Yankees: Aroldis Chapman era must end after meltdown vs Angels
By Adam Weinrib
It is not an error in judgment to say the improperly-named “Baby Bombers Era,” which became something else entirely the second the Yankees splurged for Giancarlo Stanton, ended early Thursday morning in front of a smattering of wet fans.
Or, of course, perhaps it didn’t end. Perhaps it simply continued on as usual. After all, this era will be defined by historians in the rearview as a series of catastrophic Aroldis Chapman meltdowns separated only by brief blips of stability, not the other way around.
Any self-respecting fan knew how this would end not when Chapman toed the rubber for the first time in a full week after his implosion and dugout tirade against the Kansas City Royals, but when the Yankees sent out a tweet announcing they’d reevaluate the status of the potential game-ending second rain delay at 11:10 PM.
11:10 PM became the death knell for the season, and the dynasty that never was, because that proclamation meant the lead — of a size yet to be determined — would eventually reach Chapman, in another game he was destined to ruin.
Unlike Mariano Rivera before him — and it pains me to include both men in the same sentence –the moments where Chapman is about to fail always feel mapped out in the stars. At no point during a Chapman meltdown will any Yankees-associated person say to themselves, “Wait…what? This…is going sideways.”
You feel it in your lower intestine up to 45 minutes before he enters a game, and all you can do to defeat the premonition is use your strongest weapon against it: turn off the television or leave the stadium.
Wednesday’s season- and era-ending loss was all too perfect. It could only end at the hand of one man.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman’s meltdown ended the Baby Bombers Era.
Rest assured, plenty of blame for this one lies on the offense, too, which presented fans with a “Best Of” DVD following the seven-run first inning against Shohei Ohtani. A bases-loaded, one-out double play in the second. Runners stranded on second and third with less than two outs in the third. A Gleyber Torres double play in the sixth with the Angels ‘pen on the ropes.
However, they did hand an 8-4 lead to their “All-Star in name only” closer. Surely, they let up a bit mentally after acquiring their first-inning advantage (unforgivable), but even so, they did more than enough to win a game if an authentic superstar was lurking for the ninth, instead of a Cuban Missile who seems genetically fabricated to provide just such a crisis.
Sunday Night Baseball at Fenway, 2018. July 14, 2017, also at Boston. The Travis d’Arnaud Game. The Amed Rosario walk-off. The Twins game that derailed this supposedly promising 2021 season several weeks ago.
The end of the 2019 season. The end of the 2020 season. That smile. That smirk.
There is nothing in baseball more soul-crushing than a blown save except waiting in the darkness, mentally preparing yourself to root for Aroldis Chapman in an important moment.
Acquired at a discount prior to the 2016 season under horrific circumstances, then reacquired following that same campaign despite the Yankees having freed themselves from the prison of their own making, the unrelenting specter of Chapman has leered over every moment of this otherwise-promising era of baseball.
I do not care how the job is done. All I care is that it is done. He has no place with this franchise, something you all surely knew before Thursday at 1:00 AM, but were reminded of once again emphatically.