I’ve long felt that a well placed Hughie Jennings’ “Ee-yah!” should be used instead of baseball cliches.
One of the strangest and most annoying cliches to have worked its way into the baseball vernacular is the one that is a variation on the idea that the Yankees have to win the World Series every year or the season is a failure. This phrase seems to worm its way into almost every article on the Yankees. This otherwise standard pre-season article on Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano in the New York Times this week where writer Scott Cacciola describes the Yankees as being a team “for whom anything less than a World Series trophy is a symbol of failure,” is a recent example of this.
The basic problem with this cliche, like many cliches, is that it has no meaning. On one level, it states the obvious, that the Yankees would like to win the World Series every year. This, however, is true of most teams. Moreover, while the Yankees remain the most successful team in baseball history, winning the World Series every year, or even most years is simply not a realistic goal. The team has won one World Series in the last decade and even going back to its most successful recent period, has won only five of the last 17 championships. This is, of course, an extraordinary run of success, unless the platitude of winning every year is taken seriously. This cliche also suggests that other teams either only occasionally set out to win, or that when they do win, it is do to some kind of coincidence. However, in recent years teams like the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and even the Boston Red Sox have managed more championships than the Yankees. Fans and management of those teams would probably not agree that those were the result of luck or anything of that nature.
...This cliche is not only meaningless, but it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy which hurts the Yankees more than it helps them. The Yankees have backed themselves into a position where they can never go into a trading deadline as a seller, never walk away from a winter without a free agent signing and rarely go with a high upside young player to fill a hole. The result, as it has been for 11 of the last 12 years, is not meeting their goals and having a payroll that is bloated with old and declining players. The Yankees are learning the hard way that trying to win every year can mean not winning in any years.
Posted: February 21, 2013 at 05:53 AM | 13 comment(s)
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