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True Yankee Watch: 2012 ALCS edition

Oct 17, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

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Sorry, but I can’t get enough of members of the Yankees commentariat trying to outdo one another to draw the broadest, most dramatic conclusions from the results of three games.  It’s great fun.

The latest is Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York who uses the Yankees’ ALCS meltdown to help us identify who are and who are not True Yankees. Which is an exercise that I didn’t think anyone was still doing, but whatever:

Rodriguez spent the night in a gray hooded sweat jacket, chewing sunflower seeds in the dugout, and he could be finished as a Yankee. The dynastic holdovers — Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte – all suffered serious leg injuries in their advanced age, and the team’s best in-his-prime player, Cano, is a room-temperature star lacking that unbreakable Jeter/Rivera/Pettitte drive.

Even with two wild cards there to cushion the fall, this could be the beginning of the end of the Yankees as we knew them. CC Sabathia, one of the few Yanks cut from the dynasty makers’ mold, surely will put up a fight Wednesday night, but what’s the point?

Notes:

  • I have a totally non-ironic love for O’Connor’s use of the phrase “room temperature” here to describe Cano. I assume he means it as a synonym for death (i.e. he has assumed room temperature) and as a fan of pulp detective fiction and film noir, that just pushes all of my buttons;
  • Say what you want about the greatness of Jeter, Pettitte and Rivera, but calling anything about those three “unbreakable” this year is counterfactual; and
  • Anyone know why Sabathia is “cut from the dynasty makers’ mold?”  It can’t be because he’s part of a dynasty, can it, because he’s still got just the one ring. It’s almost as if being cut from that mold means “not stinking at the particular moment at which I am writing this column.”

Oh well. Only a few more hours to read this kind of stuff until the next game. If they lose, there will be even graver post-mortems. If they win there will no doubt be some more True Yankees to discuss.

  1. thebadguyswon - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Drama has no queen greater than the Yankee fan.

    • bigleagues - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Hell hath no fury like a true Yankees fan who feels scorned.

    • bigleagues - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      BTW, what’s a ‘Yankee’ fan?

      That’s like saying ‘thebadguyswo’.

      Just sayin.

  2. rodtorfelson - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Any True Yankees list which doesn’t include Walt “No Neck” Williams is woefully incomplete.

  3. tvguy22 - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Those poor, long-suffering Yankees fans.

  4. nategearhart - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    One minute, true Yankee means “consistently great” (goodbye, Jeter). Then it means “don’t do anything that would embarrass the Yankees” (later, Mantle and Ruth). Then maybe “always kick ass in the playoffs” (see ya, A-Rod). Also probably “fall in line and do what you’re told” (you were told to shave those sideburns, Mattingly).

    We need Joe Posnanski to do another of his “Willie Mays Hall Of Fame” pieces about “True Yankees”.

    • Jeremy T - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      That Willie Mays piece by Pos was one of my favorites. True Yankees seems like it’d be even harder to define.

  5. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Craig, I think you suffer from the same affliction that Tom Tango does vis a vis horrible writing. Why Tango continues to read Murray Chass, and you continue to read NY Sports writers, is beyond me…

    • b7p19 - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      I would assume it’s because he’s bored. After months of baseball games galore, it’s down to one a day and he doesn’t know what to do with himself. For Craig, that means baiting overly sensitive fans (Nats, Phils), laughing at BSOHL stories, and making enemies among baseball writers.

  6. stex52 - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    This isn’t exactly the fall Rome, kids. The Yankees won 95 games this year in the second toughest division. They have a solid farm system and a giant money tree growing in Brian Cashman’s front yard.

    Do they need to reload? Definitely, at several positions. Is there any doubt they can do it on the fly if they care to? Some, but not much. Is maintaining a dynasty going to be harder in the future? Sure, all of the front offices are more professional.

    The real problem with dynasties is that the playoffs can be a crapshoot. Ask Washington or Texas. Or Cincy.

    All this talk about “TRUE XXXX PLAYERS” is filler for a writer who has a deadline.

