Yankees playoffs: The ALCS and making of the 2017 Baby Bombers

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The Yankees will play Game 7 of the ALCS Saturday, their biggest game of the year. Now, on the most important day of the season, is a chance to look back and see what it took to get here, and why these young Yankees are likely to keep winning.

Each Yankees team is unique. And they all start with the same goal: Win the World Series. No mean feat, that.

But few expected this team to get this far, this soon. YanksGoYard, however, has been observing these baby Yankees all year.

From before spring training to the moment they, and we, could see they had a special quality, that which has gotten them all the way to Game 7 of the ALCS, we’ve forecast and followed this surprising, and amazing, team.

So now, while we all wait in suspended animation for a game we never thought to see in 2017, let’s look back at the people, decisions, and intangible qualities that shaped this young, dynamic team.

And we start before the first pitch was thrown in spring training.

Before Flying the Coop

The Yankees Greg Bird had already proven he was the first baseman of the future in 2015, if injuries allowed. So it was no big leap to think a healthy Bird would soar higher than any young Yankee in spring training.

It seemed likely he would have a strong showing, leading to his to appearing in The Show, as we noted in a piece entitled, Greg Bird is About to Give a History Lesson:

"In case you haven’t guessed, it’s the reason Greg Bird has already won the first base job over Tyler Austin. And it’s not even close. There is no competition for first base. It already played out over the course of the last few seasons and Bird won hands down. But that’s okay because Professor Bird is about to teach a class on just that subject. Don’t be late because Spring Training 2017 is about to be the most fun history class Yankees fans have ever had."

Bird went on to hit .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs and 15 RBIs. Of course those games are meaningless and helped the Yankees win not one game in the regular season.

But it gave both Bird and the Yankees confidence that he could come back and be a force in this lineup, whenever his health allowed. It kept Cashman from making more trades, and losing more prospects for stop-gap players.

Cash and the Boys became content to let a litany of first baseman man the bag and accept their short term failings because Bird’s spring training convinced them he could be more than adequate…he could be a force.

And now the team is being handsomely rewarded for believing in what they saw in spring training, and for believing in Greg Bird.