Yankees Off Season Thread

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T15D23
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Tue May 26, 2020 10:15 am

‘The COVID 15’: Yankees’ doctor makes dire prediction for MLB players returning to spring training
Mike Rosenstein

Image

If Major League Baseball owners and players can iron out their differences, spring training could resume as early as next month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And when the game does return, ballplayers will have their work cut out for them. So says Dr. Chris Ahmad, the New York Yankees’ team physician.

“The freshman 15 pounds, it’s now the COVID 15 pounds,” said Ahmad to the Boston Globe. “There’s something about being socially isolated that makes it harder to stay in shape, be in shape, and prepare.”

This isn’t Ahmad’s first warning about looming health concerns for MLB, which halted spring training and postponed Opening Day almost 11 weeks ago.

Earlier this month, Dr. Ahmad wrote on Medium.com that he often sees a spike in Tommy John injuries in the spring as players return to the mound after having months off citing “the sudden start of play, rapid competition intensity, lack of early season physical conditioning, lower preparation coming from offseason, not yet fully optimized throwing mechanics, and playing with elbow pain.”

The coronavirus pandemic may greatly compound and exaggerate the risk factors associated with the spring Tommy John surgery spike. The enthusiasm to get back to baseball right now is simply enormous. Players and their families have been understandably craving baseball for months at this point and are growing impatient. In addition, athletes are pressured to showcase their talent for a starting position or to provoke interest from college or professional scouts. That translates to maximum effort throwing. But the current conditioning of players is likely suboptimal as they have not been able to work out in a standard & diligent fashion during the lockdown. In addition, some players are still working on optimizing their throwing mechanics and were unable to correct flaws often observed in early spring. ... Even worse, some players will be returning from a prior elbow injury and will be vulnerable to re-injury. The compounding nature of COVID on all the springtime related risks above may well be enough to predict a spike in UCL injury and Tommy John surgery when baseball resumes.


The ethics of Tommy John surgery during the pandemic took center stage in March when New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard and Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale went under the knife to repair their UCLs at a time when the coronavirus was crushing first responders on the front lines. Ahmad is begging pitchers to take it slow so more players don’t need surgery:

“Going fast with a return to baseball is like tail-gaiting the car in front of you at high speed. ... The coronavirus pandemic may very well indirectly cause a spike in Tommy John surgery because of intense enthusiasm, lack of ideal conditioning, poor mechanics, faster than usual ramp up, and avoidance of symptom communication. Everyone who is involved in baseball and is willing to recognize this threat can improve these modifiable risks and help their players avoid Tommy John surgery.”
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Tue May 26, 2020 10:16 am

Yankees lucky they held on to J.A. Happ as pitching depth will be key to baseball’s restart post coronavirus
Kristie Ackert

J.A. Happ had months to let it fester. The veteran lefty’s pride was wounded at the end of 2019 when he was relegated to bullpen work. Then he had a winter’s worth of hearing his name mentioned in trade rumors. Happ used that frustration to drive him all winter, reworking his delivery and focusing on proving that the Yankees were right to hold on to him for the 2020 season.

An injury-filled spring training and 10 weeks into a coronavirus pandemic shut down and everyone who saw Happ pitch this spring is saying the Yankees were lucky — or smart — to still have Happ in their rotation.

As the league and union continue to try and find common ground to salvage a 2020 season, teams are thinking through the dynamics of what that would require.

“Pitching,” said one American League scout. “Lots of pitching to get through a shortened season with expanded playoffs. Having veteran pitchers is going to be a benefit for teams.”

Image

With the extra stress expected to get pitchers ready and with a condensed schedule, the Yankees will need all the arms they can have this spring. Prospects Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt and Michael King certainly could be depth for the Yankees, but Happ came into camp to prove he would be more than just another arm.

Without Domingo German, who has to serve 63 games of a domestic violence suspension when the season starts, after losing Luis Severino for the season, having expected to be without James Paxton for the first two months and seeing Happ’s reworked delivery this season, the Yankees certainly see the benefit to having held onto him.

