Some Yankees fans continue to amaze me. After they were swept in Boston over the weekend, what I heard on talk radio the past two days were disgruntled fair-weather fans railing how awful this team is with some saying they will drop their season tickets.
Fair-weather because how can one turn on a team that has been so good for so long? Drop your tickets if economics is the factor, not because of how this team played.
I covered the Yankees for eight years, including those three straight World Series championships, and the players never had the sense of entitlement some fans had then and many projected this summer.
Where is it written the Yankees should get a pass into the playoffs? They have to earn their way into October. Bernie Williams thought that way. So did Paul O’Neill, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. And, Derek Jeter, of course.
The players’ mantra with those teams was nothing was a given and every year is different. Meanwhile, many in the stands yawned and said, “don’t bother me until October.’’
However, this season both the media and fans have written off the Yankees for months. They did after losing four games to the Mets; when they were swept by the White Sox; for losing two of three recently in Toronto; and, of course, losing seven of their last eight to Boston. They’ll be written off again after losing at Toronto Tuesday night.
Those who haven’t written off the Yankees are the players in that clubhouse.
Despite losing Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson for large chunks of the season; with C.C. Sabathia and Pettitte not effective; and recent problems with their bullpen, the Yankees are still in the hunt. The Yankees are in a pennant race, yet many fans complain how terrible they are. Ninety victories won’t happen, but October might, and that’s what’s important.
Mets fans can only wish for their team to be in that situation.
How the Yankees will look next year, their attempts to cut their payroll to $189 million next season and what will happen with Rodriguez’s appeal are irrelevant. Worry about that in the off-season. The Yankees always have been a now franchise, and the playoffs can happen and that’s what’s important.
From what he inherited to where they are now, the Red Sox’s John Farrell will probably get the manager of the year award, but considering what he had to overcome, this might be Joe Girardi’s finest managerial job.
The Yankees as we’ve known them are changing rapidly and there might come a time, perhaps sooner than later, pennant races will be something to be remembered rather than experienced.
Their schedule is favorable, including three against the Rays next week at home. Your team is in a pennant race and that is to be enjoyed.
Don’t lament that this group isn’t a juggernaut. Instead, embrace its grit for what it endured and what could still happen.