Well, the season is effectively over. The team has been eliminated and the Girardi has switched to "let's see what these no-names and prospects can do" mode when creating his lineup.
I was hesitant to start throwing blame around while the Yanks were technically still in the mix, but now that the FAIL has been made official I think it'd be interesting to get some opinions on who - if anyone - and/or what y'all think is at fault. Obviously, there were a LOT of problems plaguing the team, from injuries to slumps to peeps not living up to their expectations, but I can't help but think that there has to be one prevailing reason that the team couldn't hack it.
Or perhaps I just want to single someone/something out so that I can comfort myself with the fact that at least there is a REASON they lost... and that if that person/thing just shaped up for 2009 things would be totally different. Ya hear?
BTW... a) This is the first time I've been able to use the Bern Bernie Bern tag in 9 months b) It is also the first time I've used Jorgie Porgie's tag since his injury
So! Y'all know that I've been more than just a tad disappointed about the FAIL way the team played in the middle of the season and truly think that they HAD the potential to make it to the post-season and simply squandered away their chances by playing sloppily and without passion. I do understand that a team can't make the playoffs every year and blah blah blah, but when a team is packed with talent it's still a disappointment.
Last night, though, I completely forgot about that disappointment. In a word, last night was magical. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but I implore you to deny that it was just that. I could not have imagined a better send-off for the stadium - it was incredibly well done. The turnout of Yankee legends made the night so special, especially to see them all on the field. The highlight for me was the tribute and special attention given to Bernie, since nothing like that was done after his final game back in '06. I kind of thought they might take the opportunity to retire his number, but perhaps they'll do that once he finally "officially" retires.
Other fave moments:
Boomer! God I love that man. He seems like such good times, even though I fear that if I were to hang out with him (how 'bout it, Boom Dawg?) I would wind up in a jail cell in Tijuana (even if we were partying at a bar in NYC. Somehow, we would end up there.)
I'm so glad Jorgie was there. It was awesome to see him back in the dugout and chit-chatting with the Jeet et al.
Having Babe's daughter throw out the first pitch was the most perfect choice they could have made.
Even though he can be annoying, I appreciate them giving Michael Kay the mic for all the pre-game announcing. He's the TV voice/face of the Yanks and deserved the honor.
Mariano's 1-2-3 9th was the perfect way to end the game and cap off 85 years of Yankee Stadium. He's the best closer in the history of the game and to have anyone else throw out the final pitch would have been a shame.
Obviously, the fact that they won was ideal. Woulda been a bust if they went out on a loss.
Jeet's fan-appreciation speech after the game was classic and heartwarming. Things wouldn't be the same without all the hardcore fans, and it was nice to see the crew tipping their hats in thanks.
I am not one of those folks that think moving to a new stadium is some horrible act of sacrilege that will ruin tradition - I'm looking forward to it and think sparkly new digs suit the grand aura of the Yanks. Last night was the perfect way to end the era, celebrate the past and get excited for the future.
One last thing: I honestly and truly believe that ANY true baseball fan should have enjoyed or at the very least appreciated the extravaganza last night. I don't care if you're a Red Sox fan, lifelong Yankee hater, engaged in a plural marriage with Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez - last night was about history. I've already heard a couple Red Sox fans denouncing it and saying "YOUR TEAM DIDN'T EVEN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS LOLZ" and I find that pathetic. Don't bother calling yourself a baseball fan.
One more last thing: Here's a vid of the final inning I found on the ol' You Tubez. Relive the magic!
Courtesy of the YCD, who is even more broken up about the disastrous season than I:
"The only reason I even tune in anymore is to watch A-Rod's at-bats."
When the YCD, a man who learned how to use a computer solely because he wanted to watch the blacked out games on mlb.tv, can no longer stomach to watch these games, we know things are in a truly dismal state.
On the other hand, I appreciate his support for A-Rod.
It's not that I dislike the kid - on the contrary, I always root for him and really want him to succeed. He's just so. Freaking. Frustrating. WHY can't he pitch at the major league level this year? He did it last year and showed great potential - getting all of our hopes up! Then this year... the hell? What happened, Philly Cheesesteak?
Here's what he did last year (AKA The Great FOOLED YOU Caper): Appearances: 13 IP: 72.7 Record: 5-3 ERA: 4.46 WHIP: 1.208 Shining Moment: 5/1/07, when he took a no-hitter into the 6th against the Rangers.
And now let's take a gander at how he's done this year: Appearances: 7 IP: 26.0 Record: 0-4 ERA: 7.96 WHIP: 2.038 Shining Moment: Um... I guess going 4 innings and giving up 1 run yesterday.
See what I'm saying, munecas? Yes, he only have up 1 run yesterday, but he really didn't look good and it took him 89 pitches to get through it.
Don't get me wrong - I haven't totally given up on the dude. He was rushed into the majors in the first place and he's had a lot of injury problems. There is certainly a chance for a turnaround. It's just painful to watch him at the moment, and I implore any of you to disagree.
BTW: How's that Santana trade deal proposed by the Twins looking now?
With 10 games left to play/butcher, the Yanks' elimination number is down to a meager 3 games. That's right: we're just any combination of 3 Yankees losses and/or wins by anyone ahead of us (D-Rays and Sox in division race, as well as the Twinsies in the WC hunt) from the season actually being over.
