It is the middle of May and the New York Yankees just experienced a season high six game losing streak, a streak that included the Yankees being swept at home by their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. At the moment, nearly all the Yankees are underperforming since battings averages are lower than predicted and in the past week there has also been an internal conflict involving Yankees veterans Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. These incidents have caused several sports outlets to declare the Yankees are experiencing a crisis.
Wait, what? A crisis?
The Yankees are only two games behind the A.L. East leader the Tampa Bay Rays and are currently ranked #6 in the power rankings; yet every day for the past week, the sports media has exaggerating the Yankee’s woes, creating a Yankee soap opera that clouds the sports news in hopes of attracting an audience that will pity the poor Yankees. Though the Yankees are not number one in baseball, it is hard to feel sorry for the America’s favorite team for these ten reasons.
10) New Yankee Stadium: The new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009 and is one of the most expensive stadiums in the world. The stadium was built to suit a team known for hitting homeruns since the dimensions of the field remain small: left field is 318 feet, center field is 408 feet, and right field is 314 feet. Though the stadium has the same field dimensions as the previous stadium, the wall in the right outfield is two feet shorter, making it easier to hit homeruns out of the park. The stadium has one of the shortest right field dimensions of 314 feet; it is 14 feet shorter than the Toronto Blue Jays Rogers Centre. There is no reason to feel bad for a team who has a brand, new expensive stadium designed to make it easier for them to hit homeruns out of the park in order to win games.
9) Alex Rodriquez: The Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriquez (A-Rod) is one of the most hated athletes, so it is no surprise that he plays for one of the most hated baseball teams (one either loves or hates the Yankees, there is no middle). A-Rod is one of the most productive baseball players in history since he is predicted to break Barry Bond’s homerun record; but he also lied about his steroid use. Though A-Rod is viewed as a disgrace to baseball by many, the Yankees realized that A-Rod’s talent was needed if they wanted to win championships; in 2007, they handed A-Rod a 10 year, $257 million contract. The Yankees deserve no sympathy since they have one of the most hated tainted talented baseball players on their team.
8 ) Yankees play Dirty: The majority of baseball teams have had baseball players who have abused steroids at one point in their lives. At the moment, the number one example is A-Rod who tested positive for steroids the year before he became a Yankee. Several Yankees who helped bring home the World Series Championship in the year 2000 also tested positive for steroids at one point of their lives, thus tainting the 2000 year. Though the current Yankees are clean, some of the players still play dirty. In 2004 during Game 6 against the Red Sox, A-Rod slapped the ball out of the glove to prevent being tagged. This led to A-Rod being called out for interference and the Yankees went on to lose the game and the series. Even Derek Jeter was forced to play dirty at one point. In a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in September 2010, Jeter faked getting hit by a pitch. Though he was awarded first base, Jeter continued to show off his acting skills by holding his arm in pain; even the Yankees trainer left the dugout to check out his arm. While Jeter was acting, Rays’ fans were watching replays that showed that Jeter was never hit by the ball, only his bat was hit. Though no baseball team has perfect players, the Yankees have several players who have shown that they are not afraid to play dirty in order to win; they do not deserve any sympathy.
