Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Old and hobbled, tired and slow, brittle and broken, the Yankees are floundering again

At the end of last night's debilitating loss, as Brian McCann marched off the field, he shook his head and seemed to stare into the firmament, as if pondering the revelation known to Yankee fans for the last three years.

Whenever youth battles old age... youth wins.

Simple as that. Buy the house. Spend the moon. It doesn't matter. As long as the Yankees cannot develop young players in their farm system, nothing in Hal Steinbrenner's purse can save this wretched franchise from its inexorable return to the 1980s. This isn't a smattering of injuries and bad hops. This is history, folks. This is fundamental human nature. This is the battle between youth and old age. And we are on the wrong side of that line.

As we watch it happen, we assure ourselves that it's a mirage. That grounder past Derek Jeter's glove? It would not have been snared by a 24-year-old. The over-shifts that just turned that smash line drive into a double-play? Those things won't last. These injuries? They're random occurrences and soon will stop.

Then you look at the ages - even down our starting lineup at Triple A Scranton - and you know otherwise.

Last winter, the Yankees gave Carlos Beltran a three-year deal at age 37 - a commitment they had declined him two years earlier, at age 35. Oh well, it's not your money, right? Last night, Beltran hyper-extended his elbow in batting practice. God knows how long he'll be out.

Last winter, the Yankees gave Brian McCann, age 30, a five-year deal, even though his durability was trending sharply downward in Atlanta. Oh well, it's not your money, right? Now, he's hitting .215, tormented by the over-shifts and last night, he was throwing balls into center field. He's not looking like the second coming of Jorge Posada. It's more like Ron Hassey. Five years? Supposedly, we are going to park him at first base? Is that really the plan? Five years?

Last winter, the Yankees gave Jacoby Ellsbury, 30, a seven-year deal, even though Redsock fans were publicly chuckling. Oh well, not your money, eh? To be sure, he's a pleasure to watch. But one of these days, we all know what's going to happen: He'll get hurt. Seven years? Didn't we learn from the A-Rod debacle?

Last year, our two rivals - the Redsocks and Mets - humiliated us. The Mets, who had been reeling with problems, swept us, and we were never the same. At the end of the season, Boston flat-out embarrassed us. Remember how they mocked the Yankees at Fenway?

Last night, as we blew two three-run leads, you sensed it happening again.

Well, sure... the 2014 season isn't over. We'll make a run. We'll win seven or eight in a row, and everything will look hopeful. The ruthless perfection of Bud Selig's one-game playoff means that it's almost impossible to be eliminated from the wild card race. Thus, we'll continue to spend - to bloat, to flounder, to apply band-aids - and maybe delay the collapse until September. Wasn't that always the plan? To keep people watching YES?

Well, we've been here before. It was 1984. We were old and hobbled, tired and slow, brittle and broken - and without draft picks, because we signed guys. It's the 1980s, folks, and Derek Jeter is six years away. Until we develop somebody like him - and right now, that seems like the moon - get used to the wild card races, to losses to the Mets, and to joyful crowds at Fenway. It's going to be a long drought. Last night, you could see it in Brian McCann's eyes.

2 comments:

John M said...

And remember, the 80s were the late 60s, just with a much bigger payroll.

Mike Burke was way cooler than Randy Levine. That guy looks like a complete douchebag. Think he could look cool striding across the infield in a large-windowpane maroon and gray English suit with hair past his ears and sideburns down to his jawline? No way, Jose.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

All these predictions are coming true. URGH!