For the past three weeks, I’ve been in a funk, as far as my awareness of the world of sports is concerned. I saw the start of football season solely as a warning that baseball season was about to end. But some teams get longer seasons than others, and my boys in pinstripes reminded me of that this past weekend when they swept the Boston Red Sox (is there any sweeter victory?) to clinch the American League East championship and become the first team this year to secure a berth in the play-offs!
Now, far be it from me to pontificate on what the Yankees should or shouldn’t do to advance in the post-season. My knowledge is not that comprehensive. However, I will share some observations that I think most people can agree on:
1) Mariano Rivera makes me very nervous. Sure, he may have closed Sunday’s clincher, but he only did so after allowing the tying runs on base. He’s had a few such panicky outings this season. It’d be best for all involved if they stopped now.
2) Also making me nervous: A.J. Burnett. Yes, he’s one of the most crucial acquisitions the team has made, but he’s also given up six runs to the Orioles on two separate occasions.
3) Brett Gardner has been awesome. When the center field job was up for grabs in pre-season, I was firmly in Camp Melky; but Gardner has shown his worth in the field and around the bases (of which he has stolen 24).
4) Alex needs to stay strong. He’s been solid in the field, but his performance at the plate has vacillated (3 for 3 one day, 0 for 4 the next). Even though the Yankees have an outstanding line-up, A-Rod is still the clean-up man, and his ability to crank the ball is going to be crucial.
I won’t delude myself into thinking that I’ll be making a trip to 161st Street in the Bronx anytime this October, but you can bet I’ll be watching with rapt attention from home. I may even throw some hot dogs on the George Foreman and charge myself $12 just to really feel like I’m there.
Let’s go, Yankees! Now is when it counts!