Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Bronx Zoo Revisited

  • Typical insanity:

With George Steinbrenner gone, I thought things were supposed to calm down; that there would be a businesslike sense of purpose devoid of the theatrics and off-field distractions that were par for the course of the entire Yankees organization for the time he owned the team until he receded into the shadows due to age, infirmity and eventually death.

Of course, controversy drums up interest and sells tickets, newspapers and books. On the day the Mets hired a new manager, Terry Collins, the Yankees stole the headlines with their ongoing duel with Derek Jeter as to how much money they have to pay him for the past and future.

The Hot Stove situation is growing quite interesting in Yankeeland; in fact, it's hearkening back to the days of The Bronx Zoo. Back then there was a partial method to the Boss madness; now, it seems to be a residue of controversies past----they can't control themselves.

Under Steinbrenner's reign, winning wasn't enough; there had to be spice and the resulting wide-eyed amazement and attention doled out to the Yankees worldwide brand. Creating a team that simply did their talking on the field and won without pretense in a workmanlike fashion was in opposition to the theatrics Steinbrenner crafted with his Billy Martin/Reggie Jackson dalliances.

Let's examine the new look Yankees and the Bronx Zoo, 2010 (under new management).

Flyin' Brian:

I thought this was a joke when I first heard about it.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is going to rappel down a building in Connecticut as a "celebrity guest elf"----ESPN Story.

Here's what I don't get: what does rappelling have to do with Christmas and being an elf? And how is this related to Brian Cashman?

What's next? Is he going to parachute into the winter meetings? Will he have one of those Travelocity commercial hovercrafts? Or better yet, maybe they should dress him as the Roaming Gnome and have some strange occurrence happen to Flyin' Brian as he performs this bizarre stunt.

My one suggestion regarding this is that Derek Jeter not be the man who's securing Flyin' Brian's safety harness.

This is plain odd.

Do new-age elves rappel? What's Santa think of all this? Is there a commensurate insurance plan for the elves in case of injury during their somewhat dangerous activity in arriving for work? Have they signed a waiver not to request compensation for any injury that occurs in the midst of their rappel? Is there a uniform allowance?

To me, this is like Jesus Christ coming back and, as everyone waits for him to say something profound and/or lead them to the Rapture, he announces he's going bowling. Unless you're an out-and-out lunatic, there's no connection between the two.

Flyin' Brian!!!!

The "go-to guy":

In regards to the Yankees, I'm starting to believe there's a "go-to guy" at the top of the contact lists of media-at-large; this is someone who says things without thinking or truly knowing the ins-and-outs of what he's talking about; it's reactionary, explosive and unapologetic.

It could be any number of people and the identity of the "source" is beside the point.

This person just says things. Many times, they're destructive or make no sense whatsoever. Like a jilted and jealous former romantic interest, there's an aspect of anger and living in denial in the statements.

First there were the borderline insulting Derek Jeter "leave if you don't like it" shots that do nothing to help the cause of placating the captain of the team while still trying to re-sign him to a contract that's palatable for both sides in all the various contexts----in perception and practicality.

Now, there are the angry retorts to the mere idea that anyone dare approach Andy Pettitte and try to sign him.

In reading this ESPN Story, the visceral response is disturbing. Here's the relevant clip:

"Pettitte's gonna pitch here or he's gonna pitch nowhere," said the New York source, who speculated that someone in the Rangers' organization might have put out the report "to push us back on Cliff Lee."


This has an undertone of, "If I can't have you, no one will!!"

If Nolan Ryan contacted Pettitte to gauge his interest in returning to Texas, so what? Is this somehow illegal in the Yankee universe? Are the Yankees this arrogant that they feel as though they have rights of ownership over Pettitte, who's a free agent? Or is it one rogue voice in the front office who, as I said before, gets the phone call from the manipulative media looking to craft a story just like this?

Do I think Pettitte will pitch anywhere but for the Yankees in 2011? No. But to say something like this, with teeth clearly clenched and fists balled ready to fight for their "property" even if he's not their property is against the concept of free agency. Then the mentioning of Cliff Lee is so far out of the realm of propriety that it strikes of the self-importance that turns people off about the Yankees and a chunk of their fans in general.

As likable as the Yankees 1990s championship teams were with Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Jeter, Paul O'Neill----grinders, leaders and winners----certain personalities have become impossible to root for with the Alex Rodriguez-type pretentious mercenaries; the overbearing voices (whoever they are) coming from the wind suggesting that because they want, they should get----rules be damned.

