Despite the notoriously villainous creatures of Boston being crowned the champions of the 2007 baseball season, Yankee Town still managed to steal the spotlight with a plethora of headlines that continue to intrigue fans of every team of the baseball world this year. The Yankees’ off-season started with the worst… and hasn’t gotten much better since:
-(As if the Red Sox win to the World Series wasn’t enough…) The Yanks’ most prized possession of the 2007 season has decided to trade in his "beloved" pinstripes for free agency and the chance to earn ungodly money for how ever many years his new contract will bring him with the next team he plays for next year. The mere fact that Rodriguez made his decision before the World Series (that last all of four games) ceased, highly suggests that the man Yankee fans bowed down to throughout the season had no intention of returning, especially with the Yanks’ well publicized statement of refusal to go after the superstar should he opt out of his contract. However, although the Yanks took an ugly blow with the lost of a huge bat and what has turned out to be a high caliber third baseman, some Yankee fans are not crying goodbye but yelling good riddance to this future hall-of-famer… and now "untrue" Yankee.
-Though A-Rod’s bat will likely not have a chance to return as a force in the Yankee lineup next year, the Yankee off-season started with an uglier reality. With the Boss’s threat to fire the beyond talented Yankee skipper still swimming around the minds of fans and reporters after the Yankee elimination became complete, the word was spread out: Joe Torre will no longer be the Yankee manager. Though it turned out that Torre did not receive the hook from the high and mighty, he stated that he might as well have. Torre took it upon himself to relieve himself of his managerial title after receiving an "insult" of an offer by the Yankee organization, which is now being controlled by the younger generation of Steinbrenners, one of which whom has already established himself as more outspoken than that of the Boss himself (if that’s possible).
-Though A-Rod is and will be the big story when it comes to the free agent market this off-season, the big story for the Yanks will be whether or not they can hold on to their highly regarded multiple backbones of what this team represents. It is unimaginable to think of what the Yankee team would look like without Jorge "Silent Assassin" Posada behind the plate or Mariano "Mo" Rivera lurching in the dugout ready to come out to the tune of Enter Sandman in the bottom of the 9th. The Yanks can ill afford to lose either of these immeasurably valuable players and icons of New York.
The Good: (Yes, there’s some.)
-Okay, so what good has come of this disaster ridden off-season so far? For one, despite seeing the father of the Yanks, Joe Torre, doff his cap one last time, the Yanks made a great choice for his successor. With Girardi and Mattingly the two likely candidates for replacement, (and in all respect to the well loved Don Mattingly) Girardi already had experience and success (though not overwhelming) as a manager and had the upper hand as a former catcher, for catchers tend to make good managers because of their view and knowledge of the game. Though Mattingly is a great hitter (who could probably still play first if he wanted to) and coach, many doubted he was ready to step up to the managerial level. However, with Girardi named as manager, Mattingly will not return as a coach next year, forcing Yankee fans to see another beloved Yankee say goodbye.
-Lastly, although this doesn’t serve as any guarantee, it is now known that Pettitte will be wearing a pinstripe uniform or none at all come next season. Though he has not officially made his decision, he is allowed the same amount of time Rodriguez had, but didn’t use, to make up his mind. Yankee fans all around would no doubt be disappointed to see Pettitte leave again, should he choose to, but are happy as of yet that his loyalties are still with them and this franchise, unlike the media boy A-Rod.
All in all, the off-season for the Yanks hasn’t been a pretty sight and… has a chance to get worse, which is scary thought (not just Halloween scary). Then again, the Cashman does tend to have a way of accomplishing the impossible with blockbuster trades that have millions of people eager beyond belief just for the start of spring training.
P.S. Best of luck to El Padre should he become the new manager of the Dodgers. Best of the worst luck to Pay-Rod should he sign with the Mets or Red Sox… or Angels, who went up on the Yankee hate list this year. If not, then best of… decent luck.
The infamous baseball manager of the New York Yankees, Joe Torre, is no longer at the helm of this victorious dynasty and will not be closing out the Yanks’ final season in the current Yankee Stadium. However, contrary to the threat of the Yankee owner, he was not released after the team failed to advance any further than the ALDS. He instead declined an offer that has been recently criticized as an offer "meant to be declined". Although the offer decreased his base salary to 5 million, it would have provided an extra million dollar bonus for each level the team advanced into the playoffs, presenting a more "get paid as you go" standard. There is no absolute way to know what the Yanks really had in mind when this offer was made, but if you’re Torre, getting a two and a half million dollar pay cut, while still being the highest paid manager in baseball, with the chance to earn even more (eight million) and the opportunity to manage in the final year of the current stadium with the possibility of managing the first year of the new stadium, was the offer that bad? Then again, was this offer an insult?
Despite whatever controversies surround the heads of the Yankee franchise and/or Joe Torre, the Yanks will nonetheless be steered by a new manager next season, one who will be looking to take the Yanks and their fans back to the post-season with hopes of holding the World Series trophy in hand come October’s end. With one question already tackled this off-season, there are still plenty left to be answered with the uncertain futures of many of the prides of the Yanks, with the most notable in Alex Rodriguez, who could decide to leave the Yanks for a higher paycheck next season, even with the green he’s already making.
With the Yanks’ disappointing end to the 2007 season and an already disappointing off-season, there is no safe guard for the blow the Yanks can take this off-season if the Evil Empire receives a dose of its own medicine. Though the major reason that the off-season is despised by fans is because there are no more games to watch, the major reason this fan despises the off-season is because baseball becomes intertwined once more with the rest of the world, the one that’s blindly fueled by one thing: money.
**Edit: Torre will be revealing the reason(s) behind his decision in 2 hours… let the countdown begin.**
**Re-Edit: After first hearing of Torre’s decision to decline and no longer return as the Yankee manager in 2007 and after being spoiled by his presence on the team for basically my whole life, I was honestly disappointed that Torre didn’t take the deal that would bring him back for the final year in the current Yankee Stadium. However, after hearing the reasons behind his decision to reject the deal, it makes a lot more sense and it’s a shame that the Yankee organization didn’t make an effort to keep Torre. He deserved better from the team he has guided as more than a manager for the last 12 years. I can’t imagine this team without him. Much love goes out to Joe, the man that never played a game as a Yankee, but will forever be remembered as one.**
With the regular season finished and the post-season undergo, the Yankees find themselves already two games down in a best of five series with the Indians and on the brink of packing it up for the year. Two sweeps have already been completed in the National League, while two teams in the American League head into today’s game with that same aim in mind. Though the Yanks are one loss from sheer disaster, they sit in a position they’ve been in before. Just six years ago and one loss away from heading home empty handed, the Yanks battled back to win the ALDS (as well as the ALCS and one win short of winning the World Series) providing hope for the 2007 New York Yankees, who look to accomplish the same feat.
With the far from perfect season the Yanks have been through this year and the same multitude of failure witnessed, this new obstacle is no different. Although the Yanks completed a miraculous comeback to make it to the post-season, they’ll now have only one chance to stay in the post-season. It’s safe to say however that this team is still up for the challenge. Tonight’s game will be do or die… as will the next and the next (should the Yanks succeed).
There is nothing more frightening than watching your team dig themselves a hole they have little chance of coming out of, however… the Yankees are no ordinary team. They will not wave the white flag or utter the words, "there’s always next year," for losing is not an image they can imagine. The odds are against the Yanks, as they’ve been all year, but the Yankees and their fans refuse to throw in the towel. No battle is won without a fight.
"There is no substitute for victory." -Douglas MacArthur.