Yankees Suck postsThursday October 18, 2012
The Fall of the 2012 New York Yankees
In 1922, the upstart New York Yankees played in only their second World Series, once again against John McGraw's New York Giants, and got swept in four. The next year they'd finally beat the Giants for their first World Series title.
In 1963, the Yankees played in their 12th World Series in 14 years, once again against the Dodgers, previously hapless of Brooklyn, now of Los Angeles and led by “the Jewish Kid,” Sandy Koufax, and got swept in four.
In 1976, the Yankees, newly owned by George Steinbrenner after falling into decline under CBS ownership, made it back to their first World Series in 12 years and faced the powerhouse Cincinnati Reds. They got swept them in four.
In 1980, the “Bronx Zoo” Yanks, which won it all in 1977 and '78, during which they used George Brett's Royals as a stepping stone to the title, were not only finally defeated by the Royals; they got swept by them.
That's the last time the New York Yankees have been swept in a postseason. Until today, when the Detroit Tigers knocked them off, 8-1.
During the last few days I've witnessed, at least online, a lot of teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling from Yankees fans.
One friend, or a friend of a friend, a die-hard Yankee fan posted this short-term-memory lament during today's game:
What would George Steinbrenner have done after watching this totally disinterested Yankee lineup?
Here are some of the answers he got:
- Kicked some a** and gotten out the checkbook
- Flirted with a bikini model in the stands?
- Probably would have fired Billy Martin
Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York has told A-Rod to hit the road, jack. He said the 2012 Yankees had no business playing for the title and asked Detroit to end their (or his) misery.
It has. For the second year in a row.
So who was the last team to do that to the Yankees? Beat them two years in a row in the post-season? That would be John McGraw's New York Giants in 1921 and 1922.
We've come full circle. Start spreading the news.
No Tears for Jeter
At first it seemed like postseason baseball as usual.
The Yankees were losing 4-0 in the 9th inning at Yankee Stadium when two recent hires, two ex-Mariners in fact, Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez, both hit 2-run homeruns to tie the game and send it into extra innings. I was actually kind of rooting for Ichiro when he came to the plate with one out and a man on, because it's hard to turn that shit off. C'mon, it's Ichiro. And when Raul came up with two outs and a man on? I didn't assume homerun like everyone else. I wasn't worried. Sure, lightning strikes twice. But three times? Get out of town. When he did it, when Ibanez sent the ball over the right-field wall, I actually laughed out loud. It was so absurd. Has anyone had this kind of postseason? Ever?
It was also depressing. I assumed the game and the series were over right then. You don't give it up in the 9th inning in the postseason at Yankee Stadium and expect to win in extras. So Patricia and I began watching something less depressing, “Delicacy,” a 2011 French film about a young woman (Audrey Tautou) whose husband is killed in a car accident.
But it's a DVD so you pause, and in the pauses I'd check the score. Just to see. It was 4-4 for a while but I was sure, sooner or later, one of those pinstriped bastards would pull a Leyritz or a Jeter or a Boone. They always do.
They didn't. First, Tigers scored two. Second, Derek Jeter, Yankees captain, was helped off the field. Third, Detroit won it in 12. Wow.
It's a broken ankle for Jeter, which means the Yankees, the longest-running prime time soap opera this side of “Law & Order,” are now without their closer (Mo) and their captain (Jeter).
I'll spare the tears. You know how I feel. Jeter's had a good run. He's had a better run than any baseball player deserves. Here are the records he holds in career postseason categories:
- Games played: 158 (33 more than No. 2, Bernie Williams)
- At-Bats: 650 (185 more than Bernie)
- Hits: 200 (72 more than Bernie)
- Runs: 111 (28 over Bernie)
- Total Bases: 302 (79 more than Bernie and Manny Ramirez)
- Doubles: 32 (3 more than Bernie)
- Triples: 5 (tied with Rafael Furcal and George Brett)
- Strikeouts: 135 (26 more than Jorge Posada)
He's also third in homeruns (20), fourth in RBI (61), sixth in stolen bases (18), and first in FOX-Sports slow-motion shots of celebratory prancing and gamboling after the final out.
He's played in 38 World Series games, which isn't even top 10 (those '90s Yanks can't compete with those '50s Yanks), but it's 38 more World Series games than Ernie Banks or Frank Thomas or Ken Griffey, Jr. ever played in.
So no tears.
Here's Tyler Kepner's encomium/hand-wringing in the Times. Meanwhile, in The Detroit Free-Press, Mitch Albom reminds us that it ain't over as long as the fat man pitches.
Then there's, as always, Joey P., who gave me my first big laugh of the morning when the talked up all the big stories in the game last night—the public humiliation of Alex Rodriguez, the misplaced loyalty of Jim Leyland, the Hollywood heroics of Raul Ibanez, and, yes, Derek Jeter and his ankle—and then recounted the conversation he heard post-game on TBS:
“So what's the story of the night?” the question went.
“Delmon Young,” panelist and former pitcher David Wells said.
Exactly, see the … I'm sorry, wait a minute, what? Delmon Young? Because he hit a home run? Because he hit the ball that Nick Swisher misplayed? Delmon Young? That's like saying Johnny Two-Times was the star of “Goodfellas.”
