Given the heat seeking missile that Matt Taibbi sends up Brian Cashman’s rear with this article in the May issue of Men’s Journal, I can only assume that Cashman ran over Taibbi’s dog and slept with his wife. Or vice-versa. Or maybe he had a threesome with them and then ran them both over:
. . . objectively speaking, the job of New York Yankees general manager should be the single most failure-proof position not only in sports but in all of human society. Giving a normal, red-blooded, pattern-baldness-suffering American male access to the Steinbrenner fortune and asking him to buy 25 baseball players a year in an unregulated market is no different, in any meaningful way, from handing Sarah Jessica Parker a blank check and asking her to fill a three-bedroom apartment with shoes and dresses. And we’re not even asking her to get good deals. All we ask is that the outfits match.
It’s obscene that a job like this even exists. But for someone to have this job and #### it up is just appalling, the kind of gross disrespect for our own good fortune that makes it hard for us Americans to look the Third World in the eye. What Brian Cashman has accomplished as GM of the Yankees over the past few years, in turning a perennial World Series champ into a third-place also-ran, is like walking into a backstage party for Led Zeppelin with a two-pound bag of coke and a 28-inch penis and failing for a whole night to get laid.
It just goes on and on like that. And I suppose it’s entertaining on some level to see someone work so hard to construct such complicated put-downs, but ultimately the piece is a showy, ignorant mess. Taibbi fails to grasp the same thing every other casual Yankee critic fails to grasp, and that’s that contrary to his premise, the Yankees’ GM is not responsible for “buying 25 baseball players a year in an unregulated market.” Indeed, it’s a highly regulated market, with many of the best players being completely off-limits to Cashman until they’re not quite as good anymore. Add in the fact that he answers to many masters and a rabid press corps. and fan base, and the notion that Cashman should be gone simply because he hasn’t picked better players from the allegedly endless player menu is rendered even more absurd. Almost as absurd as Taibbi failing to mention what, if anything, Cashman should have done differently over the past decade. Indeed, the whole piece reeks of smug hindsight.
Taibbi’s larger point — that Cashman has always played the Yankee political game well and has been safe because of it — is largely correct. I fail to grasp, however, how this makes him such a loathsome figure. To me it makes him kind of smart. Taibbi has one other valid point, and it’s that Cashman made a mistake in not trading the young arms and Cano for Johan Santana. Like everything else in the article, however, it’s a judgment aided by a hell of a lot of hindsight. I can’t remember what I wrote about it at the time, but as I sit here today, I kind of remember thinking that the Yankees should have pulled the trigger. But it wasn’t anything as clear-cut a case then as it was at the end of Kennedy and Hughes’ awful 2008. Certainly not clear enough to justify the derision Taibbi rains on Cashman here.
At least there is one small bit of value to this article: I now know that if I want to get published in Men’s Journal, all I need to do is drop bombs for 15-20 paragraphs and froth at the mouth a little.
Wait, a lot.
(thanks to Neate for the heads up)