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October 7, 2008 at 7:00 am ET
24 Comments
Yankees: The Fall From Glory

For the New York Yankees it is the off-season. Everyone is looking ahead to 2009 and wondering what the Yankees will do. Will CC Sabathia be in the rotation? Will Mark Teixiera be at first base? Who will be in center field?

I am wondering the same things. I am also wondering something else, though. What happened to the great Yankee team of not so long ago, teams that won 4 of 5 World Series and appear in the Fall Classic 6 of 8 times between 1996 and 2003?

The Yankees have gone from World Series champion, to World Series loser, to AL East champion and loser in the AL Championship Series, to wild-card team and perennial first-round loser to also ran that missed the playoffs altogether.

How did this decline happen? I think we probably know most of those answers already, but I would like to spend some time going thru them. It might be instructive as we debate how General Manager Brian Cashman and the Yankee front office should approach the future.

Thus, an occasional series is born. I will call it “Yankees: The Fall From Glory.” I am not promising that it will run every day, but it will run in several parts over the next couple of weeks until I have pretty much exhausted the topic. This will be purely a fan’s perspective. I am not Tom Verducci or Jon Heyman, and I don’t have a bunch of baseball sources I can interview. It will be my thoughts on the team’s decline.

So, stay tuned. I hope you find it useful.

– Next: Part 1, The Superstar Syndrome.

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24 Responses to “Yankees: The Fall From Glory”
  1. Jeremy says:

    Who cares about your thoughts and opinions? You should start by checking your information. The Yankees have been in the playoffs for 14 consecutive years, most of which they were the AL East Champs. The fact that they miss the playoffs once doesn’t meantheir team is on the decline or isn’t any good. They have a ton of young pitching talent that for once aren’t trading for old washed up pitchers that will undoubtedly spend the majority of their New York tenure on the DL. I guess that the real question is why you would choose to do a sotry on somehting you have absolutely no clue about. Why not do a story on how the Red Sox rose to glory, or why the Cubs can’t seem break their 100 year curse. You may as well face the facts… The Yankees have more money than any other team in baseball and will continue to pay the poor ballclubs to allow them to have the most expensive payroll in the major leagues. Let me guess… you din’t know about the luxury tax. Fact is your baseball team has been insignificant for the past 100 years and writing your thoughts and opinions about the Yankees makes you feel better, as they have achieved more than any other team will ever achieve. Get off your couch and go to the playground to play. Leave sports topics to people who have an education.

  2. FrankDiscussion says:

    Hold on here, I’m a bit confused. Jeremy writes “Fact is your baseball team has been insignificant for the past 100 years” and then goes on to state that the Yankees “have achieved much more then any team will ever achieve”.

  3. Ed Valentine says:

    Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy. Settle down, take a hike. Go root for whatever team it is that you are interested in and leave the Yankees — and their fans — alone. For a guy who doesn’t care you sure are wasting a lot of time and energy.

  4. FrankDiscussion says:

    I think it is a combination of several factors.

    1. Expecations: Sometimes I think as fans we fail to realize how difficult it is to make it to the World Series, much less prevail there. 4 WS victories in such a short spread is truly an amazing feat, but I think it also led to a majority of the fanbase developing a sense of entitlement that has lasted to the present day.

    2. Pitching: Simple. The late ’90’s Yankee teams had it, they currently don’t. The Yankees have been trotting out makeshift starting rotations for years now. It’s always a combination of untested rookies and over the hill veterans. It simply hasn’t worked. The Yankees were a team based around dominant pitching, now they are throwing out starters like Ponson, Rasner, Hughes, etc… hardly a recipe for getting to the postseason, much less postseason success. Boston can put Lester, Beckett and Matsuzaka out there, Tampa Bay Shields, Kazmir, Garza… that’s why they are there and we’re not.

    To be continued later…

  5. Jeff says:

    Jeremy, you sir are an idiot. You contradict yourself. Your arguments make no sense. You claim to have an education but clearly can’t spell or proofread.

    Let’s go through some of your mouth diarrhea. Starting with the retarded opening line.

    Obviously people care what he has to say, that’s why he is a writer for this website and often has many comments on his posts. Actually, it appears that you care so much that you thought it would be a good idea to let the rest of the readers on this site know how stupid you are.

    “You should start by checking information….14 consecutive years…” Actually, it’s 13 years, remember there was a strike in 1994.

    “The fact that they miss the playoffs once…” If you follow the logic above, Ed outlined it quite well. I guess you probably couldn’t understand it, what with your 4th grade edjucashion and all. Let me lay it out for you again, maybe you’ll get it this time but I doubt it. WS champ, to WS loser, to LCS loser, to LDS loser, to wild card LDS loser, to missing the playoffs entirely. I’d call that a pretty obvious decline, jerky.