It doesn't work that way anymore. This is Steinbrennerean nonsense; the kinds of things the Boss used to say when the Yankees were rejected by free agents who preferred to play elsewhere; it happened with Rod Carew and Greg Maddux and you can bet it's going to happen if Lee chooses to sign with another club.

The stories are fodder for the masses. The Yankees need to muzzle whoever is saying this stuff. Fast.

And the Jeter stuff:

There's not much controversy here aside from what people are trying to stir up. It's being reported that Jeter's agent Casey Close has contacted the Yankees to get things moving again. They'll get a deal done. It's silly to think otherwise. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: Jeter's going nowhere.



  • Viewer Mail 12.1.2010:
Kyle Johnson writes RE Troy Tulowitzki:

I believe Ryan Braun won the Rookie of the Year award in 2007 as a 3rd baseman, not Troy Tulowitzki.

I said yesterday that Tulowitzki won the Rookie of the Year award in 2007; Kyle's right. It was Braun.

I will self-flagellate like the Catholics even though I'm a Jew and it's Hanukkah. There's no excuse and I deserve to be hammered for such an egregious and easily checkable mistake.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE lefties:

I agree about being born a lefty. Apparently, it's the road to permanent and lucrative employment in the world of baseball pitchers!

I lament the fates on occasion, but find solace that had I been born lefty, the world would be deprived of my writing/chaos!!!

Gabriel (Capo) writes RE Troy Tulowitzki:

I think the reasoning in Tulowitzki's deal is the same as in Vernon Wells' deal in 2006. They want their star player to be the face of the franchise, and seeing how the Jeter negotiations are going, the Rockies chose to preemptively lock him up like Howard or Mauer, even though Tulowitzki hasn't been as reliable as those two. In a vacuum, having a franchise player isn't a bad idea, but I'd have waited at least a couple of years in order to analyze at depth his production.

Tulowitzki's a way better player than Wells and the contract is nowhere near as ridiculous. Wells was a good player who was given mega-star player money. Tulowitzki is a star player who's come through in the clutch.

I think Tulowitzki's struggles were due in large part to the disintegrating relationship with his manager/father-figure Clint Hurdle and unpreventable injuries from hit-by-pitches. My issue with the contract is the sheer unnecessary nature of it. He was signed. Why do this now?

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE lefties:

The rich just keep gettin' richer, Prince, regardless of sanity.

As far as leftydom goes, I'm a lefty, but my pops (not quite the baseball savant I am) taught me to bat right handed... and worse... THROW right handed.

Eventually I turned around to my natural left handed batting stance, but I never learned to throw left handed and my big league dreams died. Oh, that and I couldn't hit a breaking ball.

I wish someone would've taught me to throw left-handed; or right-handed. It would've saved me a lot of pain.

I was on with Sal at SportsFan Buzz last Wednesday talking about the Hot Stove; the Mets; Derek Jeter; post-season award winners; and other stuff. You can click on the link here directly or here for Sal's site to listen on I-Tunes.


Matt said...

I don't think anyone would question the logic of locking up a player like Tulo long-term, but he was already locked up! The level of risk that the Rockies just willingly took on for a near-term reward they were going to get anyway is one of the most curious business decisions I have ever seen.

She-Fan said...

I wonder if Brian Cashman has a no rappelling clause in his contract. If so, the Yankees could void it after his stunt as a daredevil elf. Very Aaron Boone-like.

Joe said...

How about we make a deal...Since you are so adamant about Jeter staying a Yankee -- and rightfully so. Then if he leaves for another team, you must fly out to Hollywood and try out for a role in 'Moneyball.' You could probably play Jeremy Giambi.

Jeff said...

On a follow-up to the Tulo thing...

In a post-signing MLBN interview with him yesterday, Tulo said:

"I want my legacy to be here in Colorado."

Are you... f***ing... kidding me?

"MY LEGACY"?????

I think that before a player is allowed to speak of "his legacy" he needs to, er... I dunno... HAVE ONE??? Look, he's good and all, but he's also been a walking disabled list. The Rockies might get screwed... it's happened before (Helton and Neagle come to mind offhand, but I know there are others). Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore... those guys are similar in talent to Tulo... guys who've been hurt too much to have a "legacy"... I don't think I heard Longoria (Tulo's brosef) ever mention "a legacy" in his long term deal.

Who does Troy think he is???