Thursday, September 29, 2005

Trying Not To Be Cocky

I don’t want to be the pessimistic fan and go talking about what can go wrong at this point. And for the most part, I won’t, since I’ve got a good feeling about the final four games of the season, having a one game advantage and all.

But Mother Nature might have a hand in tonight’s game. Last night, they were talking about constant rain all day in Baltimore, which may preclude the Yanks and Orioles from squaring off. This was an issue last night, but we all know how accurate weathermen are. As of right now, weather.com is saying that the rain will dissipate by four or five, meaning that not only will it not be raining during the game, but the field will have a chance to air out a bit before the first pitch.

Then again, what are the chances of the weathermen being right this time? Frankly, I don’t care how “right” or “wrong” they are (how right can you be when you keep changing your predictions? It’s like a gambler who bet against the Chiefs trying to change his wager after Dante Hall returned the opening kick for a TD). I just care that they get the game in tonight, because a make-up would be detrimental at this point.

Enough of this Negative Nancy crap. We just gained a game on the enemy, and nothing could feel better. Want to revel in it some more? Head to Boston Dirt Dogs, who are always much funnier after a loss. I absolutely love Boston fans when they’re down on themselves. I have to say, though, that if doomsday was actually coming, they’d be the most prepared.

On a quick, informal side note: if any one of you six people who read this here site want to start a project for the ’06 season similar to the Dirt Dogs, I think we could pull off a Yankees version. And it would be superior, too, just like the team.

Despite Boston’s current two-game losing streak, I’m trying not to be the cocky Yankees fan…yet. Sure, cockiness is a trait inherent with rooting for the Bombers, but since the guys wearing the pinstripes are putting aside their egos, I’m trying to lay mine to rest for the time being. Well, except in one instance:

My college buddy Brophy is a monstrous Braves fan. And while he was never geographically attached to them, he (purportedly, since I didn’t know him before college) was a Braves fan in the 80s when they sucked, much like I was a Yankees fan in the 80s when they sucked. So after the Braves clinched their 14th straight division title two nights ago, he went on a huge rant about it, saying that this is a dynasty that couldn’t be matched, even by the Yankees.

‘Scuse me? A dynasty? Sure, I admire everything Bobby Cox and Co. have done in the A-T-L, but in that 14 (well, 13, not counting this year) year span, they have won a whopping total of ONE World Series. Aren’t championships requisite of a dynasty?

Do we call the Philadelphia Eagles a dynasty because they’ve been in the NFC Championship game four years running? No, because they never finished the job. We refer to the Patriots as a dynasty because they won three in four years, and the ‘96-’00 Yankees for the exact same reason. It’s also why the latest Yankees dynasty is considered over – no championships since 2000.

Sure, it’s an undisputedly phenomenal feat the Braves have accomplished. But to call them a dynasty is to taint the word, and I’m sure Peter Goldenbock would agree.

I’d say I digress, but there really isn’t a main point/argument I’m trying to make here. So I guess I’ll stick with the only discernible theme and keep rambling about how good I’m feeling about the Yanks now.

It’s been said before, but last night was the difference between the April/May Yanks and the post-July Yanks. Back in the beginning of the season, there’s no way we win that game. And it all boils down to the pitching staff. In April/May, our starters were in arrears. They weren’t getting the job done, so they either put the team out of the game early or handed it over to the bullpen prematurely. And we all know the story with the bullpen.

And for your daily dose of stats, the Yanks team ERA by month:
April: 4.61 (10th in AL)
May: 4.54 (9th)
June: 4.42 (9th)
July: 5.09 (12th)
August: 3.78 (5th)
September: 4.62 (11th, though if you nix the 17 runs against the O’s, it’s 3.95 and 5th)

Also of note is our OPS against by month. We finished April 13th (second to last, to the D-Rays) in OPS against (.799), followed by 9th in May (.747), another 9th in June (.766), 8th in July (.782), 5th in August (with a much improved .705, thank you very much Small and Chacon), and 3rd in September (.723, once again, tainted by the 17-run Baltimore game).

This seems to be the only trend that comes close to telling the tale of this journey of a season. Not that we really needs stats to explain anything at this point, because WE’RE IN FIRST PLACE, BABY, with four to go!

Let’s make it two tonight with three to go.