aaron Judge sign a hefty contract unlike any other to preserve his legacy in New York … but Hal Steinbrenner may have actively started the betterment of the Yankees because he was lustily booed on Derek Jeter’s honorary day in September.

For those keeping score, the booing didn’t chase a single person away and added two superstars to the 2023 roster. OK, then. Nice.

Remember the SNY piece, “Will Yankees’ External Toxicity Problem Cost Them Aaron Judge, Other Free Agents?” published on Oct. 26? Valiant effort, Mets fans, but not quite.

The Yankees aren’t quite in Steve Cohen’s stratosphere (though they should buy a ticket to get there!), but it’s hard to knock an offseason featuring $522 million of commitments to a captain and a co-ace, as well as an additional $51.5 million to a beloved first baseman and reliever — with potentially more to come, pending Andrew Benintendi’s other offers. And it may have all started when Steinbrenner was raked over the coals by the crowd at Jeter’s day.

That led him to push his chips in on Judge, which led Judge to request he reinvest more of his wealth in the team’s success, which led to Rodón, which could finally lead to a shot at glory.

Yankees fans booing Hal Steinbrenner started Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodón spending spree

Someone who’s followed the Yankees over Hal’s reign would assume the offseason is now complete. Hell, most assumed the offseason was complete following Judge’s return.

They’ve seen Manny Machado, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and Bryce Harper ignored. They’ve seen Josh Donaldson absorbed and Carlos Correa’s path to Minnesota paved by Brian Cashman. They’ve seen Andrew Heaney compromises and desperate mid-season trades, executed when the braintrust realized they forgot to hire any lefty bats.

Instead, this offseason featured a blockbuster follow-up to a lifetime contract for the face of the franchise, as well as a hefty supply of breadcrumbs on Thursday night’s emergency YES Network Hot Stove broadcast that indicated Andrew Benintendi was still in the team’s sights.

Benintendi is seeking a five-year deal. The Yankees are probably eyeing three years, at the most. But even a three-year commitment would almost have to push the team past the Cohen Tax threshold they’ve been so dutifully avoiding. Even a few weeks back, Steinbrenner swimming in those waters would’ve been about as expected as him landing a manned craft on Mars.

So, boo him. Keep booing him. Boo louder. Shake the seats. Spit up chunks of chicken.

As Jeter himself said, Yankees fans boo because they want to cheer. Sometimes, they boo because they want to see their passion rewarded with a roster representative of their spending power. For the first time in a long time, they’re at least approaching a match there — thanks to the 12th man.