Sunday, January 2, 2011

Yankees happy to say goodbye to 2010

The New York Yankees must be thrilled that 2010 is finally over, considering all the miserable events they suffered through.

At the top of the list has to be the death of iconic owner George Steinbrenner, even if his passing was perfectly timed to escape the estate tax that could have forced his heirs to sell the team. Love him or hate him, the Boss’ willingness to outspend every other team in baseball and pursue the best players with unmatched vigor played a critical role in the success of the Yankee franchise. But the Yankees also lost their heart & soul with the death of legendary announcer Bob Sheppard.

The stated goal of the Yankees every year is to win the World Series so the loss to the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series ranks as the worst on-field moment. After easily stomping over their perennial doormat Minnesota Twins, the Yankees were embarrassed by the Rangers. They looked old and inflexible and manager Joe Girardi took his questionable in-game decision making to new levels.

The Yankees have also been losing the offseason battle to the Boston Red Sox, a team that has showed a determination to get back to the playoffs by pulling off a trade for one of the brightest stars in the game in Adrian Gonzalez and signing another young superstar in Carl Crawford. In just those two moves, the Saux created a mighty lineup that promises to wreak havoc in the American League.

In contrast, the Yankees offseason has been characterized by an ugly contract dispute with Derek Jeter in which the team publicly questioned their captain’s ability to continue to perform at a high level and portrayed him as another greedy athlete, a portrayal that resonated with a lot of fans likely due to their personal financial struggles. Ironically though, Jeter was just ranked as the most beloved athlete in New York, suggesting that the shortstop emerged from the clash without any permanent scars.

What does all this mean for 2011? With Girardi returning to pencil in nearly the same lineup every day (with the exception of Jorge Posada becoming a full time designated hitter), the prospects for improving on last season’s performance don’t look terribly promising. If the Yankees fail to make a major move before spring training, they will go into another season hoping that a fresh start will be enough to dispel the memory of a miserable 2010 season.

Thanks to the New York Yankees and MLB via Wikipedia for the photo.

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