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.