Things are not going well for the New York Yankees. They've only won seven of their last 20 games, and a once-strong lead in the AL East has slowly dwindled. The Bronx Bombers now face a fight to the death for first place in the division.
The Yankees are locked in a tie with the Baltimore Orioles, of all teams, for first in the division. The Tampa Bay Rays are also lurking a mere two games behind. The Yankees might even miss the playoffs at this rate.
As of right now, the Yankees are fighting for their lives. Their postseason hopes are on the line, as is their reputation. Just think of the headlines and mass panic that would ensue if the Yankees didn't make the postseason.
Although things are looking bad now, this situation is actually preferable to having a nice, comfortable lead. Big leads tend to give false security. That security quickly disappears in the playoffs. When it comes down to it, teams face do-or-die situations on the road to the World Series. Close divisional races provide practice for those intense playoff scenarios.
Sure, the Yankees and their fans would rather have a nice lead atop the AL East. But let's look at the silver lining here—the tribulations the Yankees are going through now could pay off later on.