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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Perspectives: There's A Time For Us...

by Paul Semendinger

October 21, 2022

***

There's a time for us

Someday a time for us...


It's discouraging. Very discouraging. We are seeing the same play, acted out, albeit with some slightly different actors, but with the same main cast, and the same producers, year after year.


I love the musical West Side Story. I remember an outstanding performance that my wife and I saw when we were still dating, back in the 1980s. The play was at Susquehanna University where she attended. I loved it all. The music, the story... (my date). I had spent most of my "growing up years" watching baseball (and Rocky movies). I didn't know the story of this play so everything that happened was new to me. I was crushed when it ended, this modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale. I wanted Tony and Maria to live happily ever after.


In the years since, we have seen West Side Story on Broadway a few times, we've seen the original movie, and when he was in high school, Ethan performed in a tremendous rendition of this great musical. Every single time I see a performance, I hope for a happy ending. I know it can't happen, and that it won't, but I still hope that, somehow, someday, somewhere... it just might.


It has become like that watching the Yankees. Year-after-year, season-after-season, we see the same production. There are different players acting in the key roles, but the story remains the same. It ends in tragedy.


In the highly regarded business book Good to Great, the main point that is driven home, time and again, is that good enough never is. The book says it best, "Good is the enemy of great."

The Yankees have been good for a long time. They haven't been great in a longer time. It's getting closer and closer to forever. 2009 was a long time ago.


But, in many ways, that 2009 season was an outlier. It's an outlier that tends to make this cold period, a long period of disappointment, seem not quite as bad and not quite as long.


When the party line is, "They last won it in 2009," it sounds somewhat okay. Thirteen years? It wasn't that long ago. (It was in the world and the history of the Yankees, but that's not my point here.) 2009 was the outlier. It was the year that stands out. Unique and alone. And because of it, the overall drought, dating back to 2001, doesn't sound or seem as bad.


But this had been a long, tired, frustrating, and in some regards, miserable slog. I use the word miserable because, in some ways, that word really describes all of this. The Yankees are good, they're just not good enough. And it's miserable, in many ways, to have to go through the same show year-after-year-after-year hoping for a different result. The Yankees aren't great. They always stop short of being great. For the Yankees good enough is good enough.


"Look at us! We've been better than .500 for 29 consecutive years!"

"Look how many times we're in the post season!"

"No team wins as many games as us!"

"Our manager is the first manager to win 100 games so many times and get to the playoffs so often to begin a career."

"Our GM has never had a losing season."


On and on.

And on...


These good results are the enemy of the great results that could be had. It's not like the Yankees don't have the resources to be great. It's that they are unwilling to use those resources to make themselves the very best team in baseball.


And what the Yankees do not understand, is that for this franchise, unique among all other sports franchises, just reaching the playoffs, being good, isn't good enough. It's not. Not by a long shot. No way.


Yankees fans expect greatness. And the Yankees themselves sell the fans on that greatness. We're inundated with it always. "We're the Yankees. We're the franchise with the most rings. We're Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Maris. Mantle. Berra. Munson. We're Reggie. We're Mariano. We're Jeter. We're the team of legend."


The Yankees make a fortune selling that idea and that ideal. It's on every telecast. It's everywhere. The Yankees sell the fans on their greatness.


"We're the Yankees, the greatest of the great."


Except they aren't. And they have not been. And for the better part of this century, they've come up short. Time and again. Year after year. They've been good. Not great.


There is an expectation from Yankees fans that the team cares about winning as much as they do. The Yankees don't. Not at all. They care enough to get to .500 or better. They care enough to reach the post season. They don't care enough to build a team, top-to-bottom, that is or can be the best team. They always stop short.


Sometimes the best team loses. The Dodgers lost. It happens. But, at least those fans can say, "We were all-in. It just didn't work out." The Yankees can never say that. They Yankees aren't all in. Instead, year-after-year, we get treated to, "Here's this year's tease. We're good, not great, but we can get you, often against your better judgement, to eventually believe."


And we do. We buy in. Sometimes slowly. Often reluctantly. We tell ourselves that, "If this happens... If he can just do what he did in May... Or if he pitches as he did last year... If... If.... IF!"


But we know, deep in our hearts that we're grasping for straws. Paper straws. The ones that get soggy the longer they're in the drink...


