A Rant From a Yankees Fan

Matt CullenAnalyst INovember 4, 2009

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 03:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees warms up during World Series workouts on November 3, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

I've learned that the New York Yankees spoiled me at an early age.

I was just shy of 11 years old when I saw the Yankees win their 26th World Series in 2000, their fourth in five years.

Losing I feel is what molds us as sports fans. Rooting for a dynasty is the easiest thing in the world. While less joyful, losing I feel has made me a better sports fan.

The way we collapse mentally after the season ends in despair, the lingering effect over an entire offseason, and the way we bounce back without fail, asking to get punched in the stomach once again.

It also makes winning that much more special when it does happen. It becomes appreciated that much more.

I was five years old when the Dallas Cowboys won their most recent Super Bowl. That memory is just a blur. It was a cool moment, but I had been brainwashed into how great those Cowboys teams were that it was something that came to be expected.

If they ever win another playoff game I will probably look like this .

For the first time since 2004 the New York Yankees had won a playoff series. Bad memories had reached the tipping point.

Yes I know many other fan bases have had it much worse. I don't want to hear it. It won't make this potential loss hurt less, and it won't make me care less than I have.

The run has been great so far but with every loss in these past two rounds it has been followed by a sleepless night—multiple sleepless nights in the cases of the Game Five losses.

I had told myself before the World Series that win or lose, I was going to be extremely grateful for the Yankees finally being able to make a deep run. Hope was instilled once again.

Scrap that. Blowing a 3-1 lead in the World Series with the final two at home and the arms that they will be throwing out there is inexcusable.

It's also inexcusable because of the lineup that has seven different players that had more than 20 home runs this year.

It's also inexcusable because they have arguably the best closer in the history of the game and he is still near unhittable.

Mark Teixeira has made some big plays with the glove but the guy who carried the Yankees offensively for much of the season has hit a measly .172 in the 14 playoff games. "Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?"

That's right, .172 for the postseason.

He has had a few big hits. In Game Two of the ALDS he hit a walk-off home run in extra innings against Jose Mijares. In Game Five of the ALCS with his team down four he hit a bases clearing double against Darren Oliver, a guy who hadn't given up a single run that postseason.

Also in Game Two of the World Series he hit a solo home run off of Pedro Martinez to even the score at one in the fourth inning.

That .172 average though is still inexcusable. Was it a shock to anyone watching the last game that Johnny Damon kept the Yankees alive with a single and that Teixeira shot those chances dead with a strikeout? I sure wasn't surprised.

Robinson Cano, are you still with us? You have a .208 batting average with no home runs and six RBI. Honestly are you out there?

Nick Swisher has a .136 batting average with two RBI? Not even worth it.

It's much easier to pitch in the regular season. It's much easier on the nerves. Just ask Phil Hughes.

The reincarnation of Jack Morris himself has given up four runs in his last two innings pitched. This is including an inning and a third of shutout ball this past game when the Yankees seemed all but done.

I love Derek Jeter, but when can we take five seconds out of the day to acknowledge that despite contrary rumors he is not the younger brother of Jesus Christ? The captain's numbers are far from terrible as he's hitting over .320 with three home runs and has made a couple of memorable heads-up plays in the field.

But he has not hit well in the biggest of spots. He hasn't done it this postseason, he didn't do it in the regular season, and he hasn't done it very often for what feels like several years now.

Since when did being the captain mean that you never have any accountability for your failures or the team failures? I can't calculate how many times I've heard Yankees fans call Derek Jeter a God this postseason and not a peep was made when he hit into a double play in the ninth inning.

I heard Mark Teixeira blamed for striking out two at-bats later. I heard Burnett get blamed for his start. I heard Girardi get blamed for starting Burnett. And I heard Phil Coke get blamed for what at the time seemed like two meaningless solo home runs given up.

I'm surprised that nobody blamed Alex Rodriguez for old time's sake.

The double play from Jeter was so predictable in that spot. Not that you could but if you asked anyone in my family they'd tell you that I called a slow ground ball to short right when he got up.

I'm not saying that Jeter needs to be booed, but can we acknowledge that he is a human being and fails like everyone else sometimes? Despite such a crucial out I didn't see it mentioned in World Series coverage.

The only time I heard Derek Jeter named was on the ESPN show SportsNation when they mentioned the possibility that a bridge may be named after him. The timing is just incredible.

How do I feel about Joe Girardi's move? You didn't ask but I'm gonna tell you.

I hated the idea of a three man rotation all the way through the playoffs. Absolutely hated it.

How can you have a $50 trillion payroll and not have a fourth starter? That being said, it was the decision that Joe Girardi made and he was right to stick with it so late in the playoffs.

Give me A.J. Burnett on three days rest over Chad Gaudin, who hadn't made a start in over a month any day.

Joe Girardi made his bed and he needed to lie in it and stick to his guns. A.J. Burnett struggled because he is a talented, inconsistent, wild, headcase of a pitcher. I believe the rest factor had little to do with it.

A couple positives before I conclude.

Alex Rodriguez, keep at it. What an unbelievable postseason he has had, and after some doubt crept in people's minds after two hitless games to start the World Series he is back on track.

There isn't a single guy on the team I'd be more happy for to get a ring this year than him.

Didn't Mariano Rivera prove about three years ago that he can't handle six-out saves? Am I missing something here?

He pitched two-and-a-third scoreless in Game Two of the ALCS to keep the Yankees alive in the extra innings marathon. He got a six-out save to send the Yankees to the World Series. And then he got another six-out save to even the World Series at a game apiece.

Words cannot describe the guy well enough.

How confident am I about Andy Pettitte in Game Six? Not in the slightest for the 37-year-old lefty going on three days rest, especially considering his last start against the Phillies was probably his worst of the postseason.

I talked myself out of him closing it out within three hours of the completion of Game Five.

I haven't talked myself out of CC against Cole Hamel's damaged psyche or whoever the Phillies would throw out on the mound in Game 7. I will though. Don't worry about that, it's coming.

And then what? I don't know; my head just exploded.

You stay classy, San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy?


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