Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Burn On, Big River, Burn On

If the silver screen has taught us anything, it’s that the Yankees will find a way to overcome this horrific slide. Just remember back to 1994, when the Cleveland Indians were suffering from a hangover induced by their Cinderella story a season prior. Sure, the Yankees season was the antithesis of a Cinderella story – more like a wicked step sister story – but there are similarities to be drawn.

Randy Johnson is our Rick Vaughn, minus the whole age thing. We have the notorious fireballer, the guy expected to approach 300 strikeouts for the season, but when the season opens, he looks horribly flat. Instead of reaching back and tossing the heat that elevated them to this level, Wild Thing and the Big Unit are hurling more breaking pitches and pinpoint fastballs. I wonder if Randy has nicknamed his slider The Devastator, or if A-Rod got a piece of it and gave it a more lewd moniker.

We have the former power hitter who has had a religious experience and no longer possesses the mental girth to slug the ball. Yes, I’m comparing Gimabi and Cerrano, though you’ll have to replace the words “a religious experience” with “his abuse of steroids exposed.”

There’s the former catcher turned coach in Joe Girardi, though Derek Jeter seems to embody the spirit of Jake Taylor more than Girardi.

We have the rookie who is doing everything he can to contribute to the team, as Cano is our Rube Baker. I don’t think I need to get into the subtle differences between the two, but I will say that I don’t think Cano was ever kicked in the balls by a horse. But hey, you never know.

The only main characters in the movie that we’re lacking are Willie Mays Hays – who would be a perfect fit for Soriano, being the speedster who all the sudden decides he’s going to sock dingers – Roger Dorn, and Jack Parkman. Some would compare Parkman to A-Rod, but a) he’s not that big a prick and b) I don’t think he’ll be wearing a Red Sox jersey any time soon. And Giambi may embody Dorn more than Cerrano by season’s end if he keeps sucking.

So, according to the movie, Joe is eventually going to get fed up with the team and flip out:
“It’s either a leg thing, or an arm thing, or a psychological thing! Or a heart attack!”
“Who used that one, skip?”
“Me.”

I am in no way prophesizing future health bouts for Torre; I’m merely following the story line. So with Joe in the hospital, Girardi takes over as manager. But, like Jake Taylor, Girardi has no managerial experience, and finds it impossible to keep all those egos under wraps like Joe/Lou could.

One day in July, with the Yanks still playing flat, we’re going to be in the middle of a double header, and Jete and A-Rod are going to get into a scuffle in the dugout. A fight breaks out, and the Yanks are forced to forfeit the first. But, the motivated rookie Cano, having been beaned squarely in his instep, says that he’ll be available to play, after hearing A-Rod quip, “At least you don’t have to play the second one.”

And that’s where the season will turn around. The team will start to get along, and will pick up the slack down the stretch, knocking off Baltimore to sneak into the Wild Card slot.

Facing the Red Sox in the ALCS again, we’re going to take a 3-0 series lead, only to once again see the Red Sox come back and win the next three. But Girardi has yet to play his trump card: “let’s win one for Joe.” Giambi comes up huge late in the game with a monster home run, Jeter makes a spectacular slide to avoid a tag by Varitek, and Randy whiffs David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez to end it.

Sure, it’s beyond wishful thinking, but with the Yanks playing as they are now, what the hell else do we have to talk about? I’m sure as hell not jumping on the “I’m going to route for the Mets this year because I don’t like this Yankees team and the Mets are exciting” bandwagon, because no matter who wears the pinstripes, they’re still the Yankees.