Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Those Damn Yankees


To: Everyone, Especially Red Sox Fans
From: The Yankees
Subject: Our Demise

"The rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated."

I liked it better when the Yankees were 11-19.

I've never been a Yankee hater, per se, but I certainly never embraced them. The old comedian Joe. E. Brown once said, "Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for General Motors." Actually, it's worse than that; if GM does well, maybe that means the economy is doing well, too. What jobs have the Yankees ever created -- that is, for people who have to scrape by on less than $10 million a year?

Anyhow, it was fun when they were 11-19, because, well, they're the Yankees, and they spent all that money and they are always in the World Series or damn near it and isn't it the American Way to build things up and tear them down? Wasn't it kinda enjoyable hearing all the "Will Joe Torre be canned?" talk? Wasn't it delicious watching the Yankees share last place with those bottom feeders, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays?

But now the Yankees have won 10 straight, are 21-19, and their stars are finally playing like stars and damn them to hell!

But you know what? A few weeks ago I wrote that golf was better off with a Tiger Woods that wasn't struggling. I wrote that every sport needs a consistent in superiority -- whether it's to wear the black hat, or to have something to shoot for and mark as a target. So I guess I'd be a hypocrite if I said baseball was better off with a Yankees team that played at a .367 clip.

No, baseball might not be better off, but some baseball fans might be -- don't you think?

There truly are Yankee haters out there, and it's real. Some of them are not only not playing with a full deck, they might even have some extra jokers in there. And for these folks, the Yankees' inglorious start to the 2005 season was a panacea for them, for all that ills them in their lives. But now the Bronx Bombers are on a 10-game roll, and you'd better hide the razor blades and any inhalants.

Of course, this current hot streak doesn't mean all that bothered the Yankees throughout April and early May has gone away. They still have a frightful bullpen, shaky starters beyond the top three of Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano, and not all of their money players' batting averages are where they should be resting. But for now, anyway, the Yankees are showing people that you'd better put away the shovels and cancel the order for the casket.

Speaking of Johnson, what must he have been thinking while the Yankees touched the bottom of the AL East? Last year, his Arizona Diamondbacks were 52-110, and so he wanted to go to a winner, but just last week the Yankees were in last place and the D-backs were in first! I bet he was choking on his New York bagel.

Rest easy, Randy -- you still made the right choice. The Yankees will end up in better shape than Arizona when all is said and done.


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