Friday, November 5, 2010

8 comments Clearly This Was All A Complete Failure

I love New York. I love how every win and every loss is the beginning of a dynasty or the beginning of a massive losing streak that will only result in the eventual contraction of the New York Yankees team. Mike Lupica has come to the conclusion because the Yankees didn't win the World Series two years in a row then the entire team is a huge failure and there was no point in spending all that money on guys like Burnett, Sabathia, and Tex. He forgets the Yankees won the World Series in 2009, or maybe that is just not enough for him. He also forgets that the Yankees history of appearing in the World Series. It's stupid for him to demean the Yankees 2009 World Series because the team didn't win the title the next year...yet he does it anyway because he is a negative person.

You would compare the Yankees of the past decade to the Atlanta Braves of the decade right before it in baseball except for one thing:

It's a stupid, simplistic comparison that only a negative person who overreacts to everything in the hopes for more pageviews would make? See, as the title of this article says, $2 billion only buys one World Series because the Yankees are never playing another baseball game again. You may have missed the news, but as of October 2010 the Yankees will no longer take the field because there is no point in a team that can't manage to be the best every year to exist.

Mike Lupica will still be writing articles about the Yankees though. He doesn't need any actual baseball to be played to write his articles. He will just talk about what failures different Yankees teams have been throughout history if he had been a sportswriter at that time.

Mike Lupica circa 1940: "The Yankees had won 4 World Series in a row. I said 'had' because it is all over. The Yankees are a franchise in despair because they did not make the World Series this year. The plan is not working at all. The way this team is set up they will be lucky to win 50 games next year. Move on with a different plan and fire Joe McCarthy. Clearly whatever is being done is not working."

(Yankees win World Series two out of the next three years)

Since Mike Piazza hit one into Bernie Williams' glove at the end of the 2000 Subway Series, the Yankees have spent more than $2 billion in payroll and luxury taxes. On average, they have spent $50 million more per season than the next biggest baseball payroll.

The Yankees won the World Series last year. Let's not conveniently forget this.

The Yankees have been to three World Series since the ball was in Bernie's glove that night at old Shea. They have won once, last year. Now another World Series, sixth in the last seven years, starts without them.

What happened in the 2009 World Series? Anyone remember? Me neither. Let's just assume the Yankees lost the World Series.

Why does Mike Lupica have to be negative about absolutely everything? The Yankees struggled in the mid-2000's, at least for them, but they seem to have put together a good team that can compete every year. Why Mike Lupica have to act as if an ALCS appearance is a slap in the face to Yankee tradition? Sure, every team wants to win the World Series every year, but because of injuries and ineffectiveness this just isn't realistic.

You better believe the Yankees have made the playoffs nine times in 10 years and nobody else has been close to that.

Failures. If George Steinbrenner were alive today he would fire the entire team and then rehire them a few months later. Yankees fans would hate this decision initially and show this by cursing the entire Steinbrenner family and then after the team has success talk about how smart George Steinbrenner is a few years later. They would then build a statue in his honor and conveniently forget the Yankees had the most success over the past 20 years when he didn't meddle in the team's affairs.

Four of those nine victories came in the first round against the Minnesota Twins. Try to find any round of the playoffs when they weren't the favorites to win.

Which team is the favorite doesn't matter. The Braves were overwhelming favorites in the 1996 World Series and they didn't win the series (Leyritz!), which later led to a Yankee dynasty. Which team is the "favorite" doesn't matter at all.

So they have made the playoffs, filled the old Yankee Stadium and the new one, made the YES network - which props everybody up - into a staggering success, become a bigger brand than ever. If that is the mission for the Yankees, well, mission accomplished.

Can we have a banner that says that?

"So yes, the Yankees are the top grossing team in MLB, they have a cash stream that is the envy of every other team and they put a good team on the field every year. If that's what you like, then that is fine. But you don't understand...the Yankees didn't win the World Series this year. It is fun to hold the team to unachievable standard and then berate them when they don't meet this standard. This means they are a failure because every year the most talented team wins the World Series, as seen by this year's Giants-Rangers World Series."

George Steinbrenner's mission was pretty simple: Win it all. Or else. It is almost unfathomable that with this kind of financial advantage over the field, in a sport without a salary cap, the Yankees have only won it all once in 10 years.

I am going to be the 1,000,000th person to say this, but the team that spends the most money doesn't win the World Series every year. A team having a financial advantage doesn't mean that team has a competitive advantage. Lupica in his never-ending effort to be completely negative glosses over this fact.

I love how George Steinbrenner is a saint now. He was the whipping boy of the media for a time until sportswriters learned to relate to his insatiable need to win the World Series every year. After they learned to relate to that, they were like, "yeah, why don't the Yankees win the World Series every year? This is a good angle for a column I can write over and over for the next 15 years. I can write a column every year the Yankees don't win the World Series about how the plan isn't working, then when they win the World Series talk about how the team will have a dynasty. I can even conveniently forget the same plan they won the World Series using was the exact plan they didn't make the World Series using."

In that time, only two teams have spent more than $100 million to win the Series: Yankees, Red Sox.

But here's the thing that Mike Lupica again completely misses. These are two teams that have won the World Series with a payroll over $100 million. There have been many teams that have spent that amount of money and didn't win a single World Series. So money is nice to have, but it doesn't guarantee success.

Two years ago, the Yankees spent $425 million on Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett. When those guys finally put the Yankees back on top in 2009, we heard it was part of a grand master plan.

And it is still part of a grand master plan. The plan has failed once and succeeded once. Holy shit, quit having such a narrow view of baseball. I despise the view that because the Yankees spend the most money the World Series title should be theirs for the taking every single year. Competitive sports don't work that way.

to make things right is to go spend another $125 million, or whatever it is going to take, to get the best pitcher out there this year, Cliff Lee.

And maybe Carl Crawford, or Jayson Werth. You know what that means: Two years later, we've already moved on to the next master plan

Upgrading a pitching staff that needs another starter with Pettitte possibly retiring is not a new master plan. It is improving a team in an area where that team needs improvement. There's no new master plan or a change of direction. When a team is smart and knows it needs to improve in an area, they go out and improve that area. For some teams that means signing a free agent or promoting a player from the minors, but for the Yankees it means dipping into free agency. Signing a free agent IS the plan, not a change in the plan.

I was at the US Open tennis back in September, and happened to be sitting next to a woman who turned out to be a big Yankee fan.

Before all that happened, the woman said, "Are we going to get Cliff Lee?"

I said, "Probably."

Nothing works better than using a sample size of one person at a tennis match to prove that Mike Lupica is correct.

She didn't say anything, just smiled, put a hand over her heart, closed her eyes, as if I'd told her the recession was over. Secure in the knowledge that she'd have a new big-ticket, free-agent star to root for next year, even though this one wasn't close to being over yet.

And of course this one Yankees fan represents the feelings of Yankees fans and Yankees management overall. The potential addition of Cliff Lee doesn't represent a change in the master plan or a change of direction in any way. It is the direction the Yankees have gone over the past few years. This led them to making the playoffs frequently and winning the World Series last year.

But you have to believe that an awful lot of general managers, or all of them, would be happy to take their chances every year at $200 million and change, being $50 million - on average - clear of the field. See if they could fill in the right role players around all that.

So it is just real damn easy to win the World Series every year? I love this point of view from a sportswriter, a guy whose job and inclination is to second-guess every decision the Yankees make. He's the guy who knows exactly how to build a team.

Lupica has a criticism for everything the Yankees do, no matter what they do:

Can't make the World Series? Sign Sabathia, Burnett and Tex.

Win a World Series? Let's see you do it again. Only a dynasty is acceptable.

Didn't win the World Series? The entire plan is a failure.

Didn't win the World Series again? More proof the plan is a failure.

Win a World Series? The players you added are the ones you should have added the past couple of years. This "change in direction" worked, why didn't they do it earlier?

No matter what the Yankees do Mike Lupica will not like it. If the Yankees win the World Series then Mike Lupica won't like some of the players on the team. This was seen over the past couple of years in his columns on A-Rod regarding steroids. If they don't make the World Series one year then that means the plan isn't working, but adding new players to improve the team is changing the plan somehow.

I'm not entirely sure how that works. Lupica criticizes the Yankees plan, but then when there is a suggestion they will add different players to the team he criticizes the "change of plan." He's just a hateful person.

Still: You'd think they would have won more than one World Series in a decade just by accident. Wouldn't you?

No, you wouldn't. Unless Lupica hasn't been paying attention for the past 100 years, a team can't just win the World Series accidentally. Sure, inferior teams have won the World Series before, but teams play their best when facing the Yankees so they won't find anyone underestimating them.

Cashman admitted the other day that he didn't have a very good winter last winter. You think? But since it was the winter after spending $425 million finally won the Yankees another World Series, nobody was nearly as mad at him as they were at Joe Girardi.

It naturally has to be SOMEONE'S fault doesn't it? The Yankees just don't not win the World Series because they got outplayed. Someone had to screw up somewhere, right?

So this will probably be another winter when we hear a lot more about the salaries coming off the books than we do about salaries going on the books.

So all that talk previously in this column about the Yankees signing Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee was to kill space? This pretty much negates the argument the Yankees are going in a different direction because the current master plan isn't working.

I know Rivera and Jeter's contracts are due up this upcoming offseason...but is Lupica suggesting the Yankees sign big name free agents as well? I like how he straddles the line of saying the Yankees need a new master plan, but still criticizing any major changes to the master plan as the Yankees throwing money at a big name free agent.

Even though the Yankees' payroll was $40 million clear of the next biggest - Boston's - this year, if somehow Cashman can keep it at its current ridiculous level, it'll be like he's clipping coupons.

Yes, I am sure all of the focus will be on the players leaving the Yankees roster instead of the big name free agents they attempt to sign or will sign. We'll probably not hear a peep from the Yankees when it comes to trying to sign Lee or Crawford because the media will be too focused on Javier Vazquez's free agency. There's going to be talk about Rivera and Jeter's contracts, but they are going to re-sign. The focus is primarily going to be on their free agency additions or additions through trades.

