Almost always, I like to defend myself against the continualstereotypes of being a “coastie” — probably one of the biggest insults someonecould throw my way.I am far from the type who wears spandex pants tucked intoUGG boots with sunglasses covering my entire face while I carry a venti latteto class.However, as a “coastie” solely in terms of my geographicalorigin in New Jersey, it is only natural that my allegiance goes to the NewYork Yankees.Although I can accept criticism for supporting the team thathas a monopoly on baseball and an endless pit of money to pay their playersanything, I would argue my fanaticism with this team resides much deeper thenDerek Jeter annually being placed on the cover of GQ magazine.I am confident enough to challenge anyone to name theYankees’ lineup — including pinch hitters, relief players and minor leagueprospects — but struggle to list the latest brands and hit fashion trend of theseason.I am yearly subscriber to MLB.com — to watch the games inWisconsin — and continue to read Yankees Magazine and Sports Illustrated beforeU.S. Weekly or Cosmopolitan.Therefore, while I might be thrown the “coastie card” or the”female card” for arguing about sports, I offer you my off-season state of theYankees, an organization in the process of major managerial restructuring.When the Yankees won four championships in five years, muchcredit was rightfully given to manager Joe Torre.But after a 12-year stint with New York resulting innumerous playoff appearances, Torre rejected “boss” George Steinbrenner’s offerof a one-year contract worth $5 million plus an additional $3 million inperformance bonuses deemed by the management as respectable after a loss in theAmerican League Division Series.Who could blame Torre for walking? After much success, “aninsult” as Torre put it is an accurate way to describe how the organization,specifically Steinbrenner, treated him with their contract offer.First, not only did Torre work his magic in his 11 previousseasons, but in the 2007 season alone, Torre rallied the team back from aseason-low eight games under .500 on May 29 to clinch the Wild Card when manybelieved the Yankees were out.Second, no one ever said Torre threw the pitches or hit homeruns. So why did the burden fall on the only individual who never played?Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui combined to hitunder .200 during the ALDS, while Alex Rodriguez produced mediocre numbers aswell, hitting a mere .267. It was clear in the eyes of the Yankees management thatTorre’s previous successes no longer held the weight they once did to thisorganization.As a result, unlike the Yankees’ record-breaking contractsfor an all-star caliber lineup, the Steinbrenners were looking for a despicablebargain for a future Hall of Fame manager, and Torre, the only individual withany class, walked away on top.Joe Girardi, the successor to Torre, will now attempt tofill the big shoes of his former manager and mentor while writing his ownchapter in one of the most legendary sports organizations.As one of three candidates interviewed for the job, Girardiwas a surprise pick over “Mr. Yankee” Don Mattingly, who many believed wouldhave been next.Yet while ESPN.com reported Torre would have advised Girardinot to take the position, Girardi happily stands center stage for one of themost demanding jobs in all of sports. In my mind, his background as a catcherin New York and his experience with the Florida Marlins winning Manager of theYear in 2006 makes him more than qualified to continue to carry out thetradition of excellence.With the dawn of a new era, many, including me, would liketo see Girardi lead the Yankees back to the 1998 style of clutch hitting,pitching, bunting, stealing and defense as a mechanism to win games.The Yankees’ focus should now shift to developing thefreshman class. Joba Chamberlan, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy will need to postKs against rivals like Boston and maintain strong ERAs if the organizationwants to continue to return to the fall classic.Veterans like Jeter, Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettittewill be the wise men who are the only individuals to have four World Seriesrings with the Yankees. Rodriguez appears to be coming back, but I, like otherswho are true traditionalists, have a feeling of indifference. Though he is anAll-Star and will likely break the current home run record, Rodriguez willnever hold the same charisma and passion for New York as career Yankees.The future remains to be seen. I am optimistic the Girardiera can be as successful as his predecessor Torre, while others — Red Sox, Cubsand Brewers Fans — would like to finally see the end of the Yankeedynasty. Yes, I cheer for the Yankees — the epitome to some as thedark side, but a coastie loyalty I plan on always keeping. Cassie Kornblau ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in international studies and Spanish.
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