Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Yankees play most of their remaining games against cupcakes, also known as the AL East

Remember back in the long, hot summer of '14, back when the AL East was a pennant race? Back in the good ol' days - remember Lana Del Ray, and the FIFA World Cup? Back then, the YESIR Network assured us that the AL East would go down to the wire, because almost the entire month of September involves intra-division play. The Yankees play eight against Baltimore, seven against Toronto, and six apiece against Boston and Tampa. Twenty-seven games against the bare-knuckled, always hard-scufflin' AL East.

Then, one of two things happened:

a. Baltimore emerged as an actual force.


b. The AL East turned so utterly rancid that Baltimore appeared to emerge as an actual force.

Take your pick. Doesn't matter, really, because last week, the Yankees stopped chasing Baltimore and began pursuing the one-game, three-hour, away-field, cheapo, crap-shot, cynical Bud Selig retirement pay-out wild card mirage. In that slimy competition of also-rans, the Yankees play seven critical games: Four against KC and three against Detroit. (Actually, all games are critical, but you know what I mean.) They take place next week, after we finish with Houston and Chicago (two tomato cans that - should they sweep us at home - could reasonably tank our wild card hopes even before Labor Day).

Here's the deal: We need to win at least four of the next six, against the Lastros and White Hawks (as in Harrelson). Five would be much nicer. At that point, we could chase the Wild Card directly - against KC and the Tigers. (Both teams with much more youth and/or firepower, but in a short series, who knows?)

After Labor Day, the 2014 season boils down to games against the disappointing AL East, a collection of teams that are a) rapidly fading (Toronto), b) playing for next year (Tampa and Boston) c) comfortably ahead (Baltimore) or ready to be tarred and feathered (the Yankees, unless they start winning.)

Of course, not matter how far ahead Baltimore may be, the angry O's will not go horizontal against the Yankees. Buck Showalter hates New York with the heat of a billion suns. I'd like to think the eagle-eyed Commissioner will watch the lineups Buck plays against New York, compared to other competing teams. But who are we kidding? Boston will do the same against us. Nobody ever gets accused of lying down against the Yankees.

Still, cupcakes are cupcakes - and the AL East this year is full of them, fresh from the oven.


Ken of Brooklyn said...

I'm having a genuine existential crisis, how do I root for a Yankee collapse that could possibly shake up the front office status quo ( wishful thinking), without rooting against the Yankees????

Oh 2014 Yankees, why can't I quit you!

KD said...

You're not alone, Ken. accepting pain now in order to have future benefits (i.e. delayed gratification) is not a common trait of us Yankees fans.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I hear you KD! Especially in the Yankee's case, since our 'future benefits' are usually past their shelf life and only beneficial to the teams that unloaded them, LOL!

And KD, maybe a much delayed response, but very glad to see your now an IIHIIFIIC contributor,,,, Congratulations my friend!