Saturday, October 06, 2007

I've got your mystique right here

So, here's a big shock: the Yankees are down 2-0, one win away from being tossed from the playoffs in the first round...again. They haven't made it to the second round since 2004. Haven't made it to the World Series since 2003. Haven't won since 2000.

Yes: they're the 21st century's answer to the Atlanta Braves, who won their division every year from 1991 to 2005 and only won the Series once.

Why? Why does this great baseball team so consistently fall apart -- in such spectacular fashion -- in the postseason, often to a seemingly inferior team like the Indians? (Or the Red Sox, or Tigers, or Diamondbacks, or Angels, or...?) Performance anxiety? Nerves? Bad luck?

Or is it -- gasp! -- that the Yankees aren't that good to begin with.

Look at it this way: playing in the American League East, the Yankees play most of their games against their division rivals. This includes the top-shelf Boston Red Sox, yes, but it also means the Yankees are spending most of their time beating up on the likes of the Devil Rays and Orioles...two teams with a combined record of 132-189. (The other team in their division, the Blue Jays, managed to scrape to a winning record, though just barely.) The Indians, meanwhile, managed the same record as the Yankees, but played in a slightly tougher division: the worst team, the Royals, had the same finish as the fourth-place team in the East.

The Braves of the 90s and early 00s had the same problem: they won their division with ease each year, but did so against the Mets, Marlins, Phillies, and Expos (later the Nationals), four organizations that fielded mediocre teams, if they were lucky.

And once they got into the playoffs and matched up against good teams...well, the Braves couldn't hack it.

The Yankees teams of the late 90s -- those were great teams. But nowadays, they're old, bloated, and injury-prone. Much like their expected Game 3 starter, Rawga Clemens, whose inability to perform in the clutch is infamous.

Oh, and A-rod? Through the first two games, he's batting a robust .000. Yay!

Of course, the Yankees could erupt, win 3 straight to get to the LCS, and then eight in a row to win everything and make me look like a fool. Such is baseball. Such is life.

I love the playoffs.

Now playing: The Decemberists - Eli, The Barrow Boy
via FoxyTunes


  1. The actual first google result for choke artist is an definition that says, "The Houston Astros choke every season whether it be in the playoffs or late in the regular season."

  2. Yeah, I saw that. Hey, not this year! They were never good enough to get into a position where they could choke.