In fact, Yankees vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring said that Happ was one of the best things he saw this spring.

“Threw the ball very well. I thought he picked up exactly where he left off the last six or seven weeks of the [2019] season,’’ Naehring said in an interview with the YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits. “He came in [with] a very great effort, laser focus and crisp stuff that I thought was great to see.’’

Happ went from being on the trading block to being the Yankees’ No. 3 starter before spring training. In four Grapefruit League starts, Happ pitched to a 1.38 ERA with 16 strikeouts and only one walk over 13 innings.

Happ, whose offseason home is in the Tampa Bay area, spent the winter working at the Yankees’ minor league complex. He utilized the high-speed cameras to drill into what went wrong last season — the worst of his career.

“I am able to use my legs a little better, my hips a little bit better,’’ Happ said of getting his delivery better in line.

Happ was stung by baseballs that were more lively in 2019 than any previous year. Happ pitched to a 4.91 ERA in 30 starts and one appearance out of the bullpen. He struck out 140.

Happ allowed a career-high 34 home runs in 161.1 innings pitched, and across baseball hitters crushed a record-busting 6,776 homers.

MLB issued a 27-page report that admitted that “inconsistent seam heights,” on the balls contributed to the offensive explosion in 2019.

But Happ was also hurt by the fact that he lost velocity on his fastball and his command was just off a little bit, according to an AL scout.

“He didn’t have a lot of room for error, the velo was down and he needed to be very fine on his location, he wasn’t,” the scout said. “With the juiced ball it made for a nightmare season for him.”

Happ gave himself a little more wiggle room by improving his changeup last winter to go along with his slider and his fastball that has a little more life on in it.

But perhaps the best thing the Yankees saw from Happ this spring was him figuring out how to approach the 2020 season — without knowing how MLB would affect the baseball. Manager Aaron Boone was praising Happ’s approach this spring, his “pitch mix.”

In addition to Happ’s improved mechanics, "I feel like his pitch mix [has] tightened up,'' Boone said. "Stuff-wise, delivery-wise and everything, he is in a good spot.''

While the Yankees may have listened to offers on Happ this winter, a scout who has watched him throughout his career felt he would find his way back. He pointed to the fact that Happ pitched to a 1.65 ERA in his last three starts.

“He’s always been a smart pitcher,” the scout said. “He still has good stuff, he was going to figure it out. He was going to figure out how to get outs.”
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Tue May 26, 2020 10:19 am

Yankees’ Aaron Judge isn’t a top-3 right fielder according to MLB insider
Mike Rosenstein

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When Major League Baseball resumes amid the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Yankees hope to have Aaron Judge in right field.

The slugger is recovering from a broken rib he suffered in September.

When Judge returns to the lineup, he has some work to do in the eyes of The Athletic’s Jim Bowden, who ranked the 28-year-old as the fourth-best right fielder in baseball. Here’s why:

Judge’s career, so far, has been a roller coaster ride. He made his major-league debut back in 2016 and it was a disaster, as he hit just .179 with 4 home runs in 95 plate appearances. It was a small sample size, but it certainly had the Yankee brass concerned. He washed all those worries away the next year, when he slashed .284/.422/.627 while leading the league in runs with 128, home runs with 52 and walks with 127 while driving in 114 runs. He was rewarded by winning the AL Rookie of the Year and a Silver Slugger award while attending his first All-Star Game and finishing second in AL MVP voting. His 2018 season got off to a great start as well, but injuries limited him to 112 games. He still managed to get on base at a .392 clip with 27 home runs in 498 plate appearances, and made the All-Star team for the second consecutive year. Last year, it was more of the same: injuries limited him to just 102 games, but like the prior year, he still managed to hit 27 home runs and get on base at a .381 rate over 447 plate appearances. If this season had started on time, he would not have been ready due to a rib injury. In fact, the Yankees weren’t expecting him to be game-ready until summer. The delayed season means that there is a chance that Judge could be good to go if and when the season gets started. According to medical reports, the rib is healing and he’s making progress. Judge has the legitimate light-tower power, incredible opposite-field power that allows him to take advantage of the short porch in Yankee Stadium, tremendous patience at the plate and elite defense in right field, as shown by his incredible 20 defensive runs saved and 12.7 UZR. He is a true leader on and off the field and should be the face of the Yankees for years to come. He just needs to stay healthy — and if he does, expect him to be among the league leaders in homers, walks, on-base percentage and DRS for a while.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby davis2 » Tue May 26, 2020 10:19 pm

