Nothing like a good, activity-filled Sunday to point out how lousy the workweek can be. Last Monday, I came back from a long weekend, sunburned and distracted. This Monday, after spending my Sunday talking baseball, meeting some cool people, and shooting pool with Brother Joe, things came at me too fast and furious to loll around in a daze. I'm lucky my sunburn has passed, because I didn't even have time for pain today.
Since I have to get to sleep, in order to have a similarly hectic Tuesday, here's a question for everyone: are you ready for the season?
It's less than a week away, now, and I feel unprepared. Sure, I want baseball to start, but I find myself a bit unengaged with the Yanks. This Yankees team is basically the same as the one that lost to the Angels six months ago; the only significant difference being Johnny Damon. And as relieved as I am to have Damon on our side, his addition is not a transformative change--not like the overhaul of the starting rotation last year, or the addition of A-Rod and Sheffield two years back. Damon's a good player, but basically he's coming aboard to recoup some percentage of what the Yanks lost when Bernie Williams decided to start aging on them. And the fact is, as much as I like Damon's defense (if he can take the field, that is) I don't think there's much chance he'll be the offensive force that Williams was on the championship teams of the late '90s. It's not extremely logical to expect any of the starting pitchers--except maybe Carl Pavano, when and if he finally shows up--to perform better than they did last year. Mussina and the Unit are both old, and Mussina, at the very least, seems to be in an inescapable vortex of decline. Chacon and Wang (and Aaron Small) don't strike guys out, meaning that they are stuck depending on the Yankees' not-so-awesome defense for support. I'm having a hard time being optimistic, specially when I think of any ball hit to the right side of the field, where Cano, Giambi, and Sheffield are left to deal with it.
So I guess you could say I'm in the doldrums a bit. No, I'm not predicting a pinstriped collapse. The Yanks should be right up there against the constantly-improving-but-still-vulnerable Red Sox in the division, with a really good chance at another first place finish. None of the other contestants improved enough to move into the Yanks/Sox weight division, meaning it would be a great shock for any of the three remaining teams to finish second, much less first. But that's not the kind of thing I cheer for.
Maybe I'll feel better on Tuesday.