You Either Love ’em Or You Hate Them … There Are No In Betweens The ‘Evil Empire’ Known As The New York Yankees ………..
It seems that with each passing year ‘The House That Ruth Built’ just seems to be getting intangibly richer with each passing moment. Having won their their ’27th World Series title’ to go alongside the AL pennant and AL East division. The New York Yankees will embark upon yet another season, looking to further rewrite the history books and the annals of baseball overall. Not content on being the most valuable sports franchise in the world. Their tentacles are now beginning to reach beyond the field of MLB and into various other commercial enterprises. If only the other franchises within the game of baseball were so adept ? But alas, so many of ‘the owners’ and ‘general managers’ don’t seem to be that bright to begin with ! Perhaps at present only the Boston Red Sox under their principal owner John Henry has sought to be that asture at the prompting of Team President Larry Lucchino and their General Manager Theo Epstein. Everyone else within the game is now simply playing catch-up with the Yankees on all fronts.
And now for the Yankees under the watchful eye of GM Brian Cashman and Principal Chairman & owner Henry ‘Hank’ Steinbrenner and his brother , co Chairman Harold Steinbrenner , things for the organization and the team seems to better than ever before. Albeit, that their 2009 series’ title was the franchise’s ‘first since 2000’. And the series win of 2000 was part of the four wins during the decade. And team manager Joe Girardi and his entire coaching staff , it all augurs well as to the team’s impending future.
Courtesy of the New York Daily News
By Mark Feinsand
For the first time in nine years, the Yankees head to Tampa as the reigning champions, though the group that will gather at Steinbrenner Field this week will be a little different than the one that rode up the Canyon of Heroes in November. Gone are popular players such as Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera, while Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez and Nick Johnson join the Bombers as they look to become the first repeat champions in baseball since Joe Torre’s Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000.
Left field and the No. 5 starter spots figure to garner the most attention during the next seven weeks, but there’s plenty to watch in Tampa as Joe Girardi’s club gets ready to defend its title. Here are five questions the Yanks must answer as they defend their title:
1. Joba or Phil … or neither?
When a team’s biggest concern is who will fill the No. 5 starter job, it is entering spring training in pretty good shape. Then again, not many teams have two young pitchers who have been in the spotlight as much as Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, who will fight it out for that coveted final spot in the rotation.
Chamberlain has finally put the “Joba Rules” to rest, having thrown 1571/3 regular-season innings in 2009. The Yankees seem prepared to let the righthander loose for 200 innings this season, making him the favorite for the No. 5 slot. Then again, there are those inside the organization who fell in love with Chamberlain as a setup man during the postseason, leaving the door open for Hughes to claim the starting spot.
Hughes was lights-out in the relief role last year, though he faltered a bit in the postseason. Most scouts believe he’s better equipped to be a starter, but having thrown only 1051/3 innings between the majors and minors in 2009 and 692/3 the year before, Hughes would surely be subjected to some Joba-like rules if he was placed in the rotation.
The dark horses here include Sergio Mitre, Chad Gaudin and Alfredo Aceves, any of whom could win the job if both youngsters implode this spring.
2. Who’s in left?
Most people believed that Johnny Damon would eventually find his way back to the Bronx, but as camp kicks off this week, he remains the biggest name available on the free-agent market. The Yankees have moved on, giving Brett Gardner and recently-signed Randy Winn their chance to claim Damon’s old job.
Gardner, who beat out Melky Cabrera for the starting center field job last year, has youth and speed on his side, while Winn, a 12-year veteran, possesses valuable experience.
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Brian Cashman in the off-season has been prudent in his spending and has brought in players that he feels will add to the team’s roster in terms of talent and commitment in terms of the organization’s overall goals. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the players actually relish the chance to play for the team, as it may well give them the best opportunity of winning a World Series championship. And that’s not meant to be an intention slight to the likes of the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels , Dodgers , Philadelphia Phillies or St Louis Cardinals for that matter. But in what other sport is it almost a given , where year in, year out , one team simply stands above the rest and is continuously viewed as the team to win it all ? Some might say the New England Patriots in the NFL and that’s about it. But other than that , there are none !
On a side note , it’s well known that the Glazer family, as owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership (EPL) soccer club Manchester United had asserted , that they would like to be viewed as a viable commercial enterprise alongside that of the Yankees’ organization. And I’ve even read it where some have felt that Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment could even give the Yankees a run for their money ? Well that’d be like suggesting that Stevie Wonder could outrun Usain Bolt in a 100m or 100 yard foot race. Asinine comments have no bearing, when you’ve no actual facts to back it all up. Here endeth the lesson for those who view ‘MLSEL’ as a viable going business concern that could tackle the Yankees on any sporting enterprise front. The Glazers for their part, have an acute financial solvency problem which they refuse to acknowledge . And at the same time it is somewhat troubling to see that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t overly concerned by this at all. But I can only surmise that until a member of the Glazer family comes with cap in hand begging for financial assistance , we’re unlikely to hear anything from anyone within the NFL hierarchy make a formal statement on the matter. But I can only attribute that to the fact that with the ongoing negotiations with the NFLPA , as to the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Everything else , for the time being, will take a back seat as the two sides bombard each other with allegations , rather than trying reach an amicable agreement that’s equitable for all.
With Spring Training just around the corner and with pitchers due to report within the next few days to their respective facilities. It will be interesting to see which teams if any, are prepared to tackle the Yankees head on. We know that within the AL East over the last few years , it has been simply a ‘two horse race’ between the Yankees and Red Sox. With the exception of the 2008 season , when the Tamp Bay Rays ‘shocked everyone’ by not only winning the division and pennant but also making it to the World Series. They would go on to lose to the Philadelphia Phillies, in something of an uninspiring World Series showcase. This time around , it’s an unlikely that the Rays will be back at that level but they could still make things very interesting within the division and the American League as a whole. With the division being such a competitive and contentious one , it’s understandable why it’s looked up as the ‘best division’ within baseball, by far.
What obviously gives the Yankees its added advantage over its competitors by far is the fact apart from being in the nation’s number one add market. The organization as owners of the Yes Network has a ‘cash cow’ on its hand with the cable provider and sports programming network. And with that entity as well as several commercial tie-ins with local and national corporations. Furthermore , it’s quite clear that the Yankees’ front office and that of its corporate partners have made great in-roads in making sure that the Yankees’ brand name and product becomes more widely known on a global scale and not just within the North American American. That’s not something that one can attribute to that many of the other franchises around baseball (MLB). Some organizations have only aspirations of making it big within their own locale rather than looking for opportunities beyond their own boundaries. And that if anything stifles them as being a viable commercial entity. Never mind the fact MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the game’s hierarchy steadfastly believes that events such as the World Baseball Classic does a great deal to make the sport more accessible globally. Had he and the hiearchy had any common sense to begin with they’d have done their utmost to make sure that the sport was still part of the Summer Olympics and pressed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) harder , to make sure the sport remained as part of its sporting events calendar for the Olympiad. And it certainly doesn’t help that MLB acts likes the 1,000lb gorilla in the room being bellicose and belligerent towards the international governing body of baseball, International Baseball Federation (IBAF) . As to what Selig and his minions would hope to achieve by this would be anyone’s guess. But given the fact that a commercial exploit the Baseball Classic has made nowhere near the projected anticipated profits that were targeted by the IBAF and MLB jointly. It clearly shows us that the game while growing in popularity globally. It’s clearly at an impasse as to how the organization ought to be governed internationally and what strides that ought to be made in order to raise the game’s profile even more so on the international stage.
One would’ve thought that with all of expertize shown by the franchises such as the Yankees, Red Sox and to a lesser extent the Los Angeles Dodgers . The game’s hierarchy domestically would be helping not only its own cause domesticallyy but as that of the game’s own cause internationally ? But alas, the hierarchy of MLB were never known to be the smartest guys in the room. The lead is there for them to learn from the Yankees but Selig seems set to follow the beat of his own drum and march down another path altogether . And as with the Pied Piper of Hamlin others erstwhilely follow along, rather stupidly marching in tow to a rather mundane rhythm and beat.
Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………..