Friday, November 27, 2020

Damn (Yawn) Yankees

If someone can decipher the purpose behind Mike Vaccaro's piece in the New York Post yesterday, I would be grateful if you could share it with me. Vaccaro shared a story from the 1934 season when Giants manager Bill Terry made a dismissive comment about the Dodgers, then in Brooklyn, and it came back to bite the Giants at the end of the season when Brooklyn knocked them out of a pennant chance. Fast forward to today. Apparently, there is some parallel to this because everyone is excited about the Mets, and nobody is talking about the Yankees.

Of course, Vaccaro admits that no one involved with the Mets — Cohen, Alderson, any of the players — has been talking down the Yankees. The offense seems to be Mets fans being really excited about their team for the first time in forever and not enough genuflecting towards the all-encompassing greatness of the Yankees and all the glory that entails.

Seriously, Mike, you wrote this one for clicks, didn't you? You set up this straw man argument so Yankees fans can shout out "Hell, yeah, bitches!" and we Mets fans could get put in our place for being so presumptuous as to not really give a flying f*** what the Yankees are doing this winter. Mike Vaccaro wants to scold us all for our audaciousness and let us know what the truth really is:
It’s worth remembering the Yankees are still the Yankees. They are two years removed from 103 victories, three years removed from 100 wins, they started 2020 like they planned on figuring a way to 50 wins before injuries and the Rays got in their way, but they still won a round of playoffs, still took the eventual league champs to the last inning of the ALDS.

Also, they have apparently announced that they are surrendering New York to the Mets.

Now, that last line is sarcasm, in case you're not as smart as a great newspaper columnist and didn't pick up on that. Don't worry, Vaccaro set you straight with his conclusion:

...But the Yankees are still the Establishment. They are still the gold standard around here, until proven otherwise. They are, indeed, very much still in the league. They’re just a little quiet about all of that. For now.

And, there it is. I hope all of you out there feel properly chastened for your hubris in being excited about your own team finally waking up from a decades-long slumber and preparing to finally act like what they are: a baseball team in the largest market in the country ready to build a strong infrastructure and spend some money in the luxury aisle.

The goal is to be where the Yankees are now: a perennial contender that mostly gets both the big and little things right. But most definitely not an exact copy of them, not at all. That wouldn't be any fun, and I don't love everything the Yankees do. Because, Mike Vaccaro, you might not have noticed this, but the Yankees and their fans could often be more than a little pompous and quite insufferable at times.

I remember a story I learned as a child, a story from back a little further in history than the one Vaccaro told. In Ancient Rome, when a general won a big victory, he would be given a "triumph" upon returning to the city: 

The victorious general who drove throughout the streets of Rome in the chariot, decorated with gold and ivory, was followed by his troops and preceded by his most glamorous prisoners and spoils, taken in war. The triumph for the victorious general offered extraordinary opportunities for self-publicity and therefore popularity with the people of Rome. The victorious general was seen as, in some way, divine, representing the god Jupiter.

Of course, being compared to a God was a heady experience, and lest it prove a little too intoxicating, a slave was assigned to run alongside the general, whispering in his ear over and over again, "You are mortal." Vaccaro has clearly taken on the role of that slave for himself, only he's shouting out to Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and all of us cheeky Mets fans, "You are not the Yankees!"

To which I answer, no we're not. And I'm actually pretty glad about that. The Mets have no need to usurp the Yankees' identity, and I wouldn't want them to even if they could. What I love about this is that they have a chance to carve out an identity of their own — something really special and unique that belongs only to the Mets and those of us who love them. And if something about that bothers Mike Vaccaro, Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, or Yankees fans in general, all I can say in reply is, "Who gives a shit?" I didn't ask for your permission to be excited about my team, and I don't need it.

The Mets admittedly have a lonnnnnnng way to go. The Yankees are still the undisputed kings of New York baseball...

...For now.

Please stay safe, be well and take care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos


  1. Great piece. I felt exactly the same way when Click-Bait Vacarro authored that meaningless piece.

  2. The thing about the Yankees is that either real or imagined, most everything works for them. D.J. LeMahieu? Luke Voit? Trading Chapman by getting a haul, and then re-signing him 4 months later . . . At the beginning of every year, I think "they don't have the pitching to have a good year, or they have too many holes", but somehow they end up winning 90+ games. Every manager they hire seems to be a genius.

    Perhaps it is the culture of getting players and putting them in the position to succeed. I don't think it can all be luck. I mean how can they win when the Stanton deal has been a fiasco and Judge hasn't been his rookie self since? I donno.

    I would like to see the culture changed and have a "Mets Way" which includes playing good fundamental baseball year in and year out, signing the right players that can succeed, having good draft picks that are moved thru the system in reasonable time and performing well at each level and making productive major leaguers. I think that part is started with the core of deGrom, Conforto, Dom Smith, Nimmo, and maybe Peterson coming along. The top picks of the last couple years are promising.

  3. My friend Greg made the point that every columnist mails one in once in a while, and that definitely seemed the case with Vaccaro's piece

    There really is something to be said about building a culture of winning. The Cardinals always seem to overperform expectations, too. Having some real depth on the 40 man roster doesn't hurt, either


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