Waiting For The Baseball Off-Season

Well, there really isn’t an “off-season” in baseball any more. It’s just the next part of the year-long business of baseball that happens to follow the post-season playoff games and World Series. 

But, this year, the baseball off-season takes on a greater meaning for all us Yankee fans because for the first time in 13 years it will be our “post-season”, after we struggle through the month of October which for much of baseball history has belonged to the New York Yankees.

As the Yankees move their 39 American League pennants and 26 World Series Championship trophies across the street into the new Yankee Stadium, preparations are being made by the Yankees braintrust on how best to improve the team that finished the 2008 Baseball Season in third place in the AL East with a very disappointing 89-73 record.

Many moves need to be made for the Yankees to play baseball in the 2009 post-season, and in future October’s, as they look forward to creating many more memories at the new Yankee Stadium. The great Yankees tradition demands it; the players and Yankees Organization will strive to make it happen; and, the fans expect it. 

Winning the World Series is always the goal for the Yankees each year; and, the road to their 27th World Championship starts this off-season, after all the games of the 2008 post-season are finished.

I must admit, this post-season has been a lot more difficult for me than I thought it would be.

But, it also has allowed me to take a step back from writing new posts on my mlblog, as I used the last couple of weeks to “unwind” from the long, disappointing, 2008 Yankees Baseball Season; and, shift my full attention to the 2008 Presidential Campaign, following the new rising star on the political scene, Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, who has energized the conservative base of the Republican Party, and hopefully will help lead the John McCain – Sarah Palin ticket into the White House, as Ronald Reagan would say, in that “shining city upon a hill”, this November 4th.     

So, maybe my 2008 victory celebration will be in November this year, not October.

Even though the Yankees are not in this year’s post-season, as a baseball fan, I still enjoy watching the games. It’s just that, this year I really don’t have any interest in rooting for any particular team. It would be nice, though, to see Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, and Larry Bowa guide the Dodgers into the World Series. But, down three games to one to the Phillies, it doesn’t look good for Mr. Torre and the L.A. team.

Now, I would always root for the American League team in the World Series, except, of course, if the Boston Red Sox make it back to the “Fall Classic”.

As a New York Yankees fan, that’s part of the deal. As much as we root for the Yankees to win, we have to root just as hard for the Red Sox to lose. And, for that matter, it’s part of the package that we must also root against the New York Mets. That’s just the way it has always been growing up a Yankees fan all my life. And, I respect the fans of the Red Sox and Mets feeling the same way about the Yankees. These rivalries are all part of the fun of being a fan, rooting for our team, and following our great game of baseball.

As for some of the decisions already made after the 2008 season ended, it is interesting that both New York teams kind of took the same approach regarding their General Manager and Manager. 

The Yankees felt is was time for a change, and really gave Joe Torre no choice but to turn down the one-year deal they offered him at the end of the 2007 season. Joe Girardi was brought in to be the new Yankees Manager, and under the circumstances did an “okay” job in his first year as manager. Girardi deserves a pass for the disappointing 2008 Yankees season, but will be under enormous pressure to win the World Series in 2009.

The Mets also felt it was time to change managers, and fired Willie Randolph in the middle of the 2008 season. Randolph was replaced by bench coach, Jerry Manuel.

In 2007, the Mets blew a 7 game lead with 17 games to go; and, repeated a similar collapse in 2008, leading the NL East this year by 3.5 games with 17 to go, and, again, “blew the lead” to allow the Phillies to win the division for the second year in a row.

Jerry Manuel was part of both Met collapses, and a case could be made that if Willie Randolph was fired for the early Met failures, then, Manuel also should have been held responsible for the Mets late season 2008 collapse. But, with Joe Girardi getting a pass from the Yankees, I guess it’s fair that Manuel also received a pass from the Mets.

It’s interesting that the Mets finished with the same record, 89-73, as the Yankees in 2008; and, it goes without saying, both Joe Girardi and Jerry Manuel will have to lead their teams into the playoffs in 2009. If not, I don’t think there will be another “free pass” for either manager, heading into the 2010 season.

This all leads to New York Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman; and, New York Mets General Manager, Omar Minaya.

If the Yankees thought it was time for Joe Torre to be replaced, and the Mets thought Willie Randolph was the reason for the Mets failures; and, in the upcoming 2009 season, both Joe Girardi and Jerry Manuel will be under a microscope on just about every pitch, in every inning, why were the General Managers of both New York teams rewarded with extentions of their contracts?

Based on newspaper reports, Brian Cashman was given a new three-year contract; and, Omar Minaya was given a new four-year deal, with a two-year option.

Ultimately, it’s the players performance on the field that determines winning and losing games throughout the baseball season. And, it’s the General Manager who is most responsible for the makeup of the big league roster.

So, why were Brian Cashman and Omar Minaya “rewarded” with major multi-year deals, when their Managers are basically going into the 2009 season, “one long losing streak away from the firing line”?

Since, Joe Girardi and Jerry Manuel are working on “one-year” passes in 2009, with a post-season appearance being the only way each will remain Manager of their respective teams in 2010; then, shouldn’t this “one-year” pass also apply to Brian Cashman and Omar Minaya?

I don’t know what the goal is for the Mets Organization each year; and, quite frankly, as a Yankees fan, I’m really not concerned about what decisions they make. 

But, the New York Yankees goal each year is to win the World Series; and, they haven’t won a World Championship since the year 2000.

The 2008 baseball off-season is the Yankees most important one in many year’s, as it will set the tone of the Yankees roster for at least the next five seasons. Many moves need to be made to improve this Yankees team, and the only acceptable finish to the 2009 season, is the Yankees winning their 27th World Championship.

           

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6 comments

  1. welikeroywelikeroy

    The Yankees offseason is looking to be so big, I’m more excited to see what they are going to do, than the Jays even.

    That said, I don’t know if a big change is what the Yankees need. They did finish with a very respectable record this season, and they were only a small chunk of games from a playoff appearance.

    I wonder if their additions might disrupt their nucleus this year? Probably not, but just a thought.
    http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

  2. jimmy27nyy

    Hi, Jeremy …

    The upcoming off-season will be very important for the Yankees because they ended the 2008 season with many question marks … Other than Joba Chamberlain, the Yankees young prospects still have not proven that they can play at the big-league level; and, the whole starting rotation is very much in question !!! … Brian Cashman has said that Joba and Wang are the only two starters who are guaranteed a spot in the rotation, and both are coming off injuries last year … Mike Mussina is probably going to retire, but I hope he decides to return, to go for 300 career wins. Mussina has 270 wins, and will have to pitch at least “two” more years to reach 300 — so it is up to him if he wants to return … And, because of all this uncertainty, I also hope Andy Pettitte decides to pitch one more year … With all that said, I think, the Yankees need to sign “two” free-agent starters … The pitchers that are always mentioned as possible free-agent signings, are: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Derek Lowe — so, we will see how much money the Yankees are willing to spend … Also, I think, the Yankees should re-sign Bobby Abreu; and, sign free-agent, Mark Teixeira … Then, hopefully, in spring training, some of the Yankees young players will prove that they are ready to be part of the Major League roster !!! … It should be interesting, Jeremy, because the AL East will be very strong [again] next year; and, I think every team in the East will have a solid year, making almost every game a “must-win” game for any team that expects to get into the post-season in 2009 !!! … Thanks for the visit, Jeremy … Jimmy [27NYY]

  3. welikeroywelikeroy

    Hey Jimmy,

    Awesome that you got to read that book. Not only was it a good time for the Yankees in that era, it was a great time for baseball in general. Those were the glory years of team cammaraderie, radio turning ballplayers into mythical heros (i.e. listening to see if Dimaggio would get another hit on his streak) and less media spotlight on players that had their faults.

    If I could pick any time to go back and watch baseball in, it would be that time. The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry in that year was bigger than it has ever been, I would argue. Great era to be a Yankee fan, great era to be a baseball fan.
    http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

  4. jimmy27nyy

    Hi, Jane …

    Well, as reported by the Associated Press and Bryan Hoch of “Bombers Beat”, the Yankees start their off-season meetings today [Thursday, Oct 16th] in Tampa Bay, with Hank, Hal, Brian Cashman, Randy Levine, and Lonn Trost, attending the meeting … I hope that Gene Michael and Joe Girardi will be part of the meetings; and, also, hopefully, George Steinbrenner is healthy enough to make the final approvals on all major deals … Maybe, one of the first moves they will discuss will be bringing back Larry Bowa to coach third base … Regarding the playoffs — a sad ending for Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, and Larry Bowa, as the Phillies move onto the World Series after their win vs. the Dodgers … I now hope the Rays beat the Red Sox to win the American League Championship; and, will be rooting for Don Zimmer to get a “ring” with a Rays win against the Phillies in the World Series !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]

  5. jimmy27nyy

    Hey, Jeremy …

    Thanks to your excellent review of David Halberstam’s, “Summer of ’49”, I look forward to reading the book this off-season … I have always wanted to read the book, but just never got around to it … So, your review will help me relive that great era in Yankees history as I read the words of David Halberstam describing the 1949 Yankees season, which was the beginning of “five” straight World Series victories [1949-1953] by the Yankees !!! … Also, I hope to read Mr. Halberstam’s other great work about the Yankees, “October 1964” … I agree, the 1950’s would be a great time to travel back to, as the Yankees not only had a great rivalry with the Red Sox, but also, with the Brooklyn Dodgers … The Yankees and Dodgers played in the World Series six times between the years 1947-1956, with the Yankees winning 5 of those matchups … The Yankees also won the World Series against the Dodgers in 1941 … And, all those Brooklyn Dodger teams, were excellent teams; but, in all those years, they only beat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series !!! … Maybe, 2009 will be the start of a similar era for the New York Yankees, with the Yankees winning the same amount of Championshps from 2009-2024, as the 1949-1964 Yankee teams did … Jimmy [27NYY]

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