T15D23 wrote:
davis2 wrote:
T15D23 wrote:
OK, then explain to me how $1M in TV revenue is supposed to cover $1.5++++M in daily salary?

We know the TV income because the companies that pay it are publicly traded.

So, where do you think this other income is coming from if there is no gate receipts?

These are exceptional, insane times, especially how we are handling this nonsense, but the one constant is money in, money out.

Yankees stand to lose over $41M for 82 games without income from the gate, etc.

I don't see either side as the adversary, other than the union looking to not set a precedent, even though this is not normal times.

All I know, is that the damage that can be done to this sport ala 1994, is a definite possibility.
Shit, the league has to open the books. I don't trust them to be honest.


D, maybe it is just me. But what books exactly? If there is no revenue generated from fans to come see a game, what are you looking for?

TV Deals?
Radio deals?
In park ads?
Licensing of the teams name & likeness?

None of the above can cover salary of the team plus staff plus administrative, etc.

For 2020, the teams have made nothing, in fact I would guess they are all at losses as they pay the players during spring training which when they play live ST games, the gate is a fraction of a fraction.

So, like I said, maybe it is me, but what do you think the teams are hiding?
It's pretty simple. If you are saying you cannot pay salaries you have agreed to pay, you must prove why you can't. If You are asking someone to assume greater risk for less money, reasonable people back up a request with actual facts and figures. You cannot possibly know what their deals are unless you are an owner yourself. Business people assume others must swallow the bullshit they spout at face value. I won't. I'm not suggesting all contracted players see the books, but enough of the MLBPA negotiating team that can make fair negotiations based on reality. I think ownership is full of shit.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Tue May 26, 2020 11:57 pm

davis2 wrote:
T15D23 wrote:
davis2 wrote: Shit, the league has to open the books. I don't trust them to be honest.


D, maybe it is just me. But what books exactly? If there is no revenue generated from fans to come see a game, what are you looking for?

TV Deals?
Radio deals?
In park ads?
Licensing of the teams name & likeness?

None of the above can cover salary of the team plus staff plus administrative, etc.

For 2020, the teams have made nothing, in fact I would guess they are all at losses as they pay the players during spring training which when they play live ST games, the gate is a fraction of a fraction.

So, like I said, maybe it is me, but what do you think the teams are hiding?
It's pretty simple. If you are saying you cannot pay salaries you have agreed to pay, you must prove why you can't. If You are asking someone to assume greater risk for less money, reasonable people back up a request with actual facts and figures. You cannot possibly know what their deals are unless you are an owner yourself. Business people assume others must swallow the bullshit they spout at face value. I won't. I'm not suggesting all contracted players see the books, but enough of the MLBPA negotiating team that can make fair negotiations based on reality. I think ownership is full of shit.


You are right it is simple.

Back in March, the union signed a deal, clearly if there are no games played the owners do not have to pay, guessing that is in the agreement. Owners paid out $170M representing 3% of salaries. Upon that agreement, it was stated that if fans were not allowed at games, payouts would have to be renegotiated.

Well we are at that point, early on the owners offered a 50/50 split to get through this season, but the union said no.

There are no books to look at as whatever is in those books have zero to do with the players. If the organization cannot make money there can be no payouts.

