[WSJ]: These Are Not Your Father’s Yankees

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Os Trigonum, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Contributing Member

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    figured this deserves its own thread

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/not-your-fathers-yankees-1507822660

    These Are Not Your Father’s Yankees
    The league’s stodgiest franchise embraces fun as part of its improbable run for the World Series

    [​IMG]
    Aaron Judge gives a thumbs down sign during the ALDS. Photo: szenes/epa-efe/rex/shutterstock/EPA/Shutterstock

    By
    Jared Diamond
    Updated Oct. 12, 2017 11:40 a.m. ET
    2 COMMENTS

    Cleveland

    The New York Yankees’ dramatic upset over the Cleveland Indians didn’t just extend their season and vault them into an American League Championship Series showdown with the Houston Astros. It all but ensured another episode of the city’s hottest new talk show, “The Toe Night Show.”

    The dugout skit has become a late-season phenomenon when the Yankees hit a home run in the Bronx. Utility infielder Ronald Torreyes, the program’s creator, producer and director, grabs a box doctored to resemble a television camera. Somebody else, often second baseman Starlin Castro or shortstop Didi Gregorius, pulls out a makeshift microphone fitted with a custom flag bearing “The Toe Night Show” name. A third player uses baseball gloves as “boom mics” to conduct an “interview” with their slugging teammate when he returns to the bench.

    The celebration routine, which Torreyes started spontaneously at the end of September, is an absurd bit of comedy. It is silly. It is, in other words, the exact opposite of everything the Yankees usually represent.

    But these Yankees aren’t George Steinbrenner’s Yankees anymore. They aren’t even Derek Jeter’s Yankees, his influence fading three years after his retirement. Suddenly, an organization famous for beating individualism out of its players in the name of professionalism has adopted a surprising and fresh image for the new generation: It has embraced fun.

    “It’s a different time for baseball, a different style,” said Austin Romine, a catcher drafted by the Yankees in 2007. “The game’s changing, and we’ve got to change with it.”

    [​IMG]
    Starlin Castro celebrates a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays by granting an 'interview' to teammates Didi Gregorius, left, Ronald Torreyes, center, and Luis Severino. Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
    Infused with an exciting crop of young talent, the Yankees have surprised the baseball world by pushing deep into the postseason ahead of schedule. Against the Indians, they rebounded from a two-games-to-none deficit to win three straight, powered in Game 5 by two Gregorius homers and a brilliant performance by their bullpen.

    Winning is nothing new to the Yankees, who now sit eight victories away from their 28th World Series championship. Historically, “fun” hasn’t been part of that package. They might have been more accurately described as “boring,” “stuck-up” or “elitist. Their approach—an attitude often perceived as arrogance—had alienated some casual viewers, especially as the team failed to reach the postseason in three of the past four years.

    Moments of levity like “The Toe Night Show” have injected frivolity into a clubhouse not exactly known for its antics.

    Last month, a bearded, bespectacled, suspenders-wearing Mets fan went viral when he was caught giving the “thumbs-down” sign to express his displeasure at a Yankees homer. The Yankees quickly brought the meme to life, turning the thumbs down into a rallying cry by flashing it after big hits. They even posed for a picture, which spread quickly across the internet, wearing matching thumbs-down T-shirts.

    “You can’t always be so straight-edge,” relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle said. “It’s good to have a little fun.”

    Such stunts aren’t unique in baseball. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, for instance, has brought exotic animals into the locker room and hosted pajama parties on flights to cultivate a loose, easygoing environment. The sport has worked hard to fight its stodgy reputation in an effort to attract younger fans.

    Until now, however, the Yankees had been a holdover to the old traditions, clinging to the idea that the only fun to be had on a baseball field stemmed from winning. The rest, it seemed, was beneath them—no surprise, considering Steinbrenner, their late owner, once said, “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing.”

    That mantra later defined Jeter’s tenure, when the Yankees won a lot but, taking a cue from their captain, were often devoid of personality. Kahnle, a Yankees draft pick in 2010, called the organization’s atmosphere “businesslike.”

