Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Denial is not just a river in Egypt -- It's the state of the Yankees

History's greatest unexplained mysteries include Easter Island, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and why the Yankees got swept in the ALCS. At least that's what Yankees president Randy Levine seems to be claiming. He told the New York Times that "there was a total collapse in the A.L.C.S. that was very surprising. Why did that happen? Nobody will ever know." Really? We will never be able to figure this out, no matter how many sabermaticians and baseball historians pore over the numbers? Ridiculous.

Brian Cashman also treated this debacle as some sort of great mystery. He told Ian O'Connor on ESPN Radio that "I'm not sure if I can ever give you a tangible, realistic, honest, this-is-what-I-know from (what) CSI New York has provided. ... I just don't know." Are you kidding me? It's not that complicated, Brian!

Cashman also said this:
"It was kind of like a Yankee flu went through five of our guys in the lineup. ... I do think there is a mental component that really crept in on us, and all of a sudden & you hear our players talking about passing the baton. Well, I wonder if the baton that was passed was one of pressure and tightness and it started going throughout our entire lineup, that, 'Oh jeez, he didn't get it done; I've got to get it done.' And they started getting us out of our game.

Gee, you'd almost think that Joe Girardi's indefensible panic in the playoffs, where his only answer to any dilemma seemed to involve somehow benching/humiliating a player, whether it be Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, or Curtis Granderson, may have had a ripple effect. And that instead of projecting calm, Girardi projected instability and lack of trust in the players who got him to October in the first place by putting up a spring training-style lineup in a postseason game. Nah, that's too out there, right? Who would ever think that a manager showing such lack of faith in his players would have such consequences?

It is interesting that Cashman used the term "Yankee flu." Because there is a term called "blue flu," which describes when police officers, who are not allowed to go on strike, call in sick en masse to express their displeasure with their contract and work situation. Is Cashman suggesting that the Yankee bats deliberately went on strike?

Of course, Cashman still refuses to acknowledge that there is anything wrong with the team he assembled as far as having a season-long inability to hit with runners in scoring position, as well as generally only winning when they hit homers. Mix in some angry boos from the hometown crowd, and add a little missing leadership on the team thanks to Derek Jeter getting hurt in Game 1 of the ALCS, throw in the lack of faith Girardi and Cashman showed in their team, which led to tightness and panic, and it shouldn't really be a big mystery as to why the Yankees lost.

I do have to ask this: have Cashman or Girardi ever read a modern management book? Ever given some thought about how to motivate people? For that matter, reading a classic book like Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" would have served them better than what they did. Because their actions in the postseason seem to show not just lack of baseball skills (sorry, Joe, Derek Lowe is not a good option when the game is on the line!), but a lack of people skills. At this point, I wouldn't trust either of them to plan a one-car funeral, let alone run a baseball team.

Unfortunately, they work for the Steinbrenner kids, who are just as unaware of good management as they are. So they will all pretend that this was just some big mystery as to why the Yankees lost in the postseason. Heaven forbid anybody actually be held accountable for this disaster.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

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