Friday, October 19, 2012

Yankees lose in humiliating fashion, and the recriminations begin

I missed seeing most of yesterday's game live due to work projects. This was a blessing in disguise, of course. From what I saw later, heard about and read, it doesn't sound like the Yankees even showed up. I was angry before the game, and furious after it, and I'm still ticked off now.

When I saw the first part of Joe Girardi's postgame interview, when he talked about "life goes on" and "moving on," I was more than a little annoyed -- he sounded like Tom Glavine, circa 2007, talking about not being devastated by killing the Mets season. Towards the end, though, Girardi got very emotional, especially when thanking the media for the way they handled his father's death. (I lost my own father five years ago in a similar way to Girardi's dad, so I understand a little of what he's feeling.)

At any rate, Girardi did the worst managerial job of his five-year tenure with the team with all of his panicky moves. I actually agree with Michael Kay about his assessment of the postseason -- that after Girardi pinch hit for A-Rod in Game 3, which provided the playoff's best moments, the two Raul Ibanez home runs, things went downhill, causing what Kay called a "toxic atmosphere" that surrounded the entire team. Girardi went from doing a gutsy but understandable move, to scapegoating Rodriguez by having Eric Chavez, who never even got one hit in the postseason, going 0 for 16, continually fill in for him. There was nothing "gutsy" about having Chavez start in ALDS Game 5, or in having him start Games 3 and 4 of the ALCS. It just smacked of scapegoating. To top it all off, Girardi ended up having journeyman Jayson Nix bat in Chavez' place yesterday! So much for that.

Ironically, Brian Cashman was still patting himself on the back for constructing this team. And I'm sick of his stupid "big, hairy monsters" nonsense and his ridiculous assertions that this team is Gene Michaelesque, and similar to the late 90s teams. Yet the NYC media is so in the tank for him, that nobody has the guts to point out these obvious lies -- for one thing, the late 90s championship teams never had one hitter who had more than 30 homers in a season.

Now Cashman won't even acknowledge that maybe hitting coach Kevin Long should go -- he says he'll be back next year! This is why I think the nonsense this team talks about how winning is all that matters, and that any season without a World Series title is a failure, is just sanctimonious blather. Joe Girardi will be back next season. So will Brian Cashman, and Kevin Long, and everybody else. Cashman has been GM since 1998, one of the longest tenures in baseball history, and he has one ring since 2000. I guess they will designate A-Rod as the scapegoat, and will try to trade him, but he is only one part of the problem.

Cashman also said one of the more infuriating things I heard yesterday, saying "Unfortunately, a bad spell hit us right now," and that “The perfect storm hit us, where a collection of the opponents’ pitching made great pitches and also our guys were getting themselves out and getting away from their DNA a little bit.” What self-serving waddle. No, Bri, this was your team -- a one-dimensional one that can hit a lot of homers, mostly against mediocre pitching, but that utterly failed in the postseason. Knock off the passive voice, and take some frigging ownership already.

The way Girardi and Cashman changed the lineup made little sense, and helped psychologically take the team out of the game before the series was over. You cannot say that the Yankees put the best lineup on the field in this series. It was more about settling personal scores than about winning. Because if moving people around the lineup and benching them was solely due to their numbers, and not scapegoating people, then why didn't Robinson Cano, by far the biggest goat of the series, ever get such treatment? (And no, don't tell me it's because of lack of great options as backup. As if Chavez and having Brett Gardner bat leadoff when he hasn't played since April made sense!)
A lot of fans are very upset with the quotes from an anonymous player in today's Daily News, which the headlines suggest are blaming the fans for the loss. But that's not exactly what the player said. Here are the actual quotes:
“I really think the booing spooked a lot of guys," the player said. “A lot of guys hadn’t been booed before, and they couldn’t believe how nasty it got in the stands."
“A lot of guys were talking about it in the clubhouse," he said. “I was surprised by how much it bothered them. I really don’t think they ever recovered."
Yeah, yeah, I know, according to a lot of fans, they should just suck it up. But it is bizarre to me, that fans will wear lucky socks, or sit in certain places, or do all sorts of superstitions that they think will help the team. Yet they seem completely unable to grasp that booing their own players on the field may actually have negative effects. Forget the lucky hat, folks -- how about not booing your own team when you're at the game, when they can actually hear you!

CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel wrote an article the other day calling the fans "unforgiving jerks." As he wrote, "Booing a baseball player isn't going to make him better -- but it sure could make him worse. The Yankees fans who booed their own players, they don't get it -- or they just don't care." That's about the size of it. These fans think they're awesome, though! They pat themselves on the back about as much as Cashman does!

I was okay with last year's loss to the Tigers. This season, not so much.


Graying Mantis said...

I shared your article today.

Here's my thought about the booing:

When I have to worry about millionaire's feelings, they should get a real job like the rest of us if they want to know about pressure and being under scrutiny.

This is the modern day Yankees -- whiny princesses in pinstripes.

Other Yankee teams were not booed because they were professional, tried and took success and failure personally and seriously.

Many of these players look like a collection of Kevin Browns.

Lisa Swan said...

Thanks for writing and sharing, Tony. But I disagree with you. The most me-first, selfish thing I saw any Yankee do in recent years was Posada's sit down snit, and he got a standing I and a special salute from the fans the next night!

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