The WWGD Narrative
There are plenty of things to love about New York. Wether it’s real pizza, salt bagels (or biali’s if that’s your style), The Met, Broadway or Bronx baseball, the city that never sleeps can fulfill every vice. Another area that there’s certainly no shortage of is media coverage, for better or for worse. This brings us to the sportswriters of NY and all of their lovely narratives. From the idea that the Yankees can’t hit good pitching or guys-they’ve-never-seen, to too many home runs and various wild observations about the third baseman that everyone loves to hate, our not so freindly neighborhood press box covers it all. Their conconctions aren’t pulled entirely out of thin air; in fact they have their toes dipped in the shallow end of the reality pool which draws just enough blood to attract the sharks. Enter my favorite NY media hustle which almost gaurantees a stir with the fanbase: WWGD or better known as “what would George do?”
This one is by far my favorite. Let’s be clear first; George Steinbrenner is one of my favorite Yankees. His penchant for winning and putting his own money up to do it was what brought our beloved franchise back from the CBS graveyard. He was a major proponent of free agency and did whatever he thought necessary to bring the title back to the Bronx. He was outspoken and ostentacious. He loved his team more than anyone, but let’s be fair; he didn’t always make rational and informed decisions. Alas, over the last couple of years the idea that “George would have fixed this” comes up every time something goes wrong. This my friends, is revisionist history at it’s finest. George’s knee-jerk reactions are hardly a way to build long term and the risidual effect of that might be shadowed onto outbidding yourself on a contract for a guy who just tried to walk away from your club. A move of desperation that was not all that unfamiliar. That’s exactly what George would have done, yet it gets swept under the rug so the narrative can be continued and articles written.
I’ll always be grateful to GWS for saving the team and bringing them back to glory, but it came at a price. The “World Series or bust” attitude is fine for the players…in fact I wouldn’t want it any other way, but as for us fans it’s created a half baked reality that leads to a lot of disappointment, vitriol and all out hatred torwards players and management when the season doesn’t end in a parade. The dynasty of the 90′s does nothing but add more fuel to the fire; any time an argument is made that the playoff structure makes it incredibly difficult to repeat over and over the dynasty is brought in to the fold. Let’s be real folks, what happened back then was incredible and while it’s a great goal to have to expect that to happen every decade is a recipe for a let down. Fans that have reached that level of expectation for each and every season are due for a reality check, and if you are under the impression that if George were here and how a new dynasty would be taking hold of New York, think about where he was when the last one was being molded.
The 2012 Yankees were one of the biggest offensive forces in baseball over the course of 162 games, yet they went cold at the worst possible time. New narratives are being born as I type this aricle and will certainly be the focus of the hot stove season. I really can’t tell you why they sputtered or how (and better yet, if it’s even possible) to go about finding players that are sure fire performers in October. One thing I will bet on is that there will be plenty thrown about this winter, and my money says the ideas that get tossed around the shallow end of the pool will be based more on feeding off the emotions of the fanbase more than ideas born of rational thinkers.