Posnanski's ending is also true and poignant.
Is there a next gen for the Yankees? Or even a voyager?
Jayson Nix will replace Jeter at short but he's a career .214 hitter as well as a recent hire. The core of that '90s Yankees squad was home-grown and organic. This one is made up of Robinson Cano and middle-aged dudes from elsewhere: Teixeira, A-Rod, Granderson, Swisher, Sabathia.
Game 2 at 1 pm PST today. No mercy, Tigers. Derek Jeter would understand.
Sad Yankees Fan of the Day
In honor of the Yankees losing 10-6 to Baltimore last night and sole possession of first place in the AL East, here's your Sad Yankees Fan of the Day. Consider it the first in a series. Collect them all!
The shot is from “Four Days In October,” a one-hour documentary about the 2004 ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. It's one of ESPN.com's “30 for 30” documentaries. I watch it whenever I need to cheer up.
In case you don't know about that series: the Yankees were up three games to none and leading by a run in the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 4 with the greatest closer in baseball history, Mariano Rivera, on the mound. And then ... And then ...
No team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-7 series to even play Game 6. The Red Sox, after decades of humiliation at the hands of the Yankees, came back to play and win Game 7 and go to and win the World Series for the first time since 1918. It's not just the greatest upset in baseball history; it's, with apologies to Jesus, The Greatest Story Ever Told.
And it's currently streaming on Netflix.
OK, that was a mistake.
Yesterday I posted something nice about Derek Jeter, the man whose FOX-Sports-sponsored leaping and gamboling after another world championship haunted the dreams of every Yankee-hating son of a gun (my brethren) in the late 1990s. It was a first. Me saying something nice about Jeter.
And it led to this post on my Facebook page:
If any of you had someone on your team even a teeny bit remotely like Jeter you would be awash in sentimental plaudits. Face it - he is simply THE BEST!!! GO JETER!! GO YANKEES!
The apparent assumption in the above is that Jeter doesn't get enough attention; that, unlike this MLB poll from a few years ago, he's not the most overrated player in baseball but actually underrated.
There was a phrase I could feel in the back of my mind, forming, but I didn't wait for it to form. I simply responded with a kind of mild amusement under which something else percolated:
Well, in a ranking of career OPS, he's currently ranked 238th, tied with Harlond Clift, and 232 places away from Albert Pujols. But if you want to call that THE BEST, feel free.
That didn't stop it, of course. It escalated it. It led to a discussion of baseball being more than numbers, and how character matters, and how Jeter has character and is a leader, etc. Then this from the Yankees fan:
Because I am SO TIRED of Yankee haters waxing poetic about their own half baked players while viciously tearing down Jeter. I love baseball and any player who plays the game right. I don't respect the ones who don't no matter what team they play for. I grew up in NY and have been a Yankee fan since I was 9 years old. You know it's just jealousy, not rational baseball assessment.
At which point I should've taken a klonopin.
This was a discussion with someone who's never heard the phrase, “He'll look good in pinstripes.” This is someone who doesn't understand that the true finish to her sentence, “If any of you had someone on your team even a teeny bit remotely like Jeter...” is “...the Yankees would have taken him a long time ago.”
I kept returning to that redundant, under-the-top phrase ...even a teeny bit remotely like Jeter. I thought of Edgar Martinez, a career .300/.400/.500 with the Seattle Mariners who never made the cover of Sports Illustrated. I thought of underrated stars like Paul Konerko, Adrian Beltre, Billy Butler.
Even a teeny bit remotely like Jeter...
Mildly amused gone. Buttons pushed. Erik smash.
Thirty-three comments later, we ended it.
I ended it with the phrase I could feel forming in the back of my mind at the beginning of the conversation. It's what Crash Davis says to the player who stands and appreciates his homerun after being told what pitch is coming:
That was my feeling.
I give you a GIFT and you stand there and show up my Facebook page with your Yankee rantings? Run, dummy!
Elsewhere on FB, another Yankees fan, even before last night's 6-1 loss to Baltimore, was lamenting the state of the team. I checked the standings. They were in first place in the AL East but other teams were within spitting distance. They had the second-best record in the American League but just second best. That's a time of celebration for fans of most baseball teams but a time to lament if you're a Yankees fan. Yankee fans have what Louis C.K. refers to as “white people problems.” That's where your team is amazing so you make shit up to be upset about.
I call the Yankees and their fans the 1% of baseball and they are. As the rich have no clue what it means to be poor, Yankee fans have no clue what it means to be a fan of the Kansas City Royals, or Pittsburgh Pirates, or Seattle Mariners. To develop talent only to see it taken by the Yankees. To have no shot in June, or April, or during the off-season. To have no money, or hope, or banners. They don't realize that this is what we're saying when we say: Yankees Suck.
Where on the All-Time Hits List Will Derek Jeter Suck?
The following poll is on the Baseball Nation site in a Rob Neyer article, riffing off a Joshua Prager piece, entitled: “Does Derek Jeter Have Pete Rose in His Sights”?:
Where on the all-time hits list will Derek Jeter finish?
They left out a 7th option:
Of course, if he breaks Rose's record, this ticket will be worth so much more.
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard