This One Didn't Hurt So Bad
There is of course some regret in not seeing my Yankees advance, but in reality, I'm not overly upset about it.
This wasn't 2001, where Joe Torre refused to play the infield back.
This wasn't 2003, where Torre put Jeff Weaver in relief and left Rivera to rot in the 'pen for a save that never came.
This wasn't 2004, where Torre refused to bunt on Schilling because it wouldn't be "classy."
Those hurt. This one was simply disappointing.
This wasn't a Yankees team that was supposed to compete. This was supposed to be the year the Phillies beat the Red Sox in the World Series.
I didn't expect a title in 2011. The pitching staff going into the year was CC, Hughes, and Pray Not to Lose.
Jeter and A-Rod spent significant time on the disabled list. Hughes, the expected #2, spent an injury-riddled season struggling to come back. Posada's production fell off the proverbial cliff. Rafael Soriano, the expected "bridge-to-Mo," couldn't stay healthy.
This was a team with disaster written all over it. Then a funny thing happened: they kept winning.
This flawed, injured group of players wound up with the best record in the American League.
I'll break it down for you as simply as I can, Yankee fans: no other team's fans had a better time in 2011, with the exception of whichever team wins the World Series.
This year, I got to see the development of Curtis Granderson from a "nice little player" into a genuine MVP-level superstar.
I got to see Robinson Cano continue to emerge as one of the best players in baseball.
I got to see my team dismantle their chief rivals at the end and knock the favorites out of the postseason picture.
I got to see brilliant pickups by Brian Cashman, Freddie Garcia and Bartolo Colon, come out of nowhere to pitch not only effectively, but at a high level on a big stage.
I got to see David Robertson shift from a decent middle reliever into an All-Star and the heir apparent to Rivera.
I got to see a glimpse of a bright future for Jesus Montero.
I got to see Ivan Nova blossom from a guy considered such a fringe prospect he was a Rule 5 pick who was returned to New York to a bonafide Rookie of the Year candidate.
I got to see the greatest shortstop in Yankees history get his 3,000th hit.
I got to see the greatest relief pitcher in history become the all-time saves leader.
I got to see a lot. Fans of no other team can say anything close.
I enjoyed this regular season. I know most Yankee fans are of the mindset that it's only October that matters, and there is some truth in that.
Maybe it's because of the lowered expectations coming in that this loss doesn't hurt like the punches in the gut that were 2001, 2003, or 2004.
But maybe, just maybe, it's because I enjoyed getting there so much that, looking back, the final destination wasn't as important.
Yankee fans have become entitled and arrogant, expecting every year to win or else.
Sometimes, you have to enjoy the journey.
This year, I did.
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 9:29 AM