The same, alas, cannot be said for your New York Yankees who are certainly no longer young and promising and whose fatal flaws are being dramatically revealed as they tangle with the Detroit Tigers in the AL finals. (Please note: that as this is written they are down two-zip and heading to Detroit to face Grand Master Verlander having been able to score in only one of the 21 innings played the first two games and looking helpless on offense en route.)
It comes as no surprise. We've been trying to bury the Yankees in this space all season. They labored mightily to bury themselves for two months before barely managing to stay the course which admittedly took some grit. That they somehow survived this far -- leading the AL in wins, winning their division, and rebuffing Baltimore's mighty honest first-round challenge -- is rather more inexplicable than remarkable. Sometimes they seem to prevail mainly on reputation. But the Tigers look like they'll buy none of that.
You can say this much for the Yankees. They didn't disgrace themselves with a total tank-job like their erstwhile blood rivals from Boston. But in the end, they may not be much better off. The serious holes in this aging Bronx edition are swelling by the hour.
So far, the playoff's most astounding revelation is their vastly overrated lineup of alleged sluggers. It's not easily verifiable but I'd gladly wager that never in playoff baseball's history have five marquee batsman of the reputation of Brothers Cano, Rodriguez, Granderson, Swisher, and Chavez looked more pathetic. After seven playoff games, they were hitting a collective .108 (12 for 119). The fast fading A-Rod gets all the grief but Robinson Cano (two for 32 in the first seven games) who's allegedly at the top of his game, is the more egregious failure having set in these playoffs a new post-season record by making with his patented nonchalance 26 consecutive outs. Wow!
It's been wonderful theatre and it's not even half over. Indelible are the works of Raul Ibanez, a humble and classy veteran of the baseball wars who can now slide away knowing he'll never be forgotten. Equally a joy to watch have been all the little things Ichiro Suzuki has so long done so well. To get to know the likes of an Ichiro better is ever a pleasure. Then there is Buck Showalter, yet another dandy revelation, nor has his surge in stature been in any way diminished by the fact that his gallant Orioles, were losers in the end. This guy is a leader.
This is the stuff -- alternately wonderful and painful --that sets the playoffs apart, gives them their special character and makes you wish they could last another month.
Though there's still much to come, have we already witnessed the moment that will most endure? That would be the sight of the indomitable Derek Jeter writhing in the dust, the hopes of his team shattered as well. Might his career also have been ended? We have the winter to wonder. There is still much more to come. But in terms of what's memorable that, alas, will be hard to top.
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