Monday, February 23, 2009
Sweet Mother of God, the Season is Already Over
Is that statement a little overblown? Yes, of course it is. Is it true? No, don't be silly. They haven't even played a game yet. The bottom line, though, is that after a few years of assembling good, yet slightly dysfunctional, teams that failed to perform on the big stage, the Yanks decided to take matters into their own hands and have, by far, the splashiest offseason of any team in baseball.
This means that reality, once again, is suspended in the Bronx. It doesn't matter if the Yankees are actually the best team based on personnel, because ultimately, they're the best in everyone's minds. They're the best "on paper", and that's all that matters. We're now firmly all the way back into the realm of unrealistic expectations and extreme consequences that we found ourselves in after the tangible successes of the late 90's and early 00's, only this time they purchased the lofty expectations with Big Stein's Black Card.
Barack Obama has it tough, but I'll tell you one thing, Joe Girardi just inherited the hardest job in the world. He needs to win it all. I don't just mean the World Series, I mean every single game the Yankees play. 162-0 or bust. And he somehow needs to speed up time and win the Series in the next three months, or face the inevitable question, "I know it's only June, Joe, but why do you think your club hasn't won the World Series yet?"
Anything short of a June World Series victory by Girardi and the Yankees will be a considered a failure, punishable by loss of his skippership.
And let's be clear about one thing: The expectations are based in fact. The Yankees are fearsome. Their rotation features CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain - WTF? They could be unstoppable. Their bullpen is composed of solid lefty set-up man Damaso Marte, who leads up to Mariano - Lights OUT! The line-up has more former all-stars on the bench than most teams will have starting. Now you're starting to see why, not only is their eventual World Series Championship inevitable, but since they'll have most games wrapped up by the 2nd or 3rd inning, they should have plenty of extra time to fight crime or help old ladies cross the street in the Bronx.
But let's just take off our rose-colored glasses for a minute and see if we can't imagine a few problems this team may run into in 2009:
The starting Catcher, Shortstop, Left Fielder, DH, a Starting Pitcher and the Closer are all 35+. ALL are already showing signs of age in varying degrees (whether that be in ability or durability) and have been for the last year or so at least. That's not me talking, that's just a fact even Doc himself would have to agree with. They just ain't getting any younger.
This one ties in nicely with concern #1 - lots of the current Yanks, young and old, just looooove to get hurt. They eat it up. It's the bee's knees, the cat's meow, well...it's just the tops. Tell me if you think this line up will go 162-0:
DH Johnny Damon*
SS Cody Ransom
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
RF Xavier Nady
LF Nick Swisher
2B Robison Cano
C Jose Molina
CF Brett Gardner
What you see before you, albeit unlikely, could happen. And if it does, Girardi better have his resume in order.
*Side note - I'm legitimately concerned about Johnny Damon. This is not baseball related. I'm concerned that he might be borderline retarded. Have you ever heard this man speak? My God, something is wrong with him, and I don't mean your garden variety dim witted pro athlete. This guy can hardly form words and manipulate the muscles in his mouth. I think he may have some sort of neurological disorder that has gone undiagnosed for years.