Monday, May 23, 2016

The self-identify crisis of being in third place and chasing another Wild Card

Last week, Hal Steinbrenner told his Yankiverse that parity - (not to be confused with profit-sharing) - is here to stay in Major League Baseball. The "Li'l Boss" would love to spend more on the 2016 team, but... dammit! he just can't! Rules are rules. We must accept this, don our Yankee caps and stay tuned to the YES Situation Room for further instructions, as the ongoing crisis develops.

Last week, Hal tweaked the Yankee veterans for poor play, and - voila! - we won five in a row. You'd think it was 1986, the glory days of Dada. Of course, Tex still hasn't homered since Kasich left the race, and the infield is kicking balls like Manchester United. Nevertheless, thank God for Oakland, a franchise already checking High School Class of 2018 stool samples, looking for the next Bryce in that future draft.

We sit one game below .500 - (a metric we once associated with mediocrity) - and 3.5 from the Bud Selig extra Wild Card slot. Depending on whether you are a Chicken Little or a Chick Fil-A, the Wild Card chase has become a defining issue within our motley tribe. Are we better off with 86 wins and a half-court shot, or are we just extending the death limbo state induced by a nepotistic, crony-run front office, which grinds young players into dust by the weight of excessive contracts - and then has the audacity to blame the players.

Listen: We've won five in a row! Dammit, I should not be so solemn. Pineda pitched well yesterday. Has he turned it around? (Wait... why would anyone think that?) Same with Nova. His entire career has been a great outing, hopes raised, then - stink bomb. Why would we think he's changed?

And yet... FUCK ME... that's the essence of fan-hood: Irrational behavior, based on something you project yourself affecting. We're ants on a log floating downstream, but we THINK we're steering.

What if Nova has changed? He could be great! Certainly, Severino is too young to give up on. Sooner or later, Tex has to come around. Headley? Nah. Hicks? I dunno. Gardy, ouch. With luck, we will once again chase that coveted last open urinal - fifth best record in a 15-team league. Most franchises would consider themselves blessed. (See Oakland, Seattle.) Trouble is, the Yankees used to be the Alabama Crimson Tide Football of MLB. Now, we are Syracuse Orangemen.

I am 63. With luck and modern medicine, I've got maybe 20 years of sentience left. I don't want 10 wild cards and a ALCS. I want a great team, one last dynasty, which runs four years, minimal. I want a Mantle, one more Jeter, one final great set of God-gulping moments that - in my final coma - I will relive and cause the beep-beep machine to spike with brain activity. Right now, we're in a long, ugly barf. The last Yankee Barf went 14 years. I'm not sure I have 14 years. And if the wrong person gets elected, I'm not sure any of us do.

So, we're a game below .500. I want to root for this team. But does it mean, come July, we'll simply trade Aaron Judge for another Alphonso Soriano? I honestly don't know what to think. But be careful what you root for... There's a Vernon Wells around every corner.


Anonymous said...


John M said...

Now, that's a mental picture I will wish I didn't have the rest of the day, Anon.

joe de pastry said...

I cannot get excited about the wild card "race," which is like competing to be a less lousy loser.

Anonymous said...


Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Re: Medicine

In 2000, I came down with Legionnaire's Disease. In mid-September. 25-day hospital stay took me into the playoff season.

I was in an induced coma for 12-13 days. Came out of it.

One evening shortly thereafter, my wife switched on the Yankees' game on the TV (I don't know which one, I think it was playoffs). I told her to turn it off. Why? I felt like recycled dung.

I seem to remember that Clemens was pitching -- hard to root for him, even in a Y's uniform. This is what the Yankees on medical treatment are like, buddy.