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Some Have Forgotten


Numerous Yankee fans were a bit 'put-off', or at the very least not pleased, by their team's actions at the recently passed July 31st trading deadline. For the first time in a generation, 1989 to be exact, when "Ricky in the third person" Henderson was traded by the Yankees back to the Oakland A's, the Yankees were sellers at the trading deadline.  

   This put quite a few Yankees fans in a funk. Some are considered to be out of sorts to a degree.

   Cries of "This isn't the Yankee way!", "George must be rolling over in his grave.", "How can we be sellers? We're the Yankees after all!", were heard across local sports talk radio. It is hoped it was emotion that got the better of one particularly erudite Yankee fan who said, "We should have signed a free agent instead of trading Andy Miller." 

   Huh? That one belongs in the Leslie Nielson 'We're heading for the sun. What is it? It's a big ball of fire, but don't worry about that right now' stratosphere.      

   Regardless of where such thoughts emanated, or why they weren't checked at the door before making their way out of the mouth, it appears as if many a Yankee fan has forgotten how the dynastic Yankees of the late 1990's and early 2000's were built. Not to mention one of the main reasons they have marched up the Canyon of Heroes only once since beating the Mets in the 2000 Subway Series.

   Sure, there were a couple of free agents on the aforementioned championship Yankee clubs. But the core was made up of home grown talent, complimented by a few shrewd trades. Tino Martinez and Wade Boggs were the biggest names acquired via free agency. Other valuable contributors, such as Paul O'Neill and David Cone, were brought onboard via trades and stayed by re-signing contracts that were fair to both parties.

   The 1995 Yankees were floundering in a similar way to the current Yankees. At the time management went out and virtually stole Coney at the trading deadline. Ok, check the box for the "we should always be buyers" crowd on that one.

   What many have forgotten though is they were buyers in 1995 because the rest of the team (Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte) was young, with additional soon to be household names knocking on the door (Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera). The 2016 pre-trading deadline Yankees resembled the aging 1965 Yankees more than the up and coming 1995 Yankees.

   It has been said that success breeds complacency. There isn't a Yankees fan twenty-five years old or younger who has experienced prolonged losing. The losses in the 2001 World Series and the 2004 ALCS were, to put it mildly, tough to take. Due to the nature of the defeats it is small consolation indeed, but at least they made it to Game Seven in each of those tilts.

   Through no fault of their own this youngest generation of Yankee fans knows nothing except winning. In addition, many of those who suffered through the late 60's and late 80's have become so used to success they can't contemplate even one losing season. These three groups of fans have become spoiled by the last twenty-plus years of winning baseball.

   Painful in the short term as it may be, the Yankees did the right thing at this year's trading deadline. By trading their three best players they were able to re-stock a farm system that has produced only one everyday all-star in the last fifteen years, Robinson Cano. And they let him go to Seattle instead of signing him to a ten-year contract at the age of thirty-one.

   Nobody has a crystal ball. There is no guarantee the prospects who were just acquired will turn the Yankees into as good a team as the Jeter/Rivera/Pettitte Yankees. Yet, it's better than the current model of signing free agents in their early thirties to long term contracts.

  I like their chances and want to see the kids. 

  It was clearly the best way to go.

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