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The line between wanting to win and demanding to win

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 25, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

An honest question in response to this morning’s Pinch Hitter post: Where’s the line between fair weather fan and passionate fan?

Those two seem about as different as could be — the former constantly mocked by the latter — but I’m wondering if that line has become unexpectedly blurred in the wake of the Yankees lengthy success. As Jack wrote this morning, it’s one thing when Hal Steinbrenner or Derek Jeter calls a 95-win, non-championship season a failure, but it’s something different when fans do it. Is it becoming acceptable to cheer for a team only when it’s winning championships?

I get the frustration with ownership’s financial plan, just like I understood the in-the-moment disappointment when the Yankees played so poorly in the ALCS. What I don’t understand is the lack of a big picture acknowledgement that spending $189 million and getting to the ALCS is really, really good.

Second guess the general manager’s moves? Absolutely. Regret the decision to sign Alex Rodriguez well into his 40s? Can’t help it. Boo a team that simply can’t hit in the postseason? Not my style, but I understand.

At what point, though, does a “real” fan bail on the team and declare the season an absolute, waste-of-time failure? Is it understandable and acceptable to boycott games and merchandise to send a message about the current financial plan, or is that the very definition of fair weather (sticking with the team only when it’s spending like mad and overpowering the competition with elite talent)?

Do any fans struggle with that line between wanting to win and demanding to win?

Associated Press photo

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29 Responses to “The line between wanting to win and demanding to win”

  1. ac1 January 25th, 2013 at 11:58 am

    A ‘real’ fan will support the team as long as they have faith in the management. I would support this team through a rebuilding phase if i believed for a second there was a real plan to do so.

  2. Rich in NJ January 25th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    “What I don’t understand is the lack of a big picture acknowledgement that spending $189 million and getting to the ALCS is really, really good.”

    It’s ridiculously good if your management can execute. In fact, it’s not necessary to spend that much if they are good at their jobs.

    But the figure is illusory because there are/will be $100-120M in sunk costs going to mostly aging/declining players, in large part, because of bad decisions and the inability/unwillingness to develop from within.

    And it’s not about the fans. When the owner says they have to win the WS every single year, what do you expect most fans to think about the team’s relative success?

    So your focus is on the wrong party.

  3. trisha - true pinstriped blue January 25th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    repost:

    Jack, great post! And I think you hit it home with this:

    “I’m not saying the Yankees should settle for mediocrity. Just the opposite – I want Jeter and Cash and the Steinbrenners to be fanatical about winning. But to crap on a season like last year because we didn’t win it all seems ridiculous to me, and that’s become the norm these days.

    There’s a big difference in how players and fans should view the season, IMO. ”

    Last season the Yankees were picked to win it all. That meant that the “experts” doing the picking felt that the Yankees had the team to go all the way. Nobody could have known that Mo would be out, DRob would get hurt, Andy would go down, Joba would get himself hurt, Robby’s bat would go cold, etc. etc. etc.

    Fans feel that the Yanks should be able to wave a magic wand and make everything okay but sometimes you just can’t overcome a large accumulation of negative events.

    “But it’s not the stadium or the Alex Rodriguezes of the world that has sucked the fun out of being a Yankees fan, it’s the Win A Championship Or Else mantra”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    “As a fan, I want to have fun again, so I’m going to settle for a chance to win and the knowledge that I’m going to have 6+ months of great entertainment to share with my loved ones come April. Win or lose.”

    This is how I approach every season, and you know what? I enjoy the hell out of each and every season. It’s how I’ll be approaching this season, too, no matter who takes the field in pinstripes. Happy to you know you’ll be there doing the same thing!

    :)

  4. Jerkface January 25th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Why does anyone think the Yankees would take on Soriano’s salary for 2014? We have seen repeatedly they will not sign anyone not named Ichiro for then.

    As I said, if Soriano comes over and the Cubs agree to pay say 24 mil of the 36 mil owed to him, with 17 of it in 2014 and 7 of it in 2013, then the Yankees would ‘pay’ 0 in 2014 for luxury tax purposes.

  5. blake January 25th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    “Sorry Blake, this is so wrong. Remind me to remind you of this ”

    I hope you are able to sir….I like my crow deep fried

  6. Shame Spencer January 25th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    yankeefeminista January 25th, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I could outhit Stewie, but that wouldn’t be hard. I was actually a good baseball player, FWIW, until I was condemned to play softball around age 13.

