Tuesday, May 29, 2007
By John McMullen
The Phanatic Magazine
Who or what is the biggest train wreck in popular culture today?
Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are all good guesses but the real answer is the New York Yankees.
At least the meth-pack are interesting water-cooler fodder, mildly entertaining and good for a wardrobe malfunction every couple of weeks. The 2007 Yankees, with their $195 million dollar payroll, are a blight on the major league landscape.
I realize after 26 world championships and a decade straight of playoff baseball, no one is feeling all that sorry for "The Evil Empire" but it is amazing the talent-laden Bronx Bombers are floundering.
After yet another loss on Monday, Joe Torre's lackluster club now finds itself with a 21-28 record, tying them for last place in the American League East with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Of course, the Rays' payroll is the lowest in baseball, just $2 million more than Alex Rodriguez gets every single season.
So, maybe shopping at the Walmart clearance aisle is the way to go. There are many reasons for the Yankees downfall and $195 million hasn't bought the club any pitching or clutch hitting. It also hasn't given a bunch of All-Stars, the sense of urgency it takes to be a great baseball team.
That said, the downfall of this dynasty begins and ends with the skipper. I'm not about to play the role of Bill Conlin or Howard Eskin here and claim Torre is a moron who can't figure out the double switch or hasn't mastered the intricacies of the simplest game on the planet.
If football is chess, baseball is checkers. A smart fifth-grader could master the strategy it takes to be a major league manager in one afternoon. Simply put, piloting a baseball team is all about managing egos and staving off skin cancer.
But, Torre is doing a spot on impression of Doug Moe right now. I can't pinpoint the day he checked out but it's clear that the Yankees mentor cares little about his team any more. I guess four rings and a meddling owner can spark complacency.
So the next time you want to rip Charlie Manuel. Take a deep breath and be grateful...At least he cares.