Sunday, October 24, 2004

al-Yankzeera does it again

In this town full of pro-Yankee media, it's refreshing to see someone who tells it like it is. NY Daily News media pundit Bob Raissman has ripped the biased Yankee-loving broadcasters for years, and was right on the money in his Friday column. I liked his piece so much I've decided to put it up on here.

"Anyone surprised that the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network was the place to be if you were looking for some spin on the biggest gag job in baseball's postseason history?
It happened at the bitter end of what, up to that point, had been a fine and informative Game 7 postgame show.
As he wrapped things up, Michael Kay said the Yankees had had a "great season," but acknowledged it hadn't ended the way they would have liked it to. He pointed out that the Bombers had won 101 games while also setting "attendance records" at the Stadium. Kay said that "superstars up and down the lineup" had provided excitement in 61 come-from-behind victories.
"Again, they fell short, but have nothing, nothing to be embarrassed about. It didn't end the way they wanted it to end. And the Red Sox made history tonight as they go to the World Series," Kay said. "But the Yankees certainly don't have anything to hang their heads about when you look at the entire season as a whole."
It would be too easy just calling this a typical Al Yankzeera moment. It was pure fantasy.
Even Kay's primary benefactor - George Steinbrenner - wouldn't buy this jive.
Would anyone be shocked if, behind closed doors, Steinbrenner himself is embarrassed by the Yankees' performance? Does anyone actually believe Steinbrenner or Joe Torre is finding any solace in the Yankees' regular-season performance?
How many times have you heard Kay say the Yankees are "built for October." The regular season? Regular season come-from-behind victories? Attendance records? When October comes and goes, those subjects are rarely discussed in Yankeeland.
The Yankeecentric, and all other interested parties, know Steinbrenner's blueprint begins and ends with winning the World Series. How many times have you heard that line?
It's no darn secret.
The Yankees are unlike any team in baseball. Other clubs are satisfied with just making it to the postseason. So if they lose, no matter how it goes down, there is still a feeling of satisfaction. When a team in rebuilding mode contends for the playoffs, and just misses, its regular season might mean something.
These notions are so foreign to the Yankees they don't even exist. The Boss sets the bar high. Did Steinbrenner throw crazy money at Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez to finish in first place during "the regular season?" Did Steinbrenner throw millions at them so that they could be key components of Operation Choke?
For Kay to say the Yankees have nothing to "hang their heads about" when "you look at the season as a whole" contradicts every statement he has ever made about the "Yankee way."
The 2004 regular season already is a distant memory. Is anyone going to remember - or care - about the Yankees finishing first when that achievement is compared with the memory of becoming the first and only team in baseball history to blow a 3-0 playoff series lead? The Red Sox factor makes this a double whammy.
And the statement about the Yankees having "nothing, nothing" to be "embarrassed about" strongly suggests Kay is taking on ostrich-like qualities.
Only someone with his head in the sand - or looking to play Dr. Feelgood for heartbroken Yankee fans - would not realize the Bombers have everything to be embarrassed about. This is an eternal embarrassment for everyone in the organization - especially the players.
In the future, when people reminisce about all those Yankee World Series titles and pennants, they also will bring up the year the Bombers blew it like no other team ever has. That's what usually happens when a dubious achievement is authored.
Nobody knows this better than Steinbrenner. In this respect, he is a realist. This isn't a man inclined to let someone blow smoke up his gasket. After all these years of owning the town, moving easily among moguls, politicians, celebrities and everyday working stiffs, Steinbrenner knows when the praise is real and when it's false.
False praise. Or Kay attempting to say it ain't so bad. In Steinbrenner's world, it's the same as someone telling you "keep your chin up" or "wait till next year."
Those are the only lines the Yankees are left holding.
And it is embarrassing.

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