Boy, what a mess, huh?
Now, look, if the Orioles had made the playoffs the last six years, I'd be somewhat giddy. Sure, after I made it six times I might want to win a Series, and might even bitch a little, but come on. They haven't missed a postseason since 1993. The Yankees win every single year.
However you cannot deny that this current batch of Yankee teams is assembling a nice choking lineage, reminiscent of the Braves pre-2006. The difference is the Braves weren't paying an ungodly absurd amount of money for their team of All-Stars to gag at crunch time, against a different type of team every single time. The 2001 Diamondbacks, the 2002 Angels, the 2003 Marlins, the 2004 Red Sox, the 2005 Angels and the 2006 Tigers have all beaten the Yankees, and usually, it's been done quite soundly. Even the Boston series that went seven was the most embarrassing thing possible for New York, and the '01 Series with Arizona was a great, great World Series, but they gave it up off of Mariano Rivera's unbeatable right arm, you know?
The Tigers killed New York. They dropped the first game but they didn't hang their heads at all. They went back out to Yankee Stadium down 0-1 and got a win, even if it was a little lucky. Then the next two games were not even close. Detroit absolutely outclassed the Yankees.
Alex Rodriguez offered this summary: "Plain and simple, they dominated us. It's not like we lost by one run or two runs. They absolutely kicked our ass."
And who'da thunk it? I mean, you could see the obvious fact that the Tigers led the majors in ERA, but they wore down late in the season, the Yankees had their full dream lineup back together, Wang and Mussina matched up fine with Detroit's starters. New York should have won.
Then Kenny Rogers took the mound in game three and gave one of the most stirring and on-point performances you will ever see in your life. Rogers' history against New York was bad, and his postseason history was no better. A 41-year crafty lefty went out and made nine All-Star caliber hitters look foolish. Even Bernie Williams is All-Star caliber against lefties still. He destroyed the Yankees.
Jeremy Bonderman got on the hill for game four and did the same damn thing, but this time it was him blowing smoke right past those All-Star chumps.
I hate the Yankees, of course. But I do have some actual thoughts on their team that aren't just hateful nonsense.
- Alex Rodriguez plays like a dog in the playoffs, for serious. That is no fluke at this point.
- Randy Johnson is washed right up, and he doesn't have the guts (unlike A-Rod, which is one of the few nice things I'll say about A-Rod's character) to say that he stunk. "I thought I kept us in it for five innings, duhhh." By giving up five earned, Unit?
- That bullpen was atrocious. How in the hell do you carry Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu, Gary Sheffield and Johnny Damon and not even consider upgrading that God awful relief unit at the deadline? Torre was rightfully afraid to even go to any of them that weren't Rivera. How the hell can you blame him? They all suck.
- It's hard to buy a World Series title. The Marlins did it in '97, but how many times has it failed? The Yankees keep bombing in October, and it's not like those 96/97 Orioles won anything. Winning breeds chemistry, sure, but that team truly does come off like a whole bunch of guys that just want to get theirs. It's rare you hear any of them say, "Moose did a great job for us today," or, "A-Rod really picked us up in the sixth inning." Jeter gets universal praise, but a lot of the time the only thing you hear any of the Yankees say is Cashman or Torre addressing a situation for a slumping player or the like, or that weird Giambi/A-Rod sorta-spat.
- You can't win a World Series when Mike Mussina is on your team.
- It is time for them -- being unbiased -- to make some changes. Being biased, I hope they stick with this lot, because for a lot of them every year is just one year closer to a complete breakdown.
And congratulations, Tigers. Either the Tigers or A's are going to go to the World Series.