Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When will we learn?

Since George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees from CBS in 1973 there has been a very simple motto, "Win at all costs." And win they have. In the 36 years that ol' Georgie has been at the helm, the Yankees have won a total of 11 AL pennants and 6 World Series Championships, and they're one win away from their 7th. Just to put this in perspective, the law of averages says that, all things being equal, the Yankees should have won 1, maybe 2, World Series titles in that time. But that's the beauty of sports, all things are not equal, and Mr. Steinbrenner has taken full advantage of that fact.
And yet Yankees fans, sportswriters, baseball analysts and others still continue to second guess the decisions from "the boss." Namely, the decision to give Joba Chamberlain a position in the rotation with innings limits. Some believe he should be able to pitch without a limit, while most say he should have never left the 'pen. Don't get me wrong, I understand George didn't create the newest version of the "Joba Rules", but you also have to understand that he has always micromanaged, and if he didn't agree with what was going on, well, it wouldn't be going on at all. (Don't let the death-bed crap fool you, I'm quite certain he's still very much involved in the goings-on of his team. Do you really think he would let an idiot like Hank make the decisions?) While I don't disagree with many of the points that I've heard regarding the use of Joba, I think the average fan needs to be a bit more open minded.
First and foremost, the use (or misuse) of number 62 did not effect team success negatively in any tangible way. The Yankees still won the American League East by 8 games this year, and are well on their way to winning the World Series. So really, so long as no one is getting hurt, who the hell cares how they handle any of their players if they're hoisting that sweet trophy at the end of the year? Trust me, I wouldn't care if Jerry Manuel made David Wright wear a clown nose and Jose Reyes play with his pants on backwards if the Mets won. At this point, I guess it couldn't hurt to try that anyway, nothing else has worked for them. But I digress. Moving on...
To the guys who said Joba should have never left the bullpen, raise your hand if you have always dreamed of being a major league set up guy. I'll assume most of your hands are still firmly placed on crotch. Here's the thing, no one wants to be a set up guy, it's lame. Middle relief is for guys who don't have the stuff to be closers or the stamina to be starters. (I'm talking to you, Aaron Heilman). I'll agree that Joba's stuff is better suited for the bullpen with that mid-90's fastball and very nice, late breaking slider. But here's the thing, he wants to try his hand as a starter. So why not let him? It's not as if the Yankees have 5 better starters they could throw out there, and here you have a 24 year old kid that you plan on keeping around for a while, so why not keep him happy? Better to give him his way than have him bitching about being in the 'pen to the front office for the next few years until Mariano hangs 'em up.
And those who don't want him to have an innings limit as a starter, once again, here you have a 24 year old kid that you plan on keeping around for a while. He has yet to prove he can pitch 150-plus innings in a season at a major league level. More importantly, no matter how well he pitches as a starter, he is still the heir-apparent to Mo. No reason to blow a kids arm out for a few extra innings in a season with little need for him to do any more than he did. As I said before, the Yankees still won the AL East by a nice 8 game margin, so why push him to do more? I've heard countless fans use his age as a reason to let him pitch more innings, but they're not thinking long term. Why would you risk the health of your future closer for a few extra (meaningless) innings?*
The Yankees will still "win at all costs", and Mr. Steinbrenner would never allow anything to happen that he thinks might risk that in the present or for the future of his franchise. I guess the point I'm trying to make is, next time you think about critiquing Yankees player management decisions, think again. Of course, I'm not suggesting all Yankees fans should be mindless "yes men." I'm just saying you're almost forced to give the current ownership the benefit of the doubt. They've earned it.

Doc Anderson

By the way, I'm not one who is big on post scripts, but I just had to say I felt sick writing most of these praises about the Yankees, and you should not expect many more posts like this, if any at all. LETS GO METS!

*I'll ask just this once that you cut me a little slack if you find anything inherently incorrect about this post, as I try to avoid a large amount of Yankees related news, and I may not have all of the minute facts that an actual Yankees fan may learn on a day to day basis. Like I said, it was hard enough to write this post as it is, but I tried to be as factually accurate as possible. Please feel free to correct me (or just argue with
me) if necessary.

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