We’re going to do something a little differently today here at the My Baseball Page blog. I normally don’t reference drivel that I read and/or share it, but today I’m going to have to because Bob Klapisch of NJ.com wrote and published an article on Sunday that’s been making the rounds online and it’s so chock full of nonsense it needs to be addressed.
Also, admittedly I’ll never be confused with John Updike, but I usually do like to write. So forgive today’s post that’ll be more or less in bullet point style for both brevity and clarity’s sake.
Bob’s article suggests that the Yankees should hire David Cone “to shake things up”. This premise was so well focused and targeted that it was mentioned almost immediately that CC could help too, if not Coney, “to remind the Yankees there’s an element of winning that has nothing to do with numbers.” OK, let’s get this out of the way first:
Nobody – nobody – has ever said that there isn’t an element of winning that has nothing to do with the numbers. That’s just a straw man argument made by the intellectually too lazy to learn about numbers that can help us identify elements of winning crowd.
Shortly thereafter, we learned that it was “softness” that doomed the Yankees. That assessment came from within the organization, but we’re not told from whom or where. Put a pin in that one, I’m going to come back to it.
Of course, we can’t mention softness without immediately moving on to personal attacks on Gary Sánchez. Bob continued, “Qualities like hustle and commitment cannot be quantified. There’s no metric to calculate how much Sanchez’ moping cost him – or the Yankees – over 162 games.”
Actually, Bob, there is. If a player doesn’t hustle out of the box and gets thrown out at first, that shows up in his “metrics” – his batting average for one. If a runner doesn’t hustle on the bases and only advances one base instead of two, that shows up in his metrics. If an outfielder dogs it after a fly ball and the fly ball drops, that shows up in his metrics. And here’s the best one – if a hypothetical catcher doesn’t immediately jump up and locate a loose ball around home plate and a runner advances – that shows up in his metrics. (Again with the intellectual laziness and dishonesty…)
Bob made a point of noting that because of the pandemic, reporters haven’t been in MLB clubhouses. “Spend six months in a clubhouse and you eventually figure out which players care the most” he noted. They need more “ferocity”, like Thurman Munson, Billy Martin, and a few others. We’ll come back to that too…
After mentioning a mid-season spat between Brett Gardner and Gerrit Cole (short version: After “sticky stuff” was banned, Gardner was making jokes about pine tar. Cole didn’t find it funny and the two had words.) Bob’s take was that the incident spoke to Cole’s “skittishness”. (Actually what it shows is that it was a non-issue – if it were an actual issue it likely would have been reported and known at the time.)
What Cole and the Yankees pitchers need apparently is someone who’s not “coaching by iPad”. (That’s a not-so-subtle dig directed at coaches like Matt Blake who don’t have great playing resumes but rely on information to coach.) Breaking news: The Yankees pitching staff had the second-best ERA+ and the third-best ERA in the AL this season. I want you to take a moment and think about the Yankees pitchers not named Gerrit Cole before continuing. It was a mish-mash of people too young, people too old, people who hadn’t pitched in years, and people that just plain stunk. Matt Blake is a genius for getting those kind of results from that crew.
Of course, Bob couldn’t finish without mentioning players that weren’t cut out for New York. Joey Gallo apparently will dress and undress more than once if the uniform doesn’t feel right. One scout asked Bob (supposedly) “does anyone do background checks over there?” I’ve been a critic of Brian Cashman for a long time, but I’ll give him a pass in this. I don’t think he should have been hiring private detectives to find out how Joey Gallo got dressed prior to acquiring him. (I mean, c’mon…what are we talking about?)
Between criticisms about being soft and skittish, Bob mentioned that they need more players like Gardner, who “despite his limited talent, Gardner is a warrior”. Jesus H Christ Bob, condescend much? A guy who reads fly balls and gets sound jumps on them as good as anyone I’ve ever seen has limited talent apparently.
Bob wasn’t done being the personality critic though. He finished by mentioning that the Yankees could use more likeable players like Gio Urshela, who’s always accommodating with the media. I guess he already forgot about Thurman Munson who he just mentioned – the Munson who was always warring with the media*. Bob also mentioned Billy Martin, who as you know, was well known for being accommodating and roundly loved – especially by Reggie Jackson. The Reggie Jackson who rubbed Munson the wrong way.
That’s how the article (thankfully) ended, but I can’t finish without writing this: Bob made a point of noting that reporters not having clubhouse access is an issue. I would argue it’s a good thing, because I think something we can all agree upon is this:
Bob would never – and I mean never – call Cole skittish to his face or call Sánchez soft to his face.
*Read Ron Blomberg’s book about he and Thurman for the receipts. Link is on the right side of the page.
Did I miss anything? Let me know.
Buy me a coffee?
If you like th blog and would like to see more of it, feel free to buy me a coffee – Starbucks, tall, dark, no room. It may not seem like much but every little bit helps keep the blog rolling. Thanks in advance!