Pride. Power. Pinheads.
It was January when Yankees president Randy Levine took to the media to criticize Yankees All-Star reliever Dellin Betances after arbitration hearings.
The Yankees apparently didn’t learn — after the media ring of fire that surrounded Levine for his comments — that it was a bad thing to criticize your players openly, considering they’re back at it. This time the target is incredibly unfortunate and oft-injured first baseman Greg Bird.
“You really have to wonder what’s with this guy (Bird),” a Yankees insider told Bill Madden via the New York Daily News. “You’d think with (Aaron) Judge and (Gary) Sanchez, the guys he came up through the system with, doing so well up here he’d want to be a part of this. Apparently not.”
*Removes glasses, rubs eyes, lets out deep sigh*
Sure, anonymous Yankees “insider.”
Greg Bird, a guy who has devoted his entire life to playing baseball, who had a pretty big debut filling in for Mark Teixeira in 2015, who lost a year of his career to a shoulder injury and then raked this spring training before falling prey to another untimely, unforunate injury, wants nothing to do with the youth movement, this baseball renaissance in New York.
A guy who is on pretty much every video board promo in the Bronx during every home game, despite playing in just 19 games this year, wants nothing to do with playing for one of the most storied, decorated franchises in the history of professional sports.
So, sure. Let’s openly criticize that guy, who admittedly played through pain this year so he could be on the field, and who could possibly lose another year of his career because of the injuries.
This isn’t a new thing for the 2017 Yankees.
Let’s not forget how often we’ve heard how stud prospect Clint Frazier needs to be a better teammate, even being told as much before his debut with the big league club this year. And let’s not forget his lucious, flowing mane of tomato-red hair, and how that was a distraction this year.
Seriously. How often do you hear about a guy’s hair being a distraction? And then being open to the media about it?
I mean, sure. These are the New York Yankees we’re talking about. They ooze tradition. Nothing says that like forcing a kid to cut his hair, or not being able to wear white cleats, or any other asinine, ridiculous rules they have in place.
Let’s not be too out there. At the end of the day, a player will almost always sign with whoever offers him the most cash. But what free agent will look at the Yankees, see the way they operate so openly and somewhat viciously, and say, “That’s where I want to be”?
Overall, it’s a bad look. If the Yankees want to embrace this youth movement fully — and engage a new generation of fans to not only love the team, but the sport — then maybe someone needs to hand out muzzles in the front office.
It’s just bitter. It’s ignorant. It’s ridiculous.
And in 2017, it sure looks like the Yankee Way.