    “Story…no clue about…Red Sox…Cubs” So your suggesting that he has no clue about the Yankees, who happen to be his favorite team and the team that he was hired to write about, and that he should write about the Cubs or Red Sox. I can see the genius there, Einstein.

    “Luxury tax” Wow, what’s that, is that something new? You’re an idiot.

    Looks like Frank covered the next retarded comment, which brings us to….
    “Get off your couch…” Impressive wit dipshit, did you come up with that all by yourself?

    “Leave sports topics…” Clearly you were not refering to yourself because you have made it quite obvious that your intellectual capacity rivals that of a chimpanzee. You stick in there, sunshine, things will get better…I pwomise.

  6. Jeff says:

    Frank,

    Very good points.

    You’ll always have fans with a sense of entitlement, especially after the run the Yanks had. However, I think it is more the “fair weather” fans that have that feeling than true fans that understand the game.

    Pitching wins WS….period. Yanks haven’t had a solid rotation in years, and they won’t win again until they do.

  7. B.E. Earl says:

    I think Jeremy is under the impression that Ed is a Cubs or Red Sox fan for some reason. He mentions the Cub’s 100 year curse and how Ed’s team has been insignificant for that long. Hmmm.

  8. Anarchist Accountant says:

    Y’know, for a site where everyone complains about Chalk, isn’t this Ed’s, well, 153rd consecutive “What will the Yankees do now” thread??

    Or is this just a damn pathetic daytime soap opera where a bunch of bloated Yankee fans play the role of fat, bon bon eating, housewives with nothing better to do all afternoon.

  9. FrankDiscussion says:

    You have to cut us some slack, AA… it isn’t like us Yankee fans can actually have postseason play to discuss. Things are pretty bleak.

    Oh, and I’m eating cold pizza, not bon-bons.

  10. Jeff says:

    AA,

    The difference is that Ed is talking about his team, Chalk talks shit about everyone elses’ teams. Ed gets paid millions to write about the Yanks, which he is doing. What else is he supposed to write about when the Yanks are done?

    Maybe he can start writing about how bad the Rays are gonna get pounded, would you like that better?

  11. Jeff says:

    I forgot to mention, Ed has more comments on his “153rd consecutive ‘What will the Yankees do now’ thread” than Chalk has on his last 153 threads combined.

    Quality over quantity.

  12. Ed Valentine says:

    AA, am I supposed to not bother writing about the Yankees? That is what I’m here for and it is what I will continue to do throughout the off-season. I really only care about whether or not Yankee fans find my stuff interesting. If it ticks you off, don’t read it. Oh, and it’s soup and an apple for me today. LOL!!

  13. FrankDiscussion says:

    Picking up where I left off,

    3. Cashman: In my himble opinion it was a mistake giving Cash a new contract. In the 3 years he has exercised control over baseball operations this team has regressed. He has consistently faied to put together an effective rotation. For all the hype about the farm system, what position players are poised to make an impact next season ? Remember all that “Big Three” propaganda ? How did that play out ? Only Joba has fulfilled expectations and the organization has coddled him. So far Hughes has been a bust and IPK even worse. Some good arms in Scranton that could help next season (Melancon) but not much help for the starting rotation. Cashman simply has to do a better job regards player development and both domestic and international scouting. It isn’t like he doesn’t have ther financial resources.

    4. The Team: IMO the Yankees looked lethargic and apathetic for the better part of the season. Injuries aren’t a viable excuse. When Ortiz went down for the Red Sox Drew stepped it up. Beckett on the DL ? Lester stepped up. Boston managed to give away Manny and their offense didn’t skip a beat. Early in the season when Posada and Arod were both down, who stepped up ? Who made an impression ? No one, with the possible exception of Damon. Early in the season I would actually stop watching the games when the Yankees were at a 2-3 run deficit, because I knew they weren’t going to overcome it. More often then not I was right. They just didn’t seem hungry, pardon the cliche. That mentality needs to change and this team needs to come out strong out of the gate. If Girardi can’t instill that mindset with this team, then he needs to hit the road. This team needs more Paul O’Neill character, that’s the best way I can put it.

  14. coops2001 says:

    FrankDiscussion:

    I think you make a good point about the Paul O’Neill character. The late 90s dynasty had great character and seems to always find a way to come from behind. There was a lot of discipline in that team, driving up pitch counts, getting to the other team’s bullpen, forcing the other team to make mistakes. Those are sadly lacking in the recent Yankee teams.

    My suspicion is that Cashman is good at fixing holes (e.g., in 2004 with Sturtze and Proctor, in 2005 with Chacon and Small, in 2006 with Abreu), but is not good at architecting a team to win. And maybe that’s why Torre went 4-13 in the playoffs after game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. The other scary thing is that of all the Yankee free agent signings for pitcher, only Mussina and Gordon worked out. All the others (Wright, Pavano, Quantrill, Karsay, Wright) have failed miserably.

