Saturday, October 20, 2012

The smearing of Curtis Granderson

The New York Yankees may not actually have any true accountability anymore -- after all, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi still have jobs after the most embarrassing postseason since the 2004 ALCS -- but boy, do they know how to stick it to people. Fresh off their humiliation of Alex Rodriguez, they have now moved on to smearing Curtis Granderson, the player who led the team in home runs and RBIs for the last two seasons, and led the AL in RBIs in 2011.

First, Kevin Long, the hitting coach who was once credited with helping Granderson improve his approach at the plate, told this to the New York Post:
“We all know Curtis is a swing and miss guy,” Long said of Granderson, who went 3-for-30 (100) and whiffed 16 times in the postseason. “He started to struggle in situations where those swings and misses become more glaring than usual.
“I think Curtis can take something out of this: Where was my head at, was I confident enough? There might have been a little bit of self doubt that I saw. He’s got to go through that and see where he’s at and make adjustments.”
True, I don't know what's in Granderson's head. What I do know is that it's pretty unseemly for Long to publicly accuse Granderson of having a confidence issue, and to single him out this way. Especially when the powers that be in Yankeeland did everything they could to sap this team of their swagger by all the crazy lineup changes and public humiliations of their players.

Gee, I can't imagine why Granderson might have had self-doubt, if he actually did, when Joe Girardi panicked and showed that he had zero confidence in the hitters that, as the Yankees like to continually remind us, won 95 games in the regular season. Girardi's bizarre moves did nothing but make the team look like a laughingstock.

Sure, Granderson probably needs a better approach at the plate -- his strikeouts are rising, his batting average is falling, and he was horrible in the postseason. You know, something a batting coach is supposed to help him with. I guess Long did "help" him, though, by telling the New York Times about how Granderson went 0 for 11 in "chases" -- those are swings at pitchers outside the strike zone -- during the ALCS. Classy!

Now I see in this morning that a "Yankee source" reveals to the New York Daily News that the team "plans to send Granderson to an eye specialist to see if his eyesight has been the source of his problems at the plate." Gee, it's too bad that the Yanks had to wait so long to get a referral from their HMO for Grandy.[/sarcasm]

I have several thoughts on this. The first is that it is not beyond the realm of possibility that somebody who struck out 16 times in 30 postseason at-bats, and 195 times during the regular season, might have an issue with his eyes. The second is that if this is indeed the case, then why the heck didn't the Yankees do something about it when it could have actually mattered? There are a gazillion eye specialists (many of whom are even Yankee fans) in New York City who could have examined Granderson earlier, and at a moment's notice. It's not like he would have had to wait for an appointment!

But the third, and most cynical, reaction to this story is that I remember what George Steinbrenner did to Reggie Jackson at the end of his time with the Yankees, when Steinbrenner didn't want to re-sign him. Jax was struggling, and The Boss made things worse by publicly ordering him to get an eye exam, treating it like a punishment. It was not one of Steinbrenner's finest moments.  Regarding Granderson, there are rumors that the Yanks will pick up the 2013 option on his contract, but don't want to sign him to another deal. Is this their way of explaining why?

I was as frustrated as anybody by Curtis Granderson's postseason numbers this year. But his poor playoff outings don't justify the Yankees treating him like a human pinata, especially given that Granderson not only has helped the Yankees as a player, but as a person. He's a good man, and he doesn't deserve this type of treatment.

You have to wonder if this smearing is being done to somehow redeem Brian Cashman's reputation for trading for him, given that Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Max Scherzer -- all players the Tigers got in the trade for Granderson -- helped beat the Yankees, while Granderson didn't even start the final game of the ALCS. Yes, that makes me extremely cynical. But we just finished watching the Yankees scapegoat Alex Rodriguez to run him out of town, and then have to start doing damage control when they finally realized that he, for now at least, is going to exercise that no-trade clause. I have good reason to be cynical!

What do you think? Tell us about it!

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