Ian O’Connor thinks it might be wonderful that the Yankees are going to be without the second best player in baseball for an extended period:
And yet this is no cause for the mass hysteria that greeted Y2K. The team could lose its most feared and productive hitter, and yet the sky isn’t falling on Tampa, the Bronx, or on any other corner of the Yankees’ vast universe. Why? Because an extended A-Rod absence would swing open a door of delicious opportunity, that’s why. The Yankees could go back to being the Yankees. They could go back to being the team that won four championships in five years with reliable pitching and a harmonious band of position players that didn’t need a slugger whose favorite teammates are Me, Myself and I.
“It was all about the team for us,” Tino Martinez said. “There were no real stars. You had Bernie [Williams] and [Derek] Jeter, but not superstars. We just figured out ways to get a lead and win games. “Position by position, this year’s team has much more physical talent than we did. It’s a way better team than our championship teams. But we knew how to come together, and that’s the trick” . . .
. . . The Yankees have no interest in devaluing an asset like Rodriguez, not when they have nine years to go on a contract worth more than $300 million. So they’re not about to declare themselves a better, happier team with A-Rod on the bench. But facts are facts: The Yankees haven’t reached the World Series in Rodriguez’s five seasons, and they reached six in the eight seasons before he arrived. Coincidence, or guilty as charged?
If the ability to crush a baseball was as insignificant compared to character and teamwork as O’Connor implies, why doesn’t he advocate for the Yankees to just sign O’Neill, Martinez, Brosius and, hell, Chili Davis right now? I’m sure their character is still intact, even if their bat speed isn’t.
Update: I should have probably just linked this and said nothing more.
(link via BTF)