Image by: Anthony Storo
By Loki Robinson
The almighty Yanks, often touted the best sports team of all time, with the most iconic players and the most championships to back it up… are sort of in a slump. Only 2 World Series victories this century? C’mon guys, you had like 20 in the 90’s! No but seriously, they won 4 out of 5 years in ’96, ’98, ’99 and 2000. So what gives?
With the highest payroll of any American sports team, how aren’t they winning every season? There’s no salary cap like in the NFL. I think a salary cap is a great part of football. It makes the playing field more balanced, and you can’t have teams like the Yanks buying up every star that appears in free agency.
But then again, the Yanks haven’t been winning. So maybe getting all the superstars isn’t the key to winning world series’s? Numerous studies have actually been done that show that a team’s payroll doesn’t so clearly indicate more wins in a season or more championships.
The keys to winning often rely on metrics that can’t readily be calculated, like injuries, human randomness, coaching and team chemistry. You could say that more money gets better coaches (in theory that’s the point), but it’s not a guarantee. A rookie coach getting peanuts may be more hungry for a championship than a seasoned vet who gets paid bank.
The other teams in the MLB have obviously paid attention to the idea that money doesn’t buy wins. Maybe this adds to the power that the other teams have assumed in the last 13 years?
Remember when the Patriots won Superbowl XXXVI against the Rams in 2001? Nobody even knew who Tom Brady was. He didn’t date a supermodel yet either. What made that team win over the powerhouse Rams? The Rams had the MVP Kurt Warner, and the Offensive Player of the Year, Marshall Faulk.
Call it determination, or hunger, or team chemistry, but whatever you call it, it’s certainly something that can’t be calculated or bought which drove the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory that year.
Maybe that’s what the Yanks are lacking? Maybe they’re not hungry anymore, or maybe they just don’t have the chemistry like they used to. In that 5 year span where they won 4 rings, they had pretty much the same guys. Now it just seems like anybody that’s good is bought and has a jersey slapped on ’em.
Boy, do they need some strong pitching. Although it’s not a good time to be in the market for pitchers, that doesn’t mean they don’t need it. After David Wells, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens left in 2003, it seems that the rotation couldn’t get to be as good as it needed to be for a championship. Yes, a victory was attained in 2009, but it wasn’t repeated.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a good team or rotation, just that there wasn’t several championships after that. Tough analysis, huh? Well that’s what the Yankees get, and I don’t think they mind being under the microscope.
Maybe Jeter is tired. With all the winning early on in his career, maybe he got lazy? His statistics certainly don’t show that, but maybe while leading his team, the hunger just isn’t there to win.
There could be some seeds of contentment throughout the whole organization. Ever since the creation of the YES network and other baseball-related pursuits that the Yankees have initiated in the 2000’s, there has been less winning for the ball club. Maybe corporate needs to focus more on the actual playing of baseball?
That’s not to put down the Yanks effort to spread the game of baseball around the globe, just a little jab to them in order to figure out what would make them win. The organization is one of the most hated and most loved in all of sports. People in New York and all over the world love the Yankees, and even more people haaaattteeeee the Yanks with a burning passion.
Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, they remain a force to be reckoned with, and every player that goes to New York to play for the Yankees realizes how it really is the biggest stage to play baseball on. A-Rod, you still there??