Last night's game should be a future Yankee Classic. It was perfect - brilliant in its scope, its plan and it execution, a loss for the ages. Let us count the ways.
1. We scored three runs relatively early, then went to sleep for the rest of the game.
2. Twice, we squandered bases loaded opportunities, where a hit could have effectively blown out the Indians, changing the game. Of course, when they loaded the bases, they delivered that hit, scoring all three runs.
3. We scored just three runs. Actually, this is an impressive offensive splurge. Usually, we stop at two.
4. We scored through production by Zelous Wheeler and Yangervis Solarte, two cheap, Scrantonian nobodies on the CashBrenner Dream Team. Neither will last. They are - have always been - destined to be replaced by aging stars who are paid huge sums. (It's the Cashmanic Rating System, which says Brandan McCarthy is better than Vidal Nuno, even if Nuno is younger and their statistics are pretty much the same; always go with the higher paid player.)
5. We blew the game when Matt Thornton, our high-priced lefty specialist, came in. Whether it's Mike Meyers, Cesar Cabral or Jose Orosco - or any of the 600 LOOGYs who rolled through the Yankee dugout over the last 10 years, the Curse of Cashman remains solid: No lefty specialist shall ever help the Yankees. From early spring training, Thornton has been particularly rancid. If he were not being paid so much - $7 million on a two-year deal, we would have waived his sorry butt by now. Ah, but you know the story...
6. The top of the eighth was particularly deflating. We were down by one run. (The non-Betances bullpen had not fully registered its mark upon the game.) Ichiro led off with a pinch-hit single. Up came Brett Gardner, our best player...
7. The Non-Betances Bullpen again proved a complete disaster. The Yes Men keep talking up Miller, Kelly, Warren, et al... but each has logged too many innings, and is in the process of collapse. It's Preston Claiborne all over again: Guy comes up, throws a scoreless inning, and the Yessirs want to inscribe his name on a CF monument. Then he's beaten to smithereens.
8. Midway through the game, we learned Masahiro Tanaka - the great pride of 2014 - will be lost for six weeks. Ahh, but the spin on this bolt of news was so - well - upbeat.
Let us pause a moment to say a prayer for the soul of David Cone, who was once the coolest man in New York City, and who now, in what may be his final grasp of a microphone, is turning into a sad Yankee homer, almost our version of Hawk Harrelson. I say this with great reluctance, because Coney is a likable fellow, an Everyman of sorts. But last night, he spent the early innings stressing how the real story of the evening was that the Yankees could win this game, take the series and pick up ground on the weak AL East. When that fell apart, he spent the end of the night telling us how lucky we are that Tanaka could be back within six weeks, leading the Yankees' stretch pennant run.
Dear God. What happened to Coney? What did they do to him? No fan listening to this drivel can feel hope, not after enduring the spiraling descents of Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia - each of whom was destined to return soon. Anybody who believes Tanaka will come back in August and pitch the Yankees to the post-season must have been in a coma since 2002. The more likely scenario - I hate to be a downer here, but we're all thinking this - is that Tanaka returns, throws a couple games, feels a twitch, and then undergoes TJ surgery and misses all of 2015.
Folks, this isn't about 2014 any more. The question is whether we are about to blow up next year, and maybe the rest of this decade.
9. Though no right-minded Yankee fans were watching, this magnificent classic ended on a poetic Yankee note. Let's relive the magic together: