I don’t have a whole lot to say about this team right now. Well, I do, but it mostly comes out in short bursts of basic emotion. There’s a lot of anger: at Girardi for leaving Burnett in a batter or two too long; at fans for calling for Girardi’s head because he used Mitre in the 9th inning; at the offense for the constant RISP fail; at smug, self-righteous pundits who harp about the crowd leaving early; at the offense and the pitching. There’s some sadness too: that Teixeira’s season is over and that this team has looked truly awful in every single one of the ALCS games. Yet, we all know that anything can happen in the playoffs. When we’re on the outside looking in we have to accept it, and with that comes a vague bit of peace.
For that reason I’m not interested in giving the FJM treatment to people like Peter King, Bill Simmons, Will Leitch, Rob Neyer, Ian O’Connor, or Wallace Matthews. Those individuals are going to say what they say regardless of the outcome of the games; their dislike of different parts of Yankee organization precedes everything and won’t ever dissipate. Some of it will be well-written, but that won’t change the underlying fact that it’ll be predictable and boring. To me this is a crime worse than being a homer, but it’s hard to muster the effort to care anymore.
This may be the end of the road for the Yankees. They could come back. They could win the ALCS, and they could win the World Series. But it sure doesn’t look likely. This team hasn’t been cheated out of anything this series, and if they go down this afternoon they will have gotten what they deserve. But rather than focus my anger on them, on the smugness of Yankee foes, or on the stupidity of bridge-jumpers I’m going to focus what remaining time I have left with this team on the game and the players themselves. I get nine more innings of baseball with the Yankees. I get to watch one of my favorite pitchers pitch again. I get to watch Alex Rodriguez step into the batter’s box and tap the plate with his bat. I get to experience the roller coaster of emotions one last time for a solid six months.
I’m going to enjoy it, and say a proper goodbye if it becomes necessary. When it’s January and bleak and the hot stove has gone cold and Spring Training is weeks away I’ll try to remember this afternoon. When it’s February and those first pictures of CC and AJ throwing on the green grass in Florida start popping up on Daylife and I start really craving seeing the team in their uniforms on the field and in a game, I’ll think back and remember CC toeing the rubber for the first pitch today and Derek stepping into the box a half inning later. If it goes poorly, so be it. If CC is wild and we get blown out, you won’t hear me criticize him. If Girardi makes a dumb bullpen move you won’t hear me call it gross negligence. If Derek grounds into another double play you won’t hear me whine about his next contract. I’ll be soaking it in. This has been a very good team this year, and it’s been a fun team to watch. This may well be the end of the road. I understand that. I’ve enjoyed the ride. My only request is that the team show a little fight, a little self-respect, and go down like men.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
-William Shakespeare, Henry V
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