Perspectives: Random Thoughts
By Paul Semendinger
November 7, 2023
* Baseball Awards season has arrived. It's nice that Aaron Judge won the Roberto Clemente Award. Good for him. And, Anthony Volpe earned a Gold Glove at shortstop. That is a terrific honor. I assume Gerrit Cole will win the A.L. Cy Young Award. But, after that, probably nothing. I assume those will probably be all of the awards the 2023 Yankees will win.
* I'm not a fan of the new things they've been doing the last few years having Gold Glove Finalists Sometimes hype, when it makes little sense, makes the whole thing seem less than it was before. Player X is a Gold Glove Finalist? Really? They need to do this to get fans excited? I have to be honest, I haven't had one fan talk to me to say, "Oh Baby. I am psyched about the Gold Glove finalists." I fear in the future, this will someday be a criteria for the Hall of Fame. In a way it reminds me of the signs that started popping up a few years ago- the signs that say that a stop sign is ahead. We need notice for that? Soon there will be a sign alerting drivers that a stop sign warning sign is ahead. In regard to finalists, soon they'll have bonus rounds of finalists. "This year, every second baseman is a finalist for the Gold Glove. Next week, we'll announce the third from finals round. The winner will be announced in February..."
* I understand how teams don't want to get tied into long-term contracts. I get it. But the Yankees are already tied into a few huge long-term contracts. As I have said, again, for years, the window for them to win a World Series with their current stars is closing. It's actually closing very fast.
The time to win when a player is signed to a megadeal is immediately. The deal (obviously) should be most beneficial in the early years of the contract. The albatross years come later. The Yankees have not won when Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge (and Giancarlo Stanton) were at their youngest. The Yankees are running out of time for them to win while those players (not Stanton) are still young and good enough. Hal Steinbrenner saving money has actually cost the team. The Yankees have no championships. This is penny wise and pound foolish. Soon we'll be at the points when Cole and Judge are past their primes and their contracts are big drags on the team. The Yankees need to win soon. They actually need to go all-in for 2024.
* I asked this during the season, but if Gerrit Cole pitches great again, and the Yankees flounder, he might opt-out of the remainder of his contract. If that happens, the Yankees are really sunk. (That being said, I would not give him an extension - adding years to the end of his contract at the precise time when his contract will probably benefit the team less.
* The Yankees have not won a World Series in a long time. I'll state something that I am sure many will disagree with. Going forward, I don't care if the Yankees have a $300 million payroll in 2024. It can be $400 million for all I care. It can be $6 billion and I won't bat an eye. I want the Yankees to win. Period. All the years of taking half-measures hasn't resulted in any championships. None at all. I'd rather have a World Series in 2024 and deal with bad contracts for the next ten years than have no championships. Heck, we've now gone 14 years without a championship. What has the more cautious approach brought the Yankees? Not much.
* The Yankees brand is (or was) winning. That is what the Yankees represented. Greatness. Glory. Championships. Success. Winning was the thing that used to make the Yankees different than any other franchise. Other teams win sometimes. The Yankees used to win a lot. That is no longer. Today the Yankees uniform does not signify winning. These last 23 years have resulted in the Yankees sacrificing the one thing that made them unique among sports teams. Now they're just another team. Worse, they're another team with a long history of failing to achieve greatness in any recent years. A generation of fans has grown up not experiencing Yankee greatness. That generation is now lost - forever. And, no, they don't care that the Yankees have been better than .500 for decades. No one cares, or very few do. It means they've been good, but they have not been great. And for the Yankees, that shouldn't be good enough. The Yankees image has suffered. While they were once elite, they are no longer. To young fans today, the Yankees uniform does not signify anything special. This was a self-inflicted wound. It is something that has hurt the Yankees' brand significantly. The significance of this almost can't be over stated. The impact has been and will be gigantic. It is a legacy change. The franchise, in no way, represents what it used to. And the men who own that change are Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman. They are the ones who have made the decisions that have resulted in the Yankees losing their status as the sport's greatest franchise.
NOTE - I just thought of the following while making comments below...
Great corporations don't always remain great. Over time some falter. Some of the greatest companies in the world are no longer. Often times, its bad leadership that ruins a brand - sometimes quickly, sometimes over many decades.
There was an old saying in the 1950s - "Rooting against the Yankees was like rooting against U.S. Steel." They were both powerhouses that seemed like they'd be great forever...
Nowadays, it's still quite similar again.
This is the legacy change the Yankees have brought. The brand itself is tainted. It doesn't not represent what it used to.
And, again, that legacy change occurred because of the decisions Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman made. The Yankees today do not represent what they used to.
* It seems that some people didn't like my take on the "new" Beatles song. I understand. This song will be the last Beatles song ever. (Unless they find another old demo tape.) We're talking about the greatest rock band ever - the Beatles. People want to love the song. This is one last grasp at something that's been gone for a long time - and something most of us, myself included, never experienced. I was born as the Beatles were slowing breaking up. I never experienced the Beatles' great era. I'm a child of the 1970s, not the 60s. I "discovered" the Beatles in the 1980s, or, at least, that's when I became a huge fan. This new song is a chance for the Beatles to be relevant again. People are grabbing on to that. I get it. It's fun. People are talking about the Beatles again.
I just don't think the new song is all that special. It's not that I don't like the song, it's fine enough, but it's bland. It's boring to me. It goes nowhere.
It's also not real. (Nothing is real?) They did this already, making a song from a demo tape, more than 30 years ago with Free As A Bird and Real Love. At the time, three decades ago, that was something neat and cool and original. But it's now tired and boring. And the song, unfortunately, is too.
I really think that if a no-name band played the new Beatles song, no one would give it a second thought. On the other hand, had a no-name band played almost any Beatles song from the 1960s, they would have been noticed.
The song seems tired. It has no real life. In fact, years ago, I don't think the Beatles themselves would have published it or played it. It's just not that good.
As a comparison, years ago, they found the manuscript for a book Harper Lee wrote and had never published. The new book was soon published with great fanfare, not unlike this new song. It tuned out that most people didn't like the newly discovered Harper Lee book. It wasn't that good. Sometimes things remain as demos and unpublished for a reason.
In regard to this new song, whatever the song is, it isn't the Beatles. It's Paul and Ringo playing to a demo of John's with George added in.
We know how the Beatles wrote music. It was a process - a collaboration between musicians at the heights of their powers. There was none of that with the new song. Paul and John didn't collaborate. It's from a recording John did alone - a decade after the Beatles. It's likely that Paul and John weren't even on speaking terms when the song was recorded into a tape recorder.
Here's an analogy...
I loved Don Mattingly as a ballplayer. I'd still love to see him swing a bat in an Old Timer's game. I love watching old films of him playing, but I don't need to see him trying to play in a real game today.
I love the Beatles. I love to listen their old stuff. I like seeing films of their playing days. I don't need to have someone try to recreate a song from a decade after they broke up, just to try to enhance their lifetime playlist.
If he played today, Mattingly would make a lot of errors and he'd strikeout a lot.
The Beatles today, if we want to call them that... well, unfortunately for me, it's the same with this new song. They struck out.
A note to those in the media and other baseball writers, podcasters, talkers, and the like - if you borrow or use any of these ideas, do the right thing and give credit where credit is due - to this author and to this site.