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May 23, 2006

The More Things Change.....

Some of the "heat" that I've received today for my thoughts on last night's game, and on the latest A-Rod news, has brought me back to something that happened four years ago.

Before I was banned from the forums at nyyfans.com, in a moment of frustration, I started a thread there with the following comment:

Does anyone know where I can get a pair of Yankee Blinders?

You know, the device that fits on your head, only allowing you to see good things (albeit real or wishful thinking) about the Yankees - while "blinding" (blocking out) anything from the hard factual world?

Can they be bought? Or, can you only make them yourself (with Mommy's permission, of course) out of cardboard using safety scissors and pipe cleaners?

Last question - - when wearing them, is the rest of your IQ affected, or just your baseball perception.

Thanks - inquiring minds want to know.

When I made that post, it was driven from my experience at that forum. It seemed, at least to me, that you were only allowed to say "positive" things about the Yankees and their players - even if the player was a dud or if the Yankees made a terrible move, etc. And, if you stated something that was not all "hugs and kisses" then you were going to have you "Yankee-fan-dom" questioned to the N-th degree.

So, as is my nature, I decided to have some fun with (what I thought was) a good-natured poke in the ribs. (But, the thread was quickly closed,)

In any event, this does lead to a question. Do most "Yankees fans" feel that it is a major no-no to dare say something "negative" about the team or a particular player? And, as a "Yankees fan," when you see this happen, does it lead to you thinking that the person who said it is not a "true fan"?

I don't have the answer. I can only share my opinion.

Personally, if what the person is saying can be considered as being somewhat objective, I actually prefer that to the "Yankees Rulz!" mentality. And, I would not question the person's "Yankee-fan-dom."

In fact, I would go the opposite way - I would say that this person cares enough about the team to look past the pinstripes an in effort to try and find the truth of a situation.

This personal appreciation of candor is probably what drives many of the thoughts shared in this blog. And, I can't ever see myself changing my gears at this point.

The more things change, the more they do stay the same.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at May 23, 2006 01:49 PM

Comments

If I ever come across as harsh, or disrespectful, it isn't intended.

Personally, I have no problem tearing down the Yanks, or players in general. I'm also willing to give credit where it's due.

I've never felt I was a traitor to the Yanks, no matter what, the truth is the truth. And the truth is the Yanks have made some boneheaded decisions the last few years.

I don't know what defines a "true fan," but I thought myself to be a bit more than an average fan. I'm aware that there are people who put my "fandom" to shame. For instance, despite my love for the game, I couldn't deal with running not one, but two websites (WW & NS) dedicated to the game. I admire the work that goes into running some of the blogs I've come across the last few years. And when reading, I have the same reactions I've always had; sometimes I think good point, others I think that's a unique angle, others, I think "wtf?" :)

I agree that I prefer the objective view to the "yankz r00lz!!!11!1" pap you see elsewhere from time to time.

We may not always see eye to eye on certain things, but keep up the good work.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 02:43 PM

Thanks Raf.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 02:49 PM

I don't think it is a no-no to say negative things. However I think some folk only want to focus on negative things, especially with the use of hindsight. Does Joe Torre make some questionable bullpen moves? Yes. Was the signing of Terrence Long dumb? Most probably, though I don't know what else Cashman tried to get without overpaying.

I think we Yankee fans are very spoiled. In the past decade the team has finished in first 9 of those years, been in the playoffs every year and gone 4-2 in World Series. Pointing out flaws is fine, but have some perspective. I think every other baseball team would take the Yankees' flaws, if it came with the same results.

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 02:50 PM

yankz r00lz!!!11!1

Ok, I couldn't resist. I think the reason why Was Watching has such a loyal audience is precisely because you're willing to take certain Yanks to task. An echo chamber is a lot less interesting, isn't it? NY Yanks fans are the best because of the diversity of opinions. We're not the smiling docile St. Louis types, and that's great.

Posted by: Nick from Washington Heights [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 02:50 PM

Strange thing is, Steve, that the people who most challenge your Yankees-fan-ness are the people who simply disagree with your opinions. In essence, your bona fides as a fan correspond pretty much to their perception of the team and its players. The same people who think you're a traitor are the people who routinely rake ARod or Jeter or Pavano or Cashman or Torre or Giambi over the coals for whatever reasons they deem legitimate. Yet, if you were to question their Yankees allegiances, they'd be outraged. It's a no-win game. Argue one thing and one faction hates you, argue the opposite and another hates you. As a culture, much less sports fans, we have little tolerance for opinions other than our own. Witness our government, such as it is. Peace, Steve, I've got your back. It is what it is.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 02:56 PM

I'm not interested in reading commentary that's always pro just as an "always con" style is not interesting to me.

I prefer a more pragmatic approach. It's a long, long season but people disect each half inning as if today's date is October 1.

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 03:03 PM

All great stuff - thanks all!

Keep the opinions coming!

Soul Patrol!
Soul Patrol!
Soul Patrol!

Whoops, wrong train of thought. Sorry.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 03:10 PM

Ditto what Raf said - I love your site, I check in about 15-20 times a day and I enjoy that not everyone has the same opinion as I do. I don't think you should feel like you can't post negative things about the team you love but I also think that a little perspective is in order before lashing out. So what if ARod isn't off to a super-hot start, Torre bungles decisions every other night, and Cashman's got seriously dubious management/executive skills? More often than not, the Yanks get the job done and we all go to bed happy.

In short, your site RULZ!!!