This is not an act of the owners or players but the States mandating everything be shuttered. Would also guess that in theses contracts acts of God or War or whatever suspends these contracts.

As for business people, it is the lack of understanding how business functions that draws these insane conclusions. Seeing it all day today on twitter.

Ownership is not full of shit. The math is not there in the favor of the players. End of story.

Someone on Twitter said "National TV rights pays out $1.7 Billion" OK, lets say that is correct. Firstly you have to halve that number going forward because TV has not been getting product, so that is $850 million. Well, now lets take the top 10 teams prorated salaries going forward, that amounts to $891M. So the TV can't even cover 10 of the 30 teams.

But ownership is full of shit.

I'll ask again, where is the money for this season coming from to pay these players with no fans?
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby davis2 » Thu May 28, 2020 10:31 pm

T15D23 wrote:
davis2 wrote:
T15D23 wrote:
D, maybe it is just me. But what books exactly? If there is no revenue generated from fans to come see a game, what are you looking for?

TV Deals?
Radio deals?
In park ads?
Licensing of the teams name & likeness?

None of the above can cover salary of the team plus staff plus administrative, etc.

For 2020, the teams have made nothing, in fact I would guess they are all at losses as they pay the players during spring training which when they play live ST games, the gate is a fraction of a fraction.

So, like I said, maybe it is me, but what do you think the teams are hiding?
It's pretty simple. If you are saying you cannot pay salaries you have agreed to pay, you must prove why you can't. If You are asking someone to assume greater risk for less money, reasonable people back up a request with actual facts and figures. You cannot possibly know what their deals are unless you are an owner yourself. Business people assume others must swallow the bullshit they spout at face value. I won't. I'm not suggesting all contracted players see the books, but enough of the MLBPA negotiating team that can make fair negotiations based on reality. I think ownership is full of shit.


You are right it is simple.

Back in March, the union signed a deal, clearly if there are no games played the owners do not have to pay, guessing that is in the agreement. Owners paid out $170M representing 3% of salaries. Upon that agreement, it was stated that if fans were not allowed at games, payouts would have to be renegotiated.

Well we are at that point, early on the owners offered a 50/50 split to get through this season, but the union said no.

There are no books to look at as whatever is in those books have zero to do with the players. If the organization cannot make money there can be no payouts.

This is not an act of the owners or players but the States mandating everything be shuttered. Would also guess that in theses contracts acts of God or War or whatever suspends these contracts.

As for business people, it is the lack of understanding how business functions that draws these insane conclusions. Seeing it all day today on twitter.

Ownership is not full of shit. The math is not there in the favor of the players. End of story.

Someone on Twitter said "National TV rights pays out $1.7 Billion" OK, lets say that is correct. Firstly you have to halve that number going forward because TV has not been getting product, so that is $850 million. Well, now lets take the top 10 teams prorated salaries going forward, that amounts to $891M. So the TV can't even cover 10 of the 30 teams.

But ownership is full of shit.

I'll ask again, where is the money for this season coming from to pay these players with no fans?
You expect the players to take the owners word? When there are games, there will be TV money. The players want to know how much there will be, and if you are asking them to take a cut, you need to prove why you are asking them to take the cut. It is simple, the owners need to prove their point to the Union. The players are surely not taking their word for it. You also left out local TV, merchandising, etc... And this is the first I've heard of a re-negotiation clause in the pro-rated salary agreement, from any source. Not saying you are wrong, but it is the first I've heard it.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Fri May 29, 2020 3:16 am

davis2 wrote:
T15D23 wrote:
davis2 wrote: It's pretty simple. If you are saying you cannot pay salaries you have agreed to pay, you must prove why you can't. If You are asking someone to assume greater risk for less money, reasonable people back up a request with actual facts and figures. You cannot possibly know what their deals are unless you are an owner yourself. Business people assume others must swallow the bullshit they spout at face value. I won't. I'm not suggesting all contracted players see the books, but enough of the MLBPA negotiating team that can make fair negotiations based on reality. I think ownership is full of shit.


