Friday, May 22, 2015

The Yankees may be in second, but they still lead the league in self-congratulatory praise

"I'm saying, I'm an insect who dreamed he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over... and the insect is awake. I'm saying, I'll hurt you if you stay." 
Jeff Goldblum (as scientist Seth Brundle) in "The Fly" (1986)... summing up the 2015 Yankees.

Yesterday, the Yankees fell into 2nd place in the AL East, arguably the worst division in baseball. Unless they regain the lead, they will have failed to outlast the sorry 2014 Yankees, who held first until May 22, and the even-sorrier 2013 version, which somehow lasted until May 24. 

Already, Hal Steinbrenner is promising trade deadline deals, vowing to fortify this listing ghost ship with a new gaggle of vets who have outstayed welcomes in other cities. It's the new midsummer tradition: The Yankees' flea market splurge.

What will then follow is yet another wave of Yankee front office bow-taking. Alfonso Soriano, what a steal! The Yankees pried loose Chase Headley and gave up nothing! Chris Young, what a pick-up! How does Brian Cashman do it! 

The Yankees may be in second, but they still lead all of baseball in premature self-ejaculatory praise. It couldn't be more blatant if Brian Cashman addressed the world on an Air Force carrier in front of a sign that said "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED."   

It's not just the YES Network and John Sterling's "Driven (Insane) by Jeep" blatherings. They are paid to sell the team. But even though they know better, the NY courtier sports press seems unable to help itself in prematurely praising the Yankee front office. Stephen Drew, what a steal! The Yankees pried loose Nathan Evaldi and gave up nothing! How does Brian Cashman do it!

"... their bullpen is every bit as good as general manager Brian Cashman hoped it would be when he overhauled it," marveled MLB.Com in late April. 

And now... well... second place. The dream is probably over. They'll hurt us if we stay.

Which we will. We have no choice. Let me apologize in advance for the things I will say this summer about the team I have been blessed and condemned to love. 

In the great days of our last dynasty - a previous Millennium, by the way - the team constantly bumbled through May, like a fighter warming up. Then they gelled in July and August. These Yankee teams seem to always be built to win this week's games, with the notion that next week, somebody new will pop from the waiver wire. If you bounce around the Yankee blogs, how much time do they spend speculating on possible scrap heap pickups? We are in an endless cycle of tired players replacing tired players. 

They are nice men, for the most part. Seriously. I never wanted to dislike Carlos Beltran. He's had a great career. Why did we have to get him at the end of it? Seriously. It's no fun to rip Chris Capuano. But when the Yankees spend the last month promoting his return, as if all will be OK when he gets here, well, it's impossible not to be disappointed. Years ago, Jason Giambi had it right when he said the fans only boo because they want to cheer. Yet the Yankees consistently punt on young players and drink from well of yesterday's all-stars - (Want to throw up? Compare the stats of Yangervis Solarte and Headley) - and in the meantime, we constantly hear how smart they are... as if we cannot even see the standings.

I hope I'm wrong here, but hope doesn't buy us anything. The Yankees are stuck in an old B-movie. And they keep awarding themselves Oscars.

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