In the decade we're talking about - since the Yankees won their fourth World Series in five years and made their own expectations completely unreasonable forever by becoming a dynasty again - there have been plenty of teams in salary-cap sports who have won multiple titles: Lakers, Spurs, Patriots, Steelers, Red Wings.

Just not the Yankees.

Why is Lupica holding the Yankees to the same standard that he admits is unreasonable? Oh that's right, I forgot why. It's because he is Mike Lupica and needs something to overly criticize, even if it is his own expectations for the Yankee team. He's essentially criticizing the very absurd expectations he puts on the team.

Maybe Cliff Lee is on the way, if Mrs. Lee can be persuaded that a bunch of yahoo Yankee fans aren't all Yankee fans.

This is unlike the woman at the US Open who represents all Yankees fans in wanting a new big name free agent before the current season was over. That's how all Yankees fans are.

But Cashman is absolutely right: The game of baseball does tell you what's going on. And what's going on with his team - and boy, is it ever his team - is one title in 10 years.


The Yankees are still covered like they're the dynasty of the late 90s. They're not. People still act as if it's some kind of aberration when it's the Giants and Rangers in the World Series.

I'd like to remind Mike Lupica the Yankees have represented the American League in the World Series three times during this decade of failure. This is also the Rangers first time ever in the World Series. So it may not be an aberration, but the Yankees have been in the World Series more than any other American League team over the last 10 years.

It's not.

Get used to it Yankees fans. Get used to only appearing in the World Series three times in a decade, unlike the history-making dynasty-creating 4 times you appeared in the World Series the decade before that.

In fact, because Mike Lupica seems to think three appearances in the World Series sucks, let's see how bad he sucks by looking at how many times the Yankees appeared in the World Series using his own decade system (2001-2010, 1991-2000) since 1950.

2001-2010: 3
1991-2000: 4
1981-1990: 1
1971-1980: 3
1961-1970: 4
1951-1960: 8

So really appearing in the World Series three times from 2001-2010 is par for the course for the Yankees over the last 50 years. Naturally, Mike Lupica chooses to ignore this and believe that the three appearances from 2001-2010 is proof the plan isn't working. I guess the Yankees plan hasn't been working for the past 50 years then.


HH said...

I think this whole article became obsolete EXACTLY one year ago:

Thank you, JoePo.

For those too lazy to read, one of the messages is: the baseball playoffs are essentially an attempt to curtail the ability of the New York Yankees to buy championship. Multiple playoff series, weird off-days, wild cards, it's all done to increase randomness and reduce the effect of money [since it's easier to buy a second Andy Pettitte than it is to find a pitcher who is twice as good as AP]. That plus randomness = Yankees don't always win.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, that's a good article. Don't tell all of that to Mike Lupica. I am going to assume he doesn't read JoePo.

What's interesting is that if the playoffs were set up to make sure the Yankees don't win every year then that has some sort of semblance of fairness about it. Mike Lupica doesn't seem to like this fairness. I can't understand why he thinks the Yankees have a bad plan. It worked last year, but now it is bad? The Yankees are going to get Cliff Lee. I feel like it is just happening.

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

the yankees free agent spending spree of cc sabathia, aj burnett, mark teixeira, et. al. netted one world series win and one alcs loss. some failure that was. it's not like at least 28 other teams would kill for that kind of success.

sure they had a world series drought in the middle of this decade but when you factor in wins, world series, playoff and championship series appearances, the yankees have probably had as much success as anyone this decade. but lupica seems to view the yankees through some sort of bernouli model - either they win the world series (success) or they don't win it (failure), with no in between. makes perfect sense - obviously the yankees should win it every single year and any time they don't it is a complete failure of a seeason and a signal of the apocalypse. good god even lakers and celtics fans (excluding simmons) aren't this stupid.

Bengoodfella said...

Arjun, I would kill for that kind of success. It's like Lupica holds them to a standard he knows they can't meet. He does this b/c they are the Yankees and supposedly above the rest of MLB in his mind.

Other sports teams fans aren't that stupid, but we are talking about Lupica. He thinks one random lady at a tennis match represents how Yankees fans feel. It's funny that over the last 50 years the Yankees have made as many WS on average as they did this decade. It's just a matter of winning them.

jj said...

To add to his Lupica's overreacting, the Yankkes have won the World Series twice in the 2000s, not once. And represented the AL four times, not three.
2000 champions,2001 came within an inning,2003, 2009 champions

Bengoodfella said...

JJ, I don't think Lupica is counting 2000 as part of the decade. I am not sure I get that, but that's why I used his decades to break down how many times the Yankees appeared in the World Series.

I think he is saying it goes:


That's stupid in itself if you ask me. I would count it four too, but I guess he doesn't. Historically and logically he is overreacting. They could easily have had 3 WS in the 2000's.

Anonymous said...

Decades start at 1, not 0, and it is because of where we start counting our years. There is no year 0 AD.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, well that makes it less stupid then. I think someone else made the point a year or so ago and I didn't learn then. So Lupica is right by judging the decades, but still wrong. Good to know.