Every year, the Yankees basically start the season with the ball on “my” forty yard line. I concede that financial muscle doesn’t guarantee a championship but it does ensure ridiculously good field position every April. And good field position, in the hands of good stewards, usually ends up in six points.
That major league baseball was able to keep the Yankees out of the end zone for EIGHT straight years was a wonderful accomplishment and one deserving of celebration. Think about that for a moment. For eight years, from 2001-2008, the Yankees were stuffed in the red zone eight times. Well more like seven as the 2008 Yanks never made it all the way to the twenty. That admission aside, you could take the 1985 Bears, give them an extra defender, and they still wouldn’t be able to get seven RZ stops.
Unfortunately, the Yankees of 2009 were finally able to convert as Brian Cashman stumbled on a nut or two and the new additions helped get the ball across the line. It was a nauseating to watch that club celebrate in the end zone but I consoled myself in the belief that the defense couldn’t hold forever and one score every decade was hardly the end of the world.
The same can’t be said for back-to-back scores and in early August, that looked like a disgusting possibility as the Yankees were rolling through the American League. Thankfully, the Yankees closed poorly and last night, on fourth and seven from the Rangers 13, the Bombers were sacked and the season came to an abrupt end. That the plucky Yankees were stuffed should come as no surprise as they have dropped eight of their last twelve “elimination” games. But that doesn’t make the bite any less sweet. Because whenever the Yankees get stopped on downs, it is reason to celebrate.
Ah, what a glorious morning!
I think what I love most about Yankee eliminations is the fact that the destruction is so thorough. And that is because the organization’s own mission statement defines success strictly as a season that ends with a championship. Accordingly, any season that doesn’t end with a ring ceremony is, by self-admission, a failure. And it warms my heart when I am given the opportunity to label the Yankees as failures. So without further adieu, it is with a warm heart that I introduce to you … the 2010 New York Yankees … AMERICAN LEAGUE FAILURES! McGovern’s Candidacy, New Coke, Communism, Greenspan’s Rate Policy, Betamax, Confederate Secession, and the 2010 New York Yankees ….. all blistering failures.
So let’s just sum up the Yankee decade. Since Mariano failed on that desert mound back in 2001, the Yankees have spent $1.8 billion on major league payroll and another $200 million in luxury tax for exactly one championship. The return on that invested capital is even worse than the punk returns Verizon is getting on its FIOS investment. Needless to say, it has been a GREAT decade for Yankee haters.
And going forward, there is reason for optimism. Sure, the Yankees could throw a ton of money at their problems this winter, making it likely that the 2011 club will get possession on the AL’s 37 yard line. But what if Cliff Lee likes it in Texas? And what if he stays? In that event, the Yankees have some warts. There is a third baseman in decline. There is a catcher who has one step in the grave. The right-fielder is bidding to be the worst post-season Yank since Winfield. The staff that is littered with question marks. And most importantly, there is a devilish problem at short. All told, the Yanks have a bunch of blemishes ready to sprout and if they can’t apply any “Cliff Lee,” those blemishes may look quite unseemly six months from now.
But let’s leave all that for another day. Because today is about celebrating another Yankee failure. This one may not have taken place on the goal line but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t sweet. And while the Red Sox season may have ended in disappointment, I can take solace in the fact that at least the Yankees were kept out of the end zone …. AGAIN!