Sunday, October 08, 2006

...And Just Like That, It's Over

Goodbye, Yankees 2006.

It happened quickly. As Brother Joe said in his column on Friday, at one point during Thursday's afternoon makeup game in the Bronx, it looked like the Tigers were DOA, that they "shouldn't even make the Yankees make the trip to Detroit."

Three days later, the Detroit Tigers are dripping with champagne, and (rumor is) the Joe Torre Era is over. ALDS Game 4 was a total beatdown, far worse than the 8-3 final sounds. The Tigers got on the board with power--homers by Magglio Ordonez and Craig Monroe off starter Jaret Wright--then scored an unearned run in the third inning on a Alex Rodriguez throwing error (extra credit to Gary Sheffield at first, since an experienced firstbaseman could have saved that throw), a mental-error bloop single that went over Robinson Cano's head, and a grounder that Wright himself should have fielded, all in the .

Cory Lidle got Wright out of a jam in the third, but got himself into trouble by throwing batting practice pitches in the fifth, and gave up another three runs. At this point it was 7-0, and Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman was pitching a perfect game. Cano got a hit in the sixth to end the no-hitter, and the Yanks scraped up a run in the seventh, and a couple more meaningless ones in the ninth, but the postseason was over. The Tigers advance to play the A's. The Mets advance to face the winner of the Cardinals/Padres series. The Yanks go home, to a winter of recrimination.

I'm pissed off that I let this team seduce me. The "great" Yankee lineup scored six runs over the last three games, and they played Game 4 like a team that had lost already. As predicted, Randy Johnson's inability to hold the Tigers was the deciding factor in the series.

I'm too upset to go on about this now. More later...


Pickett said...

I have been a Yankee fan since 1957 and will go to my grave as such so please take these comments in the spirit with which they are given. I hope the organization has the stones to realize they will never win with this collection of geriatrics. Time to do major reconstructive surgery. If I had my way, the following are gone: Alex Rodriguez for young arms, and Mussina, Randy Johnson, Giambi, Sheffield, Wright, and Matsui for the best deals available involving young, fast, athletic players. We need to get younger, faster and hungrier. I only hope we can move these guys because of the size of their contracts. Even if it takes a couple of seasons before the Yanks rise back to the top, they are in very grave danger of growing old together just like the Yankees in 1965 when the Mick, Maris, Howard, Whitey, Elston, just grew too old to compete. The "new" Yankees need to be built on pitching, defense, and team chemistry. This is no secret in baseball circles. It has been and forever will be the winning formula in this game. Examine in detail if you will the Yankee teams over the decades. Yes, they were always the Bronx Bombers who could still beat you with the 3-run homer but all those teams were also fundamentally sound and had great pitching staffs. Somehow we have lost our way. I hope Cashman and Steinbrenner have the cajones to do what is painfully necessary. Good luck to us.

DJ said...


We're agreed, for the most part. Mussina, Sheffield, and Wright are most likely gone on buy-outs/team options that won't be picked up. Johnson and Giambi are immovable objects. Even if the Yanks ate half the money involved, would any team be willing to deal anything of value for them? Matsui's almost as bad, since I couldn't see any team giving value for him until he proves his power is all the way back.

I don't necessarily favor trading Matsui, or Rodriguez for that matter. I'm not sure that either could bring back the value we're looking for in return. But I do agree with three things:

1) The team needs to concentrate on the next generation of Yankees, guys like Cano, Wang and Cabrera, and Phil Hughes, when he's ready. Things that get in the way of their development (like Melky losing his job to Matsui/Sheffield in September) are not with the program.

2) Aside from Wang and Hughes, no one is untouchable. This is the principle that kept the Yankees great throughout the years--that baseball decisions are made based on ability, not sentimentality. The Yankees turned a corner when they callously replaced Don Mattingly with Tino Martinez after the playoffs in '95. There was no "do you want to keep on hanging out with the team in a lesser role?" situation with Mattingly, unlike, say, Bernie Williams.

3) Forget about all-stars at every position. Every now and then a role player who can do his part is good enough for the team to win.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but I don't care how many years you've been a Yankee fan. Matusi is one of the better players to wear the Yankees Uniform and to disregard him the way you have is laughable and down right stupid. Melky is great and I've love to see him play left next year, and I'd love to see Matsui relegated to DH... I just think that some of you "old-time fans" are WAY out of touch with reality. Ok criticsize me all you want but at the end of the day, reality CAN be built around talent. Benchin Melky during the playoffs this year proved that. Keep Melky in at LEFT, Matsui as DH, and the regular line up should continue. They were great. Shef at 1st wasn't terrible but having him in the lineup at the 4th spot was a big gamble that didn't payoff. You also said to cast away MUSSINA? are you serious?! Mussina was amazing this season and yes, he lost by a RUN in his lone postseason game this series but still... Moose would be a great number 3 pitcher and if anything, get mad at Randy Johnson. Honestly you've had some great opinions but also some terribly bad opinions (I know they're opninions but still).

Thoughts on The Page said...

altho the yankees are not in the running for the series...b/c i live in boston, the world series was the 5 game sweep of the sox in august! =)

we will see them again next year - did you hear the comment from schilling "if i'm back next year..."? i'm sure it will be a great season as usual ...

all my best ~ a yankee fan in boston