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Get off the Bandwagon
2008-08-20 09:13
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

I realize these are truly the dog days for Yankee fans.  With each passing day it appears increasingly unlikely that the team will qualify for the playoffs.  Not only that, but they are just a tough team to watch in so many ways.  This morning I saw two Yankee fans at work and the first thing they did was hide their face as if they were Dracula meeting the morning light.  They hung their heads.  One of them told me he's not watching anymore.  And he's not the first one I've heard that from over the past few weeks.

These are tough times, relatively speaking, and if you've got better things to do with your time than watching a lousy team, that is understandable.  But this idea of forgetting your team or giving up on them when they don't live up to our collective expectations really seperates the true fans from the causal rooter. 

We'll be here at Bronx Banter win or lose, and that's that.  Even if they play like a bunch of bums, we'll be here.  We were here when they were winning and we'll be here when they stink.  That's a promise.

Comments
2008-08-20 09:34:15
1.   Raf
I realize these are truly the dog days for Yankee fans.
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Nah, man. Check the 1990 squad. THOSE were dog days for Yankee fans.
2008-08-20 09:39:38
2.   cult of basebaal
seriously, i've been a fan since the mid-70's ... this isn't anything like rooting for the team in the late 80's and early 90's.
2008-08-20 09:44:41
3.   Biscuit Pants
[1,2] Agreed. Watching Johnny play CF is a helluva a lot better than watching Jerry Mumphry.
2008-08-20 09:50:10
4.   Alex Belth
No, of course, this can't be compared with the dog days of the late 60s or the late 80s early 90s...just meant relative to what's been going on in the past 15 years. Which is to say that so many Yankee fans these days seem to have hopped on the bandwagon, and now, at the first signs of chinks in the armour, they are fleeing.
2008-08-20 09:50:12
5.   Raf
The Dallas Green era, Rickey getting traded, Winnie traded, George's suspension, Donnie's back, Winnie's back, Polonia busted in Milwaukee, a last place finish, Billy dying in an accident, the Bucky Dent era, the Stump Merrill era, Bob Quinn & Lou Piniella winning the World Series while Steinbrenner drops his pants, so on and so forth...

1989 - 1991 were some pretty shitty years.

2008-08-20 09:52:34
6.   Raf
4 Oh, I see now :). Tell them to stay away, so I can get reasonably priced decent seats!
2008-08-20 09:53:28
7.   rbj
Yeah, at least this team is above .500. I'll still root for them and watch the games and Banter.
2008-08-20 09:57:48
8.   Just fair
5 An idiom alert for the original idiot.
Damon was asked to give an oral report on those years to the team this morning, unfortunately he dropped the ball.
Yeah, I know, too easy...
2008-08-20 09:58:13
9.   dianagramr
You know .... I wish Hal/Hank and their dad would just allow themselves to understand that some years, it just DOESN'T go your way.

Sure us Yankee Fans like the pennants and the post-season and that stuff, but as long as the team is TRYING, and the administration is showing that they are TRYING to put the best team out there, then its OK if the playoff chase dies by the end of August.

Now, from a business standpoint, I understand that there is a HUGE revenue bump from post-season play, but in the grand scheme of things, the way the Yankees have been run the past decade, a season like this was BOUND to happen. I'm only shocked it didn't happen sooner.

2008-08-20 09:58:14
10.   hoppystone
4th place or bust!
And if the Orioles get hot, last place by next week!
At least in '91, there was an excuse.
2008-08-20 09:58:55
11.   vockins
The fanbase has needed a cull for a while now.
2008-08-20 10:09:09
12.   Sliced Bread
the Yankee bandwagon is a couple thousand miles long. won't make any difference if a few hundred thousand rooters jump off.. but I don't think too many will. I'll bet the ratings for the games will actually go up, and stay up until the end of the year regardless of the standings.
of course attendance will be high no matter what the standings say the next few years.
2008-08-20 10:16:16
13.   vockins
12 I'm sure Knicks fans thought the same thing 10 years ago.

Not that it'll ever get that bad, god forbid. I'd jump off a bridge before I'd see it get that bad.

2008-08-20 10:20:40
14.   weeping for brunnhilde
Hear, hear, Alex.
2008-08-20 10:22:41
15.   jaffe
At last... spoken like a true Yankee fan. Thanks. Get so tired of the bandwagon. If you have not done so check out Yankees for Justice. Another true Yankee fan.
2008-08-20 10:28:25
16.   ms october
9 agree fully with your last sentence - it is surprising it hasn't happened sooner- there have been stretches the past few seasons where the team really struggled. i think this year just really boils down to too much to overcome.

12 i'm not sure the ratings will go up the next few weeks. maybe the last series in yankee standing will bring viewers in, bt i don't think some random series will.

2008-08-20 10:39:44
17.   RIYank
Yay!

I still like watching. It's not painful. I always hate losing, but that doesn't mean I hate watching the loss.

