As a Bronx resident, I can't help but see or think about Yankee Stadium. When I think about the House that Ruth Built, I think of championship banners just like anyone else.
Since Luis Gonzalez blooped that World Series' clincher off of Mariano Rivera in 2001 for the Diamondbacks, I ask myself—"What has went wrong since then?"
There could be an array of answers but I can't help but think—"Is too much money being spent?" Alex Rodriguez will probably surpass Barry Bonds as the homerun king, but $300 million plus for the "homerun king" with no rings will be a bit heart-wrenching.
Derek Jeter received his $189 million contract and that seemed more than deserving considering he was an intricate part in four rings being won. The object of the game is to win and those who win should have no limit on how they are rewarded.
Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest hitters of all time, but one can't help but think about his years spent in the AL West basement with the Texas Rangers.
The 2008 season ended without a playoff appearance. Somebody has some explaining to do.
Joe Torre was made one of the scapegoats for the title drought. During the year he leaves, all he does is lead a depleted Dodgers' team (with the help of Manny Ramirez) to the NLCS.
Speaking of Mr. Ramirez, although he is accused of tanking games for the Boston Red Sox, I really would have liked to see him put on a Yankee uniform this winter. Call him what you want, but Ramirez is a winner.
From being with the Indians to helping a baseball team with a championship famine since 1918 clinch two World Series titles, he is the "home run king" of the postseason. Does that not count for anything?
But to be politically safe, the Yankees opted for Mark Teixeira, a great hitter, but I can't remember a team he has won on. He was traded to an Anaheim Angel team that was in first place all season, but then they managed to lose in the first round to the Boston Red Sox.
Again, I can't help but think of his years in the AL West basement as a member of the Texas Rangers. Hopefully, he and A-Rod can reminisce on those days and rally the Yanks to the "Promised Land."
C.C Sabathia was a necessary signing. The Bombers need someone to open up "The House that Jeter Built." But with Johan Santana pitching for the Mets cross town for big money, C.C will have to win a championship or out-duel Johan at the very least to be seen as "worth" $161 million.
Returning to the topic of Ramirez, this has to be one of the most disappointing things in my eyes. He is a New Yorker and a product of George Washington High School. Why wasn't he picked up? Because he's a nuisance? Because he's a free spirit? That sounds like a perfect fit for the "Sons of Boss," Hank and Hal.
Opposing pitchers would not be able to sleep the night before with a 3-4 tandem of Ramirez and Rodriguez. A-Rod might have been on pace to hit 75 home runs with that kind of support.
I just don't believe pitchers feel the same about Rodriguez-Teixeira. Although they will have their moments, it's going to take Sabathia, Chamberlain, and the crew to pick up some of that playoff slack that those two seem to leave.
Meanwhile in Southern California, Ramirez almost convinced a team that you couldn't name anyone except Joe Torre to the World Series in less than half a season's work...go figure.
My question again and again is—"Will this year's roster be enough for a title? For the sake of the Bronx faithful including myself, we would all hope so. Let's just pray Manny doesn't sign with The Chicago Cubs for a bargain and help them break a curse as well.
The New York Yankees' brass is probably oblivious to this as they have been to the last seven seasons. In fact, they are oblivious to the fact that Joe Torre was a great manager that money can't buy nowadays!
Good Luck Joe Girardi! Every Yankee fan is going to need you more than ever for the 2009 season.
In closing, as you may have read, I am not satisfied. An ALCS appearance is the minimum expectation in my eyes and that's being really nice.