Before I jump in to another bout of predictions, let’s get a few things out of the way. I know it may seem like I don’t enjoy the games, or don’t actually want the Yankees to win, but that simply isn’t the case. I’m not old enough to have seen Mantle, Maris, Berra, Munson, Guidry or Catfish, but I am old enough to have grown up watching Mattingly, Winfield, Randolph and that gang win 90+ games every year and still miss the post-season. I realize that, traditionally, the Yankees are a winning organization, but there are “down” periods, so for me to understand that, at some point, they’re going to miss the playoffs isn’t really a crime. Some people think being a fan means always believing in the best possible outcome, and that’s fine, but that’s not me. You’re not foolish for having faith in this team, and I’m not foolish – nor am I a Red Sox fan – just because I don’t expect them to win this year. Differing opinions are okay. Discussing sports is part of the fun of being a fan.
Everything changed after 2004. That series knocked the wind out of a lot of fans, myself included. Watching the Yankees fold like a cheap card table was both unsettling and unexpected. Watching them follow up that performance by starting the 2005 campaign in such poor fashion only solidified my belief that it’s going to be a while before we see a dominant Yankees team. I don’t think you can count on guys like Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez, and their respective performances this season haven’t done anything to dispel that notion. For all the heart the Yankees have shown this year (plenty), when it comes down to it, guys like Johnson and Rodriguez are going to have to produce on a consistent basis for the next two months, or this team is going to miss the playoffs. As I have seen absolutely nothing yet this season which would lead me to believe either is capable of doing so, I believe the Yankees will miss the playoffs. I think that’s a relatively logical conclusion to come to. Is Boston in better shape? Not right now, no. But there are two months left. Remember, the Yankees were 3.5 games back of Boston at this point last year, and they came back. A two-game lead with nearly two months left isn’t exactly a stranglehold on the division. It is my belief – and has been since 2004 – that getting my hopes up about this team isn’t necessarily a recipe for happiness.
A few other thoughts:
Peter Abraham wrote a great piece on Chien-Ming Wang. You can find it here.
I can not wait to watch Phillip Hughes pitch a major league game. This kid is going to be special.
I think we’re all getting ahead of ourselves with the Matsui/Sheffield talk. Remember, they have yet to be cleared for BP. If and when they do come back, there’s a distinct possibility that they could hinder the team more than help. It’ll take them a while to get their timing back, and in order to do so, they’ll be taking at-bats away from guys like Cabrera and Wilson. I’m not sure that helps the team. If you’re expecting Matsui and Sheffield to jump right back in to action and be 100% effective, you’re in for a massive disappointment.