You are right it is simple.

Back in March, the union signed a deal, clearly if there are no games played the owners do not have to pay, guessing that is in the agreement. Owners paid out $170M representing 3% of salaries. Upon that agreement, it was stated that if fans were not allowed at games, payouts would have to be renegotiated.

Well we are at that point, early on the owners offered a 50/50 split to get through this season, but the union said no.

There are no books to look at as whatever is in those books have zero to do with the players. If the organization cannot make money there can be no payouts.

This is not an act of the owners or players but the States mandating everything be shuttered. Would also guess that in theses contracts acts of God or War or whatever suspends these contracts.

As for business people, it is the lack of understanding how business functions that draws these insane conclusions. Seeing it all day today on twitter.

Ownership is not full of shit. The math is not there in the favor of the players. End of story.

Someone on Twitter said "National TV rights pays out $1.7 Billion" OK, lets say that is correct. Firstly you have to halve that number going forward because TV has not been getting product, so that is $850 million. Well, now lets take the top 10 teams prorated salaries going forward, that amounts to $891M. So the TV can't even cover 10 of the 30 teams.

But ownership is full of shit.

I'll ask again, where is the money for this season coming from to pay these players with no fans?
You expect the players to take the owners word? When there are games, there will be TV money. The players want to know how much there will be, and if you are asking them to take a cut, you need to prove why you are asking them to take the cut. It is simple, the owners need to prove their point to the Union. The players are surely not taking their word for it. You also left out local TV, merchandising, etc... And this is the first I've heard of a re-negotiation clause in the pro-rated salary agreement, from any source. Not saying you are wrong, but it is the first I've heard it.


Posted it here a few days ago:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2200&start=1290#p46092

"The Post, however, has obtained a March 26 email from an MLB lawyer to top league officials that documents the substance of talks between two MLB officials and two MLBPA officials from earlier that morning. The email covers seven points, including that MLB explained to the union officials that MLB would need a second negotiation if games were not played in front of fans to determine pay and claims that union officials understood that concept".

TV money, for the Yankees, which includes national and regional as well as radio is $1M per game (averaged).

Merch sales are shared with the players via the MLBPA. The MLBPA distributes it evenly to players.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby davis2 » Sat May 30, 2020 8:46 pm

T15D23 wrote:
davis2 wrote:
T15D23 wrote:
You are right it is simple.

Back in March, the union signed a deal, clearly if there are no games played the owners do not have to pay, guessing that is in the agreement. Owners paid out $170M representing 3% of salaries. Upon that agreement, it was stated that if fans were not allowed at games, payouts would have to be renegotiated.

Well we are at that point, early on the owners offered a 50/50 split to get through this season, but the union said no.

There are no books to look at as whatever is in those books have zero to do with the players. If the organization cannot make money there can be no payouts.

This is not an act of the owners or players but the States mandating everything be shuttered. Would also guess that in theses contracts acts of God or War or whatever suspends these contracts.

As for business people, it is the lack of understanding how business functions that draws these insane conclusions. Seeing it all day today on twitter.

Ownership is not full of shit. The math is not there in the favor of the players. End of story.

Someone on Twitter said "National TV rights pays out $1.7 Billion" OK, lets say that is correct. Firstly you have to halve that number going forward because TV has not been getting product, so that is $850 million. Well, now lets take the top 10 teams prorated salaries going forward, that amounts to $891M. So the TV can't even cover 10 of the 30 teams.

But ownership is full of shit.

I'll ask again, where is the money for this season coming from to pay these players with no fans?
You expect the players to take the owners word? When there are games, there will be TV money. The players want to know how much there will be, and if you are asking them to take a cut, you need to prove why you are asking them to take the cut. It is simple, the owners need to prove their point to the Union. The players are surely not taking their word for it. You also left out local TV, merchandising, etc... And this is the first I've heard of a re-negotiation clause in the pro-rated salary agreement, from any source. Not saying you are wrong, but it is the first I've heard it.


