It's been a minute or two since I did a Top Ten Tuesday post, but back when I was blogging constantly (AKA when I had even less of a life than I do now), they were one of my fave posts to craft up - so let's bring 'em back!
As each member of the Yanks rolled into camp for Spring Training and were pounced upon by the media, every single one of them reiterated the same cliched sentiment: "we just want to repeat what we did last year." A lovely goal, but as history has shown us, a tough one to realize. There are so many variables involved in winning even one World Series - not just your own team's injuries, slumps, and luck (good and bad), but that of 29 other teams, too! - that winning two in a row is no small feat, even with a spectacular team.
The Yanks do have a spectacular team, of course - arguably even better than last year's championship roster. They've got about as good a chance of repeating as any team in recent history, but there's a few things that need
to fall into place just right if they want any chance of back to back titles.Top Ten Things the Yanks Need to Get Ring #28 in 2010:
10) A big year from Cano
. Robby Cano Dont'cha Know had a dandy year last year in most regards - solid defense, stellar average, and a nice burst of power (25 home runs compared to his previous career high of 19). However... he couldn't always hack it in big situations and hit into 22 double plays. If he can get his act together just a tiny bit more, it'd be huge for the team. Let's just hope he's not too distracted by the loss of his BFF to play well - we don't want a repeat of 2008's performance.
9) A decent performance from the Gardner/Winn/Thames contingent
. I've said several times that because of the depth of the rest of the lineup, having a mediocre player in that outfield spot isn't really that big of a deal. That may be true, but there's still no room for a wretched performance. Whoever ends up in that spot needs to at least be consistent and able to contribute to the team in some way - we can't have a .200 hitter going out there every day.
8) Minimal injuries
. It's a "duh" one to even put on here, but really: some of these dudes ain't spring chickens, and we've got at least one guy that is particularly injury-prone (I'm looking at you, Nick Johnson. Try not to trip over a sunflower seed on your way to the dugout.) A rash of ill-timed minor injuries or a totally debilitating injury to a key player like A-Rod or Sabathia could be fatal. To their dreams. And anyone sitting near me when it happens.
7) We need the 2008 Granderson, not the 2009 one
. Last year was a relatively rough year for Curtis, at least in comparison to his previous seasons - he only hit .249 with a .327 OBP (although he did hit 30 homers, which he can hopefully duplicate with the Yanks' homer-friendly right field). Worst of all, his splits last year were heinous - he only hit .183 against lefties last year. We need better.
6) No burnout for Sabathia
. Sabathia has earned a reputation for being a workhorse, never turning down an opportunity to pitch one more inning or on one fewer day of rest. This was key last year, but can he keep it up?
5) Jobamania AND Hughsie need to be ON all year
. Wherever they end up, they both need to finally live up to their hype - and stay healthy. Whichever one ends up starting is going to make a huge impact on the team every five days, and whoever ends up in the 'pen has the ability to be a stabilizing force on the team. Both are important roles, obviously, but it would also be a big morale booster for the team to see both of their young "future stars" finally become stars.
4) A drama-free A-Rod
. I think after last year, we can pretty much confirm that A-Rod's attitude makes a WORLD of difference in his performance - and it also makes it easier for the rest of the team to relax and play their best, too. If A-Rod gets entangled in a baby-mama drama with a Real Housewife of New Jersey or continues to be thrust into the spotlight
for past transgressions, all bets are off.
3) Jorgie MUST be able to catch (and preferably hit) as often as humanly possible - and he needs to hug it out with Burnett
. No offense to Cervelli, but Jorgie better be prepared to play 140 games. Plus, with no Molina to fall back on this year, AJ's gonna have to suck it up and learn to get along with Posada - work on those signs, kiddos.
2) Mariano not to wake up and realize he's 40 years old and shouldn't by any stretch of the imagination still be this good
. For a closer to still be this automatic at this stage in his career is obscene... and absolutely necessary for the Yanks' success. If the Yanks lose the luxury of being able to count on winning just about every game when they take a lead into the 9th inning, maintaining momentum and confidence will get a lot trickier.
1) Girardi needs to prove that his strategy wasn't a fluke
. I cannot begin
to count the number of times last year that I hollered and ranted about Girardi's "over-managing". By the end of September, the man was driving me insane - taking pitchers out when they clearly had more in the tank, giving people days off - I felt like it was killing the rhythm. Clearly, it worked... but I'm not sure I'm convinced it's the best way to do things. Girardi needs to pay close attention to his team this year and make adjustments if necessary (or not - I'm willing to be proved wrong again!)
What say you, YC-ers? Anything you'd like to add to the list?