Monday, April 07, 2008

Why is Richard Justice Still Employed?

Not only does Justice not understand the very basics of the sport he covers, he is notorious for making huge over-generalizations about it constantly, and is incredibly biased in favor of his home town of Houston.

Of course this means the Sporting News hires him on as a national contributor, because only shock journalists get any play anymore. Well, except Stephen A. Smith.

So Justice has more opinions about the Yankees and native son Andy Pettitte who he defended tooth and nail when he was an Astro.

Pettitte, Cashman eras could be winding down for Yankees
Posted: April 6, 2008

We appear to be seeing the beginning of the end of Andy Pettitte's marvelous career, and if you care about the New York Yankees, this may be more bad news than you can digest in one sitting.

Pettitte barely decided to come back this year. It wouldn't, I think, shock anyone that an aging Pettitte may hang them up after this season.
In a related move, Brian Cashman likely will end up leaving, too. By, say, this time next year, the Yankees as you once knew them will no longer exist.
And... why exactly is this a related move? "Shit, Andy's gone? Fuck this team, I was trying to build around him, I'm outs, yo."
The Yankees will go back to the future, back to a time when they ran chaotically, spent wildly and never won a thing.
Ok, for starters, I don't see why he's saying Cashman is gone, but I will - for the sake of this paragraph - offer the assumption that he will. Why exactly does that portend "chaotic, wild spending" and "not winning a thing"? Look, I love Cashman as a GM, but I don't think he's the only one in the game who can avoid wild, undisciplined and foolish spending. In fact, Gene Michael and Bob Watson avoided it before Cashman was promoted.
Right now, you're thinking change is a good thing. You're thinking it was a good idea for Joe Torre to hit the road.
You're fucking right I am. I danced a jig when that happened, and I don't even know how to dance a jig.
You're probably thinking the same about Brian Cashman, since he got cold feet when it came time to pull the trigger during the Johan Santana trade discussions.
What? No. Why would I think that? He didn't have "cold feet" anyway, the Twins were asking for too much. Look at what they ended up taking for Santana - it certainly was no Hughes + Cabrera + Jackson + White type deal.
You're tired of hearing about the long-term interests of the franchise. You want now.
No. Christ, seriously? Why is it that 29 other major league teams get to build for the future, but when the Yankees even entertain such an idea the media pulls shit like this? Shut up, Richard Justice. The Yankees still ahve a very good chance to win this year AND build for the future.
But eventually, you're going to look back at the years in which Torre and Cashman ran the Yankees as the best time of your baseball-following life. Twelve seasons, twelve playoff appearances, four championships, six pennants, 10 division championships.
Those were great years. Don't get me wrong. Still, tyhe daily agita as I watched Torre blow out arms and play older, less good players over younger, more good players is now gone. Remember Torre playing the infield in during the 2001 World Series? Bringing in Jeff Weaver in the 2003 Series in a tie game in extra innings while Rivera rotted on the bench? Refusing to bunt on a pitcher whose fucking ankle is bleeding all over the goddamned field because it's not classy? Those are decisions that cost championships. No, I am glad that era is over.
Actually, the real Brian Cashman-Joe Torre years were between 1996 and 2001. During those six seasons, the Yankees won the American League five times and the World Series four times. That's about as dominant as a baseball team can be in this era of parity.
Brian Cashman became the GM in 1998, so... okay, Richard. Whatever man, just arbitrarily assign "real years."

Just be glad there's no Professor Richard Justice teaching your kids. "Look I know your books will tell you the Mesozoic Era lasted from 251 million years ago to about 65 million years ago, but the real Mesozoic Era? Well the real Mesozoic Era lasted from 350 million years ago until June 27, 1542, when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo set sail to explore the west coast of America.:

Everything changed on that emotional night in 2001, when Arizona beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series. That was the night George Steinbrenner blew through the clubhouse and promised there'd be changes.

He was tired of not winning championships since he'd gone an entire agonizing year without one. He was going to do it his way. He did, too.

He returned to the old days of buying free agents, trading for big-name players and treating the Yankees like a fantasy league team. Some guys never learned.
This is a hugely popular and oft-repeated but entirely incorrect misconception. If anything, 2001 was a testament to sticking with an aging core for too long. The 2000 Yankees weren't nearly as good of a team as in prior years, and the 2001 version saw that decline continue. Yes, they were able to make the Series both years, but changes should have been made prior to better the team for the next few years. However, Steinbrenner stuck by his "warriors" and that was that. Those players left en masse after 2001, and there were some free agents signed to replace them, most notable Jason Giambi. However I don't see a problem with signing the reigning AL MVP to replace a guy whose best days were clearly behind him (although it seems, so were Giambi's).
The Yankees were going to change, anyway, as the core of those championship teams -- Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez, et al. -- got older. Steinbrenner wanted big, splashy replacements, and somewhere along the way, the chemistry got all screwed up.
Enough with the chemistry bullshit argument. It's amazing that a team can go through a regular season and win the division year in and year out and chemistry isn't an issue, and then get into a short series and if they lose, it's because they "had no chemistry."

look, the 1977 Yankees hated each other's fucking guts. Reggie Jackson disparaged Thurmon Munson in articles. Billy Martin attacked Reggie in the dugout. Graig Nettles gave cocaine to Fran Healy's toddler. Dick Howser forced himself repeatedly on Gabe Paul. Every morning, Mickey Rivers pissed on Lou PIniella's hat.

And still, they won the World Series. Two years in a row. So shut the fuck up about chemistry being a requirement to win, please. It's bullshit, and it's a lazy was to excuse the fact that you have no idea what you're talking about.
One day, Torre and Cashman looked up and could barely recognize their clubhouse. Instead of the tight, cohesive, team-first group they'd had, the Yankees were now a bunch of independent contracts.
Cashman didn't recognize the players he'd signed, traded for, or developed? Well shit, if this is the case I agree, he should go and has no place running a franchise.
Gary Sheffield. Randy Johnson. Jose Contreras. Alex Rodriguez. Jaret Wright. Carl Pavano.
All-Star. Hall of Famer coming off a great year. Question mark whom everyone wanted on their teams. Possibly the greatest player ever who won two MVPs in four years. Fringe starter. Middle of rotation starter who can't stay healthy.

Brian Cashman recognizes no one.
The Yankees were as much a tax bracket as a team, and it's absolutely amazing that they kept making playoff runs. They weren't a team in the same sense that the Brosius-O'Neill squads had been.
Yes, they were a team in the same sense, they just didn't win World Championships because of lack of: using Rivera in the Series, playing the infield back, bunting on a bledding-legged pitcher, and depth of starting rotation. Still I am fairly certain they were a team.
Cashman approved some of those bad moves, but mostly he went along with what Steinbrenner and the organization's Tampa office wanted. Then, when Steinbrenner's health began to fail a couple of years ago, Cashman got full control of baseball operations.

He did the right thing, the thing that will pay off for years to come. He stopped making short-term moves and began pouring millions into player development.

No matter what happens this season, the Yankees are poised to contend for years to come unless player development is gutted to bring in older guys.
So... wait, I thought you said that's what the Yankees are going to do? Also that we should want Cashman gone? Ok, now you lost me.
Cashman may ultimately leave the Yankees because he made a long-term move in a short-term city. He refused to give up three or four of his best young players for Santana.

Cashman believed the Yankees didn't need Santana. He believed that Andy Pettitte -- and young guys like Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy -- could help the Yankees be competitive in 2008 and beyond.

When he made that decision, he had no way of knowing the turn Andy Pettitte's life would take.

His offseason would be blown apart by the revelation in the Mitchell Report that he'd used human growth hormone. That was just the beginning of the bad news.

