The New York Yankees were outclassed, outmatched and outperformed as they were swept by the Houston Astros in the ALCS. But it was their motivational attempts that sent Michael Kay over the edge.
Desperate for a spark heading into Sunday night’s Game 4, the Bronx Bombers looked to their “mental skills coach” for inspiration. The coach reached into his bag of tricks and put together a compilation video from the 2004 ALCS, which featured the Yankees suffering arguably the worst collapse in MLB history as the Boston Red Sox came back from down 3-0 in the series enroute to their first World Series title in 86 years.
After learning of this method, Yankees TV play-by-play voice and ESPN New York sports radio host Michael Kay obliterated the team in a rant for the ages.
— Bronx Bomber Ball (@BronxBomberBall) October 24, 2022
“How in baseball god’s name can you be so tone deaf as an organization as if to do that! Talk about bad optics, are you out of your mind?” Kay raged. “I talked to three players from the ’04 team, they were outraged by the fact that their failure was being used as motivation for the 2022 team. How could you do that? It would be like somebody from Lincoln’s family and you’re trying to teach them about shootings in theaters, so you use their dad as an example of how to avoid it. I mean, are you out of your mind?!”
“Here’s the amazing thing,” Kay continued. “THEY TOLD THE MEDIA! Aaron Boone told the media, ‘Oh yeah, we put together a tape of the ’04 Red Sox.’ Oh my goodness. I hate to do it! I hate to do it, I hate to do it because I don’t want it done on the show, but if George Steinbrenner were alive today, somebody would be fired.”
The Yankees were down 3-0 to the Astros and the mental skills coach wanted to show the players that similar comebacks have been made to prove winning the 2022 ALCS was still an attainable goal. The core of that sentiment is fair, and it could have been a reasonable tactic for literally any MLB team other than the Yankees. Attempting to motivate the Yankees by making the players watch their uniform on the losing end of a historical defeat is an odd choice. But as Kay noted, telling the media about it was even worse.
Current players weren’t on the losing side of the 2004 ALCS, so maybe they were able to ignore that it was their uniform on the receiving end of a historic defeat. But telling the media about it so that it can be relayed to the fans, who lived that historic ’04 defeat, was moronic. Sharing these motivational tactics with the media caused Boone and the Yankees to appear disconnected and prompted them to lose the trust of their fanbase.
Usually, it’s Don La Greca who goes on epic rants during The Michael Kay Show. But credit Kay for putting aside his allegiance as the longtime voice of the Pinstripes to rip the team and their manager. And credit YES Network for allowing such a passionate rant to air on the Yankees’ TV network. Not only was Kay’s rant entertaining from a radio standpoint, but it serves as further proof that he’s not a shill for the team.