The Concession Stand

Today is the day we have been waiting for since October. The first day of spring.

I was all primed to open camp with a post on starting pitching, or maybe on the shortstop battle. I am also finalizing a personal Fan-ifesto that I am going to live by during the 2012 campaign.

But I am going to set all that aside. The baseball writing makes more sense after Andrew and Joe sit with the press today in Port Charlotte, and I can come back to the list of guys in the best shape of their career. Consider me distracted by Brian Cashman’s comments yesterday that the Yankees “conceded” the AL East in 2010 in an effort to line up for the playoffs.

Lets first dispose of the absurdity of the statement. To say the Yankees “conceded” the division is akin to saying they intentionally lost it. I know the talking heads love to evaluate who is trying to win and who isn’t. But, that is just filler. In my experience, you only get a locker in a big league clubhouse if you try to win every night. There is simply not a player or a manager anywhere in the big leagues that isn’t trying to win every pitch. To say the contrary is a brazen excuse for failure.

Take it a step further. Imagine Brian Cashman, coming in a 4’6″ and a whopping 100 lbs, standing in Joe Girardi’s office and telling him ‘Joe, listen, lay this one down. It’s just a t-shirt. Besides, we don’t want to play Texas in the first round because you can’t beat Texas. Let Tampa Bay have those guys.’ Would Cashman still be capable of speaking two years later? Probably not.

Also, let’s put aside the idea that the Yankees don’t care about division titles or wild card titles. (a comment every Yankee fan loves to make — ‘the only thing that matters in New York is a World Series title.’). I don’t even have to write on this point:

Nice T-shirts fellas. But what’s with the champagne? Your GM says the division title is just a t-shirt. Wait, I get it. The 2010 AL East title is just a t-shirt. But, 2011? Now that is a reason to celebrate. My bad.

Putting aside the silly logic undermining Cash’s point, there is a larger issue to consider here. Why is Cash talking about us? Is 2010 really the best example he has of the way the Wild Card rules would effect MLB? Or, is he trying to hide his obvious worry? Look, New York has a good team. Boston has a great team. But everyone is picking us. That is both exciting and terrifying. But maybe Cash looks at his offseason, looks at his starting rotation, and, before heading back out to the corner to beg someone to take AJ Burnett, realizes that his worry about what is developing in Tampa Bay is showing.

So, what does he do to hide his worry? He reverts to middle school Cashman. I don’t know Cashman from Adam but, I think we can all agree that plenty of girls said no when a young Cashman was looking for a date to the school dance. Right? Can’t you hear 13-year-old Cash telling his buddies buddy local librarian ‘yeah, I don’t really want to go to the dance anyway. I basically conceded that when I bought Star Wars on VHS and planned a movie night.’

Sorry Cash. I don’t buy it. If the division title is such a small deal, then announce right now that you are conceding it and setting yourself up for the postseason. What’s that? You’ll see how it goes in 2012 before announcing your concession? That’s what I thought.

 

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