posted 03/29/14 at 3:44am
on Looking ahead to the Sweet 16
posted by Draft Day Suit
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 1:39pm EDT
A (usually) humorous look at sports written by popular parent bloggers and some of their friends.
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1. Karmic Debt
The advent of George Steinbrenner’s ownership of the Yankees roughly coincided with the advent of free agency, Watergate, disco and the birth of many Draft Day Suit writers. As an era, it was a karmic black hole. Steinbrenner’s persistence and depthless evil helped to drive the franchise to great success in the 70s and again in the 90s… but the current NYY championship drought testifies to the scientific certainty that all the birds are coming home to roost. This should persist for at least another 15 years, following which point balance will be restored and the Yankees will once again be operating on a karmically level playing field. See you in ‘24, Yankees fans!
2. Vengeful Economic Gods
Is it a coincidence that the global economic meltdown coincides with the opening of the new Yankee Stadium and its $200,000/game premium seats? (I’m guesstimating on the actual seat cost, but feel that I’m in the ballpark, at the very least. So to speak.) Answer: Noooooo. Greed may have been good in the go-go Gordon Gecko 80s, but these here are different times — and the price exacted by the economic gods for the vanity of building billion-dollar temples to one’s own magnificence are bad press, public mockery, and postseason failure. (See also: Dallas Cowboys)
CC Sabathia is a monster. But once you get past him… um… AJ Burnett? I think I read somewhere that his second-half ERA this season is hovering in the 14.50 range. And Andy Pettitte? That’s terrific. If, you know, we wake up tomorrow and it’s 1998 again. And then… um… I’m not really sure. Ian Kennedy? Hideki Irabu? Ed Whitson? These are all scintillating options. Good luck!
4. Johnny Damon as Power Hitter
Look, I’m not irrational. I realize that when Damon defected from the Red Sox to the Yankees, a lot of Boston fans completely lost their minds and saw the signing as an act of ultimate betrayal. Which is an understandable reaction to the degree that you grasp the great emotional connection Damon forged with Boston fans during the ‘04 season, when his happy-go-lucky attitude and long hair and beard had thousands in the greater Boston area wearing t-shirts bearing his image and the WWJDD (What Would Johnny Damon Do?) message… and which is also completely absurd, when you understand that his signing with the Yankees was very much a product of the Sox underestimating the market for him and the Yankees playing their cards very, very intelligently.
That said, Johnny Damon is not and has never been a power hitter. He’s a slap hitter: a contact guy good for maybe 15 homers a year, solid average and once-great speed that’s diminished with age. Which is fine. The fact that he’s on his way to suddenly establishing a career high in homers and slugging percentage at the age of 35 may suggest that the new Yankee Stadium has an insanely inflationary effect on power numbers… but it also brings to mind Barry Bonds’ sudden, late-career leaps to 49 and then 70 HRs. I’m not saying Damon is on the juice, but in this day and age – when everyone is under suspicion – it’s the kind of phenomenon you can’t help but raise an eyebrow at.
5. The Curse of Joe Torre
He’s Italian. They’re good with curses. ‘Nuff said.
6. The Appalling Overexposure of Derek Jeter’s Hit Count
Don’t get me wrong: Jeter is a legitimately exceptional and important player, and a certain Hall of Fame candidate. And his ongoing march toward the 3000 hit mark is very impressive. But the amount of media coverage that accompanied his recent eclipsing of Lou Gehrig’s record for most career hits by a member of the Yankees was just obscene. Does ANYONE outside of the tri-state area who doesn’t own a Yankees hat care? At all? It’s an accomplishment, and I hope he takes some pride in it, but Jeter becoming the Yankees all-time hit leader is an accomplishment on a par with Tim Wakefield’s slow march toward becoming the Red Sox all-time wins leader. If you’re a fan, it’s a point of some interest. If not, you’re indifferent at best.
Subsequently: daily, nationwide coverage of Jeter’s march toward Yankee immortality? Overkill. Overexposure. And, perhaps, an overriding reason for the Yankees’ late-season swoon. (Note the timing, people…)
7. Kris Whatsisname – The Middle-of-the-Road-Boring-Guy – Will Be The Surprise Winner
Oh, wait. That was American Idol. Never mind.
8. Clemens Backlash
Remember when Roger Clemens was being hailed as the greastest pitcher of his generation, and perhaps one of the greatest of all time? It seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Now, of course, he’s a pariah on a scale comparable only with Barry Bonds and Pete Rose — a man now seen as a symbol of all that is wrong with sports, and a powerful testimony to how a great athlete once seen as worthy of praise and worship can be, in fact, a truly rotten human being. I’m not sure how this ties into the fact that the Yankees won’t win the World Series this year, so we’ll just file this under “intangibles.”
9. The Kinder, Gentler Joe Girardi
Yeah… um… I’m not buying it. The guy made his name as a hardass. It worked for him in Florida, where it helped him to take a no-budget Marlins team far beyond anyplace anyone expected them to go, and where he won Manager of the Year as a consequence — but which also cost him his job there that same season, as his refusal to compromise or rein in his opinion that the Marlins’ ownership was doing the franchise and the fans a disservice by running them as a deep-discount operation ultimately led Jeffrey Loria and his partners to fire him.
Fast-forward to last year, where Girardi’s hardass ways not only contrasted vividly with those of his predecessor Torre but actively clashed with his star-studded, veteran-heavy team — and subsequently led them nowhere.
Given all this as backstory, we’re supposed to believe that this past off-season he suddenly grew a heart – you know, like The Grinch! – and that’s why the Yankees are the best team in baseball this season? I’m thinking… no. I’m thinking… Girardi is putting up a front, but this late-season swoon is going to combine with troubles in the first round of the playoffs to lead Girardi to blow his stack once and for all in true Dante’s Peak style – resulting in the immolation of several players (e.g. Posada, Cano, Chamberlain) who will be reduced to cinders and, therefore, ineligible for roster inclusion. Which is why the Yankees won’t win it all.
10. Because It Would Depress The Hell Out Of Everyone
We’re still teetering on the precipice of a true global depression. A Yankees World Series victory could be the tipping point that sends us screaming over the edge. I realize that’s a different kind of depression than what I suggested in the item headline, but let’s not get lost in the infinite subtleties of the English language : the point is that Yankees win! Yankees win! could have apocalyptic psychosocioeconomic implications.
For the good of all mankind… the Yankees must lose.
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