7) Aging Yankee Veterans: Many veteran Yankees are approaching the age of 40, a number that implies that an athlete is too old to be playing ball. Jeter, team captain and fan favorite, became a free agent for the first time in his career this past offseason. Though it was widely predicted that the Yankees would create a contract for Jeter to ensure that he retires as a Yankees, no one could have predicted that the drama involving the contract negotiations would become one of the biggest stories of baseball during the offseason. The 2010 baseball season was not one of Jeter’s best and the Yankees realized that Jeter’s skills would only worsen as he aged. During a meeting that involved Jeter, Jeter’s agent, Jeter’s attorney, Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman, Team President Randy Levine, and Yankees’ Co-owner Hal Steinbrenner, Jeter lasted only 45 minutes due to his anger about how the Yankees were making the negotiations public. Cashman even went to the media and recommended that Jeter test the baseball market to see if he could get a better deal, a statement that showed how the relationship between Jeter and the Yankees now strained. Though Jeter ended up signing a three-year, $51 million contract with an option year, baseball fans continue to debate when the Yankees will assign Jeter to a different fielding position. Another aging Yankees player is Jorge Posada, a player who once served as the main catcher of the Yankees but was forced to hang his catching gear due to multiple injuries during the 2010 season. Posada was assigned the DH role, a role he has failed at since his batting average is currently .165 and he remains hitless against left-handed pitchers. Posada is playing in his last year of his four-year, $52.4 million contract with the Yankees; but, if he does not begin to hit the ball, his season may end earlier than expected. The Yankees deserve no sympathy for the way they dealt with their veterans. Though teams should not let emotions get in the way of contract negotiations, Jeter and Posada deserved more respect than what the Yankees gave them.
6) Yankees let the Public Know about Internal Problems: Though all baseball teams deal with drama, the Yankees have purposely made some of the drama public. On March 14th, Posada saw that he was batting in the ninth spot for the first time since 1999. Posada was furious and embarrassed at the situation and benched himself that night, a night in which the Red Sox were in town. As mentioned earlier, Cashman is not afraid of using the media for his gain. During the game, Cashman told the media that Posada’s benching had nothing to do with an injury, but that Posada benched himself. Though Posada’s action was selfish and immature, the way the Yankees dealt with it was also selfish and immature. The drama continued to worsen when Jeter defended Posada and said he did not have to apologize to anyone, a move that further angered the Yankees. Even Red Sox DH David Ortiz came to Posada’s defense. It is hard to feel bad for a team that purposely blows a situation out of proportion.
5) Yankees have Spoiled “Fans”: Since the Yankees are known for producing World Series Titles, their fans have become accustomed to winning. Since the Yankees have the most World Series Titles, some Yankee fans are only Yankee fans because the Yankees are considered the best baseball team in the United Sates. Though the majority of Yankee fans will follow their team in the good times and the bad times, certain Yankee “fans” expect the Yankees to always win. Toward the end of the 2010 baseball season, the Yankees lost the A.L. East Title to the Tampa Bay Rays and entered the playoffs as the A.L. wild card. Even though the Yankees still made it to the playoffs, the fans wanted Yankees Coach Joe Girardi gone. Girardi was blamed for the Yankee’s poor September record since he made bizarre bullpen moves and kept changing the lineup. Rumors of Girardi leaving the Yankees to manage the Chicago Clubs emerged, causing some Yankee fans to become excited at the possibility of a new coach. Though Girardi ended up agreeing to a three-year deal with the Yankees, the Girardi drama demonstrated how quick Yankee fans are to turn on a Yankee. The Yankees’ fan base includes spoiled fans and bandwagoners that do not deserve any sympathy since there are several teams who do not even have one World Series Title.
4) MLB Favorites: The Yankees are one of the oldest teams in baseball, have the most World Series Titles (27), and have numerous players in Baseball Hall of Fame; thesis reasons have caused the Yankees to become the most popular team in baseball. Since the Yankees have a huge fan base, this also means that they make the most profit. According to Forbes magazine, the Yankees are worth $1.6 billion; the team that comes in second is the Boston Red Sox, who are worth $870 million. Since the Yankees are American’s favorite team, they are also favored by sports outlets. When the Yankees lose a game on national television, the ESPN announcers seem to mourn along with the Yankee fans. During any baseball game, the umpires seem to favor the Yankees, ensuring that the Yankees make it to the post season and bring their fans (and high television ratings) with them. There is no reason to feel bad for a team that has major league baseball rooting for them to make it to the post season.
