More than any other team in professional sports, the New York Yankees define the word polarizing. The Yankees’ brand is the most popular in the world. Yet, as much as the brand leads in merchandise sold and worldwide popularity, there is a seemingly equal number of people who have an intense dislike for the New York baseball club. For the Yankees, there is no in between.
That polarizing balance is also played out in the media. When the Yankees sign a group of premier free agents like they did in the winter of 2008, they are scorned for their ability to buy players and buy championships. When they fail to win a title, they are mocked and used as an example of the cliche that money doesn’t necessarily win championships. Not surprisingly, this winter has put the Yankees in the crosshairs once again. Because they have failed to bring in or even pursue the big names of winter and also lost out on retaining their own free agents like Russell Martin, Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez, the Yankees are being portrayed as a team tightening the budget and one that is no longer able to spend. Even more, they are being portrayed as a team in severe decline and one that looks like an underdog heading into the season.