The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893
No, that was not a pun or self-reference (it’s too obvious for one… >;)
It’s more of a declaration or a plea. The Yanks have been very sucky, as in inconsistent. They won the season opener the way everyone envisioned they wudduh-cudduh-shudduh with a 7-2 easy win over the lowly Orioles, then proceeded to streak like a naked drunk at old Yankee Stadium across several games, losing two of three to both the same Orioles and the wow, there’s a worse team than them Tigers. At home, no less. In front of a whole lot of impatient NYers who already don’t like that the Yanks skipped out on two young All-Stars and a potential one to complement the suddenly rickety rotation. So naturally, they go away to home-away-from-home Camden Yards and beat the crap out of the Orioles to return the favor and then some (they swept them there, so)… but they either left their bullpen prowess at the depot or the Orioles infected them with their Orioleness because now the bullpen sucks and is infecting the some of the rotation (Paxton) and fielders (Frazier, because Gary was already like that).
So here we are on an off-day in April standing at 5-7 with almost half the starters on the injured list and the accountant I mean manager having to make pep talk for the media because God knows basically every decision he’s made lately has been betrayed him faster than ketchup at a dive bar. It’s all his fault, of course, because he was so eager to listen to whatever Cashman told him to do, which is why he got the job in the first place, right?
Yeah, um. Let’s stop right there, because this is panicking for panicking’s sake. Good for headlines, but not for watching baseball. It’s been hard for me personally to follow sports in general because of the micromanaging that analytics has wrought and will continue on until someone manages to figure out how to merge the glory days with the innovations. No more bunts or steals because they aren’t productive; now three or five blasts over a shifted infield, that’s the ticket! Yeah, fun. But whatever, it’s here and in all sports, so I’m rolling with it better than most; particularly the kids who don’t really care for all the standing around doing nothing. And the people who are mad at players who are upset that owners only want to pay several millions as opposed to several more; of course no one says anything about the owners themselves pocketing the millions upon millions they get from TV contracts and revenue sharing, but that’s another rant for another day…
The Yanks are built to last; so to speak as they obviously can’t stay healthy long enough to dominate as envisioned. I mean, if they had Didi, Giancarlo, C.C., Dellin. Miggy, Luis, Hicks and hell, why not Troy and Jordan Montgomery and maybe even Ben Heller and– nah, not him. But if they had at least four of these guys back and in good playing shape, it probably wouldn’t be this bad, would it? Well, that’s one thing. The players can hit when left to their own devices, and they’re talented enough to overcome some of their own missteps. Plus it’s early… 12 games does not a season make. Yet I see people freaking out as though the team just missed the playoffs. Let me remind you all that this is not the team the Yanks intended to start with, and as I had commented during Spring Training, if they falter they pretty much have a built-in excuse: injuries, resulting in playing time for fairly unseasoned youth (just like last season!) who basically have to hold the fort until the starters come back.
Of course it’s easier said than done, but it is what it is, and we see that this team can hit. I worry more about coaching and managing missteps than about the players being able to deliver, and honestly unless they are the reason the players are getting themselves hurt, then there’s really not much to get up in arms about. One could say that Boone, for example, is not really responsible for the decisions he makes because they probably aren’t even his to begin with. The Yankees aren’t all that big on autonomy these days, after all. But they have a helluva lot of talent and youth to spare, regardless of how much of the farm they’ve pawned off in recent seasons. There, another good thing to bear in mind is that the Yanks are not compelled to throw their prospects at other teams right out the gate for a quick pick-me-up. When the previously wounded return to battle, there’s likely going to be a bump in win percentage. And if they don’t, well by that time some of their bluer chips might be primed and ready to throw some support their way. As recent highlight-reliever-making-his-Yankee-debut Joe Harvey would say, it’s gonna get real and it’s gonna be pretty dope.
I wish I had something far more compelling to console you with, but we see the same thing year in and year out. The team stumbles out of the gate and people get all Edvard Munch paintings on you. Please chill. There are plenty of things to be up in arms about right now, but the Yanks being sub-500 after two weeks in April is definitely not one of them.
Wait until mid-May for that…