    —————–

    Too f*cking true… I raked in Little League and Farm league but by the time you hit middle school you have to swing at a giant softball and throw underhand… I quit lol. I wouldn’t be some professional but I hated playing softball. I like doing it now just for fun but it wasn’t the same.

    Softball? You can keep that sh*t.

  7. MatthewMark January 25th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    The thing that bothers me is not using a budget, nor being hamstrung by sunk costs. The thing that bothers me is doing it just after you have and just as you continue to increase ticket costs astronomically. It is amazing to me that so little attention has been paid to how much more profitable the team is now than in the past, despite the salary increases, driven by revenue increases, which ultimately come out of the fan’s pocket. Jumping through hoops or denigrating the roster to avoid a harsh tax at the same time that you have maximized revenue by squeezing the fan base is arrogant.

    It is also troubling that it is a new ownership group that is doing this, and one that inherited the team, and outside of their winning the lucky gene contest, has accomplished little with the team, and indeed outside of their ownership of the team, in life. Hal and Hank seem pretty arrogant and spoiled.

    Finally, I dislike the apathy in the fan base that was so on display in the stadium in the playoffs. Yankee Stadium felt like any other place, or worse, not the special place it once was. The apathy I think comes from lots of things: an expectation of success, recent history, but also higher prices driving out real fans, and an arrogant and spoiled couple of owners.

    It’s one thing to rebuild. It’s another not to be honest about it. And it’s another still to do it, lie about it, and ask for more and more money from real fans at the same time.

  8. Rich in NJ January 25th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    “As I said, if Soriano comes over and the Cubs agree to pay say 24 mil of the 36 mil owed to him, with 17 of it in 2014 and 7 of it in 2013, then the Yankees would ‘pay’ 0 in 2014 for luxury tax purposes.”

    But wouldn’t hit affect what they could spend in 2014?

  9. blake January 25th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    “Do any fans struggle with that line between wanting to win and demanding to win?”

    Just like in real baseball it all comes back to effort for me…..if I think they are doing everything they can to win and put the best product on the field then I’m fine with whatever happens…..that’s why I never had a problem with George even when he did dumb things….I always knew where his intentions were…..

  10. Shame Spencer January 25th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    FWIW, at this point I would just like to have a day of any sport dedicated to women that didn’t also involve c@ncer :|

  11. blake January 25th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    @JonHeymanCBS: david robertson agreed to deal with #yankees for $3.1M for 2013, avoiding arbitration

  12. J. Alfred Prufrock January 25th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    blake January 25th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    “Sorry Blake, this is so wrong. Remind me to remind you of this ”

    I hope you are able to sir….I like my crow deep fried
    ///

    Very well. :D You can send Warren instead ;)

  13. Shame Spencer January 25th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    ac1 January 25th, 2013 at 11:58 am

    A ‘real’ fan will support the team as long as they have faith in the management. I would support this team through a rebuilding phase if i believed for a second there was a real plan to do so.

    —————-

    Thing is, even without one we’re still going to support the team. As one of the previous posters said, it’s like a marriage….. and in this case, divorce isn’t ever an option. My heart is always going to be in it. And those b@stards know it.

  14. blake January 25th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    “Very well. You can send Warren instead ”

    Id rather

  15. Jerkface January 25th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    But wouldn’t hit affect what they could spend in 2014?

    What? Why? If the Cubs give them 17 million in 2014 the luxury tax hit is 0 and the actual payroll hit is only 1.

  16. Shame Spencer January 25th, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    MatthewMark – Yes. To all of it. Yes.

  17. yankeefeminista January 25th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I would not trade any elite prospect for Sori, and yes, I am including Betances in that group.

    Austinmac, I know from whence you speak. I played all the “boys” sports including football until I was no longer allowed to. I could outrun all the boys at the time I was forced to “retire.” But I became a fierce field hockey player. Not to many places to play as you get older…

    QFT, Pruf. As for needing to play to be a GM, not at all necessary. Interestingly, I think too that a lot of the saber geeks were non-athletic, and therefore, felt going the math route to analyze baseball/have input leveled the playing field for them. Although I don’t want to stereotype too much. I have an eclectic approach to analyzing baseball myself. :)

    Shame, yeah, I really really really loved played hardball and did not like the transition to softball. I didn’t even bother to play in high school.

    I support the team even though I have no faith in the management. And still organize my life around the Yankees. What does that say about me?

  18. RadioKev January 25th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I dunno. I just enjoy the process that is baseball. Of course, following a winning team with a not-totally-incompetent front office helps.

    Would I boycott the team? You know, I would tell Red Sox fans to find another team after some of this stuff has been revealed in Francona’s book. The owners clearly showed no respect to Francona, the players, or their fans.

