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Yankees fans should go ahead and vent their frustrations, but this one’s not over yet

Even seeing the Yankees trot out some of the legends from their most recent dynasty — or pulling out a late victory, a rarity of late — weren’t enough to keep the boo birds and their Bronx cheers at bay on Sunday.

Far be it from me to ever tell the paying customers in New York how or when or at whom to express their displeasure, but the pregame derision directed at team owner Hal Steinbrenner and longtime GM Brian Cashman during Paul O’Neill’s number retirement ceremony on Sunday at the Stadium certainly was not unexpected amid the first-place team’s spiral since the All-Star break (11-20 after Monday night’s 4-2 victory over the Mets), and especially since the trade deadline.

Cashman is in 25th season as general manager, a remarkable number that pushes him past Hall of Famer Ed Barrow for the longest GM tenure in franchise history. Barrow served in that role from 1921 to 1944, encompassing the first 10 of their record 27 World Series titles.

Cashman’s longevity also has bridged the disparate ownership tenures of George and Hal Steinbrenner, and his quarter century at the helm comes after The Boss employed 12 different men in that position over his first 25 years after purchasing the storied franchise from CBS in 1973.

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman on the field before the start of the first inning.
Now in his 25th season as the Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman has become a target for fans frustrated by the club’s sluggish play.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

If a superstar the level of Derek Jeter could be subjected to the occasional booing from the home crowd during his playing career, Cashman and Steinbrenner clearly should not be immune to such reaction, even with the Yankees still leading the AL East race by eight games.

Not in Steinbrenner’s case, especially after not getting MVP front-runner and pending free agent Aaron Judge’s signature on a long-term deal before the season began.

Nor in Cashman’s, especially following a trade deadline that hardly has worked out in its earliest returns, even with midseason pickup Andrew Benintendi keying the first Subway Series win over the Mets after combining with fellow addition Lou Trivino to seal Sunday’s late-inning, sweep-avoiding victory over the Blue Jays.

“I don’t care who you are, you always hear that stuff,” Cashman told The Post’s Ian O’Connor on Monday. “It’s up to us to turn the jeers into cheers. Our job is to make them happy and make them proud, and in this recent stretch we haven’t done that. … [But] winning a World Series title is certainly in our grasp.”

Hal Steinbrenner walks on the field during Paul OÕNeil Day before the start of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, Monday, August 21, 2022.
Hal Steinbrenner didn’t receive the widespread applause Paul O’Neill did from the Yankee Stadium crowd on Sunday.

The Yanks were on pace for much of the season to challenge all-time team and league records for wins in one season, and Cashman swung moves with the postseason in mind, beginning with acquiring Benintendi, an All-Star outfielder this season, from the Royals to replace Joey Gallo, starting pitcher Frankie Montas and Trivino from Oakland and injured Gold Glove-winning center fielder Harrison Bader from the Cardinals to eventually take some of the defensive pressure off of Judge.

Benintendi hit his first Yankees homer Sunday and reached base three times against the Mets with two hits and two RBIs, and even now has a .228 average and a .733 OPS in pinstripes. Fair or unfair, Montas has conjured references to Sonny Gray — another former All-Star with the A’s who posted a 4.51 ERA in 1 ½ uncomfortable New York campaigns — with a 9.00 ERA (14 earned runs in 14 innings) in his first three starts ahead of an important Tuesday outing.

The move for Bader clearly has been the most confounding, largely because he still hasn’t played due to plantar fasciitis while departed lefty Jordan Montgomery is now 4-0 with a 0.35 ERA after throwing his first career shutout Monday night against the Cubs. (Even Gallo has enjoyed some immediate success since his mercy expulsion from The Bronx with three homers and a 1.038 OPS over his first 35 plate appearances with the Dodgers.)

Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium - New York Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas #47 reacts as he walks back to the dugout after ending the second inning.
After giving up 14 runs in his first 14 innings as a Yankee, Frankie Montas’ job won’t get any easier in his next start against the Mets.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Of course, there is still time for any or all of Cashman’s moves to work in the Yankees’ favor and for those players to contribute to a deep postseason run, possibly even the first championship since 2009. And if Judge leads the way to that 28th World Series title, coming through on the ultimate bet on himself, Steinbrenner likely will be willing to reward him with a mega-deal that will make him a lifetime Yankee.

If so, those understandable boos the Yankees’ primary decision makers heard — on what was planned as a celebratory day of nostalgia — will be a faint memory.

Today’s back page

The back cover of the New York Post on August 23, 2022.
New York Post

Back on track?

The Yankees finally won successive games for the first time in August, denying Max Scherzer’s first crack at his 200th career win and instead sending the Mets’ co-ace to his 100th career defeat on Monday night at the Stadium.

Benintendi (2-for-3, two RBIs) posted his second straight strong offensive showing out of the leadoff spot and Aaron Judge ripped his 47th homer, his first since Aug. 12. Domingo German provided a boost to a depleted bullpen by outpitching Scherzer over six efficient and scoreless innings before Daniel Vogelbach took him deep and chased him in the seventh.

The Mets atypically didn’t work many deep counts in the early innings against German, who threw 86 pitches in his longest outing (6 1/3 innings) of the season.


New York Giants defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) gets injured during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, in East Rutherford, NJ.
Kayvon Thibodeaux’s right knee injury in the Giants’ second preseason game offered more proof as to why coaches are playing their starters increasingly less in exhibition games.
Corey Sipkin

Preseason games are one of those dangerous necessities NFL teams use to fill out their rosters. But even the avoidance of long-term injuries to building blocks Zach Wilson of the Jets or Kayvon Thibodeaux of the Giants — heck, even the concussion suffered Sunday by Giants kicker Graham Gano — reinforces how little playing time regulars should be subjected to in these meaningless contests.

That’s why the Jets were wise to hold 15-year veteran backup quarterback Joe Flacco and other expected starters out of Monday’s 24-16 exhibition win against the Falcons. The risk-reward is just not worth it anymore.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of upsets

Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley (14) is defended by New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) during the first half of Game 2 of the first round of the WNBA playoffs at Wintrust Arena.
Sabrina Ionescu has a chance to send Allie Quigley and the defending WNBA champs home from the playoffs if the Liberty can win Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

With the changes to the WNBA playoff format this year, the Liberty get to play a decisive home game with a chance to knock off the defending league champions.

The Liberty split two games in Chicago against the No. 2 seed Sky, earning the right to host Game 3 on Tuesday night at Barclays Center for a chance to advance to the second round for the first time since 2015.

The league switched this year from a single-elimination format in the first two rounds for lower seeds — and eliminated double-byes for the top seeds in each conference. The new best-of-three first round setup gives the higher seed the first two games at home with Game 3 on the road, if necessary. Sky coach James Wade bemoaned the risks involved for higher-seeded teams before the series with New York even started, telling reporters, “We worked all year to have home-court advantage. If you have a bad game, then home-court advantage goes to the lower seed.”

And that’s just what the Liberty did, flipping home-court advantage with a Game 1 victory behind Sabrina Ionescu’s 22 points before Candace Parker and the Sky evened the series Saturday night. The Libs finished the regular season with a 16-20 record, 10 games behind the Sky in the Eastern Conference.

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