Thus far this season, the paid political banter across the Yankiverse has centered on the "Hashtag: BabyBombers" - Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge - none of whom has been here long enough to crush our hopes, or as the cool kids would say, to "Hashtag: RobRefsnyder" us. Still, in these parts, before you go blathering praise for Aaron Hicks or Luis Severino, you better dress in Kevlar, or like you're in the front row of a Gallagher show.
Hell hath no fury like a Yankee fan who foresaw the next Pedro Martinez and received the next Colter Bean. And even if John Ryan Murphy has vanished from the planet - actually, he's now a Rochester Red Wing - the fan base still fumes over the loss of "Hashtag: J.R.Murphy" every time Hicks makes an out.
Which brings us to yesterday. Severino pitched wonderfully, and Hicks homered twice, and they propelled our heroes to a sweep of Tampa. Now, a three-game sweep of Tampa is not exactly the defeat of the Spanish Armada, but if Sevy and Hicks are for real - dare we dream it? - a huge, Stygian shadow could be lifted from the 2017 Yankees. A wild card would be within reach.
It's a long season whose plot lines have not even begun to spin. If I were the show-runner for this team, these would be my four emerging character arcs, along with the series from which we would steal.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury - (The Americans) He came here as a Redsock spy, dispatched by his evil overlords to infiltrate the Yankee lineup and destroy it from within. A master of deception, he has even stolen home to give the illusion of Yank loyalty, so he can then gum up the works. But lately, something has gone wrong. He seeks redemption from the woman he loves, who has come to see him as a .245 hitter without power, causing him to rethink his mission... and his soul. Alas, that means he faces the most dreaded assassins known to humanity, the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM).
2. Hicks - (Glee). He was part of a group of adorable kids who came to Yankee High School wanting only to make his music. He lost his scholarship after an unfortunate prom night episode ruined his ability to rhyme. Worse, he lost his girlfriend to the new Big Man on Campus, whom the fates also named "Aaron." His mom and dad constantly fight, and he's living in a hobo camp with Mason and Ref, his autistic, transvestite, illegal alien, raised-by-wolves brothers. But good Mr. Girardi, the social studies teacher, sees something in these plucky lads, and he's going to "Hashtag: KarateKid" them into one last chance in the upcoming talent show.
3. Hal Steinbrenner - (Billions.) The trillionaire son of the billionaire boar, he has fallen into a life of booze, drugs, stomach pumps, beautiful women, leather straps and uses of feces that defy description in prime time listings. He lives as a prisoner of the scheming Cashman, who possesses videos of unspeakable debauchery, involving maple syrup, though Hal's public image remains as pristine as his good intentions. He yearns to win a championship for his young, underdog Yankees, and more importantly to someday wean himself and sister Jennifer off of prescription oxy and lead-based paint chips, which keep him from doing what he wants to in life: working with wood.
4. Severino - (Scream Queens.) Everyone knows the stories about the terrifying curse upon his high school class. The list is endless - Brackman, Kaprielian, DeCarr, etc. - of young boys who seemed destined to win the county talent show, but who then turned up murdered by someone - or some thing - that surgically chopped off an elbow and turned them into "Hashtag: Stepford" insurance agents. He vows to investigate - to "Hashtag: ScoobyDoo" this deepening mystery. But will the curse claim yet another Yankee?
Don't change that dial. At least, not during a four-game win streak.