Monday, March 23, 2015

Most Popular Article of the Week: The Yankees Are Not Run By Imbeciles

by Bryan Van Dusen:

There are a lot of very intelligent Yankees fans, some of which regularly comment right here at The Greedy Pinstripes. Their concerns involving decisions made by front office members and management tend to be justified, and their solutions well thought-out.

However, there are also a lot of Yankees fans whose intelligence seems to be on par with the mulch millions of people will soon use for their gardens. And very few of them will concede to the fact that they know little to nothing about the Yankees and/or the game of baseball. They just like to use comment sections and other avenues to rant and rave, even though doing that just makes their lack of knowledge more apparent.

"According to YankeezzFan1981, as well as many others, we have a combined IQ of 82... which is also how many games he thinks we'll win this season." - Girardi

"That seems kind of low, don't ya think?" - Cashman

"How should I know? I'm not smart enough to remember to breathe." - Girardi

It wouldn't take me long to repeat some of their idiotic comments, and debunk them. You can go to Twitter, search "Yankees", and see enough moronic comments to make you lose faith in humanity. However, I want to concentrate on the two men within the Yankees organization that get the most flak, and don't deserve it.

"What's in a rum and coke? It's a shot of vodka and a splash of cranberry juice, right?"

While some people may think that he was just some nerd that lucked his way into his position with the team, allow me to point out that Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman started all four years at the Catholic University of America, where he played second base. Brian is not an example of somebody that studied statistics and just happened to like baseball enough to take a job as some type of assistant (a la Jonah Hill's character in Moneyball). Cashman was a player first.

In 1986, three years before graduating from college, he was an intern for the Yankees. From 1986 through 1994, he worked under general managers Clyde King, Woody Woodward, Lou Piniella, Bob Quinn, Harding "Pete" Peterson, and Gene Michael. He then spent the next couple years as the assistant general manager for Bob Watson.

Finally, in 1998, Brian Cashman was named the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Yankees. Due to his inexperience at the position (some teams would just hire GMs from other teams, as opposed to giving a newbie the job), many believe that Brian's time at the position would be short-lived. However, he not only lasted longer than expected, but he is currently the second-longest tenured GM in Yankee history (Ed Barrow, the original GM of the Yankees, spent 24 years at the position).

In 2005, when it looked like Brian may leave the Yankees due to being unhappy with ownership, the Washington Nationals were primed to hire him to be their General Manager. But Cashman and the Yankees were able to work out a new deal, in which the GM was given more power over the team.

Cashman was selected as the MLB Executive of the Year in 2009 by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writer's Association of America. Speaking of awards earned, back in 1999 Brian was named to Crain's New York Business 40 under 40 list. Furthermore, he was involved in the development of the video game MLB Front Office Manager.

See, Brian Cashman is not some dumb schlub that's been able to hold onto his position thanks to the team's deep pockets. He's a very intelligent person that's seen baseball from the field and from the front office, and thus earned his spot in the game.

"I just have one question for you, Mr. Umpire! Who should I bring in from the bullpen, because I've been told over and over again that I'm a damn fool?!?!"

The other guy that gets more hate than he deserves, as if you couldn't tell by the above picture, is Joe Girardi.

Girardi attended Northwestern University, and earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering. While some kids get into colleges, that they don't deserve, due to them being athletes, Northwestern is not known for pushing athletics over academics. From Wikipedia...
Consistently ranked as a top national and global university, Northwestern is classified as a leading research institution, attracting over $550 million in sponsored research each year. In addition, Northwestern has one of the largest university endowments in the United States, currently valued at $9.8 billion. In 2014, the university accepted 12.9% of undergraduate applicants, making Northwestern one of the most selective universities in the country.
But Joe isn't another example of a geek that happened to be in the right place at the right time, as he played 15 seasons in MLB as a catcher.

By the way, if you've ever played baseball you'll know that the catcher is basically the quarterback of the game. He will guide pitchers by not only selecting what pitch they throw, but where they throw it, and will talk them through issues they may be having. Furthermore, the catcher will also check and make sure his team mates are properly aligned in the field, and call things such as pick-off plays. 

If the catching position weren't so freakin' important, guys like Jose Molina, with their career batting line of .233/.282/.327, wouldn't have appeared in 947 MLB games.

So Girardi's playing days make his resume look a little better, right? But what about his coaching experience? Okay...

In 2006, Joe Girardi was named the National League Manager of the Year, while he guided the Florida Marlins and their league-low $15 million payroll to a 78-win season. I'd like to take this time to point out that a dozen players made more than the entire Marlins' team that year (five of them played for the Yankees that season). So Joe certainly didn't succeed thanks to high-paid superstars.

And the Yankees aren't the only team that's been interested in Girardi as their manager. The Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and Baltimore Orioles have all either had strong interest and/or offered Joe a contract to run their teams. 

And let's not forget that Joe hasn't always had it easy. In 2011, with the team plagued by injuries to a number of key players, Girardi was still able to guide the team to an AL East crown.

Finally, I'd like to point out that Joe Girardi is not somebody that necessarily wants to lean on veterans, while young players get the shaft.

In 2004, before becoming the manager of the Yankees, Girardi hosted the youth-oriented Yankees on Deck, which received good reviews. Joe actually turned down a larger role on the YES Network the following season, as well as a bench coaching spot and a guarantee to become the manager with the Marlins, in order to take a bench coach spot with the Yanks. By the way, during Spring Training, Girardi continued to host of Kids on Deck. So keep that in mind the next time you want to bash Girardi for playing Stephen Drew ahead of Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela. Perhaps there's another reason for doing so.


I don't mean to say these two guys never make mistakes. Like any of us in our jobs, they certainly do mess up. But they are not "incredibly stupid" or "embarrassingly incompetent". While it's subjective, I can accept that they aren't tops at their respective jobs. But I'm not about to call for either man's removal while acting like I should be running the team. Nor do I think you'd be any better.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)