Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Should Yankee fans start rooting for a complete collapse?

I was talking with a Yankee fan yesterday about the bad old days, the era of Hoss Clarke and Fred Talbot, in the late 1960s. He said something I hadn't really thought about: That the days of Roger Repoz and Lindy McDaniel are some of his most cherished Yankee memories, because that dark era separated real Yankee fans from the fair-weather hordes. It culled the herd, I guess.

If the Bombers had simply rolled on from Mantle and Maris into an extended dynasty, I'm not sure if I would be a Yankee fan now. We'd have learned to take pennants for granted. Maybe the Yankees had to be bad in order to keep their fans truly loyal...

Strange, the thoughts you have, when you're staring at a .500 team.

Well, everybody knows it's way too early to throw in the towel on 2015. I get it. But that's a micro view of the Yankees. That's the view over the next week. If we just win five in a row, we'll be in first! But the long-term macro view has me worrying.

In that context, it's time to consider a worser worst-case scenario than merely enduring one more down year. It's time to ponder a decade of crapola teams, similar to the Talbot/Hoss era, or the 14-year barf between 1981 and 1995.

In both cases, the Yankees only started to improve after bottoming out. In 1990, they came in last and drafted Brien Taylor, number one. The following year - still horrendous - they picked Derek Jeter.

Once again, let me state that April is too soon to give up on the 2015 season. But the handwriting on our wall is written with a Sharpie, and it's not washing off. Last night, once again, we watched an old, old, OLD team, which is prone toward injuries that will slooooooly heal. Even if our aging stars do start hitting, they're all big candidates for the DL. And if they don't hit - well - we're stuck with them until they get hurt. If we win the next five, yeah, we'll be in first place. But dammit, it's hard to see this team being up there in July.

So... should we start hoping for the worst?

If the 2015 Yankees completely collapse, it would embarrass the House of Steinbrenner, whose heir owners certainly must remember growing up with the team as an abomination and their dad as a national, late night punch line. New York is a tough place to come in last. There isn't much anyone can do next year - we can't sign any international stars, because the team overspent on a raft of 16-year-old Latinos last fall. Those kids - if they ever make it - won't arrive before 2020. There is talent at Trenton, but every team in baseball has a wave of promising Double A stars.

The fact is this: The next great Yankee is not necessarily in our system.

Our best hope for 2015 is that a wave of injuries decimates the AL East, bringing them all down to our level. Barring that happening, our best shot seems to be the Wild Card. Almost everyone contends for the Wild Card. But we actually may have to root for the worst - for a pile of losses that eliminate hope and cause Hal to start dumping players, rather than trading prospects for another Alfonso or Ichiro. If the Yankees finish low, they can do what Boston did last winter: Start over.

Let's face it: Hal will never sell this team. Nor will he ever lose money, regardless of poor attendance and declining YES viewership. But he can be shamed.

In the meantime, a lot of fans may switch to the Mets. Let them go. It's time for Yankee fans to settle in and accept this team for what it is.

We may someday look back on Chris Capuano... and laugh.


John M said...

We're in last place. Who are we going to beat out in this division? The O's? The Jays? The Rays? I doubt it, three times.

Last night, I was watching A-Rod in the 9th, thinking, he can hit this guy. He's still A-Rod. He could park one. And he grounded to short. End of game.

And suddenly, I flashed back to the late 60s, sitting in my room late at night, my parents asleep, listening to a West Coast game on my GE transistor radio. And Mantle came up in the 9th. He could barely walk, it might have been his last season. The Yanks were losing, might have had a man or two on. And suddenly, he was the Mick. He parked one. Rizzuto went nuts. The Yankees won.

Last night, I really, honestly, truly thought A-Rod could do it. He didn't. But he could've. If Drew can hit a pinch hit grand salami...

Alphonso said...

The problem is that he will trade prospects for more old failures.

Alphonso said...

Drew did a once in 20 year thing for him and for the Yankees. Otherwise, we lose that game also.