Before the start of the 2010 ALDS, the state of the New York Yankees went as follows:
Fact: The New York Yankees are looking old.
Fact: The Yankees played awful baseball in September, finishing the month with a 12-15 record and playing under .500 baseball for the first time since April 2008. They lost seven of they’re last 10 games.
Fact: The Yankees starting pitching was in shambles at end of regular season, while the hitters were becoming pros at stranding runners on base.
Fact: The majority of sports media deemed the Yankees the underdogs, while predicting that losing would be they’re ultimate fate.
All of the above are legitimate statements. Both haters and lifelong fans pounce on any weakness displayed by the Bombers, myself included.
Coming in, as the Wild Card is not the usual entrance the Yankees make into the postseason.
Thanks to ESPN for repeatedly reminding viewers that the franchise has never made it past the ALDS as the wild-card team. That stat is spanning over so many decades it started sounding desperate.
Still, somedays it seems like Yankees fans hate losing more than the Yankees themselves. Rest assured the players like the over-criticism from their beloved fans. It is the only way the players would have it.
As far as the ALDS, so far so good for the Yankees, who head to the Bronx with a 2-0 lead against the Minnesota Twins.
Each win answered some very big questions looming all around in Yankee Universe.
With so many unknowns, Game 1 was a must-win for New York because the team’s only proven ace, CC Sabathia, was on the mound. If the Yankees lost with Sabathia pitching things could have gotten ugly.
Well, the Yankees got the win on Wednesday night in Minnesota, and Sabathia wasn’t even at his sharpest.
So how did the team manage the win?
As a whole, the team played all-around solid baseball, and that will always win in October.
Anyone who was afraid that Andy Pettitte forgot how to pitch is not worried any longer.
Pettitte pitched great, as he always does in the postseason. Both his off-speed and breaking ball pitches were on target, like he had not missed a beat. Everyone discounted Pettitte’s exceptional career and experience way too fast, which will never happen again.
Everyone knows the ALDS is not even close to finished yet. Yankees fans are hoping that Mariano Rivera will get that final out over the weekend, but until then thinking any further than Saturday would be absurd.
All eight postseason teams are first-rate, have talent beyond comprehension, and rightly earned the chance to play in October.
One thing I continually re-learn during each postseason is that critiquing October baseball continually reminds us that a team’s future is not in the past.
There are no excuses in this postseason, that is for sure.
"Don't talk to me about aesthetics or tradition. Talk to me about what sells and what's good right now. And what the American people like is to think the underdog still has a chance."—George Steinbrenner, "the Boss"