The New York Yankees: A “Ruthian” Brand

YankeesThis week’s Struming comes from a wise 23-year old sports marketing professional, my daughter Carolyn Strum. She recently wrote a piece about the Yankees in her blog, Ladies Love Sports 2. Her post is called The Power of the Yankees Brand. As you can see below, she calls the Yankees Brand “Ruthian”.

I’m proud that she understood that the Yankees Brand is bigger than the players, however great, and that the Yankees reputation, their winning tradition, and their graphic images are all part of the mystique that makes them a special franchise, whether they win the World Series in a particular season or fall short.

Here are her thoughts:

I am a Yankees fan. That’s hardly news to anyone who knows me. That also doesn’t make me different than millions of people in the New York area and millions more throughout the US and around the world. However, I can humbly say I am far more knowledgeable about the game than the average fan. I understand the 40 man roster, Rule 5, free agency, arbitration and have an in-depth knowledge of players on every roster, particularly those in the American League. I know every one of the Championship years.

But what I understand best is that the Yankees are far more than the most successful major league baseball franchise; they are a worldwide brand. Furthermore, I appreciate that the Yankees brand is “Ruthian”. It stands above the current ownership, management, even its players. The brand is bigger than Derek Jeter, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig. Even bigger than the Babe, if that’s possible.

The Yankees Brand is American history, a worldwide phenomenon, and an international icon.

I am 23 years old so I’ve grown up in an era of Yankees excellence. My first game was in 1995 and I remember my dad telling me about the first baseman #23 ”Donnie Baseball”, a Yankees great, and how he would soon retire. I also remember him telling me that Yankees don’t have names on their uniforms. He told me that if I wanted to be a serious Yankees fan, it was my responsibility to know who the players are. He made me memorize the retired numbers in Monument Park (in order of retirement). And he made me appreciate that not every year was a great one. He explained that just a few years earlier the Yankees had a losing record, and that during most of the 80s, the late 60s and early 70s, the franchise had a long drought of non-post season appearances.

I understood that the Yankees were bigger than the record of a particular season—that the Yankees brand was, is and will always stand for greatness, regardless of their record that year. The Yankees stand for striving for the highest goal, without being satisfied with a “good job, good effort”.

Everything about the Yankees is special. Their nameless uniforms, Monument Park, the façade, pinstripes, the interlocking NY. There is nothing ordinary about the Yankees brand. That’s why I hate red hats and pink gear. Bastardizations of the logo and Yankees gear, while in keeping with MLB guidelines, are fine for the other 29 teams. Not for the Yankees, I believe.

So I will only wear a blue hat, pinstriped shirt with no name, and use the logos with respect. I apologize for using the logos in this blog post without permission. Though done with only respect, the logos are ones to be protected.

Because the Yankees Brand is special and like none other. And a true Yankees fan never forgets that, no matter what the pennant race situation may be.

PS Attention:  Cashman, Zillo, Tymon–Though I admit my personal bias, she would be an excellent hire as a junior member of the Yankees business team

PPS I obviously know the Yankees have been ordinary since the All-Star game, and continue to struggle to make the playoffs, but I still believe that they have an excellent chance of winning World Championship #28 (or at least I hope so)

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