Yankees interbellum could be the most important day of September
The Yankees have been doing well on the field. But it’s their next off day that could affect their season the most.
The Yankees have arrived in September still able to make their dreams come true. But it’s been an interesting season, full of change. They have gone from swept and distraught, to legitimate division contenders. And that was just in the last week.
Likewise, Luis Severino became the second-best pitcher in the American League, while Yo Soy Gary cemented his title as, The August Mr. Sanchez.
Quiero aprovechar este momento para agradecer a nuestro publico Latino por leer. No importa lo que le llamemos, todos estamos de acuerdo en que en Agosto, Gary Sanchez se convierte en El Primo.
But the biggest change has been personnel. Not only is this the first time since April that all the major players are on the team at the same time, but also the Yankees have made significant additions both from the farm and free agency.
The team that got a chance to bond in Spring Training has been improved and augmented.
That should mean they are playing better than they did in the first three months of the season. But that hasn’t happened. The team is starting to win and might be on the verge of streaking. Yet, something is missing.
Mom’s Just Don’t Understand
A part of it is just plain having fun. You can dream all your young life about playing in the Show, with a chance to win it all. But you get to late season baseball, and suddenly you are uncomfortable in the spotlight. It gets easy to forget you are being paid millions to play a kids game.
The Yankees need to start remembering that. Yes, they should play with a sense of urgency. But not that of an executive afraid to blow a billion dollar deal.
Instead, they should play like the sun is about to go down, and mom’s just about to call them home, so they have to make this at-bat the best of their whole life.
Don’t play like you’re afraid the season is about to end. Play as if this is the last at-bat of the summer and tomorrow you have to go back to elementary school. Man, noboody wants that.
Christ admonished us to be childlike, but not childish; he must have been talking about playing baseball.
But more importantly, this team needs to bond. Joe Girardi has always pulled the players out of spring training for a day of fun and bonding. This is not a new concept, and the Yankees did not invent team bonding.
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From the military to the mightiest corporations, team bonding has long been recognized as an essential element to success.
And the Yankees believe their focus on it is has been one key to the outperforming of their talent during the last few seasons.
Sonny Gray, however, wasn’t with the club in April, but he could be on the mound in October. The dreams of Greg Bird were fractured at the same time as his ankle bone, and he has spent more time away from the team than with it. Prodigal son David Robertson has even returned but without a fatted-calf party.
With all of the personnel changes, the Yankees stand in need of a re-bonding. Suddenly September has provided the perfect possibility.
The T-Shirts are for Sale in the Gift Shop, of Course
First, the team is winning. You can bond all day long, take selfies together, even make commemorative t-shirts; nothing matters unless the team wins.
Fortunately, the Yankees just took three of four from the Red Sox and beaten the Orioles best starter. Even if they lose on Tuesday and Wednesday, they should go into Thursday’s day off feeling good.
Second, the team is on the road for this day off. It would be challenging to get the players together on an off-day at home. But, on the road, even the next day’s starting pitcher would be able to join in.
Finally, the Yankees have nothing to lose. If the team has a typical day off, the players will be unchanged. But if they hang together now, it might help them hang together later in a tough, late-game situation. And any advantage in battle should be sought.
If this seems small, then remember that great accomplishments often hinge on the smallest actions.
Would a Group Hug be Too Much?
I miss seeing Aaron Judge hit home runs at a prodigious pace. But I miss his relentless grin and infectious attitude more. Perhaps if he felt more like the latter, he would produce more like the former; perhaps.
Because the Yankees are getting close. They are healthy and making the AL East sick. But many of the players who are now on this team have come back from illness, or from trades, or been promoted ahead of schedule.
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And no matter how they’ve gotten here, they have all arrived in September ready to do battle—to win glory or go down swinging. On Thursday, they have a chance to stand back and appreciate just who this team is made up of. Who’s been doing all the hitting and pitching, and what it took for that guy to be here now.
Thursday, this team, this group of guys, has a chance to actually become the 2017 New York Yankees. The only down side is that the t-shirts are going to cost a fortune.
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