Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Yankee comeback this far, this crazy, this unbelievable... It would rival 1978

From here on, it doesn't let up. Today is the biggest game of the year - until tomorrow, which is bigger. This is what happens when the fire alarm starts blaring six months into a season. If we lose today, Baltimore escapes with its scrotum in a National Public Radio tote bag, and some team, somewhere, passes us on the interstate. The NY dishrags can proclaim that we're only 2.5 games out, but the numbers have as much stability as Trump's deportation plans. We're in a seven-team scrum, and we've got to beat six of them.

Listen: We can sit here and sing campfire songs about rising to six games above .500, but that's not the style of swaggering, pig-hearted fans of the once Evil former Empire. We don't do Bronze Medals. We either win today, then tomorrow, then the day after, or this miniature uprising is just a burst of statistical phlegm on the sidewalk.

Still... deep, deep down, every victory gives us another day in La La Land. And the ultimate 2016 fantasy - yes, it's a drug hallucination, a flashback from my evenings in wicked and wild Elmira, 1969 - falls somewhere between Woodstock and Woody Harrelson.

Yes, I know that I sound insane. But I have to put these words into printable ether. It's a way to reflect upon the stakes of this mini-resurgence - to state concepts that five hours from now could be cringe-worthy, if not criminal. If the 2016 Yankees - after all the gloom and doom, the sell-offs, the waiting and whining - if this listless barge somehow steals the last American League Wild Card, and then runs the table - well - it would rival 1978, the greatest year ever to be a Yankee fan. It would be on par with the time when Bob Lemon took over for a booze-deranged Billy Martin, and Catfish Hunter somehow coaxed a month out of his rusty right elbow.

Most sports fans, in their entire lives, don't get two such years. And, yes, it's laughable to be sitting here and pondering the unponderable. But here we are. We have Ronald Torreyes playing third base, and our cleanup hitter still hauling a .190 batting average to the Jumbotron. Our bullpen consists of pitchers we never heard of, and our best player has hit more HRs in the last two weeks than he did all season at Scranton.

Make no mistake here: When we imagine this team chasing a Wild Card, we are deliriously thinking about perhaps the greatest comebacks in baseball history. It's ridiculous. It's absurd. Somebody should slap me. How can I even write this? If this were the Republican Convention, they would be chanting, "LOCK HIM UP. LOCK HIM UP."

For six months, we've been comparing 2016 to 1966. Were we 12 years off? I doubt it. But this morning, we've got another day to pretend. And if we win today, we've got another 24 hours in the mind machine. Enjoy it while it lasts, folks

10 comments:

13bit said...

a Pulitzer-worthy post, Duque.

Blind Robin said...

We need to remember that nay-saying got us to this position. Do we want to screw this up? We dare not dream!

Anonymous said...

This year needs a slogan, and for me it's "Go". A new feature of this years radio broadcast, and best heard (or only heard?) on the MLB app, is Jack Candy Moldanado yelling "Go" at the start of every half inning. Some might say, that's just Jackie waking up John from his commercial break slumber... A go so loud Johns mic picks it up... But I disagree. Go is a rallying cry, go damn Yankees. Go steal. Go double steal. Go for the play at the plate. Go hit another home run. Go pour so much water on Suzyns player of the game that she's wet above the waist for once... Go. Go Yankees.

John M said...

I embraced chasing the 1966 won-lost record. I thought it could happen. Then, one day in July, it dawned on me. The Inversion Theory...that this year would be the inversion of last year, with a lousy start and a glorious finish. And then the selloff. And A-Rod's ignominious ousting. Then the kids.

It's scaring me, I tell ya. As the religious right say about evolution, inversion is only a theory. It's highly unlikely.

But ya never know. You just can't predict baseball.

Anonymous said...

ALL ABOARD THE "GS EXPRESS"!!!!!!!

Local Bargain Jerk said...


And then Sabathia took the mound...and Warren and Heller backed him up...

Anonymous said...

Random observation: Brett Gardner has a 2016 WAR of 2.3, a full game higher than Mark Trumbo's 2016 WAR of 1.3.

From this we can conclude that

(a) you're surprised because you don't really know a fucking thing about baseball beyond the most obvious glamour stats
(b) there's something wrong with the concept of WAR
(c) home runs are overrated in gauging team success
(d) speed and defense are underrated in gauging team success
(e) on-base percentage contributes to wins more than home runs--or at least on-base percentage combined with speed and defense
(f) you need to get a life
(g) you can't predict baseball

Anonymous said...

FORGET ABOUT WAR..... JUST LIKE THE METRICS THAT USED TO SAY THAT DEREK JETER WAS NOT A GOOD FIELDER, (RIGHT BEFORE HE WON HIS FIRST THEN SECOND GOLD GLOVE), LIKE I TOLD THE PEOPLE KNOCKING JETER,..."YOU GOTTA PAY ATTENTION...YOU'RE NOT WATCHING THE GAMES!!!"..... TO THINK THAT GARDNER IS A MORE EFFECTIVE PLAYER THAN TRUMBO THIS YEAR, PROVES THESE METRIC PEOPLE ARE CLEARLY NOT WATCHING THE GAMES!

Anonymous said...

Gold Glove awards are judged by votes from managers and coaches--often they don't even fill out the ballots themselves but give them to assistants or clubhouse attendants to fill out. Jeter had terrible range and an average arm. He was not a great fielder, ever.

Anonymous said...

anonymous.....ABOUT JETER'S FIELDING.......YOU DIDN'T WATCH THE GAMES!!!!!!...........LOL @ TERRIBLE RANGE.... (WENT BEHIND 2ND BASE AND MADE PLAYS, PERFECTED THE "JUMP THROW" PRACTICALLY FROM SHORT LEFT FIELD)!..... GOLD GLOVES....SURE, REAL LOUSY FIELDER....LOL!