A Message for Yankees Fans after the Latest Disaster

It’s October 24, 2022, and Einstein, wherever his soul lurks, is probably sort of chuckling, thinking, “I told them so”. Same-old-same-old all over again, as Yogi might have said. To the brink of success then run away, run away fast as though your lives depended on it (from Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”). The organized campaign to place the blame on Aaron Judge thus setting the stage for him to head elsewhere is in high gear, probably subsidized by the four pillars of the Yankees’ apocalypse: Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine, Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone. The limited partners are fine with the results. Profits preserved; money not wasted on fans too stupid to root elsewhere (but that’s the nature of fans).

As one of those “stupid” fans (there may be a redundancy in that phrase, sort of as in “stupid voters”), I have no joy in having been right in numerous postings on social media sites, those useless and frequently censored and manipulated vehicles designed to let us blow off steam while accomplishing nothing. And of course, I am very far from having been alone.

A once promising season is over, as has become traditional. “Postmortem”, sadly, is not a hyperbolic exaggeration for Yankees’ fans, now as polarized as the rest of our country, divided between cheerleaders who label those who criticize management as “haters”, and those who love their Yankees but refuse to accept ineptitude and disdain in our historically storied sports franchise. Ineptitude at every level is the impression that’s been left as “aspirations are swept away” to lie uncomfortably under the rugs in Hal Steinbrenner’s office. Ineptitude concentrated at the top and flowing down in concentric waves: A callous owner faithful to his investors while virtually ignoring the fans; a president of baseball operations missing in action and a bargain hunting general manager whose bargains rarely meet aspirations (as is the case with most bargains); and, a manager and coaching staff whose decisions varied from amateurish to jinxed. A show good enough to consistently make the stage but then flop. The sports version of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players, albeit perhaps less talented.

Odd that the Yankees minor leagues seem to do so well, and that while minor league players seem to start out well at the mother team level, they almost immediately succumb to the “swing for the fences-strike-out brigade”. Or that if they’re pitchers, they’re quickly burned out. Actually, odd only if one accepts the excuse that coaches and managers are not responsible for players’ failures. Our Yankees have become the obverse of what they once were. Instead of turning turnips into diamonds we now turn talented and eager young players into failures; that is, when we don’t just let them rot unused, as was the sad case with players such as Miguel Andujar, now “liberated” in the Pittsburg Pirate organization where he is probably sighing, “free at last; free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last”.

Being a fan is a psychologically grueling vocation but one Cub’s fans, Red Sox fans and Jet’s fans have mastered through mainly bad times (albeit always with glimmers of hope, delusional though they might have been). True fans stay the course, but not quietly, not with “my country right or wrong attitudes”, and I guess there is a karmic curse to pay for all the awesome Yankees’ years. For the Babe and the Mick, and Mr. October and Mr. November. And for Donny Baseball. And for George.

The Piper, it seems, is collecting his due.

It’s a bit hard because most of us remember George but we despise his progeny and their decisions. Because we’re seemingly stuck in a ditch with little hope that, as occurred when George arrived to save us from CBS, a new, enlightened and dedicated ownership group will arrive to save the day.

It seems like more sad times await us. Jeter and Rodrigues and CC and other alums don’t have the funds, and the Steinbrenners and their partners would probably not sell anyway.

But we’ll stay the course, that’s what fans do. And make observations and suggestions that all too often, all too sadly, prove true. 

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

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