The Yankees season is two games old (the third game is going on as I write this) and already I have heard two people concerned about the Yankees season. I only have one question to ask these people: Are you serious?
The first concerned Yankee fan had his worries at the end of game one. Let me take you to the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night. The Yankees are up 3-2 and Johnny Damon led the inning off with a triple. Now steps up Derek Jeter, the Captain, Mr. Reliable, who always comes through when the Yankees need him to. Right? Well, this time Jeter ground out to the pitcher, and they hold Damon at third. Then Bobby Abreu grounds out to first. Still the run does not score, and after an intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi gets out ending the inning, wasting the lead-off triple.
I am not going to lie. Jeter grounding out in that situation surprised me. I thought somewhere in that at-bat, he would look for a pitch he could hit into the outfield and get the run in. So, Jeter grounded out. Big deal; even Derek Jeter is not perfect (even though he is much closer than you or I), especially with the Yankees having two more outs to get the run in and the lead. However, a friend of mine immediately turns to me and says, “Jeter is going to have a bad year.” I decided to let the comment go because we were in a meeting and not supposed to be following the game on GameCast, but for future references, never, ever insult Derek Jeter in front of me.
My question to my friend is: how can he tell how Jeter’s whole season is going to go based on one at-bat? In the first game of the season no less. I could see maybe after a month if he was giving me his opinion, but basing that opinion on one at-bat? Are you kidding me? Let it be known right now that Derek Jeter has hit over .300 in nine out of 11 seasons (not counting the first two games of this year or his brief stint in ’95), and in those two seasons batted over .290. He is a lifetime .317 hitter, and one at bat in the first game of his 12th full season and he is going to have a bad year? Get out of here.
The second concerned person about the state of the Yankees was the Mush. She is the ultimate jinx, and I have several instances proving this fact.
My first example took place on September 2, 2001. Mike Mussina is starting for the Yanks up in Boston and David Cone is starting for the Sox on ESPN’s Sunday Night game. Both pitchers are cruising along putting zero after zero up on the board in about the fifth or sixth inning we notice that “Moose” has not allowed a base runner all game. At this point of time everyone (all Yankee fans) is telling everyone to keep doing what they are doing and remain in their seats.
Now it gets to the ninth inning and “Moose” is still perfect. Troy O’Leary pinch hits for Shea Hillenbrand and grounds out to Clay Bellinger (pinch ran for Tino in the eighth and scored the only run). The next batter is Lou Merloni who strikes out swinging. Now Mussina is one out away from a perfect game, and up steps Carl Everett who is pinch hitting for Joe Oliver. Throughout the game, Mush is telling everyone that Mussina looks like Eddie Munster, and she is trying to think of the theme song, but it is slipping her mind. As Mussina is delivering the fourth pitch of the at-bat to Everett the light bulb goes off in her head and the theme song comes to her. She stands up and begins humming, and dancing to the theme song, as she does this Everett laces the pitch into left field for a base hit. There is a collective gasp and then a barrage of insults at Mush for standing up.
My second example happened August 3, 2003. The Yankees are in Oakland--another great pitchers duel, this time between Andy Pettitte and Mark Mulder. The Yankees are winning 1-0 going into the ninth and Pettitte goes out to start the inning. He walks Mark Ellis who led off the inning, and Torre quickly pulls him for Mariano Rivera, who proceeds to strike out Jose Guillen. The next batter is Eric Chavez who singles to right field. At this point there is still no sign of Mush. Miguel Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP, steps up to the plate. Then we hear it. The vacuum is turned on and is coming closer and closer. As Rivera delivers the fourth pitch of the at-bat, the Mush enters the room and Tejada swings and sends a screaming line drive to deep left field the ball lands and by the time that the Yankees outfield could get the ball back in, Chavez has scored the winning run, and the game is over.
Still not convinced? I will give you one more. October 8, 2007 game four of the 2007 ALCS, the Yanks are playing the Indians. The Indians are leading the best of five series 2-1, and as if the Indians need anymore luck, guess who is attending game four? That’s right, the Mush. It should be noted that she did not watch game three (the lone win for the Yankees). Grady Sizemore leads off for the Indians and sends one sailing into the right field bleachers. Right away, I am on the phone and telling her to leave. The Mush does not listen (honestly, who would leave in the first inning of a playoff game?) and the Yankees are down 4-0 before they come to bat. The Yankees end up losing the game and she did not even try to get Jon Bon Jovi’s autograph.
Anyway, back to the original article I was writing.
The Yankees are playing their second game of the season and again guess who was at the game? Yeah, I know, but I am away at college and can’t stop her from going. So, in case you didn’t know, the Yankees lost the game 5-2 and A.J. Burnett just shut the Bombers down. Then, around 11:30 pm, I receive a voicemail (Halo 3 took me away from my phone and homework) from Mush telling me how she is not the Mush and how bad the Yankees are.
Similar, to my friend with the concern about Derek Jeter, how can they be this bad based on one game in the season? That being said, if you are a Baltimore Orioles fan who had to watch their team give up on the season last year, and you went to a game in August or September and you want to tell me how bad they are, then I would agree. But two games into the season, even if you are the Orioles? They still have as good of a chance as the Yankees or Red Sox to win the division.
Just to prove a point that a 1-1 start is not too bad look at how the World Series winners from the past 10 years have started out. Boston last year: 1-1, St. Louis in 2006: 2-0, Chicago in 2005: 2-0, Boston in 2004: 1-1, Florida in 2003: 0-2, Los Angeles in 2002: 1-1, Arizona in 2001: 2-0, New York in 2000: 2-0, New York in 1999: 1-1, New York in 1998: 0-2. Four of those teams went 2-0, four went 1-1, and two went 0-2 in their first two games of the season. Obviously, the first two games of the season are not a good barometer of a team’s performance for a season.