Jordan Bean | Sacked
Don't Be That Guy
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 07:10
What do you mean, who’s that guy?”
That guy is the Yankees fan who can’t believe his team was swept by the Tigers and didn’t win the World Series — again. It’s the guy who can’t look past Alex Rodriguez’s hitting struggles when the team as a whole set a record for the lowest batting average in postseason history with a minimum of seven games.
He will blame C.C. Sabathia for being the first pitcher ever in the playoffs to give up 11 or more hits and record less than 11 outs – all in an elimination game.
Who could be naive enough to be that guy?
Oh, wait — I am.
I’m the spoiled Yankees fan who can’t understand why the team I root for doesn’t win the World Series every year.
I grew up with legends like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera coming through in the clutch moments. It was an era of prosperity unmatched by any sport in recent history.
It appears that, for now, those days are over.
Over the past decade, the consistently highest payroll in baseball has produced one mere championship.
“What do you mean, one mere championship?” says the Pirates fan whose team hasn’t experienced a winning record in over 20 years. “You don’t know what it’s like to start a season lacking the quality to even put together a .500 year.”
To that fan I respond, “You’re right.” I don’t know what it’s like to go into a season not expecting to win the World Series. The answer to why I feel this way is simple.
The expectations are higher when more money is spent.
Why is it that teams such as the A’s or Baltimore are considered great stories if they reach the playoffs?
A team without a high payroll is not expected to compete over a 162-game season with the perennial powerhouses Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers or Angels.
Spending the inordinate amount of money that they do sends a message: Anything less than a World Series ring at the end of the season is a failure.
By that criterion, this season was not a success.
The worst part of the postseason was that it was not just Rodriguez struggling, but he was only the one getting the blame. There was a team-wide inability to hit a baseball thrown from 60 feet, 6 inches.
The team batting average was .188 throughout the nine games. I could go into the specific numbers but it would be a waste of space. All you need to know is that Cano, Swisher, A-Rod, Granderson, Chavez, Martin and everyone else not named Ibanez𤸠or Jeter produced little to nothing.
My favorite statistic about the Yankees hitting struggles is this: Chris Carpenter, a pitcher for the Cardinals, has three hits this postseason. Five Yankees hitters — Rodriguez, Cano, Granderson, Martin and Chavez — had three hits or fewer.
Chavez, who was the replacement for the struggling Rodriguez, went hitless.
The overlooked part of the pitiful offensive display was that, with the exception of Sabathia in Game Four of the ALCS, the Yankees pitching staff was stellar. What was looked at as the Yankees’ biggest weakness entering the postseason inevitably was their greatest strength.
Pettite was the consummate professional that he has always been. C.C. pitched like the ace that he is before the meltdown in the final game. Kuroda put in two exceptional outings and Phil Hughes gave them quality innings.
Without the Yankees starters and bullpen, there would have been no late inning Ibanez heroics.
In a culture of winning, anything less is considered a failure. The bar is set high for the Yankees every year. So to all those Yankees fans out there, me included, that fall into the category of “that guy” — you’re — we’re — sacked!
Jordan Bean is a freshman who has yet to declare a major. He can be reached at Jordan.Bean@tufts.edu.