The best way to keep a job you’re in jeopardy of losing is to insist that the failures aren’t your fault. Occasionally, it’s true. You could’ve been in the World Series had the Houston Astros not sounded the alarm for fastballs in the ALCS. That’s misleading because there’s a decades worth of slacking off to account for, and that one “what if” is only going to earn you a ballad from the smallest violin in the world.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman told the Athletic that the Astros are the reason for the Yankees’ World Series drought.
“The only thing that stopped [us] was something that was so illegal and horrific. So I get offended when I start hearing we haven’t been to the World Series since ’09. Because I’m like, ‘Well, I think we actually did it the right way.’ Pulled it down, brought it back up. Drafted well, traded well, developed well, signed well. The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance that threw us off.”
Shit, man, if you did your job so well, why haven’t you been able to replicate that postseason success in the years since 2017? And why did my colleague Jesse Spector write a piece titled, The decline and fall of the New York Yankees, where he cites the team’s inability to build from the farm system up since the Core Four? That’s technically the GM’s job.
I suppose Cashman could blame management for the team’s drought because they’ve stopped throwing around money like Antoine Walker did after a tough night at the casino with Michael Jordan, but I’m not sure how well that’d go over at his bi-yearly review with Hal Steinbrenner (even if he’d win over a few fans in the process).
“Um, sir, excuse me, sir. I was wondering if I could have some more money so we could offer Freddie Freem—“
“If you say Freddie Freeeman one more time, I’m going to send you to Antarctica to scout polar bear carcasses for warmth! Your allowance is ample!”
The expectations in New York are only low if you’re conditioned to fail like Mets fans, and trying to live up to a title-per-decade-or-better standard on a relatively low budget (compared to the Dodgers and Steve Cohen) is an impossible task. Cashman isn’t going to get any sympathy for the team’s recent failings, and he better come up with something other than it’s “real to me” soon because that excuse only applies to one year.
Grudges are for fans who need ammo when their friends give them shit about Josh Donaldson being the Yanks’ big acquisition. They’re not for GMs who have the ability to improve a roster. If Cashman wants to rant and rave and vent his frustration, he can go ahead and break all the No. 2 pencils he wants — behind closed doors. Show some grace, move on publicly, and maybe actually sign Carlos Correa.
I agree what Houston did was disgraceful and miles beyond the leeway allowed under the unwritten rules of baseball. That said, New York got pinched for a sign-stealing scam, too. The only difference is it was less successful and less refined. You could say the Yankees’ tactics were within the realm of the ever-shifting unwritten rules, or you could say they’re inept at cheating, too.
Cashman did try to downplay bringing up old shit by focusing on this year, telling Andy McCullough, “But hey! We’re back at it. Every year, we’re still back at it. We’ve been qualifying for the postseason, and we’re going to take this team as far as we can get it, and hopefully we can push through.”
No one is fooled by that hedge moonlighting as a disclaimer. The season starts in a week and Cashman is dwelling on five years ago. It sounds like he remains butt hurt and is already prepping fans for disappointment. A title wasn’t guaranteed if Houston didn’t cheat, and had New York won it all, the subsequent seasons of World Series-less play still happened.
Sure, the Yankees would be five years removed from a title, but they’d also be five years away from hearing about another decade without one.