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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Perspectives: A Collection of Thoughts

by Paul Semendinger

August 7, 2023

***

If you want to look at things positively, and boy would I like to, over the last five games, the Yankees are 3-2 against two of the better teams in the American League, the Astros and the Rays.

***

So, Carlos Rodon left yesterday's game with hamstring tightness. One has to wonder (and based on the way the Yankees have handled their players' injuries, it is very very very fair to wonder) if the Yankees rushed him back before he was 100%.


Carlos Rodon on the season is now 1-4, 7.33.


Does it seem like he is 100%? It sure doesn't to me.

***

I have said this is the comments a few times over the last few days, but I'll repeat it here as well.


Over the last few years, and especially over the last couple of weeks, the Yankees' brand has taken a huge hit. A huge hit. There have been a host of articles written by lots of big time sports writers who have heavily criticized the Yankees for their approaches to so much.


Hal Steinbrenner said a few months ago that he doesn't pay attention to sports talk and such.


He should. His brand is taking a huge hit. One cannot live off the greatness of decades ago forever.


The Yankees recent past is not very good and right now their future looks like much of the same.


There is only one way to fix this mess and that is for someone to stop with the platitudes and the talking points that and take real responsibility for what the Yankees are right now.


And really, the only person that can do that and send a real message is Hal Steinbrenner. He needs to be the boss. He needs to send all of the people who made all of these terrible decisions packing.


It shouldn't be acceptable in any business. For the Yankees, who used to be the standard of excellence, it should be even less so.


The need for accountability should have happened already and the longer that it doesn't take place does not show organizational strength or leadership, rather it demonstrates apathy, indifference, or worse.

***

Aaron Boone is supposed to be a great communicator. He's also supposed to be a player's manager. I hear comments from some people supposedly in the know such as "The players LOVE playing for Boone." And maybe they do. But, it begs the question... "Why?"


Why do the Yankees players love playing for Boone (if they even do)? Is it because he is a great strategist? (It can't be that.) Is it because they know their roles from day to day? (That is also not true.) It can't be because he wins so much and so often, because he doesn't. Is it because he cares so much for the players as people? (If it's that, how could he not see what Domingo German had been going through and how could he not see that Anthony Rizzo was struggling? If he cared about the players as people, how could he continue to write the names of injured players into the lineup, not just day-after-day, but month-after-month?)


Maybe the players LOVE Boone because he is indifferent to them and no one is held accountable. Maybe they say, "He isn't a great manager, but he leaves us alone." Could that be it?


I'm not sure why there is a narrative that makes this claim - that Aaron Boone is such a great leader. I'd love for readers to share examples of Boone's excellence as a leader.


In regard to being a communicator, I often don't see Aaron Boone talking to the players in the dugout. You'd think a great communicator would be talking to his players. I don't even see him talking much to his own coaches. Most of the time, almost always, every shot of Aaron Boone on TV has him alone in a corner of the dugout blowing bubbles or spitting seeds. To me, as an outsider, it doesn't seem that he communicates much with his players or anyone during the game. Maybe they talk a lot after the games or before the games. But, if so, how could he not notice so many of the little things that a good leader is supposed to notice?


I know there are still supporters of Aaron Boone out there, people who feel he's a good manager. I'd love to understand why.

***

We all know that the Yankees rushed Aaron Judge back. The Yankees' idea was that he didn't need to rehab in the minors - that he could do it in the big leagues. In making this decision, the team seemed to discount the fact that Judge said that he was still in pain. (Not the best look considering all of the other situations that have come up recently with the Yankees.)


Well, here are Aaron Judge's numbers since he has returned:


9 games

27 at bats

5 hits

.185 batting average.


Note, three of his five hits came in the same game, his second game back. (If we take that 3-for-5 performance away, Judge is 2-for-22 (.090).


Simple question - was it a good idea to bring Judge back when the Yankees did? I was against it from the start.


I know this, if I were Aaron Judge, I wouldn't trust my future by trying to play through the injury at this point. No way. I would have no faith in management's decisions regarding my health. The Yankees do not deserve, in any way, the benefit of the doubt in the way they treat their players. At all. If I were Judge, I would shut myself down. I'd wait until I was 100% healthy. Why risk a career for this club in this situation right now?

***

Here's another simple question:


Seeing how the Yankees have handled their players' injuries and needs, if you were a star free agent, would you sign with the Yankees?


I wouldn't.


