This past Wednesday I got together with some college friends, coincidentally die-hard Yankee fans, to watch Game 2 of the ALDS. Wednesday was, of course, a rainout, and the Yankees were never able to recapture the momentum of a Game 1 blowout.
Game 2 was a close one; Game 3 was not. Still, Randy Johnson pitched well for a guy with a herniated disc.
I'm not as shocked by the Yankees' poor performance this postseason as I thought I'd be. As poorly as the Tigers finished the season, I wasn't looking past this series as Michael Kay, Mike Francesa, and Chris Russo were. My prediction was that the Yankees would beat any of the National League teams if they made it past the Tigers, Twins, and A's.
In the middle of the Yankees' historic loss to the Red Sox in 2004, I began muting my TV set. I realized all the announcers could do was try to explain what happened and predict what would happen. As invested as I was, their voices grated on me. I also tune out more casual fans and don't watch pre- and post-game coverage. I watch the games. Everything off the field is embroidery.
Along with Johnson's bad back, Mike Mussina was coming off a tender groin, and Jaret Wright could never pitch past the sixth inning. The only reliable pitcher this year, Chien-Ming Wang, did win.
As vaunted as the offense was, the playoff lineup featured Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, and Bobby Abreu, three players who didn't have much time to gel with the rest of the team this year. Only Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter consistently batted in their regular spots. I'm not sure why a lot of people saw fit to look past these weaknesses.
Everyone has blamed Alex Rodriguez, but I've come to expect very little from him as a Yankee. It was up to the other guys to see if they could carry the team, and they couldn't. This Yankee fan since 1977 has made his peace with it.
The New York Daily News is reporting that Joe Torre will likely be fired and replaced with Lou Piniella. I have no qualms about this. Torre had a chance to resign with most of his Yankee legacy intact when Mel Stottlemyre quit in 2004. Instead he chose to make his money and take his chances.