27 Reflections

  • What can I say about ARod? I’ve long said that the reason why the fans booed him was because all we wanted was for him to be as good as we thought he could be. Yet, he made so many missteps that we lost count. He became a caricature of himself. The advice he was receiving was terrible. Then came this pre-season from Hell. The steroid admission and the awkward, conflicting stories. Then the hip surgery. How could anyone extricate themselves from that self-imposed pit is beyond my comprehension. Then he just…did. From his first at-bat (a HR) to his last in the regular season (a HR, one of two in the same inning for 7 RBI in that one inning), he kept his nose down and played the way he used to: with fun, with passion, on a mission. Of course, we, as fans, were ready for the “ARod chokes in the post season” onslaught. And then something strange happened: he hit like a madman. Has ARod been changed forever? I’m not sure, but I’m happy that he was able to put the mess of the Spring behind him and walk away from this season with his first ring.

  • I feel bad for Mussina, who arrived after the last title and left before this one. Then again, he’s on a farm with $100m in the bank so…
  • I am happy for Matsui, who, so far is 8 for 12 in the Series with 3 HR and 8 RBI (including 6 in Game 6). He’s been the consummate professional from the day he arrived. And if this is indeed his pinstriped finale, no finer way to go out. An MVP performance, to boot!
  • The Yanks went overboard this past off-season, unloading hundreds of millions on Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett. It was the ultimate show-me-up for the rest of baseball. An embarrassment of riches. Yet, unlike so many that came before them, these three didn’t shrink in the face of the spotlights. Though, the rich did shrink during the year, at least those inside the moat.
  • Sabathia helped change the personality of the clubhouse and provided a great example to everyone else in the way he carried himself on and off the field. The ALCS MVP stood tall and helped carry this team.
  • Teixeira was, at least to me, better than I anticipated. He was about what I expected offensively, but his defense was eye-opening. Coming off of a’seven year stretch of lousy (I’m being kind) defense at first base, the change was cataclysmic.
  • Burnett was about what we expected, wasn’t he? Except, of course, for the injuries, or lack thereof. He took the ball every turn. He was equal parts great, frustrating, mediocre, enthralling. He was scintillating in Game 2 and terrible in Game 5. But no matter the result, he stood in front of the camera and never looked to hide. And “who wants pie?”
  • This could also be Johnny Damon’s last game in pinstripes. He left early with a calf injury, but that doesn’t diminish his contributions, this year and over his 4 year career. He’s been as advertised: good sparkplug, good teammate, bad defender. Has he been worth the money? I say yes. Will he be worth re-signing next year? I’m not ready to go there yet.
  • I’ve been guilty of first and second guessing Girardi on some of the lesser issues (namely Molina and Hairston, and so on), but never once have I criticized his decision to roll with these three pitchers, even on short rest. In fact, I was in 100% support. You go with your best and if you’re beaten, tip your cap.
  • Posada has been the enigma for me this post-season. His defensive lapses have been concerning. Of course I am also happy for this long-time warrior, but I’m concerned about next year and beyond.
  • Speaking of enigmas, how do you figure out Robbie Cano? I know he’s got a very nonchalant way about him, so he doesn’t appear to ever really try to hard, and that’s tough to warm up to. However, in a list of the top young players in MLB these days, he’s pretty high up there, especially as a second baseman. It wouldn’t hurt him to dive once in a while, though, would it?
  • We don’t win 103 games without Hughes becoming unstoppable in the regular season. What happened after Game 162 is beyond my ability to decipher.
  • The Joba Rules…didn’t work. It only toyed with this kid’s development.
  • So what happens in 2010 with these two? Joba remaining a SP and Hughes to join him (under the Hughes Rules)?
  • Nick Swisher, despite his tendencies to fall into prolonged slumps, has been a wonderful addition to this team. Character, humor, self-depricating, banter wtih the fans. Wonder what Kenny Williams was thinking?
  • The Yanks will forever be criticized for their spending until there’s a hard cap (and floor, dammit), which might never happen. I’ve made this argument many times, but I’m staunchly pro-labor, not pro-management so I’m happy to see the players reap the rewards of their skills rather than the already-wealthy owners. The “Yanks buy titles” stuff will be forefront today, but where was it last year?
  • Along those lines, I have to give credit to Cashman. In an offseason where many teams were bidding on the Big 3, Cashman did what he had to do, besides just getting the green light on the dollars, to land all three. Does he have the best/easiest job in the game or the worst? If he wins, it’s because of the money. If he loses, it’s because of the money. Tough spot. Yet, he’s been there for a long time and is now as in control as anyone has been in the last 30 years. Pretty staggering, actually.
  • Love that we got another for George. Period. For all the turmoil and craziness, he is the most team-first, fan-first owner in professional sports, putting every cent back into the team. Thanks, Steinbrenner family!
  • You won’t hear me gloat (too much) to my Philly friends because deep down, this team scared me. The play hard all the time and are loaded in nearly every position. Tremendous respect for them. Tremendous. (Check out Crashburn Alley’s post-mortem for yet another example of the great work done by the other side. Bill’s a class act all the way and I thank him for his correspondence and comraderie over the course of the Series)
  • I understand the anti-Yankee stuff. Always have. Aside from the dollars, I just don’t think this is a “hate-able” team. They play hard, the right way, have fun, pull for each other, are relentless. I know that saying “aside from the dollars” is absolutely hypocritical, particularly coming from a website with the name “It’s About The Money, Stupid“. So feel free to rain the hate down on me/us here, but if you’ve been reading for any period of time, you know that I have always strived to cover this team with as fair and balanced an eye and word as possible. We’re fans but we’re not the blind homers you love to hate (at least I think so). That’s our mission and our goal and I think we’ve done a decent job with that.
  • I couldn’t be more thankful to Rob Neyer and the good folks at ESPN for this opportunity to be part of the SweetSpot Network, along with six other very talented bloggers. Honored, humbled, grateful. And a huge thanks to you, the readers, who choose to come here daily. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And a special thanks to my wife, for putting up with my hobby on a nightly basis.
  • Enter Sandman“… best lullaby ever.
  • World Series Champions. #27. Rock on.

    IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.