Monday, October 29, 2007

The Epitome of Pinstriped Stupidity

This past weekend -- and the past month or so -- was extremely busy. Granted, it needn't take hours to stop in here to update the masses on the exciting things occurring in and around Boogieland. However, being that the past month has been spent preparing for another monster soiree, the arrival of my other half, my cousin's bar mitzvah this past weekend, and a variety of work projects huge and miniscule, it's been a rather eventful 30 or so days.

This past weekend marked, as indicated above, my cousin's bar mitzvah. We piled -- with my grandmother -- into the car and headed north to Westport, CT., and celebrated with the family to watch Mikey become a man. The apple, as it were, does not fall far from the tree. He acquitted himself well and had a lot of fun doing so, despite the pressure, stress and the modern equivalent of keeping up, and we were very happy we were able to enjoy the experience of watching him handle the pressure and the happiness of this, his day.

In another case of the apple does not fall far from the tree, however, we have Hank and Hal Steinbrenner.

Circa 1978, I was indoctrinated into the world of the New York Yankees, a team whose then-biggest superstar, Reggie Jackson, inspired his own candy bar and etched his legacy forever in the hearts of Yankee fans with multi-home run games against the Dodgers in the World Series. Reg-gie! The chants echo on re-broadcasts of Yankee "Classics" on the YES network, and anyone who knows baseball knows Reggie Jackson earned his nickname of "Mr. October."

Now, however, with the Yankees' most recent first round playoff ouster (by a relatively weak Cleveland Indians team), Joe Torre was forced out by the Steinbrenner clan. Of course, this move has further implications. The Steinbrenners, in their emphatic need to demonstrate their high degree of shortsighted stupidity, pushed Joe Torre out of the picture in the same year as three significant Yankees have options as free agents: Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. Each of these players looked to Joe Torre as a calming influence, as he was the only manager they ever knew (except in Andy Pettite's case, who defected to the Houston Astros for several years and played under other managers). With Joe Torre's departure, none of these players can regard the team as the same one with which they won championships in the 90's, because going forward from here, any failure or success will be supervised by someone other than Joe Torre.

Much more significantly, of course, was the fact that the Yankees also had another significant issue on the front burner to address other than their impending choice of manager to replace Joe Torre: Alex Rodriguez, aka A-Rod, the team's third-baseman, had a choice set forth before him. He could continue with the Yankees or he could opt out of the final three years of the deal he originally signed with the Texas Rangers (and which he took with him when he was dealt to the Yankees). The Yankees, while going about a search to replace Joe Torre as manager, repeatedly indicated they would not negotiate with A-Rod if he decided to opt out of his current deal. Part of the reason why they were so desperate to keep his current deal in place was that part of that deal was the Texas Rangers agreed to pay approximately $21 million of A-Rod's annual $25 million salary over the last three years of the deal. By opting out of the deal, the Yankees will effectively lose that money.

In their attempt at repeating King George's mantra of "It's Good to Be A Yankee," the two morons, Tweedle-Dee (Hank) and Tweedle-Dum (Hal) have effectively said of A-Rod "If he doesn't want the privilege of being a Yankee, then goodbye to him." Except the two nitwits, and their shitbird father, haven't bothered to watch what is happening in their own organization. They have insulted and dismissed Joe Torre (with a silly, incentive-laden, demeaning offer), shown they have little, if any, regard for the real cause of their consecutive playoff dismissals (good starting pitching starting with young, talented pitchers who can reach 90 mph or better with their fastballs), irritated three of their most respected free agents (Pettite can simply leave, and it's very likely he will do so; Mariano Rivera, even at the age of 38, is still a top-notch closer; and Jorge Posada is, both offensively and defensively, an impressive, high-end switch-hitting catcher), and most importantly, given the excuse to A-Rod and his agent to pursue high-end dollars.

If the Yankees remain true to their word and ignore A-Rod's re-free agency and do not attempt to re-sign him, they will impress the hell out of me. Despite A-Rod's incredible regular season achievements, he had no meaningful hits or RBI in the playoffs. As talented as he is, he chokes come playoff-time, and for a team whose only mantra is "Win The World Series or be Cast Aside (Like Joe Torre)," a guy who can't perform in the playoffs doesn't belong here. And frankly, for a guy to be paid $30 million annually, to not perform in the playoffs while I'm paying $250 a ticket is an insult to me as a fan and a season ticket holder. So let the guy walk.

Except the shitheads -- aka Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum -- don't do things in a well-thought-out manner. You have the feeling that, despite Yankees GM Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner clan warning A-Rod that if he opted out he would be ushered out, you again have the feeling they will go back on their threat and attempt to re-sign him, further demonstrating their desire to make themselves look like morons.

I don't mind that fact; what bothers me is that with every classless, stupid, immature quip, sound-bite or interview one of these idiots offers forth, it tarnishes the Yankees. The Steinbrenners, with their actions and comments over the last month, have solidified themselves in the annals of least classy owners. The way they mistreated and mishandled the departure of Joe Torre was absolutely repulsive. And with their mishandling of those Yankees who will soon depart, their cluelessness and classlessness will have far more disturbing implications. While they trumpet the fact that it's good to be a Yankee, they have shown, in the next few seasons (until they hire another, solid replacement for the recently-departed Joe Torre), it will not be good to be a Yankee. Just a few hours north, Boston was celebrating its second World Series in four years and yet, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum were going on and on about how wonderful it is to be a Yankee. Is it really?

Is it really wonderful to be a Yankee when repeated, continual success (Joe Torre's guiding the team to the playoffs every year he managed the team) was met with increasing criticism? Is it really wonderful to be cast aside or left for dead by a team that operates politically rather than by what is happening on the field? It it really great to play for a franchise that is more concerned with the appearance of facial hair but is willing to sign a 45-year-old pitcher who can't hit 90 on the radar gun, nor can he reach the fourth inning? And is it such a great thing to be forced to listen to a pathetic, sandbox-esque retort to Joe Torre's matter-of-fact explanation that his departure wasn't his own choosing?

The apple, indeed, does not fall far from the tree.

Or, as they say in Yankeeland, it's deja vu all over again.