Call it a mercy killing. That’s what it felt like. At least it wasn’t traumatic like Game Four. Not for me, anyway. Game Four took years off my life. I woke up the next morning and first thing I see in my mind’s eye is Molina rounding the bases. “The Chubby Man,” as my friend’s kid, Ian calls him. The Chubby Man ripping a pitch he knew was coming. All day long, people came up to me at work, asking if I felt okay.
Last night was different. When Hughes hung that curve ball to Vladi, followed by the inevitable Nellie Cruz homer, it was all over. The Yankees hit the ball hard but nothing went their way—other than their lone run, which they got as a gift from the umpires. Alex Rodriguez hit the ball hard twice with nothing to show for it and struck out looking at a filthy breaking ball to end the game and the Yankee season.
The inning before, Derek Jeter’s final swing of the year was a late, emergency hack against Colby Lewis. Wait—there was something galling about this game—Colby fuggin Lewis?!?!. I don’t remember the last time I saw Jeter strike out looking so ugly in October.
Second-best. That feels about right on merit. Rangers beat the Rays and the Yanks to get to the Serious? That’s impressive. They did a great job and I’ll be hard-pressed to root against them.
The Yankees were really good this year but they didn’t feel great. They were great in spots but were not consistently great. Still, they defended their title admirably and if this season gets lost in the non-title-bin, I think it was agreeable enough. We had a lot of laughs and a lot to admire—CC Sabathia winning 20 for the first time; Robinson Cano answering the bell after the depature of Godzilla Matsui, putting up an MVP caliber year; Swisher with a good season; the development of Phil Hughes, to name few a few. I liked this team, even the screw-ups like A.J. Burnett don’t seem like bad guys. Felt terrible for Javey Vazquez. Loved having the Big Puma around and man, I thought he was really locked-in at the plate against Texas. Didn’t miss Damon or Matsui, liked Granderson.
This season will also be easy to remember because it’s one of the last years for the Core Four, if not the last. Will those guys all make the playoffs again, together? Pettitte could well retire. Posada is in the final year of his contract and it’s likely he’ll be asked to take on a reduced roll and become a mentor to Jesus Montero.
I figure Mariano will come back, though you never know when he’s just going to walk off and leave us forever…forever the worse. He’ll probably go year-by-year at this point. And then there’s Jeter, the big soap opera of the off-season, Mr. Headline. Going to be fascinating how it plays out, if Jeter keeps up his Gehrig-like streak of “Doing the Right Thing.” He’s dangerously close to Ripken territory. How’s he going to play this?
And that’s how the 2010 comes to an end. With some disappointment? Sure. But with juicy questions about what’s going to happen next. Do they re-sign Swisher? Go after Carl Crawford? Cliff Lee? Which one of these?
This is the 8th season I’ve covered here on the Banter and it’s been as much fun as any of them. Thanks so much for falling through and being a part of it, whether you’re part of the comments section or just a regular reader. Really appreciate it, you guys.
Course we’re not going anywhere. The Banter is open 365, living and breathing like the city we represent.
“90% of life is showing up,” said Woody Allen. We’ll keep the treats coming.
Thanks to the Yanks for another winning year. Thanks for Jetes and the crew, and especially to Mariano who is the Precious.
R.I.P. to the Boss and Bob Sheppard.
Word to our man Cliff, and peace to Todd Drew.
Let’s Go Yan-Kees!
[Pictures by Bags, Pathum and me]