    • manifunk - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      “They have a solid farm system and a giant money tree growing in Brian Cashman’s front yard”

      Uh, aside from Mason Williams, who exactly are these young, up-and-coming prospects? Between Betances and Banuelos, they’ve had a ton of busts and not a lot of good, young talent on the horizon. Which hurts the second part, because that money tree is already starting to collapse under the weight of the bad fruit that is the Teixeira and A-Rod contracts.

      Not the fall of Rome, no, but definitely the start of the decline of Pax Romana.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        You referenced two pitchers who haven’t even pitched one significant inning in the pros yet (significant because a cup o’ coffee last sept doesn’t count). You also didn’t talk about Gary Sanchez or Tyler Austin. They have younger guys like Slade Healthcott (Klaw just wrote about him) and Ravel Santana who are very young.

        As much as people say the Yanks aren’t producing anyone, don’t forget that they produced Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy in the last two years, and Montero still has a chance to be productive.

  7. temporarilyexiled - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I don’t know about true Yankees, but someone could definitely write an article (or several) about true Yankee fans…and the true Yankee writers who pour gas on the true Yankee fire. Now that’d be entertaining reading.

  8. southpaw2k - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    I was out with a big group of friends last Friday to watch Game 5 of the ALDS. Among us was a born-and-bred Baltimore girl who’s a crazy Ravens fan….and also a Yankees fan. She said she’s been a Yankees fan since her senior year of high school way back in….1997. The rest of us all wept over how hard a year that must have been for her, that being the one year in a 5-year span the Yankees didn’t win the World Series. None of us could understand how she got through such a rough year like that.

  9. mybrunoblog - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    O’Connor has authored a book on the Yankees Dynasty years and has spent many years around the team. I trust his opinions and ideas about the team. Nowhere in his story does he use the term “true Yankee”. O’ Connor is writing about how he feels some guys have a winning/never quit attitude while some players are more laid back and accept losing better than others. Not too hard to see that. Calceterra is trolling a respected NY writer and Yankee fans too.

    • b7p19 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      You are clearly a good friend of O’Conner.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      O’Connor actually wrote a book about Jeter. The Yankee Dynasty book was written by Buster Olney (Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty).

      Not too hard to see that. Calceterra is trolling a respected NY writer and Yankee fans too.

      Respected NY writer? Are we still talking about Ian O’Connor?

  10. thatyankeedude - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    The Yankees will do whatever they have to this offseason to get things figured out. This series is over but the future can be what they make of it.

  11. zzalapski - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I wonder if hacks of O’Connor’s and Klapisch’s ilk gather at a bar before the postseason and draw straws to determine the narratives each of them will pursue. Or maybe this is their version of that parlor game, “Let’s Pretend We Work at the New York Post”.

    Wait, Klapisch actually did work at the Post? *shocked face*

  12. historiophiliac - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Note to self: Find a way to work “he’s a room tempature clown, bro” into conversation…

  13. sdelmonte - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    I don’t like sweeps in the playoffs, even of teams I don’t like. It’s bad for the sport.

    But a sweep would shorten the lifespan of all the noise coming from the media by a few days, and that would be good.

  14. megl3155 - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    The Yankees look like they are out of gas. That series with the O’s did them in.

  15. megl3155 - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    They also look bored.
    At least we might’ve gotten a series with the “non-dynastic” Orioles.

  16. indaburg - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Craig, after L’affaire Valentine met its untimely end, I stayed up all night wondering what would satisfy your sadistic voyeurism. Fortunately, the Yankees and the NY media have obliged. Whew! Now I can get some rest. :-)

  17. shaggylocks - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    You’d think drawing a paycheck and wearing the uniform would be the hurdle for True Yankeehood, right? That’s my platonic ideal: a guy good enough to rise through the minors and make it onto the roster. I guess I’m too pragmatic to be a member of the NY sports media.

  18. daisycutter1 - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Please don’t pay any attention to anything Ian O’Connor writes. Same with his colleague, Wallace Matthews.

    Why ESPN hired those hacks knowing they have a long history writing stupid, ignorant shit about the Yankees, their players and even their fans…ah, never mind.

