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Game 41: Yankees (21-19) @ Orioles (19-21), 7:05pm

You can hear them now if you listen: the barbarians at the gates, slavering away as the air fills with the smell of burning $100 bills offered to appease their dark god. Yet for all their sacrifices, though they may burn away the Benjamins like incense, they cannot hide the smell of their fear. It clings to them like douchey body spray and an excessive quantity of hair product, a remnant from the recent six-game losing streak they suffered, six contests where they went down in flames even as the games were played in the hideous confines of their new home ballpark, with all the umpire-fawning that accords them.

The fear sets in because they know all of their golden times are coming to an end as Father Time catches up to them. They see his withered hand every time the corpse of Jorge Posada steps into the batter's box. They know that the end nears for the VD-ridden petri dish they call a shortstop. (Note: the preceding sentence was not intended to be a factual statement unless it is actually true.) There is no hiding from the realization that one day when the horde descends upon another city they will be not the predators but rather the prey.

For the time will soon come where a new age dawns and they will be naught but an afterthought, lost relics of a by-gone era. And all their years of success will avail them not at all when their success evaporates and even the memory of better days begins to fade. When they look up from the gutter where their dreams have gone to die they will see only orange and black.

The first taste of that grim future is tonight as the Yankees fans watch the dolly that wheels the large lard canister out to the pitcher's mound. They have not yet met the prodigy that is Zach Britton, the Orioles starter. They will be powerless to watch as their lineup, which clings desperately to relevance, finally loses its grip and begins the long, long drop. And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, will be silence.