The Yankees were eliminated from October baseball this year by a better team. Better hitters, better pitchers, better management. But it’s ok. To borrow from a long ago New York team, There’s always next year.
I’ve gotten to the point in my one-way relationship with the Yankees that I am just grateful to see them playing in the Fall. Sure, I’d love for them to win the World Series every year. If not for the gratification of watching 162 games (plus playoffs), then at least to stand among the thousands as the team parades down Broadway.
But the thing is, I grew up in an era where the team I rooted for had the best record in baseball for a decade yet didn’t make the playoffs. Not once, not never, or so it seemed to a little kid who watched his friends’ team, the Mets, make the playoffs and win the World Series. I grew up in an era where No. 2 was Dale Berra. I grew up in an era where the owner of the club paid someone to dig dirt on a future Hall of Fame player.
Since 1996, the Yankees, we all know, have made the post season all but one year. They’ve won 5 rings. This magical turn of events was unfathomable to a 10-year-old in 1988. And this is important: Baseball is a child’s game, played by adults that make an obscene amount of money. Which is where the pressure and expectations come in. I get that. But at the same time, we should take a step back and appreciate that team we root for makes it to the playoffs and each year, for the last 16 years have had a shot at bringing home the gold. We watched future Hall of Famers start as kids and grow into New York City institutions. Watch the Yankees through the eyes of your childhood self and then get upset for them not winning the World Series. You can’t. (And if you’re a Yankee fan post-1996 and you don’t know what post-season futility is like, well, I’ve got nothing for you. Sorry.)
This season, the better team won. And Yankees fans, let’s face it, as the team gets older and other teams get better and more teams make the playoffs, there is a strong chance that the Yankees will hit a dry spell. Who knows how long it will last? No one predicted, in 1981 after a nice 6-year-run, that the Yanks wouldn’t make the playoffs for another 14 years. So appreciate what we have. I do, and the appreciation only runs deeper when October rolls into November and all I get to root for is the Jets.
Spring training starts in about four months.
Stumbles make the winter much more interesting. The Phillies face generational changes, too. So which Yanks do you want back? Granderson, Arod, Swisher, Pettitte, Soriano? Ibañez? I’d switch most of them out. The Phillies traded away Victorino and Pense at the trading deadline, and I didn’t miss them one bit.
I’m probably in the minority, but I’d love to see them all stay. I think Arod, while clearly on the down slope of his career, can still create runs. I like the way that Granderson and Swisher play the game, and it seems as if they’re good in the clubhouse, which is something the Yankees need. Pettitte, that’s tough because of his history. Soriano should stay as the replacement for Mo. Ibanez is great off the bench. The biggest problem is that if the Yanks dump these guys, there’s no one in the minors to groom. That’s been the downside of this run: The Yanks haven’t been able to get top prospects because they pick low in the draft. And when they have (Montero, Jackson) they trade them. It’ll be interesting next year when Pineda comes back. The Phillies also have the age and injury issues, but looks like there are some promising pitchers in the organization.
I’m from PIttsburgh. Futility is something I don’t think anyone in New York has any *real concept of when it comes to professional sports. I don’t think NYC has gone more than 5 years without a title in one of the four sports in 40 years. Whether its the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, and then back to the Giants and Yankees the city of New York has got to throw a parade for SOMEBODY far more often than anyone else. Having two teams in every sport helps, but one cannot argue the consistency in which some of those teams perform.
So it’s good to hear somebody from NYC acknowledge how lucky they are when it comes to such things. Want to know futility?
Think about being a Pirates fan.
Want to really know pain? Imagine you’re from Buffalo….