March 19, 2009

"The Yankee Years" - Excerpt 2

I just finished reading the section of the book about the 1998 world series, and I found a couple of interesting comments.  Here is George Steinbrenner's take on the 1998 Yankees team:
"This," he said, "is as good as any team I've ever had, and as good as any team I've ever seen.  There's never been anyone better." - Page 66
The debate continues to this day of the best baseball team of all time.  I know the 1927, 1939 and 1998 Yankee teams are all in the mix.  Baseball-Almanac has the 1927 Yankees as the best team of all time using an explicit formula.  Do you agree?

Tom Verducci followed Steinbrenner's quote with a very clear summary of the 1998 team:
"It was never as good as it was in 1998, not with the near-perfect composition of the roster, the peak-age talent and the singular mindset of 25 grinders rolled into 125 victories.  A desperation to win.  That is what made them so historic." - Page 66
My immediate reaction to this description was recognizing just how far the Yanks have veered off track of compiling a team of winners.  The book talks a lot about the unselfishness of all 25 players on the team.  Even when a player would have a great game, it wouldn't mean anything if they lost.  Winning was all that mattered.  

I guarantee you that nobody can say with a straight face that Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira or CC Sabathia only have winning on their minds.  These are players that would fight between a $160 million contract and a $161 million contract.  

These players went to the team with the highest bid.  If the Nationals had bid an extra million per year on any of these guys, the player(s) would have signed with the Nats.  Winning was the furthest thing from their minds.

Photo from Newsday


Anonymous said...

This post makes me depressed at first.

I believe that the Rays do have a shot at becoming a team close to those 98 Yankees. They have the youth that WILL mature and a fantastic manager.

However, there will never be another Yankees team like the 98 Yanks as long as they keep signing these huge names.

I think this Yankees team does have some winners though. In fact I think the majority of this team is made of winners, especially with the destructive influence of Bobby Abreu no longer plaguing the attitudes of Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera.

Also, I think that at this point in his career, A-Rod is going to HAVE to start being a winner. World Series Rings are the only things that will put him into the Hall of Fame at this point. I think he wants the Hall of Fame vote more than anything else, and we may see a new player come out of this.

We finally have the starting pitching to win. This season could be one hell of a ride. Maybe not as good as 98, but they could win a series for sure.

Lenny Neslin said...

Reminding us all of the excellent relationship between Melky and Cano is a great point/argument that Melky should stay over Gardner.

Having team chemistry is crucial, and A-Rod's hopes for the Hall of Fame is just another distraction. Cody Ransom sounds like a Yankee and has the right attitude to be a Yankee.

Our rotation looks great right now - no doubt about it. However, like we were talking before, what if Mo goes down with an injury? No more 5th starter, and chaos in the Bronx rekindles.

We'll see.

Anonymous said...

It's possible that the Nationals did offer Teixeira more money and the Red Sox did offer him more when you include the options.

Only one other team bid on Sabathia so I can't see how you can make the claim that he fought over $1 million or that he would have signed with another team if they offered slightly more. Those are both assumptions on your part that I don't agree with.

Also I don't think you are right in questioning Sabathia's will to win. Last season he was pitching on 3 days rest and his agent called the Brewers' GM and told him to stop. Sabathia then called his agent and told him to stop.

Your article is filled with too much hyperbole.

Lenny Neslin said...

I definitely agree with your point about Sabathia's desire to win, but I might not have been clear on my point with Sabathia. I'm trying to show that "money", not "the Yankees" brought him to NYC.

I still believe that the three players I mentioned would not be in New York if better contracts from other teams were on the table. That's all I was trying to say.

Anonymous said...

In defense of Lenny, Sabathia knew that he was on a contract year. He also knew that he wouldn't be questioned for "just playing for the money" if he pitched on 3 days rest repeatedly. It was just something he could put on his resume. You're forgetting that he is the HIGHEST PAYED PITCHER IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES. If he was truly selfless wanted to win so badly he would sign with the Yankees for a lot less, so they could possibly finance their stadium as well as the enormous payroll that goes along with it.

Anonymous said...

Well they all play for the money. You can say it about players on the pirates. Ross Ohlendorf wasn't excited to get traded there because it gave him a better chance to win, major league minimum is a lot more than what you get in the minors.

Lenny Neslin said...

Yes. But then there are players like Tim Duncan who will sign for lower than what the team offers so that the team has more money to spend on other free agents. It's hard to find other examples of players doing that. Not only is it classy, it also benefits the team.

Post a Comment

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP