As we well know by now, nothing pisses Lupica off more than when the Yankees succeed at something. If they do, he'll do his best to shit on whatever parade he can.
Yankees win World Series? "They bought it." A Yankee gets the MVP? "Fine, but where's the World Series ring, you selfish jerk?" Yankees do not win World Series? "What a waste of all that money. They should have won, but failed."
Etc., etc., and so forth. When the Yankees signed Teixeira yesterday, my guess is that there was a mean-spritied little busybody in New York who needed to change his underpants.
Christmas spending spree always in season for Yankees Tuesday, December 23rd 2008, 10:17 PM
It would have been ridiculous for the Yankees not to go after Mark Teixeira, to not pay him and his bag man, Scott Boras, whatever they wanted. But then it was ridiculous, and phony, of Brian Cashman and the Yankees to pass on Carlos Beltran at $100 million a few years ago. At the time the Yankees wanted you to believe that they had some kind of budget. They don't.
Lest anyone forget that Lupica is in love with the Mets (and, to a lesser extent, the Red Sox) here it is in the first paragraph. Of course, this is an apples/oranges comparison. At the time, the Yankees did not need Beltran as much as they needed Teixeira now, and when you're talking about payroll they still had huge contracts on the books then for Giambi, Williams, Pavano et al which were not ready to come off of the books. Lupica still doesn't seem to realize (or chooses to ignore) that lowering your payroll (or perhaps staying in the same neighborhood) is exactly what "having a budget" means. It does not mean you have to lower your expenses; it means usually to stay close to the same financial output. That is what budgeting is.
When Beltran was available, the Yankees thought him overpriced for his talent and the market, and they were not about to move into a new stadium. The comparison is completelty invalid.
Maybe now they have finally spent enough money, after eight years of the greatest financial advantage in the history of professional sports, to finally buy back the World Series.
No mention of the Red Sox spending the two largest payrolls to ever win a World Series, the 2004 champs with but one homegrown player on the roster. No mention of his precious Mets and their spending.
If not, Manny Ramirez is still out there. You can never be too sure. The last time the Yankees were sure they had put the Red Sox away by getting the hitter the Red Sox wanted was with Alex Rodriguez nearly five years ago.
Now he's just trying to be cute.
Teixeira is younger and a switch-hitter and a better buy than Ramirez and he gets his money from the Yankees the way C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett did. Really: The Yankees would have been stupid not to do it, even if the Yankees now commit more than $400 million in future salary - for three baseball players - at a time when Cashman wants to still tell you how much money he had coming off the books.
Cause and effect. The fact that so much payroll has come off the books should be an indication that the Yankees had the ability to spend again without severely changing their payroll.
But then if you were the Yankee general manager those are the books you'd want to talk about, too. Last winter, Cashman and the Yankees committed around $270 million to A-Rod when they were bidding against themselves, then another $100 million to Mo Rivera and Jorge Posada. Rivera and Posada, you may recall, were around here when the Yankees could beat everybody without outspending them two or three times to one.
You know, Lupica was complaining about the Yankee payroll in the 90's as well. Revisionist historian now wishes to claim the spending made sense back then.
"Re-investing" is the way team president Randy Levine described his team's spending the other day. This, of course, at a time when Levine expects New York City to re-invest in the Yankees by giving them $259 million more in tax-free bonds so they can finish building their new stadium.
But this is who the Yankees are. This is what they do. And all they do. Yankee fans, at least the ones who can still afford to go to the ballpark, love it. Bag men like Boras love the system most of all.
There were two teams being hit with a luxury tax the other day for the 2008 season: Yankees and Tigers. Neither one made the playoffs. The Yankees, of course, paid a lot more in taxes because they were more than $60 million clear of the Tigers. And Cashman thinks he gets to be thin-skinned because people point out his team spends money like this year after year and hasn't been in the World Series since 2003.
Fairly sure Lupica doesn't understand the luxury tax system. The reason - the main reason - the Yankees are spending so much more than the Tigers is not because they simply had a higher payroll, it's because the Yankees crossed the payroll threshold three years (or more) in a row, which brings with it additional penalties.
So now the Yankees try to get back there, win their first Series since 2000, with a payroll that is way more than twice what the Phillies spent to win the World Series last October. Maybe after $180 million on Teixeira and $161 million for Sabathia and $82.5 million for Burnett the Yankees can not only get back into the playoffs but get out of the first round for the first time since 2004.
So bitter. So insecure. So mean spirited.
"You keep swinging for the fences," Cashman said the other day, when Sabathia and Burnett were the latest free agents to show up for Yankee money and talk about how it was always their dream to wear the Yankee pinstripes.
Cashman sure does swing for the fences. He's a sultan of swat, just from the baseball Brunei.
Lupica would suggest perhaps the Steinbrenners pocket the money, or give Cashman a $50M bonus this year.
Cashman talks constantly about a farm system that is supposed to start producing young talent any day now. Just not today. Never today. Developing young talent is something the riffraff are supposed to have to do.
Chien-Ming Wang. Joba Chamberlain. Phil Hughes. Robbie Cano. The centerfield combo of Gardner/Cabrera. Most of the bullpen corps. These are just the recent guys of course who don't count for some reason.
The Yankees write checks and want to be carried around the room for keeping their payroll at around $200 million when nobody else in baseball is close. It must have been a hardship in the old days, winning with guys such as Brosius and O'Neill.
We really can never get through a Lupica Yankees rant without mentioning Brosius, can we? Brosius really only had one good year with the Yankees. They won despite - not because of - him most years.
Also I don't understand the "guys such as" including Paul O'Neill. O'Neill was a good player. Not a Hall of Famer, but an All-Star caliber talent who won a batting title and had good power.
The total outlay of new Yankee money spent in the last two baseball winters is now nearly $800 million. Now the Yankees will try to save money on people such as Andy Pettitte so that they can say that they signed all these big-ticket players and kept their payroll under what it was last year. It is absolutely essential for Cashman to look as if this makes him some kind of numbers cruncher.
So wait, Lupica is admitting that despite this temper tantrum, the Yankees may actually cut spending this year? Also don't give me these tears for Andy Pettitte. The Yankees did him a huge favor of loyalty last year when they picked up his option in the middle of his HGH scandals. Is Pettitte really worth more than $10M/yr?
Even as he now has four players on his roster making more than $20 million per season: A-Rod, Sabathia, Teixeira, Jeter. They have about as much money invested in those four as the Phillies do in their entire baseball team.
Not quite. Also the Phillies' payroll is about to jump, with Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard in arbitration. If we're to talk about bad contracts and overpaid players, let's not forget that the Phillies are still paying Jim Thome to play for the White Sox.
You cannot do this in professional football, as much as owners such as Jerry Jones would like to.
Other things you can't do in football: carry bats on the field, bunt, steal bases, get called for a balk on a pump fake, or field different teams when you're on offense and defense. That is because football is a different sport in many, many ways and thus this comparison is invalid.
You cannot do this in the NBA, because even when teams such as the Knicks go wildly over the salary cap, they aren't out-spending the competition the way the Yankees do, year after year after year. Again: There is no sport where one team, if it has the resources, can attempt to buy this sort of edge.
Yes, you are also in love with the Knicks, I forgot because, well, nobody gives a shit about the Knicks.
The Yankees don't have to apologize. The way they do business, it would have been insane for them to pass on Teixeira. But it takes no genius, or vision, to do this, for Cashman or anybody else. Just deep pockets and owners desperate to look big.
Ok, so why have you spent two pages berating them?
So maybe the Yankees have finally spent enough money to win, after spending a couple of billion on salaries and revenue sharing and luxury taxes and somehow managing not to win a World Series since Mike Piazza's ball ended up in Bernie Williams' glove in October of 2000.
I thought you just admitted the payroll may go down this year. Also, still bitter about 2000. We get it.
Maybe, at long last, they are back to being the best team money can buy. But if they still think they might come up a little short, why not buy Manny, too?
Because Manny is a jerk and would fit in just fine on the Mets.