Epic Carnival | Where Sports and Pop Culture Collide: IT'S NOT EVEN FUN TO CHEER AGAINST THE YANKEES ANYMORE


by WCT, The Ship of Fools

Normally, once my Indians are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention (this year it was May 8th, I think...or the 9th? Definitely the 8th or 9th) my favorite summer pastime becomes cheering against the New York Yankees. They are bigger, stronger, and faster than everyone else, so it becomes like cheering for the little guy, if you consider the other 29 teams in baseball "the little guy." Like cheering against Goliath. However this year, that hasn't been the case. That's because the 2008 Yankees are a complete mess.

Lets be fair, they are 7 games over .500, and you really can't call a team with a winning record a complete mess, even if they do have a $200+ million payroll. They are also not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, and anything can happen in 30 or so games. But with each passing day it looks less and less likely that the Yankees will be playing in October. Yes, the Yanks surged down the stretch last year, and desperate Yankee fans will arrogantly point to last year's second half run as evidence that this team still has a shot. But make no mistake, last year's team was much, much better than this year's, and much more due to make that late charge.

Consider this: The Yankees right now sit in third place. 11 games out of first in the AL East. Looks bad, huh? Looks even worse when you look closer: The last place Baltimore Orioles (somehow only 5 games below .500) are 17 back of first. So the Yankees are almost twice as close to last place as they are to first place! They are one bad stretch away from being in the AL East cellar. Also, on August 19, 2007, the Yankees had a run differential of +160, tops in the Majors. Even though they were underachieving at that point, you knew it was just a matter of time before they made a run. This year, the run differential is +46, or 7th in the AL. The Yankees' record is 6th best in the AL, meaning, the numbers say this is about where they should finish up (if not lower. The Blue Jays have a better run differential but are 1 game behind record-wise).

New York has Mike Mussina pitching out of his mind, but what else do they have in the rotation right now? Two nobodies (Darrell Rasner & Dan Geise) who they cannot count on for wins on a nightly basis, a guy who is 40ish years old and inconsistent (Andy Pettitte) and a fat Arubian scofflaw (Sir Sidney Ponson). They just sent their CF to the minor leagues and the guy that replaced him dropped two fly balls last night, including one that allowed the eventual game-winning run to score. Derek Jeter is doing better of late (I guess) but still having a non-Jeterian season. The LF spot has been a revolving door of rookies and misfits all year, and they are getting about what I thought they would get from the Catcher position with Jose Molina and an old Ivan Rodriguez.

Let me say this again, anything can happen, and until they are mathematically eliminated, no one is going to say this team is dead. But no one is saying that Toronto is in the race, and their record is only 1 game worse than New York's. If this were anyone else but the Yankees, we would have buried them by now. This team used to have studs at every position, and it was fun to laugh when someone like the Marlins would jump up and beat them in October. It was fun to cheer against them. Now they just look so, eh, and you can't even derive any pleasure out of cheering for them to lose.

Well, maybe just a little.

(photo: AP)

6 comment(s):

DMtShooter said...

Just like the Cowboys, the Yankees have won nothing in this millennium (in that the millennium begins in '01, not '00). Guess it wasn't such a good idea to hold on to the kids rather than deal for Johan Santana, eh, Mr. Cashman?

Kevin said...

even as a Yankee fan, I agree with you. It's going to be a very stormy off-season. My only beef is with your assessment of Dan Giese who has been excellent this year, and who's only fault has been that he's been mishandled. Also for the record we all know that even Santana wouldn't have saved this team, and there was no reason to trade the future for a team that was aging horribly even before the season started.

DMtShooter said...

Santana might not have saved the year, but he'd have added 3 to 5 more wins to their total over their below replacement level starters... and that would have them in the wild-card hunt. Right now, realistically, they aren't there. So maybe he doesn't save the year, but he at least makes mid to late September watchable...

WCT said...

Kevin, I agree, Geise has been pretty good, but there is a reason this guy is a 31-year-old rookie, right? There is a reason why this guy starts, yet pitches from the stretch all game, right? At some point, he is going to revert back to the mean. That was my point, you can't really be comfortable with him pitching big games.

Epic said...

I'm a Yankee hater as a Red Sox fan, this will be their wake up call. They will have a stellar offseason where they sign CC Sabathia and Manny Ramirez from the free agent market. Phil Hughes and perhaps Ian Kennedy will finally figure it out and join Joba and Wang to round out the rotation. As much as I don't like saying it, 2009 will be their year.

Waynek said...

This is a wake up call for Boston and New York. They now have competition in the A.L east by way of the Rays. This year is not a fluke, because it is now Aug 21st, and with injuries they still take 2 out of 3 from the Angeles. Next year they are not going to go away, because all of there key players have long contracts. Also, there are more prospect coming. Example being David Price

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