I do not believe I have had a summer with so little Yankees since I lived in New Hampshire in the 1980s and could only watch the Red Sox or Blue Jays. It was then that I committed the high treason of falling for the 1986 Red Sox of Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens. At least I was somewhat absolved when they became Yankee players.
I left Maine on June 22 for a new life in Florida. I had spent the better part of the previous month preparing for the move so there was little time for the games or for writing. Arriving in Florida, the condo does not get the MLB Network and the Internet is so crappy that I can barely (if ever) watch MLB.tv. Fun is not a description I would use following a game with that MLB.com Gameday thingy.
Somewhat surprisingly, this lack of the Yankees in my life hasn't bothered me much. The feeling is so unique for this self-admitted, fifty-year (flagrant) fan that some thoughts have had to be considered by way of introspection. It would be like falling out of love with Coca-cola after fifty years of drinking the stuff. So what gives? Why haven't I missed my daily dose of The Bombers?
One of the reasons was the team itself. I don't agree very often with Mike Lupica, but when he called the Yankees, "a dreary, mediocre, uninteresting team," He nailed it. Every time I did watch the team, they would score 0-3 runs and get no more than seven hits a game. It was boring.
The only exciting part of the team was DMC at the end of games and if they were only involved in protecting wins in fifty percent of the games, you just knew that one of them would be gone eventually. Andrew Miller was my favorite and hearing rumors about his departure were killing me.
And then there was the make up of the team. Ever since the Core Four departed the scene, I found it increasingly hard to find someone for which to root. The only home grown players were in the bullpen and Brett Gardner in left. I do not much care that many think Gardner is a mighty fine player. In my mind, he is not even close to being Roy White. The only other home-grown player (albeit via a trade) was Rob Refsnyder who was being given the 1983 Don Mattingly treatment. Oh yeah, there is Austin Romine. But, yeah, he is Austin Romine.
The rest of the team was made up of aging mercenaries. I have used this analogy before, but it would be like going to an Independence Day parade in 1805 and trying to cheer while a bunch of Hessian soldiers marched by.
The only fun Hess...uh...Yankee seemed to be Didi Gregorius who is having a fine year and is a fun, young player. Starlin Castro hasn't done much for me.
But there is hope. Tropicana Field finally did something positive for the Yankees when the team was swept there by the Bay Rays. It allowed Brian Cashman to finally win his point and start breaking up this decrepit team.
Carlos Beltran is having a wonderful swan song. But he's gone. Mark Teixeira announced his retirement. Alex Rodriguez has announced his departure (with a lot of grace, I might add). Brian McCann might be the next to go. Gary Sanchez is already up and playing. Refsnyder is getting more action and once A-Rod finishes up on Friday, we could see more young Yankees--especially if the team can get by its Aaron Hicks obsession.
For me, at least, there is infinitely more fun watching a young, home-grown team be mediocre than an old, station-to-station team be the same. It is exciting to me that the Yankees could be the next Houston Astros--even if that means a bunch of losing first. At least the team's efforts will be interesting again.
Fun is starting to course back into my Yankee blood. Perhaps I will have to try and figure out why the Internet here is so slow and awful!