Wednesday, July 1, 2015

For Yankee fans, the worst thing that can happen... might be happening

Question: To a God-fearing, two-nutted, Stottlemyre-raised Yankee fan, what's the absolute worst thing that can happen?

Answer: We miss the playoffs, and Boston wins the World Series. Pretty horrible, eh? Makes you want to buy some Draino and measure the nearby bridges, right?

Well, how about this for a worse scenario: We fall apart, and Boston comes back from a huge deficit to win it...

Oww. Just typing the words hurts.

Look, I don't want to terrify small children - or myself - but last night, Baltimore, Tampa, Toronto and the Geriatric Ward known as the Yankees all lost - solidifying our grip on the 2015 garbage list. Boston won. Believe it or not, the Redsocks are now a mere six games out. Six. It's as if the last three months didn't matter. Six games out.

This was the going to be a summer when the open wounds of Yankee fans would at least be salved by the supremely sorry state of the Redsocks, who spent a fortune last winter on love handles and bad Cuban cigars. No matter how bad we were, Boston would be worse.

Six games out. So much for snickering. One of the hallmarks of the late nineties was how the Fenway Nation loved to chant "Yankees suck!" one inning too early. Remember how they popped the champagne in the ninth inning of the 2003 Aaron Boone game? Ah, those were the days...

Gone. Long gone.

A month ago, we were drunkenly laughing at Papi's .222 average and Joe Kelly's Cy Young season. But did we start chanting an inning too early?

Once again, we are facing the new Yankee tradition - that sinking feeling that arrives July 1. We are gasping for air like a marathon runner with a carton-per-day habit, and our big hopes are now for Ellsbury's swift return - (How often over the years have teams yearned for that?) - and that Cashman somehow strips another team's roster bare, an increasingly rare event. We aren't chasing the pennant. We are chasing the Trade Deadline, aka: The end of Stephen Drew.

Last night, our bats again turned flaccid - our second 2-hit showing in the last three games. The only wins on this road trip came gift-wrapped by Houston. Also, Carlos Beltran is now down with a rib-cage injury, perhaps the most mysterious affliction that an ancient hitter can face. He could back Tuesday or out until September. It's hard to cry about losing Beltran, who played RF like a zombie, but he was slowly starting to hit. Now, if he does miss time, must we then go through another month of him hitting .220, shaking off the rust that comes with being 38? The only thing worse than injuries are old players who try to play through them. (See Beltran, 2014)

We started this year with a sick feeling that Boston had out-smarted us - that the worst thing that can happen... could happen.

We were wrong. It might be worse than we imagined.

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