Yankees want players acting like Russell Wilson, not Cam Newton

Big League Stew

The New York Yankees have something in common with your loud-mouthed uncle who loves to complain on Facebook — they also think Russell Wilson sets a better example than Cam Newton.

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The Yankees, specifically, aren't fans of Cam Newton's pouty post-Super Bowl press conference (yes, people are still talking about this), but they've anointed Russell Wilson and his cliché 2015 Super Bowl-losing press conference as the way to do things.

Here's how this planned out in Yankees camp, from ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand:

During the Yankees' media training, the Super Bowl is being used to portray the right and wrong way to act. Part of a video shown to pitchers and catchers compares how Cam Newton handled his Super Bowl loss to the way Russell Wilson dealt with his defeat the previous year.

Cam's presser you know well by now: He grumbled and sulked, giving abrupt answers before walking out. It's almost like he felt emotion after losing the big game of his life. Imagine that.

[Elsewhere: Pablo Sandoval's weight is already the talk of spring training]

And Wilson's presser from a year earlier was pretty much the opposite: He talked about how great his opponent Tom Brady was, he backed his team's call not to hand-off to Marshawn Lynch in the deciding moment and he trotted out the usual clichés like, "We'll keep working" and "[it's] disappointing, but I think that we'll be back." Here's more:

It was textbook, so the Yankees are right wanting their players to be like Wilson — if you want players to say the predictable thing and not show a lot of emotion. And, let's be real about what the Newton/Wilson dichotomy is really implying these days: We want you to be safe and dull, not polarizing, not making yourself an enemy of Middle America.

But we're not here just to rehash the Cam Newton arguments of the past few months. Instead, let's look at how this applies to the Yankees, a team that tries to have an image as clean-cut as its players faces (because, you know, they have that no-facial hair policy too). But the Yankees aren't that, because no team is that. 


They have one player, C.C. Sabathia, who is coming back this season after admitting he had a problem with alcohol and seeking help. He has a story that's worth telling, emotion and all. They have another player, Alex Rodriguez, whose image is as far from clean-cut as possible and has been criticized most of his career for being too robotic. Considering, his against-the-odds comeback from a year ago, he has a reason to finally open up.

Is it the worst thing to let them and their teammates be real people with real emotions?

[Related: Don Mattingly adopts no facial hair policy with Marlins]

You're right. Considering this is baseball, where you can't celebrate a home run for more than a split second or risk breaking the unwritten rules, the answer is probably, "Yes. We don't want real emotions. Just say the boring stuff that everyone wants you to say."

Unless, of course, you're Yankees COO Lonn Trost, who recently said some regrettable things about the team's new ticket policy, implying that poor people don't belong in the team's premium seats.

Maybe he's the one who should take some cues from Russell Wilson and let the players be real people.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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