I now think there's a very good chance that neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox make the playoffs. Beckett is hurting, and the symptoms are consistent with a Tommy John injury. Clay Buchholz kind of stinks. Dice-K is bound to run out of luck (he's walking guys by the dozens). And their bullpen is doubtful.

2008-08-20 10:44:33
18.   tommyl
Fine by me if they jump off. The only difference for me is that I won't be rescheduling my entire life around games like I've done in years past. If they do things like call Hughes back up, play Gardner etc. then I have even more reason to watch. Tuning in to see Pavano or Zambrano, followed by Ponson, well that might be tough.
2008-08-20 10:47:01
19.   RIYank
18 Oh, I'd definitely tune in to watch Pavano pitch a ML baseball game. You have to! It's like going outside to see Halley's Comet.

Or Kohoutek, maybe.

2008-08-20 10:47:04
20.   JohnnyC
17 TJS for Beckett? Couldn't happen to a better guy. Jason Lane was released and, guess who, the Red Sox signed him. Maybe Drew's back is worse than they're saying. Or maybe they're trying to put together an all Jason outfield. They can ask Ellsbury to change his name to Jason.
2008-08-20 10:47:21
21.   Max
I haven't given up, and I don't even mind the increasingly frequent excruciating losses (at least, not in small doses)...it's just the macro reality of seeing a still talented team underachieve the way they have been that's so tough to stomach.

But I'll keep watching and following the development of the up and comers. And rooting like hell for the Sox to get knocked out along with the Yanks.

I will say, though, that I'm very thankful for the Olympics for distracting me the last couple of weeks. I don't know how well I could have handled just dealing with the Yankees given the atrocious play.

2008-08-20 10:52:44
22.   JohnnyC
9 Hank's recent statements and the fact they've approached Cashman this month with an extension offer are signs that they have reached the same conclusion. I suspect that their hopes were realistically low from the beginning of the season and saw this year as a transitional year anyway because of the expiring contracts. For PR purposes you can't boldly announce in April that you don't expect to make the post-season.
2008-08-20 10:53:09
23.   Dimelo
4 Let'em flee. Yesterday I was sad they lost, but I wasn't mad. I had some work to do at the house and it was cool to look up and still see myself being entertained by my team.

Bottom line, we all knew this day was going to come - where our team was going to disappoint. I actually thought it was going to come a lot sooner after the 2004 ALCS, the fact that it has lasted this long makes me appreciate everything they've done up to this point.

As the roster starts to change, the faces start to change, then I look at as an opportunity to develop some new relationships with incoming players. For me it's all part of the process. Embrace the chaos.

2008-08-20 11:12:34
24.   JL25and3
I learned how to root for a bad team long before I ever had the chance to root for a good one.

This team obviously isn't as bad as 1991 or 1967, but it's more disappointing. It's easier to pull for bad players playing badly than good players underperforming. Either way, though, I still turn the game on every night - I just flip away from it more easily.

2008-08-20 11:38:02
25.   pistolpete
24 >> I still turn the game on every night - I just flip away from it more easily. >>

Testify.

2008-08-20 11:40:01
26.   rbj
The way I figure it no team is going to win (WS, division, wild card) every year. Being in the playoffs every year from 1996 on is remarkable. Yes there has to be a good plan in place, but there's also an element of luck -- in a needed win the ball is hit just out of reach of the second base man to score the winning run. Yankees have had that and if once a decade the luck runs the other way I can live with it. The only thing that disappoints me really is that the young guys, Joba, Hughes and IPK didn't get enough ML experience this year that I would have liked.
2008-08-20 11:43:08
27.   Raf
9 I don't know, a team like the Yanks are always in a position to contend. I mean had the offense not sputtered this year (and I don't think anyone saw that coming), the Yanks would be right in the thick of things. Personally, I think they'll be in the thick of things next year.

I do agree with the general sentiment that it doesn't always go your way, but I can appreciate that those in charge will do everything in their power to keep that from happening.

As long as they don't do anything stupid, I'll be happy.

2008-08-20 11:51:25
28.   ny2ca2dc
26 I think you've got it right, but I would put Joba on the top of the "joy" pile. To the "no joy" pile I'll add my heartbreak over not having JoPo around much, missing Matsui, and watching Cano implode. Melky I like fine, but Cano's the star, and he has sucked. Bounce backs from Moose and Giambi have been nice, however.
2008-08-20 12:00:42
29.   pistolpete
26 from 1995 on, my friend. And if you're one of those 'coulda shoulda woulda' type of guys, most likely '94 as well.
2008-08-20 12:15:50
30.   Shaun P
And we'll be here with you (and Cliff and Emma and Bruce and Will), Alex.

Really though, the Steinbrenners (and Cashman and the other execs) in some ways have to be pleased. If there was ever a two-year period to go through a down phase, nothing will guarantee big bucks in the revenue dept. despite the downturn like the closing of the Stadium v1.2 and the opening of the Stadium v2.0.

