We won four out of the first five World Series. We got in six World
Series. Then all of a sudden the expectations became more than I could
deal with. What do I mean by that? I had a tough time telling my players
when we won a division title and got to the postseason that it wasn’t
good enough, that I was disappointed in them. I couldn’t do that because
I know how hard they worked. That’s where the contradiction was. We
know that expectations are always higher when you play for the Yankees,
but I couldn’t deliver the message if we didn’t win the World Series
that it was a disappointing year.
— Joe Torre, talking about his Yankees days with MLB.com.
I think that “we’re the Yankees and only championships are acceptable” stuff you hear all the time is largely P.R. these days. George Steinbrenner believed it when he ran the team, but — and I mean this in the most respectful way possible — George Steinbrenner is kind of a nut.
All professionals want to win, and the Yankees are no different than anyone else in this regard. But I seriously doubt that Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner believe that not winning the World Series is as mortal a sin as the Yankees’ hype-machine makes it out to be. They want to win, of course, they’re not happy when they lose, but like Joe Torre, they’re not going to tell their people that they were disappointed in them if they don’t win it all.
I think that whole “only championships are enough” business is something that the team found useful to perpetuate as the team was returning to glory in the 90s, and remains somewhat useful in that, no matter what happens with the Yankees, no one ever, ever questions the team’s motivations like so many other teams’ motivations are questioned.
But I bet, in an unguarded moment, Cashman and those guys would tell you that as an ethos, it’s kind of a pain to live up to for the very reasons Torre points out.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.