Not that it hasn't been over for quite some time now... but the official failure is still going to be hard to take. Its truly a shame, and not just because they're breaking their amazing million-years-in-a-row post-season streak. The true sadness is that they are leaving the old stadium on a sad note, which is just not the Yanks style. The Yankees have made history with broken records, World Series wins, flashy plays, big name players, and a penchant for fanfare - having the final few games at Yankee Stadium mean nothing in terms of season status just seems wrong.
And unexpected! Who would have guessed at the beginning of the year that our team would disintegrate into a pile of FAIL? I suppose our naive belief in Hughsie/IPK did us in. As did Cano.
Now that we've all given up on the season in terms of "success", it's time to settle for hoping our dudes will pad their stats a bit and at least let the year die with a little dignity. It's a true pity that they couldn't manage to scrape together a few wins and send the old stadium out with a bang, but we can't do anything about that at this point, so let's focus on the good sugar instead.
Good thing numero uno: A-Rod hit a sweet grand salami yesterday for his 34th homer of the year, leaving him just 1 shy of 12 35+ homer seasons. I am still holding out hope for a hearty 40, but that would take some serious work and perhaps luck. He's always good when there's no pressure, though, and with the season essentially over there really is none to speak of. It could happen.
Giambi hit a big homer himself during the game on Sunday, number 30 on the season. He's now hit 30 or more longballs 8 times in his career - and some of those 8 were steroid free!!! WOOOT!
Those weren't the only homers in the game! I've reserved lo mas importante for last. The Jeet hit #11 in the 5th, the 1,269th hit in his career. With just 7 home games left to play, Jeter tied up Lou Gehrig for the most hits in Yankee Stadium. Twas a heartwarming moment indeed (and hats off to the fan that caught the ball and gave it back to the Jeet, you're a kind soul and a good fan).
Speaking of DJ, his average is a healthy .306 now. Moral of the story: Jeter never disappoints. He always comes through.
Yes, yesterday was indeed a good day for the team - a bright spot amidst what has been a truly pathetic/embarrassing/soul-crushing season. The boys were hitting, Mo actually got the chance to save a game, the bullpen didn't jack things up, A-Rod hit a homer, and Jeter played the role of legend. It honestly breaks my tender heart to know that for the first time in my fandom, the season ends after 162 games.
He may be an old, fat (though admittedly not as grande as he used to be), ex-juicer, but the Giambino has really stepped up his game this year. Perhaps it's because he's in a contract year, or maybe he really does hit better when he's playing in the field... whatever it is, we owe him a hearty thank you for his valiant (though ultimately fruitless) attempts to keep the team in the running.
Let's take a gander at what he's done this year:
Batting average: .248 - this is essentially insignificant in my humble little opinion. I'm an OBP girl. I just want dudes on base and saving outs.
OPB: .374 - better than Jeter, Abreu, Nady, Pudge...
Slugging %: .507 - third on the team after A-Rod and Nady (another chap who deserves a thank you and a return trip to the Bronx next year)
Homers: 29 - 15 more than last year, and if he hits just one more (which I anticipate he shall) he'd have 8 seasons with 30+ homers.
RBI: 90 - no small feat when the rest of the losers on this team are never on base.
And his fielding: 101 games at 1st base, more than he's played since 2001 with the A's - and he's only made 7 errors. Not spectacular, but he hasn't been a total butcher. Still lunges awkwardly though.
I've always liked this man, even when he sucked, and I'm glad to see him doing well. It's unfortunate that his efforts were in vain (and BTW: if you haven't officially given up on the season yet, I pity you for the eventual sadness in which you will soon be engulfed), but it's still been nice to watch.
Let's start taking bets on where he'll end up next year and how much cash he'll get. In today's market, he'll still get a sweet deal - fat and old or not.
In response to some emails I've received this week... NO, I have not been neglecting the blog because of the Yankees' fail factor. I just have no time. I work full time and go to school. I'm doing my best here, peeps.
A-Rod might not reach his usual 40+ homer total this year (THANKS, DL), but he will go down in history as the first player to have a homer officially reviewed by the brand spankin' new instant replay system.
He was the victim of a bad call earlier in the year, when his homer in Yankee Stadium was incorrectly ruled a double (if he winds up with 39 homers, he's going to be extremely bitter about that one). This time, with the help of fancy technology that has been available in other sports for years, when the officials were unsure as to whether a ball he smacked that hit the catwalk should be a ruled a homer, they were able to get the call right.
If you're an instant replay detractor, how are you feeling about things now that it's actually been used - successfully?
In addition to being swamped with the wonders of work and school, my poor soul is also being crushed by my team... as they continue to get crushed by everyone from the Jays to the Sox to that delightfully heart-warming little group of ball-playing rapscallions from Hawaii.
Sigh. For more on my feelings regarding the trauma, refer to the previous post.
Anyway. Just wanted to mention another quick bit of sadness today, this one for all you mathematics enthusiasts out there (REMEMBER! I am the former Vice President of the La Canada High School math club): There is a legitimate chance that if this team doesn't shape up, they won't finish the year at the .500 mark (82 wins). With just 73 wins under their belt at this point and 25 games to go, they need to go 9-16 just to maintain some sense of dignity. Sounds easy enough, but their opponents this month are the Angels, BoSox, Jays, Rays, O's, ChiSox, and Mariners - several of which are actually, ya know, good teams.
In 2009 Curtis Granderson published a book: All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It! Granderson "shares the lessons that he learned growing up--the importance of family and choosing the right friends, the power of listening and staying positive, and most important, the value of being yourself."
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