The Yankees are still the best team in baseball. Defending World Champions, owners of the flashiest stadium in the majors, a team rich in spoils.
But as we look back at the current era in Yankee history, stretching back to 1996, it is obvious that era--call it the "Dynasty," call it the "Jeter Era," call it whatever you want-- is coming to a close.
The "Core Four" of Jeter, Pettitte, Posada and Rivera have been hit hard by injuries, particularly Posada and Pettitte. This season, Rivera, Jeter and Posada became the first trio in any of the four North American major sports leagues to play together on the same team in 16 consecutive seasons. But it's not just these stalwarts that are getting up there in age, Alex Rodriguez appears to be showing signs of breaking down as well. ARod recently joined Pettitte on the disabled list with a strained calf.
This is not to say that the Yankees will fall apart at the seams whn these players eventually retire. Certainly the organization has done a tremendous job of reinforcing the team with stars (Teixeira, Sabathia),diamond-in-the-rough finds (Swisher) and home grown talent (Cano). Yankee fans need not worry about a return to the Stump Merrill days.
But as Derek Jeter sat out last night, and the Yankees fight it out with the Rays down the stretch for the American League East Division title, one has to wonder how many of these years are left for this veteran group of players who have been through so much together.
in the not-so-distant future, the Jeters, the Posadas, Riveras, and Pettittes will be gone. But there's nothing to be down about, because we'll see Cano, Teixeira, Sabathia, Hughes, and others making postseason runs, creating legends of their own and making their mark- as Jeter and the others have done- in Yankee history.