The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Pinch hitting: Justin Johansky

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Pinch hitters on Jan 16, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Leading off our Pinch Hitters series is Justin Johansky, an Iona College graduate who was born and raised in New Jersey and currently lives in Bloomfield. He’s been attending Yankees games since 1989 and has collected every yearbook since. “I learned to eat, sleep, and breathe Yankees from my father, who has a Yankee tattoo with the #7 by it for Mickey Mantle,” Justin wrote. His favorite Yankees memory is being at the last game at the old Yankee Stadium with his father and brother, and for his guest post, Justin looked back to the days of the old stadium and The Boss.

Justin wrote an open letter to Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankees front office asking for a more aggressive approach to the offseason.

Dear Brian Cashman and the rest of the front office of the New York Yankee Organization,

I hope this letter finds you all as well rested as you should be considering this off season, you haven’t done very much. I write to you as a lifelong, diehard Yankee fan who finds himself becoming more and more frustrated with this part of the organization. I’m 28 years old (and no I’m not one of those fans who just started following the team in ’96. I sat through the Tim Leary’s, Hensley Meulen’s, and Bob Geren’s of the world) and for my entire life the Yankees had been run by one man: George Steinbrenner.

When George was calling the shots he always took the time to assure us, the fans, that the organization would stop at nothing in order to bring home a world championship. But now that he’s gone, I don’t get that same feeling or sense of security from you and the other “powers that be” in the front office. No one is to blame for Cliff Lee’s heart being bigger than his brain, but can you imagine what The Boss would have said (especially to you) for not being able to reel in the biggest fish of the offseason? He would have been absolutely livid but would have immediately gone on record to assure us, the fans, that the organization was still going to go out and do whatever it took to bring home number 28.

Instead, we get quotes from you about other possible free agents like “the price is too high,” or “he’s not in our price range,” or were only interested if we can sign him “absurdly cheap.” If that’s going to be your attitude, maybe a diehard fan like myself, who goes to about a dozen or so games a year, will decide this season I can’t go because its’ “not in MY price range,” or only if I can get tickets for “absurdly cheap.” You draw over four million fans a year. You charge ridiculous prices for tickets, concessions, and my new favorite, $35 for parking. Not only do I watch all 162-plus games, I follow the team 365 days a year (366 if it’s a leap year) so last week when you said “I won’t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else,” in regards to signing Rafael Soriano, I was a little miffed to say the least.

Then, just a week later, it was announced that you signed Soriano to a three-year, $35-million contract and that the organization was split on this decision. Clearly you were not the one that wanted to make this deal, which is great because this shows that the entire front office is on the same page (insert sarcasm here). At this point in the offseason, signing Soriano makes sense for the team, but when you look at it financially, this deal is beyond ridiculous. Your history of signing quality arms for the bullpen is not one of your strong points by any stretch of the imagination. Need I remind you, you once gave Kyle Farnsworth a three-year, $17-million contract and had no problem giving Yankee legend LaTroy Hawkins almost $4 million. Then after signing the “Nightmare on 161st Street,” Chan Ho Park you actually said “I thought there was some real value there.”

One would think that coming off of last years horrendous offseason, (The Nick Johnson/Javy Vazquez Reunion Tour) you would want to redeem yourself. Kerry Wood and Bobby Jenks could have been signed cheaper than Soriano, but I guess “the price was too high.” You backed the Yankees into a corner this offseason with your plan of “patience,” and it’s quite obvious that not everyone in the front office is on board with it. Can you blame them? Teams such as Boston and even Baltimore improved tremendously this offseason while you sit and pray that Andy Pettitte returns and debate whether or not to sign Bartolo Colon. Yes, Bartolo Colon.

If you want to play moneyball like your idol Billy Beane then be my guest, but you can take it some place else like Kansas City, where losing is as natural as breathing. This is the Bronx, home of the 27-time World Champions and the greatest fans in the world. We don’t want to hear that “the price is too high” on anything, especially for what we pay to come to the ballpark.

By the way, ask “Billy Boy” how many world titles he won with moneyball. It’s time for your feet to get held to the fire here, Brian, as well as the rest of the front office. I ask for someone to remove Hank’s muzzle because we sure as hell will not get any assurance from Hal that the organization will stop at nothing to win championship number 28. A seahorse has more personality than Hal Steinbrenner.

More than willing to lead the charge to have you removed as General Manager and give the entire front office a kick in the pants,

Justin Johansky




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