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 03:22 PM

While I don't like the "hugs and kisses" mentality, I get just as turned off by the overly negative (Please note that I said OVERLY). But that doesn't mean I think those opinions shouldn't be expressed or that the people expressing them aren't "true" Yankee fans. Obviously what's overly negative to me is fine for someone else. When I feel like comments here (and other blogs) have gone over my personal line, I simply stop reading. Unfortunately it's happened here quite often this year. Maybe it's because I also hear the same stuff at the Stadium every time I go and I've just had enough. At the game it's harder to tune those things out. (Like the woman behind me who was pining away for Scott Brosius).

Now, does it make me less of a fan because I hope against hope far too many times? because I don't always want to see the truth of a situation? I certainly hope not.

Posted by: Jen [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 03:28 PM

Negative comments are not the problem, and nobody should question your "bonafides" for making them. What is a problem, as others have noted, is the utter lack of perspective about the team and the tendency to slide into deep negativity based on a small sample of games. This is the kind of thing I might expect from "Vinny from the Bronx" - the average NY sports fan goes negative very quickly. But I (and I imagine others) come here for a higher, more educated level of discourse.

This Yanks team, with all their myriad flaws, is a very good one that can be expected to make the playoffs. I don't think this is a pollyanish view, but a perfectly realistic one. Beyond that who knows?

Posted by: Josh [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 03:55 PM


I've enjoyed and agreed with all the comments on this post.

To me, the only credential one needs to be a fan is this: you care about the Yankees. That's it.

You don't have to be a tireless cheerleader for every scrub player and boneheaded front office decision. Nor do you have to be Steinbrenner junior, spitting fire if the team doesn't get a win every time out or A-Rod has an 0-fer day. The only thing you need to be a Yankees fan is to care about the Yankees. Questioning someone else's fan loyalty is, in a word, inane.

I strive to be objective about the Yankees (and everything else), and I think Steve does too - that's one of the things I like best about this blog. If any of us tends towards pessimism, I think it's only because the bar has been set very high by some great (and lucky) Yankees teams of recent memory.

Posted by: carla [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 04:00 PM

What everyone else said, Steve. I don't always agree with you - see the A-Rod discussion today - but I think you always bring up good points. You make me think, and I'm grateful for that.

As long as there's some decent reasoning behind them, I enjoy hearing different views.

Posted by: Shaun P. [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 04:14 PM

Actually, Shaun - that's what I want to hear. Thanks.

When asked "Why do you blog?" I always answer with: It's a way to let it out. I think about this stuff, all the time, and, now, rather than let it die there, I just decided to start jotting it down too somewhere.

So, it's nice to see that my thinking makes others think too. Thinking is good.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 04:33 PM

Steve I appreciate the effort you put into this blog and I have no problem with your take on the Yankees. You aren't anywhere near as negative as JohnnyC (except viz Joe Torre).

My problem with Yankee fans is they are too quick to fall in love with he latest George acquisition. I for one didn't want Giambi, Sheffield, A-Fraud or RJ. George (and too many fans) forget how the previous run was done.

This team has no guts, said so here since you started your blog. Evidence? The collapse against the Bosox and since. Yeah, I know, they won the AL East in 2005. And then? Let's see what they show the next two games in the Fens and then in Detroit.

Guts for garters.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 06:27 PM

I'd just like to point out to Don that guts and players acquired free agency or trade are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 07:01 PM

Steve, I love the blog. Yes, you come up with some crazy shit, but that's what I love about the site. I can read politically correct crap elsewhere. I love the site because many times your overreactions mirror my overreactions. You're basically the same type of fan I am, only smarter. That said, no way does A-Rod get a buyout, and frankly, while he drives me nuts, he is still one of the best players in the game. And he'll turn it around this season. But I will still watch nervously whenever he is up in a big spot, I know the numbers don't back it up but man, his big moments do seem few and far between.

For the love of God what is Long doing on this team, 0 for 3 tonight with 2 weak popups and a K. Yeah, Melky couldn't match that. Why not have him face the knuckleballer since we only play Boston 74 games a year and he'll have to at some point?

And maybe I'm nuts, but doesn't DFAing Bean so quick kind of hurt morale? I know some relievers have commented that it's tough to succeed in New York because if you don't get on Joe's good side right away, you rot in the pen and when you do sniff action, you're rusty (I believe it was Hammond who made this point). Anyway, since Bean had killer numbers in the minors and stunk it up in only 2 games here and was axed, will that make any other new guys scared?

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2006 08:53 PM

Just wanted to say, again, THANKS TO ALL for your comments on this one - good stuff and appreciated!

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 10:00 AM

My problem with Yankee fans is they are too quick to fall in love with he latest George acquisition. I for one didn't want Giambi, Sheffield, A-Fraud or RJ. George (and too many fans) forget how the previous run was done.
============================
And the previous run before that? (: Hunter? Jackson?

There were some moves made that I wouldn't have made; Lowell would be @ 3rd, and Nick Johnson would be @ first, for starters, but the moves have worked out.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 10:23 AM

"Anyway, since Bean had killer numbers in the minors and stunk it up in only 2 games here and was axed, will that make any other new guys scared?" We've seen this movie a dozen times at least in the past few years. What makes it weird is that pitchers who aren't out of our farm system get chance after chance to stink up the joint (Franklin, Embree, Sturtze to name the latest). I'm not saying Bean's a major league pitcher (he probably needs to go fully submarine to crack a major league staff)but it's counter-productive for an organization to treat its prospects like they're auditioning for American Idol in the Pittsburgh Holiday Inn across from the airport. And, Don, keep bashing me for things I haven't even said. I'll be here all week.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 10:41 AM

Personally, I don't think we have enough negativity. I blame everyone else.

Posted by: hopbitters [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2006 11:35 AM