    Lastly to AA, Jeremy and other visitors to Ed’s page. This site is EASY to navigate, and allows you to see the posts of your favorite team(s), all of which are represented. If you are not capable of doing so, perhaps a parent, guardian or some other adult can assist you. You seem to have problems doing so, as you keep landing on Ed’s postings.

  15. Santa Claustrophobia says:

    I’d say that primarily, the biggest factor in the ‘decline’ of the Yankees is complacency. With all the money they had to spend, they kept buying the talent they thought they needed. After a decade plus of success, they began to sit back on their laurels and resign popular veterans instead of using players who could continue the success instead of getting older and richer.

    Look at the Giants for guidance. The reach the World Series and then choke. For a couple of seasons they coast on the talent they had. Until suddenly, that roster got OLD. Then it became the pathetic march to where they are now and all the way they rode the back of the one player who bought fans to the games. Now they’re so desperate for some kind of star, they seem willing to potentially destroy the future of their best pitcher just to grab some glory now.

    The phrase is ‘better a year too early than a year too late’. And that goes for management as well as the players. If anything sums up the current state of the Yankees, it was that ridiculous deal they made for Clemens in 2007. Old, past it, and too expensive.

  16. Jeff says:

    Coops,

    Good points…I agree with all but one. I wouldn’t say that Quantrill failed miserably. I seem to remember that Michael Gay’s favorite word was “QuanGorMo” for a while. Not that Michael Gay matters but I think Quantrill had one good year.

    The reason those idiots land here is because some of the other writers kinda suck. I mean if I was a Rays fan and had to listen to Chalk all season I’d check out other writers too. Of course that wouldn’t be necessary because I’d probably do the world a favor and hang myself if I was a Rays fan.
    Jeremy I have no clue on, I think he might actually be mildly retarded. I mean he came into a Yankees post written by a Yankees writer and still can’t connect the dots and come to the conclusion that Ed is a Yanks fan. And then all of the babbling and contradicting…who knows…as Carlin used to say “think of the average idiot and then realize that half the people out there are dumber than them.”

  17. Johnkoury says:

    Ed, et al,

    The problem with the Yankees? As much as I hate to admit it, the guys running the Red Sox are just smarter than the guys running the Yankees. They embraced Bill James and the so called Sabrematricians (Read “Moneyball”, or find one of James’ “Baseball Abstracts” from the mid-1980’s) and have been successful ever since.

    Meanwhile, George went for the old school crowd in Tampa and their “trade the future to win now” tricks.

    Look at the talent on the two teams, and how many guys the Yankees traded or passed over in the draft, or maybe just didn’t run the numbers on. Running a major sports franchise in 2008 with a bunch of tabacco-spittin’ 70 year old scouts and coaches is just plain ignorant.

  18. coops2001 says:

    It’s not just the Yankee’s drafting. If you look at the Rays, a lot of their talent was bult through trades and other means, as Chalk points out. While Boston brought in Becket, Dice-K and Schilling via trades and free agency, the Yankees were throwing money and talent away on R,Johnson, Pavano and Wright. Cashman’s got the right idea on building the farm system, I think he either lacks the skills or the scouting talent on how to do that while balancing it with smart trades and free agents.

  19. Ed Valentine says:

    I think most of the points raised have been correct. We will look at most of them in a little more detail. We might as well, since we have no games to talk about.

  20. I believe too much money makes a management team lazy. Being in Montreal, I remember how the Expos team had to have a solid ROI for every contract they would negociate. In 1994, the year of the strike, they were 1st and by far with a very low salary budget. That forced the team to be extremely careful and diligent, kind of like the Twins are doing these days and performing very well. The Yankees just spend their money foolishly and they under deliver big time!

  21. Anarchist Accountant says:

    “Quality over quantity.”

    Jeff, considering we are talking about sheer numbers of threads and sheer mountains of inane replies, you obviously have your cliche backwards…

    Not that I expected actual insight, of course…

    “Maybe he can start writing about how bad the Rays are gonna get pounded, would you like that better?”

    ROFL!!!! Why should he? You’ve been doing a fine job all year and haven’t been correct yet!!!!

    Ed, it doesn’t tick me off at all. I’m quite enjoying watching the haughty entitlement crowd twist in the wind. Very entertaining…

  22. Johnkoury says:

    There are a few individuals who seem to derive an inordinate amount of joy, even giddiness, when the Yankees have a down year. AA is one, and unfortunately, there appears to be no cure for it. Lets hope he becomes bored, rather than merely boring, and gradually goes away.

    In the meantime, we Yankee fans will welcome the stories, insights and discussions that will keep us going until March.

  23. Anarchist Accountant says:

    Whereas, if you were actually baseball fans, John, you’d forget this nonsense and be talking about who is actually in the playoffs.

  24. Ed Valentine says:

    John, you are correct. I will be here throughout the off-season, though not every single day, to give Yankee fans a chance to discuss our team. My feeling is simply that those who aren’t interested don’t have to read it.

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