Posted it here a few days ago:

https://bxzoo.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2 ... 290#p46092

"The Post, however, has obtained a March 26 email from an MLB lawyer to top league officials that documents the substance of talks between two MLB officials and two MLBPA officials from earlier that morning. The email covers seven points, including that MLB explained to the union officials that MLB would need a second negotiation if games were not played in front of fans to determine pay and claims that union officials understood that concept".

TV money, for the Yankees, which includes national and regional as well as radio is $1M per game (averaged).

Merch sales are shared with the players via the MLBPA. The MLBPA distributes it evenly to players.
Negotiation, not "take it or leave it" demands. Good faith would go a long way towards future negotiations. Shit, when was the last time we saw insurance companies refunding money? This isn't the time to be hard asses while asking people to take on potentially fatal health risks.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby 1955Yanksfan » Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:25 am

I don't pretend to understand the entire revenue stream and how it is distributed in MLB, but there is a history in this sport of contentiousness between the two sides which has hurt the sport in the past. I don't see the same level of dispute or lack of trust with other sports who seem to be more willing to find a way to make this bad situation better. To the uneducated, average fan like me it seems like greedy privileged parties arguing with each other about who gets the last piece of pie.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:49 am

Buck Showalter’s rise halted maddening cycle of Yankees turmoil
Joel Sherman

A series by Joel Sherman chronicles how the Yankees’ fiasco of 1990 laid the groundwork for a dynasty.

Buck Showalter gave a slight nod of his head to conspiratorially signal a reporter to follow him out of the press box. There was a game about to begin at the old Comiskey Park, Yankees at White Sox. Late May 1990.

Showalter had never made it to the majors as a player. A terrific hitter at Mississippi State then in the Yankees minor leagues, Showalter had been blocked at first base, first by Steve Balboni, then by Don Mattingly, who lived downstairs from Showalter while they were at Double-A Nashville in 1981.

Showalter hit .294 in seven minor league seasons after being drafted in the fifth round in 1977, topping out with 32 games at Triple-A. But he did not have the power to justify a corner spot, and playing with teammates such as Willie McGee and Otis Nixon would reveal he did not have the speed to make less power more palatable.

“He was always running into the monsters [Balboni and Mattingly],” recalled Bill Livesey, who ran the Yankees’ minor league system in the 1980s and early 1990s. “But he had leadership and competitiveness, the whole works. His knowledge of the game was obvious. And he didn’t stop competing for a second physically or mentally. You knew there was something special there. We tried not to let those kinds of guys get away.”

So when Showalter’s playing career ended, Livesey said it was a “no-brainer” to make him a minor league manager, even at 28. Showalter managed five years, finished first four times and won three titles, culminating with a 92-48 Double-A club that featured Jim Leyritz, Deion Sanders and Bernie Williams.

In spring training 1990, the no-nonsense former Yankees third baseman and then minor league coach Clete Boyer compared Showalter to a cross between Tony La Russa and Billy Martin. So he was overqualified to have finally reached the big leagues as the eye in the sky.

That was a job George Steinbrenner had invented in 1979. A football coach at heart, The Boss did not understand why baseball teams did not have a coach in the press box who could better see the field and offer advice on items such as positioning.

Image

Future Rangers and Brewers GM Doug Melvin was the first with the title. Seated at Yankee Stadium between public address announcer Bob Sheppard and official scorer Red Foley, he had a walkie-talkie down to coach Yogi Berra. In the 1981 World Series, the Dodgers were so paranoid about sign stealing that they had a scout sit next to Melvin, who jokes these days, “I was not banging a trash can.”

