Thanks to Darren Felzenberg for the link to today’s column from sports journalism’s prettiest face, Harvey Yavener of the Trenton Times.
There is something so irritating, so infernally grating, about the arrogance of Yankee fans and Yankee media cheerleaders. The screeching words that insist in so many variations, “We’re the Yankees and you’re not!” that it’s hard not to feel joy on a day like yesterday, when the current disarray at last was acknowledged.
Anyone with a sense of history could see this coming. The absence of world Championship flags flying over Yankee Stadium despite recent division pennants, the sharp decline in the quality of the farm system – to which Thunder fans can testify – the accelerated aging process on the roster exacerbated by decisions like spending the giant bucks for an over-40 Randy Johnson rather than an under-30 Carlos Beltran.
All of us have been around too long to get out shovels this early. A look at the standings show the Yankees had won as many of their last 10 games before yesterday (4) as the Red Sox had. And are we honestly ready to accept the Orioles and Blue Jays as real?
But we also can see undeniable signs of the dynasty unraveling, of the decade of plenty ending as grand old man Bernie Williams is yanked by the Yanks, as the pitching staff continues to crumble, as Joe Torre’s new theme song becomes, “Who Can I Turn To?” general manager Brian Cashman shows up in Tampa without even waiting for The Boss’ phone call, but there may be little he can do.
The open-ended checkbook is shut for now. The Yanks already are paying enough luxury tax to let other teams bask in their largesse. They can’t trade until (if and when) the farm system gets replenished and produces gems other teams want.
They’ll be offered the usual Junior Griffeys, with huge contracts and suspect futures, but by now they’ve been burned by the Jason Giambis and the Kevin Browns and now a Jaret Wright, and too many other high-priced flops.
Mike Mussina is throwing in the low-80s, Carl Pavano hardly dazzles, and with the offense more miss than hit, even The Big Unit’s outings are no given victories. Middle relief is a shambles, Jorge Posada and Gary Sheffield are past baseball middle-age, and in this emergency it’s current Thunder starter Sean Henn and last year’s Trenton Thunder second baseman Robinson Cano (above) who are being asked to bail out the big club when they weren’t necessarily lights-out for the Thunder.
All we know is how sweet it sounded yesterday to hear the anxiety in Yankee fans’ voices, hear the anguish and dismay from suddenly discovering how the other 99 percent lives, while imagining how hard it must be for Steinbrenner to head for Churchill Downs with the Derby favorite while knowing the only question he’ll hear is, “What’s wrong with the Yankees?”
At least for this one morning in May, humility is in and arrogance is out in The Bronx.
Don’t you love it?