Monday, July 22, 2013

2013: Futility Like No Other

It hasn't always been easy for me to be a Yankees fan.

Deal with it!

I was born a few hours after the Yankees won the 1977 World Series. The Bombers won the World Series again the following year, made it to the American League Championship Series in 1980, and returned... but lost... in the Fall Classic of 1981. Unfortunately I was too young at the time to enjoy that success. Instead, by the time I could follow what was going on, the Yankees were in the midst of a 13-year playoff drought (12, if you don't count the strike-shortened 1994 season, in which the Yankees were in 1st place in the division after 113 games).

Don Mattingly was an All Star in six straight seasons, from 1984 to 1989, but the team averaged 87 wins a year, and Donnie Baseball had to wait until his final season in Major League Baseball before suiting up for a playoff game. To be fair, the Yanks did win 97 games in 1985, which was pretty darn good, but the Blue Jays won 99 games to win the AL East. My point is that watching a player of Mattingly's caliber not be able to enjoy a winning season made things even tougher on Yankee fans like myself.

The previous 18 years have been incredible. Well, except for maybe the 2008 season... the only season during that 18 year stretch in which the team failed to make the postseason. Five World Series victories, two other World Series appearances, and three trips to the ALCS. We've seen two sure-fire Hall of Famers, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, start and end their careers. There have been a handful of other players that have at least been in the discussion as Hall of Famers, such as Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams. Then there's Robinson Cano, who may very well be on his way to having a Hall of Fame-worthy career.

In comes the 2013 New York Yankees season.

"I'd rather eat my Brussels sprouts."

For a while I would shake my head and laugh at some of the comments made by younger fans. The Yankees haven't had a winning percentage of .513 or lower (their current mark this season) since 1992. So I would constantly think to myself that anybody under the age of 21 has no right to be that upset over a losing season, as they have enjoyed winning season after winning season after winning season. I would respond to their remarks with something along the lines of "when you've had to endure 13 years of zero postseason appearances, then come back and talk to me about bad baseball."

However, the latest news of Alex Rodriguez's strained quad muscle has made me realize something... the poor play we've seen out of this year's team is not the same that we saw 20+ years ago. I don't mean to say those teams of the past didn't have to deal with injuries, but they haven't been on the same scale as the 2013 squad.

The Yankees have placed a man on the disabled list twelve times this season, and that doesn't count the many instances of players suffering setbacks during their recovery from injury. Actually, the list of injuries to the team is so long this year that I may have missed some. And we're not talking about insignificant players being injured. Here's a list of players that have spent the most time at each position...

C - Chris Stewart
1B - Lyle Overbay
2B - Robinson Cano
SS - Jayson Nix
3B - David Adams
LF - Vernon Wells
CF - Brett Gardner
RF - Ichiro Suzuki
DH - Travis Hafner

Here are the projected starters at each position for the 2013 Yankees, before Spring Training...

C - Francisco Cervelli
1B - Mark Teixiera
2B - Robinson Cano
SS - Derek Jeter
3B - Kevin Youkilis (this was actually Alex Rodriguez at one point)
LF - Curtis Granderson
CF - Brett Gardner
RF - Ichiro Suzuki
DH - Travis Hafner

One of these things is not like the others.

Those two lists are not quite the same... are they? If you count Alex Rodriguez in there, that means that six of the Yankees projected starters have averaged less than 12 games played this season. And allow me to remind you that the Yankees are about to play their 99th game tonight.

And the team hasn't exactly replaced those injured players with All Stars. In fact, those replacements (Chris Stewart, Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, David Adams, Vernon Wells) have only three combined All Star game appearances.. and all three were by Vernon Wells. I think it's safe to say that all five of those players have little to no business being regular players on any MLB team, let alone being attached to the All Star game.

Add on top of all that the fact that CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are in the midst of the worst seasons of their careers, and you... like me... will start to feel some sympathy towards those younger Yankee fans.

But don't forget to feel a little sorry for older fans too. I mean, 2013 has really stunk.


  1. I don't want to make excuses for this team, but they are no fourth place team. Their record is the same as the Indians, who are just 1.5 games out of first in the AL Central. If this season proves anything, it's that MLB needs to get rid of divisions and just let the top five teams out of each league play in October. The system just isn't fair.

    1. The Yankees run differential of -2, due to being 12th in the AL in batting average and 14th in OPS, tells me they are who they are... not good enough.

      The fact they'd be tied for 2nd place in the Central, and in 3rd in the West, is meaningless. The Yankees would still be vying for a Wild Card spot, so they'd still be 3.5 games behind that.


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