    That will never disappear. The Yankees still don’t wear names on the back of their uniforms and don’t allow most facial hair, a policy that has become symbolic of their corporate nature. But a shift has undoubtedly occurred.

    “I love the fact that they show their emotions,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said early Thursday morning at Progressive Field, while the players sprayed Champagne in the clubhouse. “I think it’s great for baseball. Not just our team, but throughout the game it’s great when they demonstrate their joy of playing the game.”

    The Yankees cite their youth movement as the catalyst. It’s led by Aaron Judge, a rookie who swatted 52 homers in the regular season, and All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez. Judge’s breakout inspired the “Judge’s Chambers” at Yankee Stadium, a section of seats in right field with faux-wood paneling to look like a jury box, another fun touch uncharacteristic to the Yankees.

    Just as important, the veterans, such as pitcher CC Sabathia and outfielder Brett Gardner, have not only allowed the new way, but welcomed it with enthusiasm.

    “We’ve got a lot of young guys on the team, which keeps us older guys feeling fresh,” Gardner said.

    Even Joe Girardi, the square-jawed, crew-cut Yankees manager who has a degree in engineering from Northwestern, has gotten on board—or at least begrudgingly accepted reality. Girardi, an old-school throwback, played for the Yankees from the 1996 through 1999 and acts like it.

    Nonetheless, Girardi has learned to appreciate this version of the Yankees, thanks in part to his teenage son, who particularly likes Castro’s fashion sense.

    “We’re living in an age where youth does that, where before it didn’t necessarily happen here,” Girardi said. “I kind of like it. It shows the youthfulness of this team, and sometimes you get to laugh about it.”

    Whatever the Yankees are doing, it’s clearly working. Despite initially couching 2017 as a rebuilding year, they exceeded expectations by winning 91 games and earning a wild-card spot. The magical ride continued Wednesday, when they stunned the top-seeded Indians to complete their improbable comeback in the division series.

    Next, the Yankees head to Houston for Friday’s ALCS Game 1 against the Astros, another team that finished with more than 100 regular-season wins. Time will tell whether they’ll prevail—but they’ll certainly enjoy themselves.

    “It’s loose, it’s fun, it’s really different than it has been in the past couple years,” Romine said. “But I think it’s a good different.”

    Write to Jared Diamond at jared.diamond@wsj.com
     
  2. Pen15clubber

    Pen15clubber Member

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    Is this where we continue the obligatory shade throwing?
     
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  3. Mathrocker

    Mathrocker Member

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    LMAO

    os is low key a troll right now.

    Honestly, i dig it

    Keeps the astros forum exciting haha
     
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  4. donkeypunch

    donkeypunch Contributing Member

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    Os Trigonum likes this.
  5. Buck Turgidson

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    What groundbreaking news. Stros have been doing this for a few years now, the whole "fun" thing. Correa said the team MVP is their fog machine. Yeah, we have a ****ing fog machine, mother****er.

    So not only are the Yankees worse at baseball. They're worse at fun. **** the Yankees.
     
  6. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Contributing Member

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    Actually, shouldn't all these Astros ALCS threads be moved to the FANTASY sports forum? I'm serious
     
  7. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    **** stars. Will read again.
     
  8. Astrodome

    Astrodome Member

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    Springer's 2 thumbs up >>>>> Jankees thumbs down approach
     
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  9. Buck Turgidson

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    We're in the ALCS, so I don't know why. 1-0 versus NYY all-time in the postseason. I expect a fun series. **** the Yankees.
     
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  10. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    There is the fact that "your father's Yankees" was likely closer to, or winning, world series... moreso than these Yankees will.
     
    Killatron 2000 likes this.
  11. Mathrocker

    Mathrocker Member

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    Youre en fuego!!!! Keep at it!
     
  12. FLASH21

    FLASH21 Member

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    Cute.

    I hope we kick their pinstriped asses.
     
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  13. conquistador#11

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