"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Mike and Mike Don’t Need Roads Where They’re Going

I miss firejoemorgan.com. I think they could maybe be harsh at times, but they were seldom wrong, and that site is still the first thing I think of when I come across a really awful piece of sports writing; its recent silence has left a void. Yesterday I came across an ESPN the Magazine (quit looking at me like that — I get it free!) “Page 2″ piece that really demands the FJM treatment.

I’m certainly no Ken Tremendous, but I’ll give it my best shot. And so without further ado I give you Mike and Mike – whose show I’ve never actually heard, and now I know why – on the Yankees’ offseason. It doesn’t seem to be available online, so I’ll just have to type out the highlights for you. Here we go:

The Big Question

THE YANKS NEEDED PITCHING, A FIRST BASEMAN, AND SOME PATIENCE. THE MIKES SAY TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T GOOD.

Wait up. “Needed”? Did they sign Sabathia while I wasn’t looking?

GREENY:… after the success of the Rays and other small-market teams, is New York being smart by throwing money around instead of developing its farm system?

But… they haven’t spent any money yet!

Granted, they’ve offered Sabathia a pretty huge contract (though I don’t see how that prevents them from simultaneously developing their farm system). Moving on, then, I love the idea that since the Rays were successful last year, the best strategy for the New York Yankees would be to have a small budget – as if the Rays won because of that and not in spite of it.

Tampa doesn’t have a choice here; they’re not passing on Mark Texiera just because they prefer the young players in their system. If a one-legged man wins a race using a prosthesis, it’s inspirational, but that doesn’t mean you should train for your next 5K by cutting off one of your legs.

GOLIC: Unfortunately, what you don’t find with the Yankees is patience. They feel like they have to win right now.

Probably a fair criticism.

Last year, the team tried to go with young arms, but some of them got hurt, and it didn’t work. So while that may be the right thing to do, don’t expect them to do it… What I wanted to see is just how aggressive they’d get in bidding for the top players.

There’s that past tense again. Are they writing from the future? Tell me, Mikes, how was the Inauguration? Did Springsteen play?

GREENY: This strategy

The one they haven’t actually implemented yet?

is indicative of the biggest problem the  Yankees have: they lack a vision. Take the Steelers.

They play football.

… They have a blueprint for success and stick to it. The same goes for the Jazz.

There’s really not a baseball team you’d like to bring up here? Red Sox, maybe? A’s? No?

They’ve had the same coach for 20 years and the second-best record in the NBA in that time.

Is he seriously suggesting that the Yankees should try to be more like the Utah Jazz?  Nothing against the Jazz, who are a model of competence and class when compared to the Knicks (though to be fair, so was Lehman Brothers), but would anyone actually like to swap the Yanks’ last 20 years for the Jazz’s? Would New York be better off right now if they’d made it to the World Series only twice and lost both times?

If the Yankees really decided to build from within, it would be shortsighted to leave those plans behind just because of one bad year and some injury problems.

That’s true – it would be. Hey, has anyone told Brian Cashman about this?

GOLIC: You know if they’ll be able to help themselves.

What?

I don’t know if he maybe meant “You don’t know if they’ll be able to help themselves,” or perhaps “You know they won’t be able to help themselves,” but I also don’t care. This whole piece is like a PSA for what happens when magazines lay off too many members of the editorial staff in one go.

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9 comments

1 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 1, 2008 12:52 pm

I'll never understand how the desire to win every year became a negative.

2 rbj   ~  Dec 1, 2008 1:35 pm

"If a one-legged man wins a race using a prosthesis, it’s inspirational, but that doesn’t mean you should train for your next 5K by cutting off one of your legs."

Ooops.

Since 1994 don't the Yankees have something like the best or second best record in baseball? Granted, that's the last 15 years and not the last 20, but still. And this past year was the first time they haven't made the playoffs since 1994, in a sport where only the division winners and 2 other teams make it, unlike basketball where everybody but the most inept teams make it. If you can trade your young, unproven talent for good, proven talent I don't think that's a bad thing. Nor is it necessarily bad if you can buy talent and win with it.

3 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 1, 2008 3:50 pm

As a non fan who only occasionally pays attention to basketball, I was always under the impression that even the most inept teams are in playoff contention for most of the year.

4 Max   ~  Dec 1, 2008 3:59 pm

Ha ha, nice piece Emma. I get ESPN the Magazine for free too (no idea how it suddenly started being sent to me)...I used to be embarrassed to get it, but I like some of the photography (even with the cheap paper they print on). And for better or worse, they experiment a lot with different ways of presenting a story, replete with little factoids and graphics that look very superficial to the more traditional sports fan, but seem suited to a younger, web 2.0-indoctrinated generation.

But deep analysis is certainly not their strong point. And Mike and Mike are impossibly lightweight. The magazine has to be a financial sinkhole, given how the stories are rarely timely, and everyone goes to the website for their (free) fix.

5 unmoderated   ~  Dec 1, 2008 5:48 pm

excellent! good to see you emma.

6 Simone   ~  Dec 1, 2008 6:02 pm

Mike and Mike know absolutely nothing about baseball and nothing that they say should be repeated in a pubication.

7 The Hawk   ~  Dec 1, 2008 8:52 pm

It reads like they were talking, not writing. If so, you can't really fault the writing aspect of it. You can still fault their logic and understanding tho

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 2, 2008 12:55 am

Unlistenable program..tried it twice and both times seemed to be all about Golic's love of buffalo wings and "Greeny" being a wuss...do they ever talk about sports?? Bring back the classic hosts from yesteryear, where are you Art Rust Jr.??

oh..but Mike&Mike still better than Colin Cowherd..tried his show too on the ESPN podcast..yikes....how did he ever get into radio with that voice??

9 Pete   ~  Dec 2, 2008 9:12 am

[6] Yeah, their baseball knowledge is about as expansive as *my* basketball knowledge, which is pretty close to nothing since the Knicks ceased being a good team.

There's not too many media personalities that don't deal in awful cliches in regards to baseball — you have to go to the Ed Randalls of the world to find some speck of original thinking...

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver