"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Good Not Great Ain’t Half-Bad

It’s Wait ‘Til Next Year for the Yanks.

They were a good team in 2010, but they didn’t play well down the stretch and got hammered by the Rangers in the 2010 ALCS.

Were they too old? Did they play tight–a reflection of their manager according to Joel Sherman? Did they just not have heart or character or those championship intangibles?

Nah, they just got their asses kicked, that’s all. Happens, man, even to the best of them.


1 The Hawk   ~  Oct 25, 2010 8:59 am

"Did his team play tight in the ALCS because the manager was tight? That is unknowable. But with his clenched teeth, edgy pacing and obsession with his black binder, Girardi hardly projected calm leadership to his troops."

I think this is partially correct. Suggesting his tightness influenced the players is a dead-end but it does seem pretty obvious that he doesn't exactly exude relaxed confidence. Does a baseball team need a "leader of men" type? No, not really. But it can't hurt either.

(How do they do that thing where if you copy and paste, it adds on a link to the article? Very sneaky!)

2 Yankee Mama   ~  Oct 25, 2010 9:30 am

I agree, AB. They got a whooping. They couldn't sustain any momentum while the Rangers were stoked. It was so lopsided for an ALCS, it was almost merciful to put the Yanks out of their misery.

The Rangers were peaking, brimming with enthusiasm. That alone, could make another team tight. It just wasn't the Yanks' year. The look of this franchise is going to change over time, probably sooner than later and while the team is ever-changing, we are the constants, the fans who banter and otherwise.

Girardi is certainly not one of those charismatic characters who can light up a team with his effervescent personality. His style is militaristic, straight, sober. That can win championships too, although not as fun to watch or perhaps play for. I don't know if the players like his managing style. He seems to care about them and he has their back. Does he over manage from time to time? Yup. So did Torre. Sometime it seems that Girardi has a deep understanding of the game, but not a feel for it. He wouldn't be the first manager to be accused of that.

For me, it cam down to the same thing as ever; pitching and hitting. One team was and one team wasn't as much.

2010 Year of Cano.

3 Ben   ~  Oct 25, 2010 9:34 am

I'll tell ya this, the Rangers sure looked like they were havnig more fun than the Yanks. I think that can't be overvalued in the playoffs. It influences how well you bounce back from the inevitable misplay on the diamond. Those throwing errors with Jorge coming around to score could've devasted an uptight team. The Rangers moved on and polished us off.

It can't be our year every year. Amazing how the Yankees are almost always in it near the end. Playoff battlers every year but on since 1995? That's incredible.

4 bp1   ~  Oct 25, 2010 9:56 am

The Yankees were a very mediocre team over the last third of the season. The sweep of the Twins gave us false hope that August and September were aberrations, but then came Texas and the Yankees were back to their late summer form again, fouling off pitches they should drive, leaving a zillion and one men on base, and constantly looking for CC to save their bacon. It seemed to me CC was running on fumes come October this year. There are only so many losing streaks one guy can stop.

A ton of ballgames came down to "if they only had that one hit". They didn't. They especially didn't against Texas. Last year they did. The difference this post season is that the bullpen removed any possibility of late inning comebacks.

Gonna be a long off season.

5 rbj   ~  Oct 25, 2010 9:56 am

[2] Enthusiasm. That's the word. The last few years it seems like the Yankees have been playing like its work. Sure there's a bunch of highly talented players, so they are going to have their share of wins, but to me it feels like it's work. The Rangers & the Rays (the last 3 seasons) played like it was a fun game they've been playing.

I guess when you've played long enough and been so successful, that it does become routine and the fun-ness lessens.

6 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:02 am

All of it is correct to a degree, but not absolute. Bottom line, the Rangers outplayed the Yanks. The Yanks suffered in September; you gotta ask yourself was that really on purpose or was that symptomatic of the questions above. As far as charisma and fun goes, I felt the Yanks weakened themselves during the off-season by not replacing Damon and Matsui with players of equal quality expectations. Those guys had down years on their respective teams as well, but I wonder if that was because of what they lost from playing without guys they'd bonded with for four-plus years and recently won with; they were definitely part of the equation last year and lent a presence that can't be easily dismissed.

Neither here nor there, the Rangers played better. I'm going with Frisco though; my brother works there.

7 monkeypants   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:05 am

I do wonder (1) how much the teams mediocre to sub-mediocre play over the last month+ of the season can be attributed to the pathological obsession with resting players, to the point that it *seemed* like they punted more than a few games; and (2) if, then, not trying harder in the last part of the season hurt them in postseason.

I mean this seriously...that is, as a serious, open question. I don't know enough about sports psychology to determine if teams can "turn it on" like a light switch. And it is really tough to make such a judgment in a sport like baseball, which *seems* (again, my own opinion, I don't *know* this) not to rely as much on emotion, getting fired up, etc. It is a long season, one in which tactics (trying to win this game, this inning, this at bat) must give way to longer term considerations. It's tough to come to a conclusion given the age and injuries of the team, which seem to have mandated more rest.

In the NFL, it has become common for teams that have wrapped a playoff spot to more or less throw in the towel during the last game, or even the last two games. Still, that amounts to only one or two weeks of resting, and even then, it is fairly common for the coach to at least get his starters a series or two before pulling them, to keep them fresh.

I don't know how that translates to MLB, if at all. Whatever the case, as noted in [4], the Yankees were not that good for a pretty sizable stretch at the end of the season. It was not the most fun or dramatic baseball to watch.

8 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:05 am

[5] Agreed. This season has been tough to watch even when we won because it seemed rather joyless on many occasions. There were great moments as always, but it seemed to be more inevitability of function as opposed to joy of accomplishment.

9 monkeypants   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:08 am

[5] The last few years it seems like the Yankees have been playing like its work.

Do you really think that. Hm. In my view, the Yankees from about 1998-2007 played like it was work. But, if anything, I felt that the they had a little more joy and enthusiasm over the last couple of seasons---maybe with the influx of guys like Swish or Gardner or AJ and his pies or even, heaven help me, Cervelli). They sure seemed enthusiastic last year. I think they were enthusiastic for much of their season until the last month or two of the season.

10 monkeypants   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:09 am

[1] I think the directions are tucked away under the Posting Guidelines. I never remember how to do it, myself.

11 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:19 am

[9] There's a difference, and I would divide the first half of the "dynasty" from the second. 1998-2003 it was was a white collar, upper management type of work where you can imagine the team playing in suits and ties or even tuxedos. 2004 was awkward because of Alex's first appearance in pinstripes and how much speculation about the tension between him and Derek was made. 2005-2007 on has seemed more like "The Office" and now it seems more like temping.

12 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:22 am

[11] Okay, not exactly halves, but you get the pic. Also, can I add the vibe of "some of you might retire soon, so let's hope they hang around long enough to find suitable replacements"?

13 The Hawk   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:40 am

[10] I mean like just before when I copied and paste a paragraph from the NY Post, when I pasted there was an additional link that appeared that I hadn't copied. It's happened other times as well when I did that.

14 The Hawk   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:50 am

Girardi is a grump to be sure but let's face it, Jorge is as well. Jeter I believe really enjoys playing the game, has fun, but otherwise he's not exactly loosey-goosey. There are some more joyous Yankees these days and it seems they're free to fly that flag, but overall the business-like atmosphere is pervasive. I don't know that that amounts to winning or losing in any given scenario. Sometimes it seems like a boon, sometimes it doesn't. My suspicion is it helps as often as it hurts, if it ever really does either.

In the case of the 2004 Red Sox there is little doubt in my mind that their goofy attitude helped that comeback. But who knows if they had a real button-down approach, that might have helped too. Hard to say. Getting tight obviously can lead to problems but I can imagine getting loose to the point of distraction as well.

And of course, success informs the effectiveness of any of these things. If your team is straight-laced and dominates in that mode, then that's going to be the preferred vibe for the team. Same is true for the converse - you'll feel successful inhabiting the role that has given past success, until proven otherwise.

15 monkeypants   ~  Oct 25, 2010 10:58 am

but overall the business-like atmosphere is pervasive.

Probably true. In fact, it seems like this has been the Yankees' public persona for the better part of 70 years, since the days of DiMaggio. Even the wild and crazy antics of Mickey and Billy and Whitey were kept out of the public eye (as much as possible). The Bronx Zoo days of the 70s seem to be more the anomaly than the norm.

I actually don't mind this all that much. I sorta like how different franchises allegedly have historically/traditionally/structurally different "attitudes" or traits or personae (i.e., "the Yankee way," etc.). It makes for better theater.

16 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 25, 2010 12:11 pm

[15] The Yankees have mostly been business-like, although last year did seem to have a much more relaxed atmosphere. I think one problem this season is many of the team leaders struggled, and it's hard to set an example when you are pulling your weight. As for Girardi, I don't think the Yankees need him to manage a more fun clubhouse. His shortcomings directly impact the game, and those are the ones that should be a concern.

I do think it would be better to jettison guys like Joba and AJ, who seem to attract so much negative energy. When they are struggling, it seems to cast a pall over the entire team. Maybe that's just a fan's perspective, but then again, maybe not?

17 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Oct 25, 2010 1:09 pm

Loosey-goosey is worth so much.

To me one of the signature moments of the recent dynasty was in the 2000 playoffs, where Sojo almost blew a game to the As by tripping over his shoelace, and everyone basically laughed it off.

You could almost hear the whole team thinking, Yeah, we're that good, we got this, and it showed.

18 cult of basebaal   ~  Oct 25, 2010 2:25 pm

Andy Pettitte’s back and hamstrings tightened up during his Game Two start in the ALDS, which is why he was pushed back to Game Three of the ALCS. Andy also had to cut his between-start bullpen session short, and if the LDS had gone five games there’s a chance he might not have been able to start.

19 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 25, 2010 2:41 pm

[18] Maybe this goes along the lines of what Sherman mentioned, but I don't believe that. That's way too convenient an excuse for what I think was a major blunder.

20 YankeeAbby   ~  Oct 25, 2010 3:38 pm

[6] As far as charisma and fun goes, I felt the Yanks weakened themselves during the off-season by not replacing Damon and Matsui with players of equal quality expectations.

I felt that too, so having said that...while they won't sign him back next year as a player, can't they just bring Damon back in the role of Clubhouse Jester? Dude's got a way of bringing fun and I'm sure the pay wouldn't be half bad! ;-P

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver