Hal Steinbrenner says social media convinced him to rebuild

Associated Press

The Yankees, after a long time spent trying to squeeze out an extra year from this or that expensive veteran, finally pulled the trigger on a rebuild this summer, trading off Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, releasing Alex Rodriguez, turning Brian McCann into a DH, watching Mark Teixiera make his retirement announcement and playing the kids like crazy.

It was a long time coming. A move that Brian Cashman had reportedly been itching to do for a long time, but about which senior management and ownership was wary. There are tens of millions — hundreds of millions — of dollars at stake with nearly every move the Yankees make, so such decisions are not to be made lightly.

Rather, they’re to be made by the prodding of complainy jerks on Twitter:

Steinbrenner said watching fan reaction on social media and seeing how many sponsors wanted to meet young first baseman Greg Bird during spring training were a sign the team’s fan base was ready for a rebuild.

I kid about the complainy jerks part. Yankees fans, especially the savvy ones, had been calling for such moves for a long time and it’s good that ownership was actually responsive to fan sentiment. Such sentiment can be fickle and silly at times — Joe Girardi could part the Red Sea and cure cancer and a certain segment of Yankees fan would whine about how he went about doing it — but a business owner listening to the customers is pretty smart. With the Yankees it’s pretty rare.