It ain’t over til it’s over- Yogi Berra
We’re four games into the season. I haven’t seen one Yankees home run. Peculiar, I know. But the more important thing is that we’re only four games into the season. Anything can happen at this point.
Game one: a loss to the lowly Houston Astros. Errors (both mental and physical) were committed and timely hits were just not recorded. In fact, barely any hits were recorded. And C.C. gave up six runs in two innings. It was extremely disappointing.
Game two: Another loss. Without hits. And terrible fantasy numbers were put up by all players. So basically depression sets in for a 0-2 Yankees squad that has fallen to the Astros. Again.
Game three: THANK THE LORD THE BASEBALL WORLD IS RIGHT AGAIN IT IS A YANKEES WIN!! I don’t even know what is better: the thrill of the victory or the excitement of knowing that Yankees baseball might just be turning the corner in the wins column.
Game four: Toronto Blue Jays and Tanaka’s first Major League start…tainted a little bit by a third-pitch homer to former NYY fave Melky Cabrera, but still solid all around. Seven full innings? Okay. Two earned runs and eight K’s? I’m happy.
2-2? Not perfect (because that’s what several Yankees fans expect), but I can take it. In an off-season of changes and unexpected endings, a new era is ready to take over. But the problem is…they’re not ready yet.
Jeter and the Yankees are not the same team they were back in the late 90s and people need to start realizing that. They are aging: Jeter especially is not immune to the affects that time have on a successful baseball player. His footwork is not as quick and reactive as it was in the past and his hitting is not as strong. But that’s okay. Everyone wants Jeter to have a stellar season to end his career but honestly, its not likely. We need to stop expecting the world from Jeter and the Yankees because it probably won’t happen.
Look at the lineup up and down. There are strong hitters, but the majority of them are aging stars. They are playing together for just about the first time. I know the stereotype that the Yankees will go after great players past their prime, pay them a crap-load of money and try to transform them into “true Yankees” but this isn’t it. They are just trying to fill in the holes that came from having all their homegrown talent leave for other organizations that give them more opportunities.
The problem with the Yankees right now is their lack of homegrown talent. The 90s was filled with it. Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and several other guys littered the field after working their way from the bottom level to the biggest stage in baseball. They excelled because they were used to dealing with the spotlight and scrutiny of the Yankee organization.
Now take another look at the lineup. Homegrown talent? You have Brett Gardner and two rookies (Dean Anna and Solarte). The rest? Older stars of other organizations. Carlos Beltran: old freeswinger who plays some defense. Jacoby Ellsbury: previously the face of the Red Sox organization. Brian Roberts: pesky Orioles second basemen who ALWAYS hit the Yankees. That’s the game of baseball: people go to different teams and very few stay within one organization for their entire career. It’s all about the money and the playing time. It happens.
But looking back to the success of the late 90s you’ll see the overabundance of real Yankees: the ones that went through the hell of one organization and stuck with it. That is Jeter and that is what the Yankees are losing. Not just Jeter’s presence on field and in the dugout, but his example that hard work and commitment to one organization can give any baseball player success.
So my dear Yankee fans, remember that as the season stretches down the line. Taking one of three from the Astros does not mean the season is over. Far from it, actually. There are still 158 games to be played and whether or not the Yankees will be good this year shouldn’t keep you from watching.