When the temperature drops, and Christmas is around the corner, the Yankee way is not about convincing the media the organization will do what it takes to fortify last season’s edition, one that produced 100 wins and a quick exit from the playoffs.
Yet you hear things like Bombers prez Randy Levine saying: “We’re as good as the Red Sox right now,” then see them lose out on Patrick Corbin (to the Nationals for six years at $140 million) and Nathan Eovaldi (back to Boston for four years at $68 million). Now as the Winter Meetings begin, no one is ready to exhale until Brian Cashman opens the pinstriped vault and makes some kind of splash.
If the rest of the organization subscribes to Levine’s theory, maybe spending big to add to the roster isn’t necessary. After all, signing a marquee name like Manny Machado or Bryce Harper won’t significantly increase ticket sales (over 3 million fans spun the Stadium turnstiles last season) or juice already hefty TV ratings — only on YES.
The Bombers waiting game has been camouflaged by the pronouncements of Brodie Van Microphone, er, Wagenen, the Mets rookie GM. He started talking immediately after jumping into the deep end of the pool to snag Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz in what the media was quick to characterize “a blockbuster trade.” The results of that transaction will be known at a later date. Still, it has already produced much ink, hot-air with plenty of eyeballs watching. All the hoopla and attention is beneficial to the Mets.
Nontheless, the Yankees are beginning to creep out from under BVW’s shadow mostly for what they are not doing. CMB’s Chris Carlin asked (on WFAN): “Are the Yankees more concerned with the business end than the winning end?” More startling was when the long-time TV voice of the Yankees, Michael Kay, said the Bombers have changed their business “philosophy.” And he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the “new” direction.
In a Thursday ESPN-98.7 soliloquy, Kay made the same point, in different ways, multiple times. “If they (Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman) are going to draw the line in the sand — in terms of extra years (on a contract) — then they are going to be outbid by some other team,” Kay said. “This is a very definite change in philosophy.”
Kay explained he was not differentiating between now and the free-spending George Steinbrenner years, but a “change” from just five or six years ago. “Now, if they want Manny Machado and only want to go five years, someone will go six or seven,” Kay said. “And the Yankees will lose out on Machado.”
It’s not like the Yankees don’t have money to spend. Maybe Hal Steinbrenner just wants to spend it someplace else — like buying back the YES Network from Fox, which will cost billions.
Or maybe after all those years of being criticized for “buying” their way into the postseason, the Yankees, now out from under the luxury tax, want to show the free world they can win without busting a budget. Anyone laughing yet?
LET’S CAN THE PREGAME SPIN
The current crop of NFL pregame shows often turn into propaganda machines for the league.
This was the case last Sunday when former Oakland Raiders-executive-turned-studio-analyst Amy Trask (CBSSN “That Other Pregame Show”) appeared on CBS’ “The NFL Today” to talk about Kareem Hunt knocking down a woman, then kicking her while she was sprawled on the carpet outside his hotel room.
Some of Trask’s answers provided insight. As for others, well, they were hard to believe and sounded like a talking point directly out of an NFL manifesto. Trask said the NFL “cares” about “these sort of (violent) incidents.
“To those who are dubious when I say ‘the league cares,’ think about it this way; business incentive is to care.”
Really? If there was some kind of “business incentive” to care, why do these incidents, at least the ones we all find out about, continue happening. Trask’s comment revealed what we already know: The NFL will eventually (and only) take action if its bottom line is threatened.
So, how many more women have to be physically or mentally abused by NFL players before the incidents provide the “business incentive” for the NFL to enact a zero tolerance policy (immediate banishment from the league) when it comes to players/predators who are involved in these incidents?
VAN CHATTER BOX
Current evidence suggests Van Wagenen is not going to be ducking the media.
It’s becoming evident one of the benefits Jeff and Fred Wilpon will get out of BVW is his ability to communicate. Sandy Alderson was good at this too, but he didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as BVW appears to during his early days on the job.
Face it, you’ve got to dig talking to any and all interrogators if you don’t mind being constantly interrupted by Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa during a 94-minute radio interview (also featuring Jeff Wilpon and Mickey Callaway).
Judging by his early media sessions it’s not likely the new Mets GM will go into hiding at the first hint of trouble (he said he plans to go on the road regularly with the team) and will be available to deflect and spin, making himself the target rather than letting ownership take all the heat.
ELI TALK IS CHEAP
Didn’t know so many Gasbags knew there is a distinct possibility Eli Manning will open the season as Giants quarterback in 2019.
Not only did they know, but they were the first to tell you they knew.
Always wondered why bloviators think anyone would care they were “first.” First of all, with all the platforms out there, especially in the Valley of the Stupid, it’s hard to pinpoint who was first. And in most, if not all cases, the mouths are offering opinions — not facts.
Still, that didn’t stop multiple Gasbags from saying, as Richard W. DiPietro did on 98.7: “I said that about Eli months ago.”
Congratulations. Your gold star is in the mail.
AROUND THE DIAL
With the final pages being turned in the Fall ratings book, no predictions can be made on whether Francesa will keep his streak alive of No. 1 FAN finishes over “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN-98.7. What I will guarantee is the angry loser (there will be no salute to the victorious from the vanquished) will have plenty of excuses. One will be that the ratings of other simulcast outlets don’t show up in the ratings. Fortunately for these Gasbags, unlike managers or players, a ratings “loss” won’t cost them their jobs. So how much do these ratings really mean? … In his new role running the Mets alumni affairs department, the legendary PR guru Jay Horwitz is also doing a bi-weekly “Amazin’ Mets Alumni Podcast.” We listened to the one featuring Eddie Kranepool. It’s a keeper. Check it out.
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DUDE OF THE WEEK: MARK SANCHEZ
He may not be your idea of a model quarterback, but the artist formerly known as “The Sanchise” is a model of good humor and humility. Resurfacing as Washington’s QB, he accommodates the media rather than spars. His recent entertaining response to a reporter asking him about the infamous “Butt Fumble” provided further evidence of the way Sanchez rolls.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: NFL OFFICIALS
Don’t like combining bad apples with good ones but the officiating in the NFL has been atrocious so far this season. Yes, it’s impossible to get every call right with 22 men, most of them huge, flying around the field. But missing obvious stuff like off sides and helmet-to-helmet hits has this collection of zebras in our doghouse.
What Robinson Cano said: “I don’t care about anything else and for me, it’s about winning.”