The once-proud New York Yankees feel almost impossibly distant from their past glory. Forget the '70s and the dynasty years -- even 2009 feels like a prior century.
Back then, a fedora-wearing Reggie Jackson would occasionally show up for an ALDS or ALCS first pitch, preening for the crowd and hoping to inspire a roster of would-be Mr. Octobers (Spoiler Alert: they typically fell short anyway).
Nowadays, though, Jackson -- despite having the "Yanks in him" -- has chosen a different path, joining the Astros front office as a special advisor after years of feeling neglected by the Hal Steinbrenner-led New Yankees. Forget the Boss; Jackson just didn't feel the same way about the Middle Manager, and found his way to a winning franchise.
That's, sort of, what happened to Rob Thomson, too, who lurked around the Yankees bench for ages, didn't get a fair shake at the managerial job when Aaron Boone was hired, and finally got elevated to lead the Phillies prior to a phenomenal World Series run that cemented him as a Philly icon for life.
Jackson, certainly a little biased, worries the Yankees just repeated history by ushering Carlos Mendoza out the door to the Mets instead of promoting him internally, again choosing Aaron Boone over a "great baseball man."
Yankees regret letting Carlos Mendoza walk to Mets like they regret losing Rob Thomson?
It's not this simple. These are human beings. You can't slide them around like puzzle pieces (and Boone has feelings, too, as do his players in the clubhouse).
That said ... the Cubs found a very uncomfortable way to make a Craig Counsell hire work. Sometimes, MLB teams make awkward decisions. And, regardless of the viability of promoting Mendoza and keeping him around, Jackson is free to feel the way he does about the departure of another coach he respects.
Jackson felt seen and not heard in the Yankees' upper-level discussions for years (coincidentally, the First Hal Decade was filled mostly with middling teams that were far from contention). It's refreshing and reassuring to hear he still believes himself to be a Yankee at heart, but he certainly echoed the consensus on the Mendoza hire. Mets got a good one, Yankees lost another one.
Oh, and congratulations to Jackson on being the one to reap the managerial rewards associated with Joe Espada, too.