Now it was Showalter in the press box. His competitiveness and curiosity and a nice dose of paranoia had him grab a reporter for a hunt. There had been rumors for years that the White Sox were sending signals to hitters from the center-field scoreboard. With some time before a game, Showalter deputized a reporter who figured that would be quite a scoop if they ever found anything and took off opening doors where neither belonged, weaving through narrow crawl spaces. There was a lot of dust, but no got-ya blinking light or unexplained employee.

So it was back to the press box for William Nathaniel Showalter III. He still hadn’t made it to a major league dugout.

Yet.

In many ways, the Yankees’ 1990 season began on Christmas Day 1989. Late that afternoon, Billy Martin died drunk in an automobile accident. Earlier that month, at the winter meetings, he had been telling folks to keep it quiet, but the plan was for Bucky Dent to begin the year as manager, but that Billy VI was coming. Those around Steinbrenner would later corroborate that was the Boss’ thinking — a sixth Yankees managerial spin for Martin.

Dent had not been Steinbrenner’s first choice when Dallas Green was fired in August 1989. He wanted Lou Piniella III, but Piniella did not want it and, after that season, Piniella left the MSG Yankees broadcast team to be the Reds’ manager.

So in January — not long after the debut of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” — Steinbrenner held a press gathering at one of his favorite haunts, the 21 Club. Flanked by GM Pete Peterson and Dent, The Boss pledged, “If they get off to a bad start or a great start, then Bucky is my manager [for all of 1990]. I’m saying it, and that’s all I can do is say it. … There were no demands with Bucky. He just said he wanted to manage the team. There were no agents or three-year contracts. He said, ‘Just give me a chance.’ Loyalty certainly ran from him to me. Now we’ll see if it runs from me to him.”

It didn’t. No surprise. Steinbrenner had made such promises previously, most famously to Berra and most recently to Green. That Berra was still boycotting Yankee Stadium in protest in 1990 and Dent was the manager amplified how much those Steinbrenner votes of confidence meant.

And Dent managed with a sense of a day-to-day contract all year. Steinbrenner had insisted throughout the spring that the Yanks would be substantially better than they were 1989. But it was clear quickly they were worse.

The players did not particularly like three of Dent’s coaches — Champ Summers, Joe Sparks and Gary Tuck. Dent was pleasant, but often seemed without answers and without sophistication. In tense postgame moments, he would offer, “Jeez, oh Pete” as a way to express everything from disappointment to frustration to befuddlement.

Still, the one place you could have expected Dent’s job to be safe was Boston. He had, after all, hit the key three-run homer at Fenway Park in a one-game playoff to decide the AL East in 1978 that turned him into Bucky “Bleeping” Dent in New England. But two losses to open a four- game series in Boston in early June made it nine defeats in 10 games and dropped the Yanks to an MLB-worst 18-31. So, the next morning, after 89 games over two partial seasons, Dent’s managerial career was over.

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“The juxtaposition of firing Bucky in Boston was not lost on me,” recalls Jeff Idelson, then the Yankees’ media relations director. “I grew up in Boston as a Red Sox fan. So I obviously knew the connection. So changing managers in Boston and having it be Bucky is a higher level of callousness and intrigue.”

It was Steinbrenner’s 18th managerial change in 18 seasons and came eight days after the Mets axed Davey Johnson in favor of Bud Harrelson. The expectation was that to one-up the Mets, Steinbrenner might hire Johnson. But it was not a strong consideration. However, he now did not have Martin or Piniella available. So Stump Merrill became the manager in the way so many did in that time — it just felt like his turn. He had been in the Yankees organization for 14 years as a scout, coach and often minor league manager, and he was at Triple-A Columbus when summoned.

He did not look the part of Yankees manager. Merrill was just 46 but could have passed for much older. His nickname was fitting. He was perhaps 5-foot-8, jowly, rotund. What little hair he had was prematurely gray. There was New England in his accent and old-school in his approach, but he had difficulty commanding respect.

“Stump was a lifer, a minor league guy,” recalls Steve Sax, the Yankees’ second baseman in 1990. “I just felt he was a little out of his element to manage a team where the prospects to win weren’t good. It’s not like he could take us to the promised land. We just weren’t good.”

