ESPN's Way-Too-Early Power Rankings dropped seconds after Josh Sborz's hanging curveball caught Ketel Marte by surprise, giving the Rangers a World Championship and ... the No. 2 spot in next year's rankings behind Atlanta.
Unlike recent years past, you have to scroll quite a while to find the Yankees, who finished 82-80 after Hal Steinbrenner signed Carlos Rodón, chortled, "Now watch this!" and did a half-completed ollie before crashing into an empty swimming pool teeth-first.
This season, though, with expectations at their lowest, it actually was quite surprising to find New York sitting at 14, with their arch rival Boston Red Sox in the No. 15 slot.
Typically, these rankings would be a bummer because the Yankees would feel too low, too spat-upon. This year, they oddly feel too ... high? They're ranked at the edges of the playoff field on the basis of what they might do, not what they currently have.
However, the anger doesn't come from the Yankees' position. They can go wherever ESPN wants them to. They're fringe-average, and have a ways to go to reach relevance. Rather, the scrunched-up face at this year's rankings is mostly Red Sox-based. Namely, how did they get here? Why are they hanging out with us? What did either team do to earn the benefit of the doubt after finishing fourth and fifth and, most importantly, how do we get them far, far away while Craig Breslow works on figuring out how to turn their tangled web of offense-first prospects into a passable rotation?
Yankees have far to climb in ESPN's 2024 MLB Power Rankings
Yes, the Orioles, Rays and Blue Jays all rank higher. But, still ... huh?
If the Boston Red Sox do not make the World Series next season, it'll mark the longest drought since they first busted the 86-year curse back in 2004. Seriously. And, right now, before their last-place roster improves one iota, ESPN already has them ranked in the playoff field. They're going to get better and, as we discovered a few weeks ago, "84 wins and in the bracket" could be enough. I'd rather get struck by a four-door Ceddanne than watch the Red Sox next October. I demand a lengthier break.
Sometimes, people are like, "You should hate the Red Sox less, man," and it's just, like, "No."
2024 might not be the Yankees' year unless drastic changes ensue, but the blood, guts and bile that make up my deeply flawed body cannot take a Boston championship, especially after the 2023-24 Celtics and Bruins both win theirs. The 2023 Red Sox may have stunk, but the 2012 Sox were far worse, then proceeded to sign six middling free agents and win 97 games and the whole damned thing.
On second thought, perhaps the No. 15 slot should satisfy me. After all, it keeps both New York and Boston in the AL East basement, where they belong and I, apparently, deserve to be.