And this is a point I have been driving at for a long time now. The Yankees are no longer seen as the best place to play. They are mismanaged in so many ways. They also haven't won. Their stadium isn't great. They're going in the wrong direction in almost every way. Worse, they often don't even seem to have a direction.


Again, the only person who can fix this is Hal Steinbrenner, but to fix it, would require him to make some bold statements and take some bold actions. I just don't see any of that happening.

***

I know that fans get excited when he has a few hits, but after hitting just .202 in July, Anthony Volpe is batting only .210 in August.


Is there someone who can explain how the Yankees have done a good job with him?


I'd also like to know why he has been given such a long trial period when other players, so so so many of them, never seem to get such a chance.

***

I spent a few hours every day working on my next book project which will be about different Yankees (and Confederates) centered on the Battle of Gettysburg. I took a little break from my Civil War research yesterday and wanted to do some light reading. The book Once A Runner has always been considered a classic for runners. I figured I'd give it a try.


On Page 46, I came across the following passage (referring to a college football coach). Note: I changed specific character or place names to general terms or left them out entirely for clarity:


A little surprised by the brewing hostility, he babbled something about some real fine junior college transfers, some red-shirts who would be "a real great help to us out there next year," and a few other favorite mouth-worn...maxims. (Town) cynics suspected that the NCAA held yearly seminars for the purpose of allowing football coaches to swap these fluffs of wisdom back and forth (The coach's) favorite was "In order to win you've got to avoid losing first." Things like that.


Just wondering if that reminds anyone of anyone.

***

I'll end with the best baseball news in my life -


I play on two baseball teams, one with my son Ethan. Yesterday in our first playoff game, Ethan smacked the game winning RBI single for us.


Yeah, that was awesome!


11 Comments


jjw49
Aug 07, 2023

You look at Rodon and what I see is a out of shape pitcher who needs to start working with a PT to get in shape (physically) for next year. He should be shut down and so should Judge ... have the surgery now and rehab for 2024r. Your comments about Boone seem accurate... he leaves the players alone so of course he is a players manager. Hal said he won't fire Boone unless he loses the clubhouse..... so until Cashman is fired Boone will remain. It is very difficult to watch this team and be a Yankee fan this year. I watch but I know we could be so much better and hopefully we will!

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Mike Whiteman
Aug 07, 2023

I’ve defended Boone in the past take the unpopular stance of doing it again!

Boone has a .591 career winning percentage, which is an average of about 96 wins per season. Now, I think someone can fake it a year or two, but this is almost six years. He’s been doing something right, and while we fans and bloggers consider ourselves knowledgeable of much, I believe there’s much more to managing a team than we think.

Now he’s not doing everything right, and needs a title to be considered a really good manager. It may well be time for a change after the season - it happens to all managers eventually.

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Mike Whiteman
Aug 07, 2023
Replying to

Oh, I definitely think Boone needs postseason success to be considered in the upper echelon of managers, no matter what his winning percentage is. I'm responding a bit to the notion that Boone is a "bad" manager. He's no Casey Stengel or Joe McCarthy, but I don't think anyone lucks into almost .600 winning percentage.

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sfs1944
Aug 07, 2023

Paul as I have said in the past you and I agree on what is wrong with the Yanks. It starts at the top as I have said many times. Hal Steinbrenner is a bean counter and not a baseball man. Under his watch the Yanks have One WS Championship in 2009 and haven’t even sniffed the WS since. I am also sick and tired of Cashman saying theYanks would have been in the WS if not for Houston. BS , Houston beat them and continues to beat them. I would take Altuve over these bums any day of the week. The only reason free agents would come to the Yanks is if the Yanks would offer the most money…

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Aug 08, 2023
Replying to

1944,

He was correcting the record.

Keep the discussion on the Yankees not the people making comments. Thanks.

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cpogo0502
Aug 07, 2023

As long as the fans keep making Hal richer and the Yankees capitalization continues to rise (now, supposedly over $7 billion dollars, Hal will do nothing. Of all the problems you mention the thing that bothers me the most is their medical mis-management of injured players. I agree totally, Judge should never have come back when he was obviously not healed from his injury. The Rizzo situation, German's problems, the failure to properly medically evaluate players like Montas and Rodin, the destruction of our minor league starting pitching through misguided trades are all combining to destroy the team's immediate future. I wish I could see a way out of this but I don't. I've said this repeatedly that until Boone…

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