You’re Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips, who lost back-to-back AFC titles to the Pittsburgh Steelers four decades ago and swore to a fanbase: “A year ago we knocked at the door. This year we have knocked on the door. Next year we’re going to kick the son of a bitch.
Except no. The door remained closed. No one ever guarantees that persistence and belief in a talented core will ultimately result in a ring, parade, and confetti legacy. The New York Rangers of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Late 1980s Cleveland Browns. The late 90s Utah Jazz. Glenn Close has been nominated for the Oscar seven times.
They are all Sisyphus. They see the top of the mountain, but the rock recedes and they have to start all over again.
That’s where the current Yankees reside, with Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman holding an already Zoom press conference on Wednesday explaining for another year the frustration of being so close and so far away.
Boone said: “You realize how close you are to being a championship team. … It eats away at you and it motivates you and that’s something we have to live with.
Boone explained how “thin as a razor” the difference was between the Yankees and the teams that knocked them out in his three years as manager. Just yards from a Gary Sanchez ninth inning Grand Slam that would have forced a decisive 2018 Division Series 5 game against a Red Sox team that could have run out of shots. Outperform the Astros in the 2019 ALCS and the Rays in the 2020 Divisional Series – tied 1-1 in seven innings of a tiebreaking Game 5 last week against Tampa Bay.
“We’re trying to open that door,” said Boone, who has a 2021 contract option. “We’re trying to climb this mountain. We know how close and capable we are. This is the motivation. My contact status and all of it will take care of itself. My goal is to get us to the top of the mountain.
Now they have to decide if this is essentially the right group for another climb. Hal Steinbrenner has previously stated that Boone will be back. Is it weaker inside the clubhouse for the Division Series Game 2 decision to layer JA Happ behind a Deivi Garcia set? Happ passively disagree with the choice. CC Sabathia, a Yankee adviser, blasted the decision on his podcast. It would be hard to believe that other players have no doubts about the strategy.
Modern teams have a collective of leadership that provides data and recommendations to managers so they can make choices, especially non-traditional ones. Yet players usually always want to believe that the manager is making the final decision. Boone and Cashman insist this is the case. Boone said he didn’t imagine he needed to reestablish this with his clubhouse, explaining, “Our people understand it’s my decision. ”
We will see. We will also see who these “people” are. To that end, Boone asked to “keep in perspective how close we are.” What will need to be diagnosed internally is whether it is “close” enough to try again with essentially the same kernel or to make seismic list changes.
Nothing will affect choices like how much Cashman should spend – or not spend – and he has said he will not “wire” what the payroll will be once he provides it. But he noted that the revenue losses created by COVID by the organization were real. So expect the reduction to be at least below the 2021 luxury tax threshold of $ 210 million of $ 30 million or more.
So while Boone and Cashman praised DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres, they didn’t say free agents LeMahieu and Tanaka would be back or that Sanchez is still the starting catcher. or Torres the starting short circuit. There was no commitment to diversify the very right handed lineup. Cashman is too veteran and timid to lock in his positions days after the offseason even before he has had official scout meetings.
But as much as individual staff, the Yanks will have to consider whether they are keeping Stockton and Malone-ing this or whether the formula is outdated. They made a huge investment – their move to Kwahi Leonard – for Gerrit Cole in the last offseason. It worked for the Raptors, not the Clippers or the Yankees. This offseason, are the Yanks moving pieces that have been successful in New York City to improve defense in the middle, add more left strikes and provide financial leeway to deepen the pitching staff?
“We have a list of championships, I think that’s a fact,” Cashman said. “We are not the champions. It is also a fact.
Do they really have a list of championships that they should stick to to open the door? Or are they Glenn Close and therefore still so far from a title?