"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Jumping Ship

Jay Jaffe is an admitted fair-weather fan when it comes to the New York Yankees. Jaffe grew up in Utah rooting for the Dodger teams of the late 1970s, so it’s natural that he was no fan of the boys from the Bronx. But when he moved to New York city in 1996, Jaffe fell fell for Joe Torre’s Yanks. Jaffe then rooted for the Bombers during their recent glory years, but now, the affair appears to be over. What gives? Well, it mostly has to do with the way the Yankee front office has operated for the past several seasons. In a recent article for Baseball Prospectus, Jaffe writes:

It’s painfully clear the Yankee front office is, if not out of ideas, then at least at an impasse as to how to implement the ones they have with creativity and foresight. In this regard, the pesky Red Sox have not only surpassed them, they figure to hold a distinct advantage going forward. Nowhere was that more clear than last October’s LCS clash. Sox GM Theo Epstein and his charges created a big edge for themselves in constructing and deploying their roster, while the Yanks drastically misused theirs. Emblematic were Game Six’s flailings of Sierra and reserve first baseman Tony Clark–two aged hitters with more than a few holes in their swings–which occurred while reserve outfielder Kenny Lofton looked on from Torre’s doghouse. Can’t anyone here run this team?

…As a fan, I look over this expensive Frankenstein knowing that it’s laden with superstars, even future Hall of Famers, a team projected by PECOTA to win 95 games, second-best in all of baseball, and likely to provide a good run in October. The Big Unit aside, however, this has the feel of déjà vû all over again. It’s not too difficult to imagine either Pavano or Wright as the next episode of Mystery Stottlemyre Theater, in which a previously effecive(ish) starter falls apart on the Yankee watch. Beyond that, it’s even less difficult to envision injury-induced collapses, major or minor, of a few older vets, the kind that can turn a 95-win wild-card team into an 87-win squad making tee times in October.

Jay isn’t the only member of Prospectus who is down on the Yankees. Joe Sheehan, a native New Yorker, and lifelong Yankee fan, has them missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

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1 Knuckles   ~  Mar 31, 2005 12:52 pm

1.  Weak, Jay.
Are we now so objective in our love of the game that we can only appreciate a team if it is constructed with all the soulless tactics of a German auto-maker, and it's ok to jump from team to team depending on current front office mindset? Where I come from, you root for the hometown team, and if you don't, you'd better have some damn good reasons to back up your decision. Your teams are like your family- when things go poorly, it sucks, and sucks hard, but when things happen that are cause for celebration, you get to experience the highest of the highs.

2 Dan M   ~  Mar 31, 2005 1:23 pm

2.  In Jay's defense, he admits to being a fair-weather Yanks fan from the get-go, which is understandable considering he's a transplant.

My problem with the piece was more like "haven't I heard this a thousand times before?" Also, echoing earlier comments, perhaps BP needs to disclose the investment they've made in the Red Sox every time they run an article about how poorly other teams are managed. Just get your book out, let it sell, and let's please move on.

3 jayd   ~  Mar 31, 2005 4:50 pm

3.  Pathetic,Jay
Can you imagine the Yanks dumping equivalent players like Nomar, Derek, Pedro, Pokey, Cabrera, Framingham's Own Lou Merloni, etc., etc. Never mind the total mind boner of getting rid of Hero Dave Roberts for Jay Payton, where's the outrage, crimson hosers? Who gets thrown under the bus next?

But, hey, Theo's a genius, baseball talent is a fungible asset measurable by whiz kidz with speadsheets, and the Yanks are an "expensive Frankenstein". Gimme a break, Jaffe.

I'm proud to root for a team where tradition MEANS something. Bernie is our centerfielder, and that speaks volumes about who WE are. Tampa is more of a team than the RS. Mel is going out a winner and so is Bernie.

This has really been a RS year. Even the President is fighting for RS Nation. Think of it, if they can pull the plug on Terri Schiavo, who is 95% brain dead, is there a member of RS Nation who is really safe?

Start the clock, ladies. It's time to count up to 86 again. Start spreading the news, baby. Trot, you waddlin' loudmouth redneck, meet Randy.

4 KJC   ~  Apr 1, 2005 6:02 am

4.  After all the talk about Yankee tradition MEANING something (a la Bernie), jayd goes to the new Frankenstein head (I mean that both figuratively and literally) Randy Johnson for his post's kicker.

I better point would've been made by ending with "Trot, you waddlin' loudmouth redneck, meet Moose -- again." At least there's some tradition with Mussina...

5 NBarnes   ~  Apr 1, 2005 6:27 am

5.  Re: Who gets thrown under the bus next

Speaking as a bloodless Red Sox fan android, with a brain composed of DNA selectively chosen and remixed from Billy Beane, Theo Epstien, Bobby Cox, and Albert Enstien, the answer is clearly... Manny Ramirez. He'll be playing his 33 year old season in 2005, the fifth of eight on his contract. If I were Epstein, I'd be having night sweats about age-related decline and owning Ramirez's age 35 and 36 seasons. Much better to find someone with more money than sense and unload Manny for a nifty prospect. If the Cubs notice that Jeromy Burnitz is not the answer and are in a pennent race at the deadline, I'd ship them Ramirez in a New York minute if I got value back.

As for tradition and the defense of Williams in CF (since Williams badly needs defense in CF /drumroll), that's a nice pivot from saying that the reason you're getting the worst CF defense in the league is tradition to flaunting your newest and tallest mercenary starting pitcher. Might want to run that one past your 3rd baseman, too, but don't wave hello; that's a sore spot, or so I'm told.

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