This hurts. This is not fun. This makes Sox (and everyone else) happier. This is disappointing. Most of all, this is not a surprise.
The Yanks (version 2008) are done.
I guess I knew it was coming. I felt it going into this year (and truth be told, last year, too, but I wasn't officially blogging a year back). This team is not built to win it all this season. I mentioned more than a few times that I'd be OK with a missed post-season if the Yanks kept the farm system intact and a major part of their future, and I think that's precisely where we are headed.
The road to disappointment is paved with a thousand if's. The Yanks have plenty of what if's to ponder. Here are a few of mine, feel free to add your own.
- Wang didn't get hurt
- Posada didn't get hurt
- Hughes didn't get hurt
- Matsui didn't get hurt
- Joba didn't get hurt
- Damon didn't get hurt and could still throw the ball (not a 16-hopper to 2B)
- Cano didn't regress so badly
- Cano gave max effort all the time
- Melky didn't get exposed as merely a 4th outfielder rather than a starting CF for a contending team
- Abreu showed any fire (yeah, I know it's not his style) and could catch a ball near the fence
- Hughes and Kennedy combined for more than 0 wins. ZERO?!?
- Giambi was able to show some semblance of consistency
- Ponson was merely the answer to a bad trivia question, rather than our nominal #3 right now
- Dan Geise wasn't needed to help keep a rotation afloat
- Rasner didn't turn into a pumpkin so quickly
- Jeter didn't look so old at the plate
- ARod didn't chase every ball that was low and away
- Pettitte didn't look so hittable
- Justin Christian wasn't your starting LF in a critical game against the team just in front of you for the wildcard
- Moose hadn't found the Fountain of Youth
Yesterday morning I read a story in one of the New York tabloids -- not unlike stories I've read in the New York tabloids for the past, oh, six or seven years -- in which some putatively ballsy New York writer tells Yankees fans how it really is: the Bombers are no longer the class of the league. The party is over. Get used to looking up at Tampa or Boston or Anaheim or Chicago or whoever. It's always styled as hard truths and tough love, and it's always ridiculous. It's especially ridiculous this year, in that Yankees fans -- who are rightly, I think, reputed to be among the most knowledgeable in baseball -- are well aware that any team trotting out a squad consisting of Justin Christian, Xavier Nady, Richie Sexon, and Sidney Ponson in mid August is not a contender, let alone the class of the league. They don't need a writer to tell them this. Instead, maybe they need some writers who can help them analyze this new reality as opposed to dwell on the end of a party everyone left hours and hours ago.I have promised those of you who are kind enough to drop by and read that I'd always try to give you the straight dope on the team I grew up rooting for. I haven't, for one second, thought the team was the class of the league. Haven't thought so for years. We've been merely competitive the last few years, nothing more. Our shortcomings have been obvious and this is the year that it all finally came to roost.
Frequent reader and poster themarksmith noted this on his quiz, presumably about the Yanks: Karma finally comes back to bite you for winning too damn much. Karma? Maybe. I don't think karma plays much of a role but I do think age caught up with the Yanks (too old, too young). The lack of balance was painful.
OK, the wallowing in regret portion of our posting is now over. We need to get started on the rebuild portion. Email/post your thoughts on what the Yanks need to do for 2009 and beyond. I NEED YOUR HELP! Full credit given if you post your name/location. I want to make this an audience participation event.
Seriously, what do the Yanks need to do?
Who should they keep?
Who should they target (and who will realistically SIGN with the team)?
Who should they trade/dump?