MLB Playoffs 2011: Why the New York Yankees Keep Falling Short
When Alex Rodriguez struck out to end the game, and the Yankee season, it was only fitting.
Rodriguez hit .111 in the division series against the Tigers, and struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning in the decisive Game 5 that sent the New York Yankees home early once again in 2011.
Rodriguez's poor postseason play is one of several reasons the Yankees have fallen short of reaching the World Series yet again.
A franchise that won four world championships in five years during the 1990s has won just one in the decade since.
The Yankee Image
The Yankees created an image of invincibility following their championship streak in the 1990s.
Their MLB-highest payroll year after year has only added to their mystique, and with the legend comes the pressure to perform.
While the Yankees were building a dynasty with homegrown talent in the late 90s, they were wildly successful.
In the 10 years since establishing themselves in a totally different class, they have wilted under pressure.
In 2011 the Yankees received little in return from some of their highest-paid stars:
This Isn't the Team of the 90s Anymore
The current Yankee squad is in many ways a shell of its former, championship-winning self.
With aging stars like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, and the absence of postseason clutch heroes of the past, like Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez, today's team is missing players that can deliver in October.
The Yankees will need to change their philosophy if they want to reach the level of success they did in the late 90s.
The teams that won three straight titles in that decade were composed of homegrown talent that meshed together with wonderful chemistry, and it showed on the field.
The current team is a patchwork of hired-guns that were purchased from outside the ranks of the organization, a free-agent quilt that was saddled with the duty to win, and win often.
Perhaps it's time for New York to embrace a youth movement, as Derek Jeter and others from the old guard won't be around much longer.
Jesus Montero and others need to become the next generation of Yankee leaders to carry the torch of the greatest franchise in baseball history.