Orlando Cabrera is John Galt

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Orlando Cabrera doesn’t much care for playing third base. But according to Paul Hoynes, Cabrera has a way of dealing with the challenges facing him at the hot corner:

The Tribe’s Orlando Cabrera prepared for his second-ever start at third base Wednesday night by reading “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand.

“This is my bible,” Cabrera said. “It’s over 1,000 pages long.”

Cabrera’s copy of Rand’s 1957 novel is worn. The spine of the book is taped over to help hold it together. Cabrera said he reads it every year.

“The book is about objectivism. It’s about many things,” Cabrera said. “It’s about how to be successful in life. It’s about how to live life now while you’re still alive.”

Hey, whatever floats his boat. And I have no problem with people who take some of their cues in life from Rand’s writings. Though I am not a libertarian or an objectivist by any stretch of the imagination, most philosophies have at least some valuable insights into the human condition, Rand’s included.

But I gotta tell ya, I’ve never been too impressed by people who go in for that stuff whole hog, think of “Atlas Shrugged” as “their bible” and otherwise consider themselves hard core objectivists. I haven’t the space for it here, and I doubt you all have the stomach to hear me go on, but let’s put it this way: anyone who thinks that they are right simply because of the nature of their being — as do the heroes of Rand’s books and, based on many accounts, Rand herself — is not the sort of person who can teach me much or whose example I feel the need to follow.

People need to have their views and feelings questioned a hell of a lot more than they are and need to have their predispositions bolstered a hell of a lot less if they are to learn anything. Rand is like a gigantic circle jerk for people who already believe everything Rand has to say in the first place. And if you don’t believe me, try to get someone who thinks of “Atlas Shrugged” as “their bible” to tell you about the flaws or weak points of objectivism.  They’ll look at you like you’re from outer space.

All of that said, I think it’s pretty cool that Orlando Cabrera has an interest in philosophical thought, even if it ain’t my cup of tea.  Baseball is more fun with more thinkers.

The day Giancarlo Stanton became a “True Yankee”

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Personally, I would’ve assumed that the day Giancarlo Stanton became a “True Yankee” was when the Yankees traded for him, thereby willingly incurring a legal obligation to pay him hundreds of millions of dollars and pencil him in the lineup until his knees fell off and, probably, for some time after. That, however, is not how things go with the New York Yankees.

The Yankees can trade for you, but that does not make you a “True Yankee.” They can sign you to a nine-figure deal in free agency, but your signature on the contract is not your “signature Yankee moment.” They can draft you, develop you for six years and play you for another three and you still may not have enough time and accomplishments under your belt to be anything other than, more or less, a probationary employee.

No, to be a “True Yankee” you have to be declared so by the media after doing something neat like hitting a big home run like Stanton did last night to lead the Yankees to victory over the Mariners. Until then — until you become the hero of a Wednesday night game in June, I guess — you’re suspect. After that, well . . .

And:


And:

Seeing these headlines and the many other stories and tweets with references to Stanton’s newfound “True Yankee”-dom makes me wonder when, say, Jonathan Villar, became a “True Brewer” or when Daniel Descalso will deliver his “Signature Diamondback Moment.” I’m sure someone will tell us.

Haha, just kidding. No other team does that. Probably because no other team likes to stoke its own mystique like the Yankees do. They have always done this to some degree — and given the franchise’s success, they are allowed a bit more leeway to boast than other ones are — but I blame George Steinbrenner for taking this to silly levels.

Big Stein was the first owner to really take advantage of free agency, but that also made him the first owner to stigmatize the players he signed as somehow owing the team more than any other player for their having accepted a big paycheck. For having to prove themselves in ways other players didn’t. He famously did this with Dave Winfield, contrasting him poorly with Reggie Jackson, who had proven himself in ways that made Steinbrenner happy. He never really did this with homegrown Yankees players. It was like a parent being partial to their natural child and cold to the adopted one.

Steinbrenner also built up the level of expectations for Yankees players — all of them — beyond reason. I think it was in the late 90s that he started up with that “anything less than a World Series title is failure” jazz. I question whether that was motivational to highly-trained and already motivated baseball players, but it was certainly good for building the Yankees brand. The idea that you’re not a “True Yankee” — which I seem to first remember being a sticking point with Jason Giambi — is a logical extension of that. While it may not be the best way to run an organization it is, as a matter of brand-building, pretty effective to portray your team as having higher expectations and something of an initiation period for its players. It’s a way of making fans feel like the club and the players they root for are a level above everyone else.

Of course, George Steinbrenner was George Steinbrenner, and being sorta crazy and sorta unfair and working overtime to build the Yankees brand was what made him The Boss. It was literally his job to do that kind of thing, so let’s not be too hard on him. I get why he did it that way.

I do wonder why, however, the media tasked with covering the Yankees has so eagerly taken up the job of Yankees brand-building like that. Wherever Big Stein is today, he’s likely beyond caring about things like money, but I bet he’s still probably pretty happy with all of the free P.R. work his team continues to get, long after he shuffled off this planet and became an immortal Yankee.

Wait. I’ve gotta talk to a trademark lawyer, stat.