The Yankees, on several occasions this season, have made me wish they’d just put me out of my misery once and for all. This could be the weekend when it happens.
Yankees fans, what kind of a fan are you. Are you the type who believes in the team come hell or low water, the kind who’s ready to punch out anyone who dares to say anything negative about the team?
Or, are you the kind of fan who goes with the flow, hoping all the way that somehow the team will find a way to win. But if they don’t, there isn’t a sidewalk in New York City with your name on it and a big splash sign saying, “Land here.”
I’m disappointed and frustrated that the team doesn’t appear to be disappointed and frustrated.
Or, maybe you’re the kind of fan who waits until October to see who has made the playoffs before you tune in. But even then, you’re easily distracted, checking the latest on Facebook.
I’m not any of those kinds of fans. At times, I really don’t know what kind of Yankees fan I am. And this is one of them.
I know the team needs a good kick in the ass, and I’m just the guy to give it to them. But I also know how hard this game is to play. To be able to square up on a 97 mph high and tight fastball, or to make that off-balance throw to first on a double play with the runner gunning for your knees.
Or how difficult it is to repeat your delivery to the plate, pitch after pitch, with no let-up in concentration.
I know these things, but still, I can’t forgive myself for not liking the brand of baseball the Yankees have been playing for two months now. I’m disappointed and frustrated that the team doesn’t appear to be disappointed and frustrated.
Where’s The Fire And Brimstone
And I’m waiting for one of them, and it can’t be Joe Girardi, to hit the breaking point, by coming into the dugout after making an out in a crucial situation, tearing everything up. I want to see bats go flying out to the field, the water cooler busted, and packets of bubble gum spewed across the infield.
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I can tell you it won’t be Mr. Cool, Jacoby Ellsbury. And it won’t be Aaron Judge because he’s still learning how to deal with frustration and loss of confidence. It might be Gary Sanchez, though. Except he’s more likely to haul off and give Girardi a belt for staying on his case about his defense, or lack thereof.
No, it has to be someone with the Yankees brand attached to him. Someone like Brett Gardner, who has the respect of everyone on the team, as well as the entire organization. He’s my man.
Because, and I keep saying it, this team needs a thunderbolt to strike it. Girardi can only push the buttons, and he’s done what I believe is a remarkable job in that respect. But only the players can play the game, taking responsibility for what happens when they do. I don’t see a lot, or even, any signs of taking that kind of ownership for a 4-6 record, as an example, over their last ten games.
The ideal time for the team to wake up, of course, is the series beginning tonight against the Red Sox. And it’s not even first place that concerns this fan. It’s holding on to the Wild Card advantage they, miraculously for a team that is playing five games under .500 baseball since their 21-9 start to the season, somehow, still maintain.
And if this series isn’t, as is often said, do or die, then it’s certainly a measure of this team’s true identity. Like many fans, I’m hanging in there, hoping for only the best. But at some point, you have to look at this team, only to say, “Okay, show me what you’ve got.”
The Yankees haven’t shown us their true identity. Nor have they found it themselves. Beginning tonight, that search reaches ever closer to a final judgment on this team.