Flunk at Fenway Tip of the Iceberg of Yankee Freeze
If you’re worried about the Swine Flu scare, take a break from paranoia and make way for the latest that is sure to make you barf. Last weekend marked the first Red Sox – Yankees epic this season. Of course, the term “epic” means that the Yankees blew more leads than the steroids investigation, and the Red Sox swept them off their deck in a three-game set (5-4, 16-11, 4-1). It leaves fans to wonder what to make of the Yankees in this, a pivotal season for the franchise.
When New York’s only approaching positive news is that of Alex Rodriguez’s return, there’s gotta be trouble in the Bronx. They’ve stooped to stapling their hopes on a player who’s rehabbing from a hip injury most likely caused by ‘roid withdrawals. But at any rate, the 26 home runs in the first four games at the new stadium, along with the controversial ticket prices take a Rosa Parks seat to the Yankee’s latest losing skid that has dropped them to below .500.
Reality has set in that Mariano Rivera is no longer the spoiler that slams victory’s door on opponents in the ninth, and a new era needs to begin—just like Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter brought in the dynasty of the ‘90s that resurrected baseball from the damages of a strike. They were the young sparks that Yankee faithful have been craving for almost a decade now. Rivera is now human, but everyone expects him to be the phenomenon forever. He’s still a dynamite closer, but the offense will have to put up more than a pair of runs going into the final inning against a great team like the Red Sox.
So much for the other teams’ scheduled march through the narrow hallways past the Yankee clubhouse to take batting practice. Two state-of-the-art hitting facilities are located next to both dugouts underneath the stands, along with the weight-rooms. And if you still don’t wish you were a Yankee, just think of the spreads they have for dinner after home games. I’d assume they’re not take-out.
So how is the Yankee payroll justified? Is a player who strikes out on a third pitch by digging a trench with his swing (Nick Swisher) worth the dough he’s making? Not just the fact that he looked like a melted twizzler in the at-bat, but it was against the Red Sox. How about the meat of the $200 million Yankee lineup getting mowed down by a rookie pitcher fresh from the minors, who I might add, was already scheduled to be sent back down the next day? Puts that manager (Terry Francona) in a tough position doesn’t it?
Francona: “Well, even though you made the highest payroll in baseball look like regurgitated salami in the 7th inning of today’s game, we’re sending you back down to the bus leagues. We feel you need more work to prepare. We’ve got the Pirates in two weeks.”
If the Yanks aren’t embarrassed by that image, then there is definitely a dilemma in New York that needs to be addressed quickly.
No reason to panic, though. With the right adjustments and mentality, the boys should be able to snap out of the slump and become the team they’re capable of becoming. Young guys need to step up, and that’s what’s brewing in the Bronx. Hopefully.
Stay tuned: A special column on the latest A-Rod-Through-His-Head developments is on it’s way. I heard the news while putting the final touches on this article, and am not the least bit shocked. The guy took the innocence out of Yankee Stadium, and I’ve got something to say about it.
By Tim Gaffney
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