It may not have been optimal. It may have been logically ridiculous, but at least it was a plan.
The word “plan” itself implies many connotations. The following are plans:
- The beatings will continue until morale improves.
- We’re gonna spend all the money necessary to fill our holes.
- General managers, managers, scouting directors, pitching coaches, ushers, security guards, parking attendants – all will be fired until I get people in here who I think are going to help me win.
- We have a budget and don’t want to go over X amount. We’re not going to surpass that even if we lose players we think we might need.
- We’re rebuilding through the farm system.
Plans, good or bad, are still plans. What the Yankees under Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman are currently doing is not a plan. It’s a Scotch-taped, jigsaw puzzle of little quick fixes and schemes from numerous, unconnected sources that might not meet at any point in time and are difficult to see meshing in any meaningful way. It’s finding pricey items to cook with, throwing every ingredient into the pot sans recipe and expecting it to turn out right because of the volume and cost. The current regime is repeating the haphazard desperation exhibited by George Steinbrenner in the 1980s as he hunted for a winning formula and failed over and over again.
Those functionally incompetent days are real in spite of Yankees fans and media apologists blotting out that decade with a “look on the bright side” revisionist’s history dance of the club having the “best record in baseball” during that time. It’s true, but it’s spiritually inaccurate in that the bulk of the wins came fruitlessly, without any post-season appearances from 1982 to 1989 and the bottoming out of the organization.
Before there was anger at Steinbrenner being excluded from posthumous election to the Hall of Fame, there was a standing ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd when he was suspended from baseball – for the second time – in 1990. The best record in baseball in the 1980s assertion is a “so what?” stat. It’s accurate. Who cares?
While Steinbrenner is feted as a win at all costs visionary who helped resuscitate a moribund franchise and sparked baseball achieving riches it had never thought possible, it has to be remembered that had Steinbrenner not been suspended in the early-1990s, the properly executed rebuild under Gene Michael and Buck Showalter yielding Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera would not have happened.
Today, with Hal Steinbrenner at the controls, the team is in a less maniacal, less headline-blaring cycle of confusion. The double-shot news of the Yankees having offered Shin-Soo Choo a massive contract and that Masahiro Tanaka will not be posted are only adding to the perception of disarray and “Omigod, omigod, omigod!!! What now?!? What now?!?!” surrounding the franchise.