We know, when we watch West Side Story, that it cannot work out. We hope. We dream. We wonder. We put our logic on pause because we want to believe in the impossible, if we know that Tony and Maria can't be happy, there's not point in buying in. The great actors are the ones that convince us that the dream can actually come true. Happily ever after can come...

This is what the Yankees do. They convince us...


But, in the end Tony dies. He always does. Tragically.


As do the Yankees.

25 comments

25 commentaires


Michael Saffer
Michael Saffer
22 oct. 2022

The problem might be me, and people like me. After every last out of the post season I turn the tv off in disgust. Then, a few months later during a dark, cold winter day I get a coupon code for Yankee tickets. I am immediately sucked back in. If the fans stopped going and subscribing to Apple, Prime, Peacock, etc perhaps Hal will rethink his business model.

J'aime

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
21 oct. 2022

Wait, you met and started dating your wife when you two were in COLLEGE? Took me until I was on the dark side of 40 to meet my wife. You, sir, are a throwback.


I've never seen WSS, but that's because I loathe musicals (as a general rule; there are exceptions, 1776, Urinetown, Avenue Q, The Producers, Spamalot -- basically anti-musicals).


But, Dude, seriously: You never read R&J in high (or middle!) school or saw it performed? It's an awful play, predicated on many people acting like idiots (teenagers, that's expected, but Friar Lawrence, sheesh!). Or that WSS was a riff on R&J?


Let Judge go. Are there still Qualifying Offers so they can get a draft pick? Tear …

J'aime
cpogo0502
22 oct. 2022
En réponse à

I totally agree. Tear the whole thing down. Judge is heading into his declining years. Let him go. Bring up the kids. Spend the money that they would have spent on Judge and get pitching and more pitching. Get some high contact position players. See if someone will take Stanton off our hands if we pay part of the his salary. We also have to think about replacing LeMahieu who seems to be injury prone as he enters his mid-30s. And above all give Cashman and Boone their walking papers.

J'aime

yankeesblog
21 oct. 2022

I know you will disagree and that's fine but I have no problem giving Judge more than 8 years if that's what it takes to sign him. It wouldn't be my first offer. That would be a higher AAV and shorter term. But the Yankees have little choice but to sign Judge. The alternative is a long rebuild which no one will like much. The Yankees have little hope of replacing Judge's production in the near term. It's probably true that the last years of the contract will be ugly but that's the nature of the business. For years we were told that they couldn't sign Harper, Macahdo or other FA because they needed to sign Judge, Sanchez, et. al.…

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
21 oct. 2022
En réponse à

True. I was 100% for that trade and excited by it.

And I fear a similar result and performance by Judge as we've seen as Stanton ages.

And Stanton isn't that old.

J'aime

Lincoln Mitchell
Lincoln Mitchell
21 oct. 2022

If I may take your West Side Story metaphor one step further, I propose Aaron Boone for the role of Officer Krupke. One further more serious thought. Your point about good enough being the enemy of great was thought provoking. One of my mantras is don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. My sense is that in the context of the Yankees, good is what they are now, great is winning it all and perfect is trying to win it all every year. The Yankees have effectively made the perfect the enemy not of the good, but of the great. In the social sciences we see that a theory that explains everything really explains nothing. The baseball corollary…

J'aime
Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
21 oct. 2022
En réponse à

You know, if the Yankees fans were told to be patient, I believe they would. This is because they have been.


We saw this already just a few years ago. "Just wait a few years, just before Judge, etc... arrived. We have a five-year plan."


We did wait. Patiently. We believed and accepted what they were telling us.


"We just signed a ton of international free agents, the likes of which have never been seen before."

"We got Clint Frazier!"

"Miguel Andujar is for real!"

"Greg Bird!"

"Gary Sanchez is so important that we must get rid of Joe Girardi because they don't work well together. And Gary is the future."

"Once we reset the salary cap, we'll go big…


J'aime

cpogo0502
21 oct. 2022

"Only you, you're the only thing I see, forever. In my eyes, in my words, and in everything you do, nothing else but you, ever." Yankee fan since 1960. I will never quit on the team even with the current troubles.


Cashman, Boone, Hal. They are the problem. If Hal can't bring himself to do what's needed, sell the ballclub to someone who is committed to greatness.

J'aime
Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
21 oct. 2022
En réponse à

THANK YOU!!!!!

J'aime
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