    If you could bring that damning evidence to my eyes, I’d consider following another team for a bit.

  19. Rich in NJ January 25th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    “What? Why? If the Cubs give them 17 million in 2014 the luxury tax hit is 0 and the actual payroll hit is only 1.”

    Oh, I misread. Sorry.

  20. RadioKev January 25th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    The arbitration streak continues http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....um=twitter

  21. Yankee Trader January 25th, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I’m a lifelong Yankee fan, win or lose. I’d like to be excited about our 2013 team and would be eager for the baseball season to start, but for many reasons, I’m not.

    Yes the team is already spending over 200 million, and counting, on the opening day payroll, but where is the exciting player added to the 25 man roster this offseason?

    Anyway, I have to go, so everyone have a great day.

    Until later.

  22. J. Alfred Prufrock January 25th, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Chad,

    I have been back reading.

    If you’re mentioning 2B of the future, where is Anderson Feliz?

    He’s the most “Cano like” prospective Yankee 2B in our system; the tooliest and the one with the highest upside, IMO. He oozes natural ability, like Cano (no – he’s not going to be as good as Cano), and has that effortlessness to all he does.

    He’s also a switch hitter and the nascent power is potentially there.

    Feliz just needs to be healthy next year, and he’ll be on the lips and minds of Yankee fans and writers.

    Up until this point, he’s rarely mentioned, yet I like him even better than Gumbs.

  23. Yankee Trader January 25th, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    New Post——–>

  24. J. Alfred Prufrock January 25th, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    yankeefeminista January 25th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I would not trade any elite prospect for Sori, and yes, I am including Betances in that group.

    ///

    His ranking has fallen, but who cares. He still have elite stuff.

  25. yankeefeminista January 25th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Pruf, yep. We still believe in Dealin’, even if no one else does!

  26. yankeefeminista January 25th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    DRob’s CB thissa way :arrow:

  27. Unnamedsource January 25th, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    The Minor League Free Agent Tracker at Baseball America is reporting that the Yankees have re-signed Walter Ibarra. And Matt Eddy at Baseball America is reporting that the Yankees have re-signed pitcher Kelvin Castro. Pardon me if someone has already pointed out these signings here. I didn’t read every last comment in every thread.

    And, as I pointed out here a couple of days ago, MLBAM, on the RailRiders “official” roster, continues to list Ryan Baker as a pitcher. I would appreciate it if someone close to the Yankee minor league braintrust or close to Ryan Baker could explain whether the organization really does envision Ryan Baker converting to pitching or whether the report is merely a mistake by MLBAM. Some of us are sincerely interested, but don’t have the access that would satisfy our inquiring minds. Thank you.

  28. trisha - true pinstriped blue January 25th, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Chad, excellent lead-in, excellent questions. And of course, you’ll get different responses from different people, all Yankee fans. I tend to go more in your direction (“What I don’t understand is the lack of a big picture acknowledgement that spending $189 million and getting to the ALCS is really, really good.”) while at the same time understanding rich’s comment: “…When the owner says they have to win the WS every single year, what do you expect most fans to think about the team’s relative success?”

    I also think that success has spoiled a lot of Yankee fans and brought along with it their expectations that is should always be the same way. It seems though that a lot of those fans have differing opinions about how to go about getting that success – who thinks the Yankees should be going after the Tim Lincecums of the sport, who thinks that we have enough pitching right within our own organization and should be going after whatever bats are out there, who thinks we should be doing it all.

    I agree with Cashman’s sentiment (or whoever in the organization or on the team said it) that fans don’t realize how difficult it is for a team to make it to the postseason year after year after year, let alone win it all. And yet the Yankees continue to do it.

    I think we don’t check our personalities at the cyberdoor when we talk about our feelings as fans. Some of it has to be a direct reflection on who we are and the way we view things in general. I know it is for me. I’m pleased as punch to root for the Yankees, win, lose, or draw (key G. Love and his less-then-genial nature toward my genial nature toward the Yankees!) I know there are others out there who feel the same. We’re just not as vocal, of course, as those who don’t quite see it that way.

  29. Out Pitch January 25th, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I am a fair weather fan, not a fanatic. It’s entertainment, not life or death. It ceases to be much fun to watch if the team isn’t highly competitive.

    I don’t read all the comments on this blog (perhaps this has been discussed?) but I would like to know what % of the Yankees revenue goes to salary compared to other teams.

    This fan is dismayed that the Yanks prime objective is no longer to win the World Series.

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