Until last night, one tab was permanently pointed at MLB.com, as well. But with the completion of the Yankees’ ALCS flame-out, I closed it. I’m sure it will be back in the array next spring, but I really have no further need for it this year. Sigh. All that remains to attend to is the obligatory post-mortem blog post. I’ve been putting off commenting much on baseball during the playoffs, but there’s no reason to put it off any longer.
I’m no sports pundit, so I don’t have any theories or pontifications about what happened or why. All I know is that the ALDS was like a microcosm of the entire regular season series between the Yankees and the Orioles, a back-and-forth battle that wasn’t over until it was over. The O’s played at the top of their game, the Yankees came through in the clutch and prevailed but it could have gone either way right down to the wire. We’ve basically got ourselves a worthy rivalry with Baltimore now and I look forward to its resumption next year. (Not without reservations, though, see below.)
And then immediately after advancing, the Yankees had to host the Tigers. I was out with a couple of my buddies and not really paying full attention to the game as New York fell behind, figuring you can’t win them all and the Yankees might need to catch their breath. Then the game got tied up and went into extra innings and I got deeply interested. (To their credit, my buddies aren’t really baseball fans by any stretch but they got interested on my behalf as well.) And then Jeter breaks his ankle and the Yanks lose in 12 … if you were looking for a bad omen, there it was.
With A-Rod struggling and Jeter out, I knew it would be a tough road ahead. And when the Yankees ended up losing both games at home and then had to go to Detroit for the next three (if needed), all I could do was hope for an amazing comeback story. Which quickly devolved into hoping for a loss with dignity where they at least put up a fight. But A-Rod benched and trade rumors swirling? Pitiful offensive output up and down the lineup? C.C. coughing up runs left and right in the do-or-die game 4? Like I said, I’m no expert, I didn’t see any of that coming and I don’t have any explanation for any of it.
I told my wife the other day that I honestly didn’t know which was worse: winning the ALDS, at the expense of her beloved Orioles (which robbed the experience of an enormous amount of its pleasure) or losing the ALCS in such thoroughly dispiriting fashion. I’m still trying to sort that one out.
I’m sure there are Red Sox fans aplenty who are rubbing their hands and can’t stop grinning at the Yankees humiliation, to which I can only say … fair enough. I dish it out, I gotta be able to take it. I was gloating about how everything fell apart in Boston not too long ago, and today I’m wondering if I’m going to be scraping for crumbs as soon as next season, consoling myself that the Yankees may be on the downswing and mired in third or fourth place, but at least the Red Sox are slightly worse. (I know, I know, that’s not even the worst-case scenario, there are other mathematical possibilities which could come about, but I’m unprepared to even contemplate them now. I’m trying to be magnanimous but I’m not made of stone here, people.)