The New York Yankees, blessed with tremendous financial advantage in a sport without a salary cap, won a World Series in 2009 and haven't been back since despite boasting some really good teams. Since that last crown, they've reached the American League Championship Series four times and dropped them all, including the 2017 matchup with the Houston Astros. And that's the one that really bothers general manager Brian Cashman, who gave some amazing on-the-record quotes to The Athletic's Andy McCullough.
"The only thing that stopped (us) was something that was so illegal and horrific," Cashman told The Athletic. "So I get offended when I start hearing we haven't been to the World Series since '09. Because I’m like, 'Well, I think we actually did it the right way.' Pulled it down, brought it back up. Drafted well, traded well, developed well, signed well. The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance that threw us off."
"People are like 'Oh, we haven't been to a World Series . . .' and I'm like, 'Yeah, I don't think that's as true a statement as it could be,'" Cashman said. "We had a World Series team. And either you get it done or you don't."
There's a first time for everything so there's a first opportunity here for me to say facts don't care about your feelings. Sports are entirely results-oriented and it's out of this world to see the general manager of the freaking New York Yankees try to engender some sympathy for his plucky underdog franchise.
The organization may have done things the right way. But get all of the way out of here saying that the only thing that derailed a World Series run was a cheating circumstance. New York scored a grand total of three runs in Houston during the ALCS in 2017. That's not going to get it done. Not on that stage and not even in mid-May.
Then there's the issue of all the other playoff failures the Bronx Bombers have made fans suffer through over the past 12 years. The Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers (twice) and Boston Red Sox (twice) have all eliminated the Yankees. Some of those teams were also doing it the right way. Speaking of that 2009 World Series-winning team, it might be worth mentioning that Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Andy Pettitte and Melky Cabrera were on the roster. Some interesting names there. Classic names that would never make a team like, say, the Philadelphia Phillies feel cheated.
Cashman's comments are not going over well as you might expect. To be perfectly honest, my first reaction was thinking I'd been tricked by Ballsack Sports because it's tough to imagine delivering the woe-is-us stuff with a straight face.