Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wait till next year

Having my share of gray hairs and more lost ones, I may have a greater appreciation than most SIH writers of the 15 post-season appearances in 16 years and 5 Championships in those seasons. Not that there is not disappointment when we don't reach our annual goal but there must be perspective as well. I have lived as a fan through the Horace Clarke era. I have lived as a fan when everyone hated GMS instead of wearing his tag as he ruined the Yanks of the 80s (no playoffs 82-93). I have lived as a Jets, Knicks, Rangers fan with less championships between them all compared to the Yanks. I have an appreciation for the Core 4 that goes beyond words. Jeet, Mo, (Hip Hip) Jorge and Andy seem more like family members than most of my blood relatives. This has been an incredibly fun run. Do I question some of Girardi's on-field decisions? Yes, but I also acknowledge that he is a heck of a nice guy and not an embarrassment like the departed #1.

Just to shift gears for a moment - I am sick and tired of hearing about payroll. We are living in the age of the greatest competitive balance in baseball. The rules are set up so that any level payroll team can be competitive if managed properly. The 10th & 27th payrolls are in the World Series. Different playoff teams and champions almost every year bespeak that balance and show that the Yanks' sustained excellence is not just about money but mostly about an excellent organization. George was outspending everyone in the 80s too but it wasn't until he got suspended and then mellowed that great baseball minds renewed the dynasty. The perennial low payroll loser/whiners just need to look at the Rays, Twins, Marlins, Rangers, etc to see what's possible if you draft, develop & spend wisely. Can the Yanks afford to make a few more mistakes? Sure, but often we have to live with them & they become our downfall - e.g., Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, etc. All in all, being a Yankee fan in this era of competitive baseball, great stadiums & great popularity of the national pastime (despite strikes & steroids) has been a joy ride.

So, let's resign Jeet, Mo & Andy (C'mon Laura, give us a couple more years - you and the kids will have him the rest of your lives) and Jorge needs to groom Jesus to be the next Yankee superstar. Perhaps it was destined that we not get Cliff Lee (and a 2010 Championship) so that Montero will help us to win many more. Perhaps next year's ALCS will end with Lee pitching TO Montero. I think the best thing the Yanks could do this off-season other than making a big play for CC's friend is to move Tony Pena into Montero's house for 4 months and turn his vast potential into a legitimate catcher.

So, after an appropriate period of disappointment (I was going to say mourning but that seems more appropriate when talking about Johnny Blanchard, GMS, Bob Shepard, Ralph Houk, etc), it is time to look forward. We scored the most runs in baseball in 2010, and that was with down years from half our starters, all of whom will be better next year. Phil Hughes took a huge step forward, despite the ALCS, and will be a great Yankee. With him & CC anchoring the staff, prospects look good. The 3-5 spots in the rotation and catcher will be the keys to the 2011 edition of the greatest team on earth. So from a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn: Jesus saves! (Jesus Montero that is – Rookie of the Year 2011 leading the Yanks back to the promised land).

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