It seems as though everyone, excluding Brian Cashman and George Steinbrenner realize that in no sport can you have a championship team composed entirely of superstars. The New York Yankees have, for a number of years, had t;e largest payroll in baseball by a considerable margin without winning a championship since 2000. Attributed to this issue have been a number of causes, most popularly the idea that manager Joe Torre has lost “it”; that Steinbrenner, Cashman and co. have overvalued mediocre starting pitching, that the Yankees have lost interest in bullpen depth, that Joe Torre is now killing his setup men, and the list can go on. After all, it’s New York, and the Yankees are not to be taken lightly.
Mr Thursday, however, holds to a different theory. Namely, the Blue Collar Theory of Champions which notes that the Yankees have abandoned the Scott Brosius’ of the world. Their 2000 team possessed, in addition to a number of perennial all-stars, guys like Scott Brosius as their primary hot corner defender, Ricky Ledee playing more games in left field than anyone else on the squad, and similarly Shane Spenser taking a bulk of the designated hitting duty. In 2001, Brosius remained, and though still productive at 34, battled injuries throughout the year. David Justice, a perennial all-star had taken over as number 1 DH, Ricky Ledee wandered off to Texas, and was replaced Chuck Knoblauch, a perennial all-star. His former position, second base, was taken by future perennial all-star, and current Chicago Cub/gazillionaire, Alfonso Soriano. The Yankees no longer had players who could be relied on to do the little things, whether it was leaning into a fastball in a tight game, trying to break up a double play, or laying down a bunt. They were a collection of all-stars, and this was the beginning of the end for them.
Now, while all-star games are, mostly, meaningless exhibitions, Mr. Thursday came across a cause worth backing, thanks to Deadspin today. A number of lovely hockey fanatics have taken up the cause of getting Rory Fitzpatrick, a Vancouver Canucks defensemen, voted into this year’s all-star game. You’ll have to trust our judgment, Rory is hockey’s version of Ricky Ledee. He’s the kind of guy who never sees glory, hardly ever makes headlines, and while playing he doesn’t dazzle anyone with anything but his work ethic. That said, he does the little things–backchecking, making outlet passes, etc. He’s the kind of player every winning team needs. We don’t contend that he’s a secretly phenomenal player, but every team needs at least one guy like him.
So, everyone here at Mr. Thursday will be going to Vote For Rory, every day, and doing what we can to close the 200,000 vote game between Rory and Scott “Douchebag” Neidermeyer, up there in first place in the voting so far.