For the twentieth anniversary of its landmark series, HBO launched a podcast celebrating Band of Brothers, the World War Two epic following paratroopers from their training to the end of the war in Europe. This past Thursday, the podcast discussed episode five of the series, titled Crossroads. In the beginning of the episode, the company is fighting at a literal crossroads. In the middle of the episode, the series’ defacto protagonist is at a ‘career’ crossroads as he gets promoted from company commander to a more executive position. At the end of the episode, the company is again at a literal crossroads, heading into the frozen, snowy hell that was the Battle of the Bulge. While the Yankees aren’t fighting fascism (though Yogi Berra was!) and Aaron Boone doesn’t hold a candle to Dick Winters, they, too, are at a crossroads. But do they know it?
When Aaron Boone says something like that, it makes you think…does he, do they, really know where the Yankees stand? Whatever this gap is, the Yankees are on the wrong side of it.
Other teams have passed them in terms of analytics and their application.
Other teams have passed them in their hirings on-field managers.
And that’s just external stuff. Internally, there are also issues with the Yankees and their operation. Their decision making needs to be evaluated. This goes for both process and results.
How is it that Luke Voit became a veritable ghost in the last month of the season?
What is it that leads to Aaron Boone’s often baffling bullpen decisions?
Why load manage to keep guys healthy in September and then not reap the benefits?
Why avoid playing the most complete lineup possible even once?
How did it take so long to move Gleyber Torres off of shortstop?
And, most importantly, why ignore the biggest advantage you have over the entire league: money?
The answers to these questions matter, sure, but whether or not the Yankees change anything up will determine which way they go down their current crossroads.
If they don’t change anything, the team is still likely to be good. This year was a worst case scenario for the offense and they still won 92 games thanks to great pitching. Of course, that didn’t get them very far. There’s nothing wrong with winning 92 games, sure, especially when the second wildcard exists as a backdoor to the playoffs. But is that really good enough? Maybe it is for the ownership and front office groups.
Whether or not it will, something should change. Maybe that’s going back to spending money again. Maybe it’s going a different route with a manager and coaching staff. Whatever it is, it needs to be done for 2022. Whatever it is, it needs to make sure 2021 doesn’t get a repeat performance.