Brian McCann is officially a Yankee. Clean-shaven, complete with a newly bald scalp, McCann and his wife Ashley (and nearby family, including their two small children) were greeted with a proper NY press conference. The Yankees gifted Ashley with flowers and her own #34 shirt (the number McCann will wear in pinstripes), before also giving her two baby onesies promoting McCann’s new number. Girardi spoke about McCann as a former catcher and looking forward to working with the veteran player. He spoke of his leadership, teamwork, discipline as a catcher, offensive input, and personal character as a strong family man.
McCann did what they always do — put his new jersey on over his button-down shirt and tie. And then he thanked his wife and family, parents, brother, in-laws, and the Yankees (singling out his new bosses Steinbrenner, Levine, and Cashman). The bright lights of New York can be a little overwhelming to some players, but McCann seemed so excited about the opportunity and is looking forward to being able to help the team however he can fit in.
McCann spent over an hour after the press conference talking to reporters, posing for pictures, and just getting to know the audience that will now be greeting him on a semi-daily basis during the season. And even after that hour, the man couldn’t stop smiling.
I have a cousin who posted a response to the recent news of the Ellsbury signing. He’s not a Red Sox fan, but he certainly isn’t a Yankees fan either. He wrote: “Anybody but the Yankees!” My response was simple: “Everyone wants to be a Yankee, just some people don’t know it yet.” I think McCann really wanted to be a Yankee. Ichiro really wanted to be a Yankee. Everyone wants to play in those fabled pinstripes and be part of their legacy. Well, everyone except those attached to either their facial hair (in some very unhealthy ways) or those attached to rivalries or long-seated anti-Yankee sentiments.
Which I guess is why it doesn’t make sense to some people (read: me) why certain players don’t take advantage of playing for New York when they have more than an ample opportunity to do so. Okay, I get that it’s a business and sometimes you have to go where you can get paid and that works for you. And honestly, if everyone played for New York, there wouldn’t be anyone to play against. And I get that not everyone can handle a large-market city like New York and can use the smaller-market cities like Minnesota (as Hughes, now newly signed #45 on the Twins) to better develop their skills.
I guess I go back to the old question: “would you rather be the best player on a losing team or the worst player on the winning team?” Some people might prefer to be the best player on a smaller team. I guess when I think of some teams, I’m lucky if I can name more than three “best player” people on the first team. When I can name a whole bunch of players on a team, it’s usually the latter kind of team. There are two different kinds of players in the league — those who want the ring, and those who want to personal accolades.
Those who play for the Yankees always want the ring. They’d much rather be the worst player on a championship team, than the best player on a team that never makes it to October baseball but everyone at their home stadium knows their name.
Give me a TEAM any day over individuals. Teams win ball games, teams win championships, teams make history.
I mean, Go Yankees!