Wrong – because, according to Dan Shulman and lackey Terry Francona, they are “over reliant” on home runs. That makes them one dimensional. They need to manufacture runs, not simply hit them, you see. Check out this exchange from last Sunday, during the last game of the Subway Series, just prior to Nick Swisher’s three-run home run;
Dan Shulman: “To grossly oversimplify the Yankees’ offense this year, when they hit home runs, they win. When they don’t, they lose.”
Terry Francona: “… the good news is, they hit a lot of home runs. The bad news is, as you get closer to playoff time, it’s harder to win that way.”
An alternative perspective would be that when the Yankees score more runs than their opponent, they win. Home runs are the best kinds of hits, since they are unplayable and automatically result in those aforementioned runs. Singles, doubles and triples are all awesome hits, but don’t in-and-of themselves count as runs. But I suspect that if the Yankees were leading Major League Baseball in doubles or triples, Shulman and Francona would have tweaked their criticisms accordingly. Imagine this hypothetical exchange:
Dan Shulman: “To grossly oversimplify the Yankees’ offense, when the Yankees hit consecutive doubles, or a triple followed by a double, or a single followed by a triple, or a triple followed by a single that leaves the infield, and they do this more times than their opponents, they win. When they don’t, they lose.”
Terry Francona: “…the good news is, they hit a lot of consecutive doubles. The bad news is, as you get closer to playoff time, it’s harder to win that way.”
Shulman went on to explain that the Yankees are over reliant on the home run. Over reliant!
“The Yankees lead the major leagues with 112 home runs. They need them to score.”
Recalling Abraham Lincoln’s dictum that it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt, Terry Francona quickly responded:
“…they’ve become a little one dimensional, especially with Brett Gardner not in the light up.”
Yes, according to Terry Francona, the Yankees have become one dimensional because they hit too many home runs. I’m guessing that as Manager, Francona never called back any “Big Papi” home runs and told the umpires “no, no, we’ll count that one only as a double because I don’t want our guys to over rely on home runs.” I’m not certain, I’m just going to guess that he’d have been run out of Boston long before he was actually run out of Boston had he done that.
The comments of Shulman and Francona do however have some historic irony on their side. Check out these comments by John McGraw in 1921 regarding the upstart Yankees, just prior to the 1921 World Series, regarding ;
“I do not like the lively ball … I think the game far more interesting when the art of making scores lies in scientific work on the bases” (WJ Macbeth, New York Tribune, Sporting News, Jan 6, 1921 as footnoted in 1921, the Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York, p. 8).
Whereas the comments of John McGraw can be chalked up to his personal animosity toward Babe Ruth and the fact that both his playing and managerial career occurred during the “dead ball era”, and whereas Shulman never actually played baseball, their comments are understandable. Terry Francona’s comments are either anti-Yankee pot-shots masquerading as sheer nonsense, or heartfelt nostalgia for a time when managers not only dictated plays and playing styles, but could actually control their players – say by outlawing fried chicken and beer in the dugouts.