Fielding Ghost: Can We Take the Yankees off a Pedastal?

While the season is still young, the New York Yankees are currently leading the AL East by 5.5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays. The legendary club is currently the best team in baseball with a squad that looks like it can live up to its promises. Aaron Judge has come out on fire through the first 35 games, and the bullpen has several legitimate starters ready to bring the heat.

The boys in pinstripes have obviously started off hot, but what does that mean for the ball club’s legacy? Are the Yankees still worthy of the superhero-like worship they once enjoyed, or are fans merely chasing memories? The Yankees haven’t taken the mound for a World Series appearance in 13 years. Do the ghosts of Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Derek Jeter still hold any sway, or is nostalgia the Yankees’ greatest export?

The Yankees have missed the playoffs 3 times in the past 10 seasons with 3 appearances (and subsequent losses) in the AL Championship Series. While this is disappointing for teams that see anything less than a championship as a failure, the Yankees are one of the better organizations in the MLB.

Yankee fans often grew up with stories of hallowed players. If there is a comparison for the Yankees as an organization, they are akin to what the New England Patriots might become in a few decades: a franchise that was used to continued dominance despite the parity that is typically baked into a professional sports league. The Yankees could do far worse and be seen as the Dallas Cowboys of the MLB: a team that discovered mass media marketing before anyone else and has little success to show in recent memory. New York is seeing a return to earth after being raised on what was likely an idyllic narrative of its early 20th century performance.

There is no magic in the pinstripes. The “NY” emblazoned on a player’s cap is not enough to conjure up a home run or summon a strikeout, and fans have to accept the fact that it is not the 1950s anymore. Fortunately, the fans are the club’s greatest asset, as their undying expectation of excellence should always spur the team to be one of the premier organizations in the MLB.

Babe Ruth is not riding over the hill to save the day. Luckily, the Yankees have Aaron Judge now: a man who bleeds red like anyone else but we often forget about sporting legends of the past. Success will always be difficult to achieve and even harder to maintain. The New York Yankees are not (if they ever were) some divinely blessed franchise. History has a way of both deifying and demonizing individuals and organizations.

While the Yankees are off to a hot start, fans should remember that stories don’t score runs. The magic is in the man in the arena: in the crack of the bat and the cloud of dust in the batter’s box. It’s hard not to get romantic about baseball, but we should keep that alive for those who are still around to enjoy it. Telling stories of history’s sporting giants should always be a beloved craft, but fans shouldn’t let that detract from enjoying the legends that are being formed today.

Author

  • Sean Quinn

    Sean grew up playing hockey amongst a family of diehard Philadelphia fans. Raised on stories of Bobby Clarke and the Broad Street Bullies while watching Brian Dawkins run wild on the field only encouraged this passion.

2 thoughts on “Fielding Ghost: Can We Take the Yankees off a Pedastal?

  1. Great article once again. This writer has a good sports eye and you can see he has all his facts in the right place! Good job!

  2. Who, other than Yankee fans, have the Bronx Bombers on a pedestal? Even those fools in New York who are Mets fans don’t worship the Yanks. So TV? The Yankees are a big draw and generate ratings even in the midst of a 13 year World Series drought. Also, the reason they are on a pedestal, if such a thing exists, is because of the long, sustained success they’ve had, the decades of the 1980s and 2020s notwithstanding. No other franchise has come close to that.

    One other note, last I checked Derek Jeter is still alive so to refer to the “ghost of …Derek Jeter” is a bit creepy.

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