BRONX, NY – Its October once again and the the journey that began in April for New Yorkâ€™s baseball teams has come to an end. For the blue and orange half of the city, October means the end of what seemed like a six-month root canal (see bottom of page). It also marks the beginning of months of second-guessing, complaining and the guillotining of heads. For the Yankees, though, October means the beginning of Baseballâ€™s Second Season and here are some thoughts on that:
After missing the playoffs in 2008, the Yanks splashed some serious moolah on CC Sabbathia and A.J. Burnett to bolster their starting rotation. Sabbathia has been a horse while Burnett has had his Ollie Perez moments, but like CC, he has stepped up when needed.
They also swooped in, last-minute style, to secure Mark Teixeira for first base. Not only has this guy hit like crazy but his solid defense and work ethic would make Don Mattingly proud. He also hustles around the bases. Luis Castillo knows all about that.
All the money was well spent for a change. What they got in return for their considerable investment was 103 wins, the best record in baseball and a date with the red-hot Twins in the ALDS. The key difference between this group and recent ones, though, is that this group is hungry. We haven’t seen that in the Bronx in recent years. It’s refreshing. So’s a 1-0 lead in the series.
Most non-Yankee fans want to see the Yankees lose spectacularly this off-season, but these arenâ€™t the Yanks of the past. The Yankees are likable this year. Long gone of the days of Kenny Lofton and Randy Johnson. Forgotten are the days of Jared Wright and Gary Sheffield. And let’s just pretend that the whole Kevin Brown thing never happened. The new-look Yankees now bear some semblance to the good guys.
Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera have been stand-up characters in pinstripes for the better part of the last fifteen years and the recent additions have followed in the footsteps of the seasoned veterans. From Nick Swisherâ€™s antics in right field to Jorge Posadaâ€™s hard-nosed play behind the plate to A.J. Burnettâ€™s pie-in-the-face routine, the Bronx Zoo moniker now has a positive connotation.
This is not a perfect team, though. They have have lingering issues that still swirl around A-Rod like his self-destructive streak, steroid issues, marital problems and Derek Jeter Inferiority Complex (Jeter Envy). Yet, Mr. Alex still managed to have a very strong year, both at the plate and in the field. Finishing with 30 home runs and 100 RBI after missing the first month of the season with the hip surgery is pretty impressive. Just ask Carlos Delgado
So, the Yankees enter October trying to secure their 40th AL Pennant and their 27th World Series. While your first instinct might be to root against them like you would the Dallas Cowboys, I urge you to reconsider: You might like what you see.
Tip your caps (or bags) and back the Yanks… And be wary of your dentist.
P.s… If you’re going with the Yanks, who are you going for and why?
www.MeetTheMatts.com started out as a NY Mets website and organically grew into an entity covering all professional sports. Our daily contributors, as diverse as they may be, share two important traits:
-They toil for the "love of the game..."
-They have a sense of humor.
This is, after all, sports entertainment.