    • sictransitchris - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      Agreed. The only thing I ever enjoyed reading from either of them was Ian O’Connor’s biography of Jeter.

  19. nategearhart - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    True Yankee: Raul Mondesi

  20. claymatthewshairplugs - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Right now the yankees couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat.

  21. bigleagues - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Don’t you guys know?!

    You’re not a true baseball fan, let alone a true Yankees fan if you can’t recite a list of ‘true Yankees’.

    The Sports Pope would be most disappointed if you cannot comply with this requirement of fandom.

    And don’t just assume that you can recite the best players in Yankees history. Oh no, there are hallowed spots reserved for guys like Bucky Dent, Scott Brosius and Phil Rizzuto.

    The best part of all this is watching the likes of A-Rod fight and scrape his way to ‘true Yankees’ loftiness, only to watch him precipitously drop back into the much-maligned, but not totally dismissed, realm of being a solid-player-but-NOT-really-a-true-Yankees.

    Ultimately the criteria for being a deemed a ‘true Yankees player’ is rather simple:

    1) Never get caught making an out when the game is on the line – especially if it’s close & late.
    |||||
    1st Qualifier- if you do choke in a big spot – make sure you have already delivered in a big spot several times previously (past memories hold more currency in Yankeesland than actual career performance) – and at least once in the previous two weeks to your ‘clutch’ fail.)
    2nd Qualifier- immediately act like your are really REALLY pissed at yourself for making that terrible out. Some demonstrable action as you walk back to the dugout is always good, but if you forget to act out before you get back to the dugout, always make sure there is a camera on you before you kick into tirade mode (that way Michael Kaye will lead with it out of commercial break and talk it up as a sign of your passion and determination).
    |||||

    2) MUST have at least one game saving (series winning is always preferred) play that defines your Yankees playing career. You can basically be one of the worst players at your position in your era – and live in “True Yankees Player Immortality” (This may even be applied to a player who played the vast majority of their career elsewhere and came aboard for a farewell title tour.)

    3) PROMISE that you will go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Yankees cap, even if the HOF rules do not allow for it, and especially if you have no realistic shot whatsoever of ever being elected.

  22. mook1987 - Oct 17, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    whyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    whyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    stfu
    yankees are the best team in history
    watch what happens next
    im putting up 3k today at 150 to one….Yankees world series

    voooooooooooooooooooooooooooo gonna buy a house when the magic happens

    • bigleagues - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      And now it’s time for the Yankees’ Fan Medical Term of the Day (Sponsored by WebMD) . . .

      DELUSIONAL DISORDER, previously called paranoid disorder, is a type of serious mental illness called a “psychosis” in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. The main feature of this disorder is the presence of delusions, which are unshakable beliefs in something untrue, and is commonly diagnosed amongst densely populated areas of Yankees fans.

      People with delusional disorder experience non-bizarre delusions, which involve situations that could occur in real life such as being followed, poisoned, deceived, conspired against, or coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS despite fielding one of the worst offensive producing teams in MLB Playoffs history.

      These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences (i.e. there’s always gonna be a Bucky Dent or Aaron Boone who bails us out because we are the chosen ones.) In reality, however, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated.

      People with delusional disorder often can continue to socialize and function normally, apart from the subject of their delusion, and generally do not behave in an obviously odd or bizarre manner (i.e. the person at the office who you take a liking to, until baseball season begins and they suddenly crossover from Dom to Woogie).

      This is unlike people with other psychotic disorders, who also might have delusions as a symptom of their disorder. In some cases, however, people with delusional disorder might become so preoccupied with their delusions that their lives are disrupted (the time of year most of us call Fall – or for the fans of the 2012 Yankees . . . the FAIL season.)

  23. lazlosother - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    “cut from the dynasty makers’ mold”. I love this, it has got to be one of the best examples of bad writing I’ve ever read. I hope to work this into my submission for the Bulwer Lytton fiction contest in 2012.

    “He was a hard man, with ripped abcesses, a pimpled chin, and eyes that shone like cesspools in the night, truly he had been cut from the dynasty makers’ mold.”

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