There usually isn’t a break in the offseason, at least not the first couple of months. It was a tough routine to get used to when I first started this job. After the rush of the World Series FOOMP, here come the awards and FOOMP here come the Winter Meetings and FOOMP whoa there’s a big trade FOOMP wow, didn’t expect that signing FOOMP wait, why are people asking Goose Gossage about his Hall of Fame opinions FOOMP another big trade! It’s periods of relative silence that are punctuated by extreme chaos and calamity.
You know, like the game of baseball.
So it’s hard to process every individual move and give them the attention they deserve. One second, the news is all about Shohei Ohtani, and the next it’s about an Ian Kinsler trade, and then the Marlins are getting weirder and weirder ... there isn’t a lot of time of sustained reflection. Well, there would have been during this dumb offseason, but I sure wasn’t expecting it.
Which is why I would like to take this moment to take a deep breath and say, wait, holy crap, the Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton now. Did you see this? This is wild.
It used to be that every superstar was destined for the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez going to the Yankees was so very natural. They were going to sign Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux, until they didn’t want to spend more than $40 million for either. The Yankees were the bogeyman under the bed of every small-market team. You had six years with your homegrown star, tick-tock, and then the Yankees were coming for you, sleep tight.
This isn’t a recent phenomenon.
Catfish Hunter was like the Felix Hernandez of the ‘60s and ‘70s A’s. The Yankees snatched him up. Dave Winfield was one of the greatest athletes to ever appear in a baseball game; the kind of player who could have defined the Padres to this day. The Yankees snatched him up. This is their legacy, developing Mickey Mantle to dominate the American League, then snatching someone like Roger Maris to rule the world. They’re always waging a two-front war, and they’re usually winning.
Then the Dodgers got rich (or remembered that they were rich), and the Red Sox started winning and doing the same thing. It doesn’t matter which one happened first. It only matters that the Yankees weren’t the only team sending lightning bolts down from Mt. Olympus. It was easy to forget that the Yankees were the originators of this playbook.
And I would like to remind you that the Yankees have Stanton, which, hot damn, that’s amazing. He’s 28! He’s been good for nearly a decade! He’s on pace to have a historic career, and he has the most marketable skill a player can have! He will be incredible for the Yankees for 10 years, and he will go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee, but only after winning at least one championship with them, if not five.
In 40 years, there will be kids at Yankee Stadium wearing Stanton jerseys, and they’ll have only a fraction of an idea of what it was like to watch him deconstruct baseballs and eat their souls.
A sampling of my different immediate reactions to the Yankees getting Stanton:
- Oh, come on
- Ha ha ha ha
- lol this is perfect
- Aw, raspberries
- Wowie wow wowwwwww
Back and forth I’d go, but I think I’ve settled on “ha ha ha ha.” The offseason zipped past us so quickly that it didn’t take root in my brain until now. A year ago at this time, Aaron Judge was in the back half of most top-100 prospects list, hanging out with Tyler Beede. Gary Sanchez was probably pretty good, but wasn’t there a chance that his 2016 season wasn’t sustainable? Even if he really was better than his career numbers in the minors, it’s not like one young hitter was going to sustain them.
And then he was great and Judge was an MVP candidate who somehow got better in September and then, holy crap, they’re just going to add Stanton to this group and pretend like it’s normal? That’s obscene. It’s perfect. Mostly obscene, though.
I’ve written about the Yankees somehow avoiding the oncoming train of rebuilding, even though they were tied to the tracks, and now they have GIANCARLO STANTON, one of baseball’s greatest spectacles.
In retrospect, this article aged exceptionally well.
Is Giancarlo Stanton just an ordinary baseball player now?
It was written when Judgemania was peaking and Stanton was continuing the mysterious slump that messed his previous season up. Judge was the new Stanton, it seemed, which made it easy to forget about the old Stanton:
... all of the attention that’s rightfully going to Aaron Judge is making me miss the Giancarlo Stanton who excited the world in the same way. It wasn’t that long ago. And it doesn’t have to go away.
Now the Yankees get to watch both. Their fans get to watch both of them! There will be innings where the “due up” chyron will include some combination of Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez, and it’s not fair. It’s absolutely not fair. And the Yankees are the absolute masters of taking not fair and spreading it on an English muffin before they lock eyes with you and eat it, savoring every bite like it’s the best taste they’ve ever experienced, which it is. No team’s engine runs on not fair like the Yankees.
And I wanted to remind you of this, while reminding you more specifically that the Yankees have Stanton, which seems easy to overlook. Please don’t overlook that. They might have issues with their starting pitching this year, and they’re not a perfect team, but they sure do have Stanton.
Somehow it all happened because Derek Jeter helped buy a team that decided to dissolve at just the right time, too.
CONNECT THE DOTS, PEOPLE. CONNECT THE DOTS.
Also, the Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton now. Ha ha ha ha. That’s hilarious.