If you're paying good money or spending your precious time watching the New York Yankees and are more often than not receiving a poor product, you, as the fan, have every right to complain. With how dreadful the team has been without Aaron Judge, too, there's even more of a reason to be infuriated.
But perhaps outrage at every turn isn't the answer, because then we're opting to live in an insufferable world. By no means are we "defending" Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner here, but when he expressed a bit of confusion about the unruly fans when the team was 40-33 as they currently weather a massive injury storm, it wasn't anything to crucify him over.
That didn't stop the fanbase from doing so, however. On no planet is any single owner fully in the know about personnel decisions or living and dying by every pitch, so there's naturally going to be a bit of a disconnect between the suit in the suite and the diehard supporter in the bleachers.
Honestly, if the Rays weren't 54-27 and a ridiculous 34-10 at home, this might not even be a discussion. Right now, the Yankees are 43-35, and though they should be much better, it's really not bad considering the circumstances.
And we can't really grill Hal for not seeing the bigger picture because he's just trying to ensure everything stays afloat for 2023. His job isn't to live in the past. His job isn't to read the tabloids and Yankees blogs that are dissecting every single decision/pitch/sequence during a Wednesday evening game in the beginning of June.
Why doesn't Hal Steinbrenner understand why Yankees fans are upset?
The real anger stems from Brian Cashman constructing this frail roster that lacks depth. It stems from his countless "nothing" trades that have seen the Yankees empty the top end of their farm system for injured or underperforming players. It stems from manager Aaron Boone lying about injury diagnosis after injury diagnosis. It stems from Boone telling us the team is close to "turning the corner" or that he's encouraged by the way the team played after a gutless 5-0 loss.
But why would Steinbrenner think about any of that? He already made the decisions to keep Cashman and Boone for the foreseeable future. That's the reality. He's looking at a team, at this moment, that's comfortably sat above .500 despite countless, detrimental injuries and regressions.
All things considered, things aren't that bad. It's no doubt frustrating. But to an extent, he's right -- it's only June. The season isn't even halfway over. A lot can happen between June 21 and Sept. 1. Is there necessarily a reason to be optimistic? Not exactly. But Steinbrenner at least understands why fans are expressing discontent -- because there's a desire for excellence in the Bronx. And as long as he's hearing that, it's helpful for the right decisions to be made between now and Aug. 1.
Steinbrenner isn't thinking about Cashman's awful trade for Josh Donaldson. He's not thinking about Aaron Hicks raking with the Orioles. He's not dwelling on a majority of the starting rotation being injured. He's not thinking about left field not being addressed in the offseason, or Anthony Rizzo's slump, or DJ LeMahieu becoming a below-average player, or Giancarlo Stanton being terminally underwhelming. To him, that's just the reality for the team and the punches they have to roll with as they figure things out. None of that can be changed right now.
And if you look around the rest of the league, the Yankees only trail the Rays, Orioles and Rangers in the AL. They're neck and neck with the Dodgers. They have the eighth-best record in the league despite a revolving door of players as a result of freak occurrences -- Judge's toe, Stanton's hamstring, Rizzo's neck, Nestor Cortes being unable to handle opponents the third time through the order, etc.
Fans would like to see some bounces go their way, that's all. Steinbrenner can't necessarily control that as much as we'd like him to, but maybe he can start with forcing those beneath him to be held accountable, from Cashman to Boone to the last guy on the bench. He can work tirelessly to identify the reason why Yankees prospects so often fail to take the next crucial step in their development. He can expand the budget without hesitation at the trade deadline if the right candidates become available. He can rule with an iron fist when it comes to this team's horrific medical staff.
But he wasn't directly asked about that. He was asked how he felt about fans being upset with the team at 40-33. Did you expect him to expand on the greater philosophical issues plaguing this team? That would've been nice, but at least he'll (hopefully) be better prepared for next time he's asked a similar question when he decides to face the media.
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