On the morning Dent was fired, Showalter returned to the team hotel after a few hours out with his wife and daughter to see scrambling about. He asked a reporter what was going on and was informed Dent had been fired. But no one immediately told Showalter if his job — which also included working pregame with the team, especially the outfielders — also was terminated.

So he went to Fenway Park at 11 a.m. for that night’s game, sat at his locker and waited. And waited. At 4 p.m., Yankees vice president George Bradley took him into the shower area in the visiting clubhouse for privacy and told Showalter he was being made the third base coach, and because the hitting coach, Summers — plus Sparks and Tuck — had also been fired, Showalter had to do the hitting job too until Darrell Evans arrived in two days. Oh yeah, he was getting a bump from $50,000 to $100,000.

To replace Showalter as eye in the sky, Steinbrenner installed Gene Michael — a month later the American League abolished the position, concerned that the walkie-talkie to the dugout provided too tempting an avenue to cheating.

In his first two games as a third base coach, Showalter got to wave home one runner. In his only two games as the hitting coach, the Yankees managed two hits, then one versus the Red Sox. Yep, the 1990 Yankees were dreadful.

But for Buck Showalter, he was finally in a major league dugout.

It was obvious. Showalter’s energy and baseball intellect were not hidden. He made sure to learn about every player — it felt like he actually had memorized the team’s media guide — as a way to find connection. It was not a touchy-feely time. Merrill, for example, would follow old ways of not informing players when they had been benched — they just wouldn’t see their names in the lineup. But in the pregame Showalter would walk around, mingle with players. He was in the constant information-gathering business.

As Dave LaPoint recalls, “He had a roundabout way to get to a point. He would be walking among the players and tell you a joke, and suddenly you were talking and telling him what you thought of guys in the clubhouse. He wanted to understand the locker room.”

Bob Geren remembers a team bus ride in which Showalter got him to explain why a catcher being able to throw well was so important, which Geren was happy to do since it was one of his assets. Then Showalter explained that a good manager could do a lot to stop the running game by ordering throw-overs or pitcher step-offs or pitchouts. Showalter felt the ability to steal borderline strikes for your pitcher was a far more vital skill, a concept that would be greatly championed about a quarter of a century later.

“I was a catcher, I was offended,” Geren says now. “But then I became a manager and a coach and looking back, he was right back then. He was entering the new school. You could tell he was ahead of the curve.”

As Sax says now, “Everyone knew Buck was going to be a big-league manager.”

Still, at the end of the season, Showalter’s job was not assured. He had played for Merrill at multiple levels in the minors. But the two were not bonded, and Merrill could see him as a threat. Michael, who became the GM in late August, had no history yet with Showalter.

In October 1990, with a rising fear of a tuberculosis contagion in New York City spread through sneezes and coughs, the Yanks fired pitching coach Billy Connors. Showalter was spared, as much because the Yanks feared he would be in such demand in the marketplace, his reputation growing.

He would serve as the third base coach in 1991, after which Merrill would be fired. Michael leaned toward an experienced replacement with whom he had history, such as Hal Lanier or Doug Rader. But by then, he had gotten to know and appreciate Showalter, to whom he eventually turned.

“I just feel like Buck and Stick did so much to make it better [with the Yankees],” Mattingly says now. “They changed the tone of bringing the right kind of player in. They got us going in the right direction with the right people.”

In the 28 years since Michael hired Showalter to replace Merrill, the team that once changed managers more than any team ever has had four — Showalter, Joe Torre, Joe Girardi and Aaron Boone. Only the Braves have had fewer.
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T15D23

- 11/25/03 GBMA

- 6/11/04 GBCJ

- 6/9/07 God Bless Leo

- 10/16/07 God Bless Huck

- 11/12/11 God Bless Mom

- 09/24/14 God Bless Dad

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