I will not miss the bandwagon jumpers, and their "Brosius was the bestest ever!1!!1!" and similar foolishness. In fact, good riddance. I hear Red Sox Nation is always looking for new citizens!

2008-08-20 12:27:59
31.   Vandelay Industries
30 I agree completely. However, very few people will pay $100 for upper deck tickets to watch a losing team, even in NY.
2008-08-20 12:31:33
32.   rbj
31 Upside of that is either 1) the Yankees spend their money more wisely and/or 2) ticket prices come down. (Yeah, like that'll ever happen).
2008-08-20 12:47:05
33.   Vandelay Industries
32 Ticket prices are not coming down......as you noted. I figure the New Stadium gives them a another year of missing the playoffs, but that's it. The stands were 1/2 to 1/3 empty during my entire childhood (less late 70's early 80's), so folks who think it isn't possible are kidding themselves.
2008-08-20 13:22:23
34.   pistolpete
33 To be fair, Guiliani cleaned up the place quite a bit.

Personally speaking, if my Dad hadn't been a cop in the 46th precinct at the time (and buddies with many of the officers on Stadium detail), I imagine we wouldn't have attended as many games as we did.

2008-08-20 13:51:19
35.   DarrenF
30 In September, the Stadium will be the draw. For many years to come, the new Stadium will be the draw.

I never had problem with fair weather fans. It means the weather is fair.

2008-08-20 14:01:28
36.   DarrenF
1 When the Yankees won 100+ games in 2003 and missed a Championship by two wins, that team was vilified as a heartless bunch of chokers.

I really don't see what's the big deal if the team misses the playoffs. Is it any different than losing in the playoffs?

To me, yes, it's different. Losing in the playoffs is better than missing the playoffs entirely. But most Yankee fans have fallen victim to high expectations. The '08 Yankees are compared to the '96-'00 Yankees every day. It's ancient history and it's impossible to live up to.

But I will also say that I'm actually happy in a way that the phantom hand of Babe Ruth won't reach down and save the team in His House's last season. Because, when the Yankees win, it's not because of the pinstripes or monument park or the ghosts of the past. It's because of hitting, pitching, and fielding.

2008-08-20 14:18:09
37.   Raf
36 Ghosts, mystique & aura make for better press
2008-08-20 14:22:44
38.   Vandelay Industries
36 Well, those who compare the teams of '96-'00 to the '08 team are ridiculous given the injuries the team has suffered this season. However, the World Series teams did it with 1/2 the payroll. In their defense however, many teams--as a direct and incontrovertable result of the Yankees spending--have since fielded more expensive and competitive teams for their fans.
2008-08-20 14:24:35
39.   Vandelay Industries
I am surprised no one is drawing the correlation between the Arod signing in 2004 and the fact that both the Red Sox swept four from us that season in the playoffs, and the Yankees haven't won a playoff series since.
2008-08-20 15:03:14
40.   JL25and3
39 I thought the reason for that was obvious. Brosius was the bestest ever!1!!1!
2008-08-20 15:55:45
41.   nick
I think in a way I (helped) start this with a game thread post last night....when I say "I'm not watching" I don't claim I can just stop caring; it's just that I want to limit the damage, you know?

I can think of ways to an 85-win team this year that didn't involve more or less disappointing outcomes from EVERY YOUNG PLAYER.

After years in which the Yanks treated guys under 30 like cannon fodder, to see the changed approach meet this kind of result is frustrating....

This team has to get a lot more offensive talent in the 26-30 age range fast, if we want the dynasty to persist--and I don't see how that happens in the current contract environment. Right now we have Betemit and Nady in that category: nice peripheral players, no more. Even if both Melky and Cano are above-average at the positions next year, things could be tough....

2008-08-20 15:57:28
42.   nick
42 for "disappointing" I mean Joba's injury, not, of course, his performance when healthy...
2008-08-20 16:14:51
43.   DarrenF
41 The injuries have been a killer and have made the team seem old and brittle, but the injuries have also hit young players. Some of the aging players seem to be in decline -- don't tell that to Mussina or Mariano -- but the decline of the young players is worse. I was excited about Hughes, Joba, Cano, Melky, and (to a lesser extent) Kennedy. One out of five. Cashman's strategy was sound, but the players weren't any good.
2008-08-20 16:41:18
44.   tom yf
Fuck yeah Alex. I don't comment much, but I'm here with you guys all the way, going down with the ship. A sick part of me is actually enjoying this whole mess, for try as they might, this team is simply unable to get me to stop rooting for them.
2008-08-20 17:23:22
45.   Raf
39 I am surprised no one is drawing the correlation between the Arod signing in 2004 and the fact that both the Red Sox swept four from us that season in the playoffs, and the Yankees haven't won a playoff series since.

You haven't been to was watching recently, have you?

http://tinyurl.com/6o8763

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