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The Twilight Zone at 161st and River Ave

NEW YORK - MAY 04:  Joba Chamberlain #62 of the New York Yankees walks on the field past the tarp covering the infield prior to a game against the Boston Red Sox on May 4, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jared HoodContributor IMay 6, 2009

 

            The Bronx zoo of 2009 is not getting it done. The Bronx is starting to look like the twilight zone. A dynasty of baseball, loved by its fans for over a hundred years, the Yankees seem more like a bumbling sketch comedy right now than a team that has won 26 World Championships. Watching the Yankees on television is comparable to watching a slow 26 car pile up, in bad weather. I can’t imagine the depression that would set in watching from a 2500 dollar seat. Apparently, the cost of that seat isn’t worth the embarrassment a fan would feel as they watch the “pride-of-New York” whiff in almost every home game.

 

            The drizzly, cold and cloudy conditions that have stalked the south Bronx lately seems almost like an omen, and not the good kind. I don’t need to hear the same explanation from baseball fans that think they’re Bill James anymore. I’m already aware that money does not always buy a championship. At least not in baseball, though I think the Patriots could argue it always buys them a championship. That and cheating, but I digress. Let’s think about the Yankees and money for a second. Why shouldn’t the Yankees have money? They’ve won more pennants and championships than any other team in baseball. They have two of the best single season win records in the history of baseball. And they’re located in a city with some of the most die hard baseball fans in the country that are almost always ready to drop cash on the bombers without a moments notice. Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for 10 million dollars. The team is now worth billions.

 

            Now, why shouldn’t the Yankees spend money? Hey, you fantasy league dorks out there…who do you pick for your teams each year. Do you pick guys whose contracts are worth the least amount of money in Major League Baseball, or the guys with the biggest paychecks? The guys with the biggest paychecks get paid better because they play better. Why should it be any different for the Yankees? But here’s the deal, I’m not going to go out and blow 2,000 dollars on a stereo because it was rated the best last year, unless I have the backup stereo I’ve kept in the closet for a backup. The Yankees have money! They should spend it without the clamoring of whiny couch surfing baseball analysts all over this country!

 

            What the Yankees don’t have, if you ask me, is a well run organization. Mark Teixeira’s numbers will improve. C.C.’s pitching will get better. And as for the bullpen, they’re being shouldered with the weight of bad starting pitching and a little-league caliber offense. They’ll do the job when they’re teammates start doing theirs. If the Yankees look to add number 27 to their championships, they’re going to need a lot more than well paid free agents. Start farming the seeds guys. Start looking to your new bullies in Boston that push you around better than a seven year old on the playground. They get it done with free agents, but when the free agents break, they go to the closet and replace them with reliable youth. The only reliability the Yankees youth have is that they’ll get injured or they’ll strike out, usually both. I wish Casey Stengel was still alive, I wonder what he would say. I’d love to see the Yankees win the World Series in 2009. But I have to say, realistically, I don’t see it happening. They’re not built for the postseason. They’ve shown they’re barely built for the regular season. They should start thinking ahead, instead of behind. Baseball is going through another revolution. Base stealing, bunting and the sacrifice are becoming big run producers again. The Yankees can either follow the revolution or be pulverized in its wake. Unfortunately for now, the ghosts of River Ave to the south are not blessing you with fortunes past. Instead they’re haunting you with signs of things to come.

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