Pettitte would soon testify against his former best friend, Roger Clemens. He would watch Clemens and another close friend, Brian McNamee, engage in a war of words that likely will end with one of them in jail.
Yeah I'm fairly certain that Cashman's plan wasn't to build around "Andy and the kids." I bet Cash had a lot more interest in teh long-term benefits of, say, Chien-Ming Wang. Who, amazingly, hasn't even been mentioned yet.
He wasn't prepared for the beginning of the spring training or the start of the regular season. He was hit hard and often Saturday by the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I just didn't have anything," he told reporters.
I figured that's where we were going with this line of reasoning. It's completely specious reasoning. This is how Justice thinks: (A) happened. After that, (B) happened. Therefore, (b) happened because (A) happened.

Let me try one. Neil Armstrong got married. Then, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Therefore, Neil Armstrong is an astronaut who walked on the moon because he hated his wife. Simple, see?

Ian Kennedy also got roughed up in his first start, but since sample sizes are fun, we must assume it's because he did lots of mescaline and then punched his best friend in the dick.
Afterward, his body language spoke volumes. His back has been hurting, and his elbow, too. He has been devastated by the end of his relationship with Clemens, and at times, his closest friends have expected him to simply pack up and return home.

He probably never would have returned to the Yankees if not for his commitment to Cashman and the organization. He knew the role he'd played in the Santana discussions, and he felt an obligation.

He probably also knew that Cashman might have done the deal and not re-signed Pettitte if he'd known then what he knows now. He knows that the new man in charge of the Yankees, Hank Steinbrenner, is going to make Cashman's life hell if this season turns south.
Or he probably wanted to continue playing baseball. Or probably wanted another $16M. Or probably wanted to show he can win without drugs. Or probably wants another series ring. Or probably missed Jeter's soulful renditions of Motown classics on the charter plane.
Cashman's friends already predict he'll leave after this season because Hank Steinbrenner likely will be making the baseball decisions that Cashman and Torre once made.
Lack of evidence: 1, easily-defensible journalism: 0.
Pettitte could be at the breaking point, and he knows it. He's miserable about this. No athlete you'll ever know reveals his moods with his words and gestures as much as Pettitte. If he's unhappy, he'll let you know he's unhappy.

When he played for the Astros, I bumped into him as he headed out the clubhouse door. With the club off the next day, I asked what he had planned.

"Going to boil crawfish with the family," he said.

He couldn't have been happier. He loves pitching and surely loves the money. He has never enjoyed the adulation or the celebrity. He's a simple kid from Deer Park, Texas. He loves simple things.
Simple things, like pitching and money, both of which he gets from the Yankees this year, which of course you neglected to mention as possible reasons for his return.
I'm guessing he would have retired after the Mitchell Report rather than face the barrage of questions and suspicions. In the end, he said quitting would be "cowardly." Also, there was that commitment to Cashman.
Yeah, quitting because of the report would be kinda cowardly.
This could be a long, tough season for these two honorable men, and that's really a shame.
Or it could be a great season and you'll bitch about how the Yankees bought another championship. Could go either way, really.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 11:13 AM   5 comments


At 4/09/2008 4:25 PM, Blogger lupe! said...

specious reasoning

new best tag evar

At 4/10/2008 3:42 PM, Blogger June said...

PSYCHIC COMMENT-STEALER (down to the misspelling)

At 4/12/2008 6:04 AM, Blogger Rex Banner said...

What was wrong with bringing the infield in during the 01 WS?

At 4/15/2008 9:12 AM, Blogger Mr. Faded Glory said...

Rivera gives up soft liners... his hits are usually broken bat dunks, especially back then when he only threw cutters. Bringing in the infield instead of playing back allowed Gonzalez to dunk in a typical Rivera hit to win the game.

It's not second guessing when you're yelling at the TV at the time.

At 4/21/2008 5:06 AM, Blogger Rex Banner said...

Wrong again Mike. Rivera (as I've shown you before) give up more GB than FB (not sure if it's still the case). Therefore, the correct play is to play the IF up. You're always talking about playing by the numbers, then you come up with goodies like this. Even if he was a fly ball pitcher, it would be hard to justify keeping the IF back in that situation. If Gonzo hits a grounder to the deep IF to win the game, you'd still be bitching about Torre's move today -and that's the truth.


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