3) Yankees can afford to make Mistakes: The Yankees are able to produce high paying contracts without worrying about the negative consequences. In 2007, Posada signed a four year, $52.4 million extension contract. The reason why the contract is so expensive is because the New York Mets were after the Yankee’s star catcher. Now, with all the drama involving Posada, the Yankees are probably regretting the contract. Posada missed time last year due to injuries and is rumored to be released by the Yankees if his batting average does not increase by the All-Star break. In 2007, A-Rod received a 10-year, $257 million contract. This means that the Yankees will have a 42-year old player on their team in 2017. During the 2010 offseason, Jeter signed a three-year, $51 million contract, even though his numbers have been decreasing with old age. At the moment, the Yankees are wondering how long Jeter can last at shortstop before breaking his hip. Another contract signed during the 2010 offseason was to Rafael Soriano, a former Ray who led the A.L. in saves during the 2010 season. Though Soriano had a history of injuries, the Yankees signed him to a three year, $35 million contract. At the moment, Soriano is currently on the 15-day disabled list. Though several of these contracts may be viewed as a mistake in hindsight, the Yankees are able to afford these mistakes since they have the money. While some teams may suffer for a year due to a bad contract, the Yankees can afford to move on. Their ability to not suffer from costly mistakes is another reason why no one should feel bad for the Yankees.
2) Hank Steinbrenner’ Comments: In 2007, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner stepped aside and let his sons Hal Steinbrenner and Hank Steinbrenner take over the responsibilities. In July 1020, George Steinbrenner died, leaving behind the Yankee legacy and charity work he performed in Tampa, Florida. This past season, Hank Steinbrenner tried explaining why the Yankees failed to win the World Series championship; some Yankees are too busy building mansions. Though he did not name anyone, everyone knows Jeter is building a mansion in Tampa. Steinbrenner also commented how the current revenue sharing and luxury tax system was communism. It is hard to feel bad for an owner who is complaining about how he lost $130 million due to this system when the Yankees are worth over a billion dollars. Steinbrenner even hinted that small market teams should not be playing in the major leagues; hinting that he wants the Rays contracted. It seems as though Steinbrenner is upset that the expensive Yankees are not bringing home the World Series rings every single year because of certain competitive teams. Major League Commissioner ended up telling Steinbrenner that he better keep his mouth shut.
1) Pay Roll: The current Yankees payroll is $196,854,639 million, the largest payroll in baseball. In fact, Alex Rodriquez makes $32,000,000, a number that is viewed outlandish when the Kansas City Royals’ payroll is $35,712,400. The Yankees are known for scouting for the best player in a needed position and writing him an enormous check in order to persuade him to come over to the dark side. Meanwhile, small market teams spend the year scouting for players with potential and planning deals and trades, knowing that there is always a possibility for the new player to not live up to their potential, resulting in the team to suffer. Since the Yankees have a huge payroll, their fans assume that the Yankees are guaranteed a play-off appearance every year and an A.L East Title. This idea has begun to dissipate since the Rays, who own baseball’s second lowest payroll of $41,932,171, continue to remain a threat to the Yankee’s plan. At the moment, the Rays lead the A.L. East and are two games above the Yankee. Though the Yankees must be hurting knowing that their payroll is 4.7x the amount of the Rays, yet they still have trouble beating them; the Yankees do not deserve anyone’s sympathy. After all, the Yankees are the ones who decided that money was the main thing needed to win championships and they still have a large amount of money to buy new players.
Bobbie Dittmeier Study: Design cause of Stadium homers MLB.com
Derek Jeter fakes getting hit by Pitch Associated Press
Hank Steinbrenner: Some Yankees Not Concentrating on Winning Huffpost Sports
Ken Davidoff Cashman needs to take Command Charlotte Observer
Lisa Swan A-Rod Gets Slappy NYDailyNews.com
Mark Feinsand Rafael Soriano heads to 15-day DL NY Daily News
Murray Chass Does Yankees’ Steroid Use Taint Torre? The New York Times
Ryan Mink Planning for Future with Prospects New MLB.com
Talks hurt Derek Jeter-GM Relationship ESPNNewYork.com
Yankees worth $1.6 billion The Associated Press