Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Yankees All-Star Team

I watched a few innings of the Yankees/Blue Jays game yesterday. The Yankees tied the game 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth but went on to lose in 14 innings.

I only watch baseball in the fall, which means, more or less, after September 21, so I don't know a lot about the game. But the point I want to make is that watching the Yankees, for me, is like watching an all-star team. Alex Rodriguez is a giant man who has 143 RBI and a shitload of home runs. In fact, the entire lineup is filled with great names: Damon, Jeter, Giambi, Rodriguez, Abreu, Matsui, Posada.

Wow. I wonder how they ever lose. Then I watch the Blue Jays, and the lineup is filled with players I've never heard of. I don't know how other teams manage to beat the Yankees at all, because, as they showed last night in the ninth inning, when the game is on the line, they can send up batter after batter who will make you tremble in your cleats.

Funny thing is, they probably won't win the World Series this year. I say this because they typically have the best team on paper and yet they don't win the World Series year after year. In fact, if I were a betting man, I would bet against them, despite what I've said in this column.

Maybe it's the magic of baseball that keeps one team from winning every year. The bounces are funny and the coaching is crucial. And maybe there is so much talent in the league that the Yankees can't dominate like they once did, even if I haven't heard of the players from the other teams.



Ralph said...

Yeah, they've got some big names, but a lot of those guys are past their prime. Baseball is not necessarily an older man's game. In fact, it is some of the Yankees younger players, Joba, Melkey, and Robinson Cano, that have really lifted the team to its current level. Oh, that A-Rod fellow and Jeter are pretty good as well.

The thing with the Yankees is that they've always had an All-Star team - well execpt fo the the late 1960s through the early 1990s, which coincidentally, was the time me and my peers came of age. So, my generation often bemoans that the Yankees are ruining baseball. In fact, baseball attednance is higher than ever. And, in fact, from the 1920s through the early '60s, a period of about 40 years, the Yankees always had an All-Star team. I mean in the '20s they had Ruth and Gehrig batting back-to-back. After Ruth retired it was Joe D. and Gehrig. Then Mantle and Berra and Rizutto and Whitey Ford were all on the same team.

I'm reading a book on this right now, but it's nothing I didn't already know. For a long time, the Yankees have been one of the the richest, most powerful teams in baseball, and have used their assets to their advantage. I mean, they draw 4 million fans per year with some of the highest ticket prices in the league. People complain about Steibrenner, that he pays his players too much. But, I love the flip side: What do these people want him to do, pocket all the money he makes? These are the same people who complained about Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy doing that very thing.

By assembling an All-Star team, the Yankees are merely giving their fans their money's worth, which makes them easy to cheer for.

However,there is some team chemistry in baseball that leads to winning World Series titles. Unfortunately, the Yankees of the past few seasons haven't had it. If you remember, a few years back, when they were consistently winning it all, they had a lot of guys that came up together, Williams, Rivera, Jeter, Posada, Pettite, and some other guys who came of age with them, in O'Neil, David Wells, Brocious, and manager Joe Torre. In other words, these guys had bonded when they were fighting their way to the top and really had each other's backs. The last few years, we haven't had that closeness. Tough to tell with this year's team, but we might have enough hungry guys to really make a playoff run.

The Angels are the team I fear the most, as they have a lot of guys who came up together and really play that Team ball that wins in the playoffs.

Have I said enough on this? Most likely. But, please Dr. D, enjoy the fall ball. It's good stuff.


DrD said...

I love when you get going on that stuff. Keep up the good work.

Yes, the Yanks have had an all-star team forever, as far as I can tell. Quite a testament to the spirit of New York City, I must admit.

Quite impressive.

In fact, I've been a Celtic fan for most of my life and I believe the Celtics have the second-highest number of world championships (after the Yankees), so I do know what it is like to root for a winner. Bill Russell and his teams were great, for many years, like the Yankees.

Yes, it is finally time for baseball.

I will enjoy the action and the drama....