To Play Like Champions
I was Acc’s house Saturday afternoon when Mo got the last out. Me and the big boy jumped up with a cheer (a masculine cheer) when Tino squeezed it, and we got the double high-five from Acc’s 18 month-old, Christopher. After that we went down to his basement and worked on trying to post the Wifflemania pictures, as they were downloaded on his computer and we were not intelligent enough to figure out how to successfully transfer them. Anyway, we got that done, so check them out, under the album at left entitled “Wifflemania”. While I was working on the photos, I noticed that h8nbos10 had already posted a victory comment, so I figured I would throw a ceremonial post up so people could comment. The plan was that I would write a regular post later that night, but when I saw there were already 14 comments and counting, I figured I would let you guys do the talking. And you shined, boys. Comments were awesome. That includes Saif, who has exposed himself as a definitive Yankee-hater, even though he originally claimed himself to be just a happy baseball fan who “couldn’t understand why everyone was hating”. It’s cool, bro, BPS accepts all comments. Keep reading and posting. But we may refer to you as “Saif the Hater” going forward. Although you may get a pass because you stood up to fight for your country. That we respect. Happymediums, many thanks for that Dan Shaughnessy article. That thing was purely priceless. My favorite part was the so-often-sung song that the Yankees had “no alternatives in the farm system and no one who could be moved.” Right, Dan. What sport do you write; baseball was it? Aaron Small and the Wang-er would qualify as alternatives in the farm system, I would say, and apparently we had what we needed to acquire Al Leiter (remember back to that Sunday Night, Dan?) and Shawn ********************.
Not a lot on the game today. The Yanks rolled the dice with Wright, and boy did he puke it all back up. Five walks in 3 and 1/3? What’s the matter with you, dude?
Anyone catch Damon’s comment after the Yanks clinched? “Curt better show up tomorrow.” Clearly they hate that guy. Just like they did in Philly, and just like they did in Bank One ballpark. It’s difficult not to, I suppose. He is such a me-first guy, and so utterly unlikable. Makes him tough to root for. And he got hit pretty good today, although he kept the runs off. I still wouldn’t feel comfortable with him on the mound if I were Francona.
I was also pretty furious with Buck Showalter today, I’ll admit. I understand that the Yanks didn’t exactly go all out to win their game today, and they rested some key people, which I am cool with, but what is Buck doing? On fan appreciation day in Tejas, he yanks all of his starters in the 3rd inning with a 4-1 lead? His team is already cooked for the season. The fans came to see these guys play, the game had significant playoff implications, and his guys were about to get 4 months off. Someone explain to me why it’s so important to let his best guys sit on the bench while the Angels immediately feast on the C-team and score 6 unanswered runs to secure home-field. Like I said, the Yanks didn’t exactly run through walls to win their game, so it’s tough to blame anybody, but I’m still scratching my head on that one.
I’m going to post my playoff preview tomorrow (I’ve got to dream it all up first), so today we’ll just reflect a bit on the season. As Vino posted on his comment yesterday, the earliest posts are interesting to breeze through. The BPS was borne of an e-mail I had written to a bunch of the boys after doing hours of number crunching to try and figure out why the Yankees were 5-10. It didn’t make any sense to me. They were a good team with good players. When the statistical anomalies became apparent, my conclusion was that the strange losing binges would simply not continue. The Yankees were doing all kinds of things right, and did not have the wins to show for it. And the things that they weren’t doing right were so far off the charts that to continue at the rate they were going meant they would have to create a new stratosphere for the futility records they would set. And that wasn’t realistic. So we said they would turn it around, and they turned it around. We said they would finish in first, and they finished in first. We made the call not because we are all blind Yankee fans, but when you looked at the team with an analyst’s eye, they were the best. That’s it.
There is a significant anti-Yankee bias in the baseball writers’ community. I’m not blaming anybody; I can’t say I would be totally psyched to see the same team piling on at home plate and on the mound year after year. But to deny it is silly. Thusly, I would find it hard to believe that either Torre or A-Rod will win awards. We’ve been through the MVP stuff, but many have said here in NY that this was Torre’s finest season, and clearly his most difficult. Some will say that his team should be good with a $280mm payroll. Yawn. I don’t care what your payroll is, it’s not going to magically make those players perform, or even be available to perform. Giambi gets paid plenty, but when his body was going through Winstrol-withdrawal he was a useless out whose wallet was bigger than his bat. Womack was brought in to play second. That didn’t really work (although I will admit they never really gave that one a fair shot), so Torre went with a rookie. Sierra fit in well as the DH, until he blew out his hammy. Then no more Ruben. The musical starters they were playing for a while really had to test his patience. But most of all, he had to deal with a team who found itself in shock, and in the cellar, when the early part of the season fell into “bizarro world.” Then, after they had worked themselves out of the first 11-19 nightmare to win 10 in a row, they fell into what the BPS classified as “Nightmare II” and “Nightmare III”. Prolonged losing streaks in which it looked as if M. Night Shyamalan was writing the script for each game, with the Yankees in the starring role; sure of their lines and projecting to the back row. But through this mess, Joe kept this team together, calling on their talent and the logo on their uniforms as qualifiers. They were the New York Yankees. He asked them to show everyone why. They closed ground very quickly in their division. They were 4 games behind the Red Sox on September 10. That’s a lot. But now, they are the 2005 American League East Champions. Their higher aspirations will not allow them to measure this as an accomplishment. But I will, if only for a moment. And this is their moment.