Let's All Go Play For The Yankees
I do not have a favorite major league baseball team. Free agency has made it impossible to root for anybody. And no team has even come close to exploiting free agency like the New York Yankees. I dedicate this article then to my least favorite major league baseball team. The list of players who have suited up for the Yankees in the last 13 years includes, in no particular order, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixiera, CC Sabithia, Kevin Brown, Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, John Olerud, Kenny Lofton, Gary Sheffield, Ruben Sierra, Randy Johnson, Al Leiter, Scott Erickson, Bobby Abreu, Ivan Rodriguez, David Justice, Nick Swisher, Chan Ho Park, Lance Berkman, Dwight Gooden, Bartolo Colon, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, Derek Lowe, Ichiro Suzuki, Travis Hafner, Jesse Orosco, David Wells, David Cone, Todd Zeile, and Raul Mondesi. There are franchises who have been around over a century who have not had that much talent play for them in 100 YEARS. All of these guys made their mark with a team OTHER THAN the Yankees. And all of these guys gave up any dignity they might have possessed by putting on the pinstripes. Ever since New York won the World Series 4 out of 5 years ending in 2000, the Yankee philosophy has been to hoard all of the talent around the league and stockpile it so high that All Stars end up sitting on the bench. Each one of these guys has bought into this philosophy as if it's cool to win on a team that can't possibly lose. Yet the Yankees have won only one title since 2000. Yes a few names were left off the list, some intentionally and some unintentionally. Let's zero in on a few of the intentional omissions.
This group of guys is what I will call the TRAITORS. Guys who played their guts out for the Boston Red Sox, and then changed allegiances to Boston's most hated rival. Jose Canseco could have been put on this list but he might be a whole different article. Lets start with the most recent betrayal, Kevin Youkilis. In 2007 Youkilis showed promise by hitting 16 home runs, driving in 83 runs, and helping the Red Sox win a World Series. He really took off individually though in 2008 and 2009 by averaging 28 home runs and 105 RBI and if it wasn't for the disappearance of Manny Ramirez in 2008 he might have won a couple more World Series. In 2008 he also broke Steve Garvey's record of 194 consecutive games by a first baseman without an error. Going back to 2007, Scott Proctor of the Yankees hit Youkilis in the head with a pitch and less than three months later Joba Chamberlain threw a couple of fastballs over Youkilis's head. Was he disliked by the Yankees? YOU BET YOUR ASS. This did not stop him, however, from signing a one year contract with New York in 2013 for 12 million dollars. Johnny Damon might have had his best year with Kansas City in 2000 when he hit .327, drove in 88, and led the American League in stolen bases and runs scored. He headed to Boston and in 2004 hit .304, drove in 94, and stole 19 bases while winning a championship alongside Youkilis. Damon's four year deal with Boston was for $31 million. His next contract was also four years and it was with the Yankees for $52 million. He won one championship with each team which fits the Yankee model. THEY PAY MORE BUT DON'T GET MORE. Then we have Derek Lowe. Lowe led the American League in saves in 2000 with 42. He became a starter in 2002 and won 21 games with a 2.58 ERA and threw a no-hitter. Despite a poor year in 2004, he rebounded in the playoffs by going 3-0 and winning the final game in all three series including the World Series. Lowe signed with the Yankees in August 2012 and was dumped before he ever got to reunite with Kevin Youkilis. AWWWW.
I saved the best for last. Yes Roger Clemens. A man who won 192 games with Boston with a 3.06 ERA and 2590 strikeouts. Roger Clemens won at least 18 games six times, had an ERA under 3 seven times, and struck out at least 208 eight times while making four playoff appearances with Boston. He won the Cy Young Award three times with the Red Sox. Clemens went to high school in Houston, Texas and played college baseball at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a two time All American there before being selected by the Red Sox in the 1983 draft. Everything seemed golden for Clemens until 1996. This has got to be about the time he started taking steroids. His first move might have made sense had he stayed more than two years. It seems he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays because Boston felt he was starting to decline and he wanted to prove to them(by pitching for a team from the same division) that he still had more than enough juice to continue pitching at a high level. He more than proved this assertion. He pitched lights out. But rather than stick it out in Toronto until the team added more pieces he bailed on them and decided to go the route of every other player in the majors; he signed with the Yankees. And each successive year his body continued to balloon from steroid use until he eventually looked like the right handed version of another person my list, David Wells. He even left New York after winning two titles to go try and accomplish the same for his once hometown of Houston. In 2005 the Astros came up just short against the White Sox. They had also come up short 7 years earlier with another pitcher on my list, Randy Johnson. Where was he pitching in 2005? You get one guess.