A commenter on RAB last night brought up an interesting point.
Has anybody yet considered the out-of-this-world possibility that like all other franchises, it’s ok for the Yankees to have a gap year?
In the back of all our minds, I’m sure we’ve considered this. And as soon as we did, we likely got sick, annoyed, frustrated, flabbergasted, whatever. Most of us probably thought “Wasn’t 2008 the bridge year?” Yeah, I guess it was. The Yankees were only an 89 win team that year, and that was a lot considering how many people got hurt and especially considering that the magnificent combination of Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner made a combined 30 starts.
If the Yankees stand pat, as is possible, then the idea of a “bridge year” occurring again is at least a little bit likely. If I had to guess, I’d say the Yankees, as presently constituted, are a 90ish win team. The bullpen is solid and the lineup is–as always–in great shape. However, the starting pitching isn’t in great condition right now and that would ultimately hurt.
As Yankee fans, we’re not used to years like 2008. It’s the only one I’ve really experienced since I was old enough to know what the hell was going on. The Yankees have put themselves in a position so that bridge years are basically non-existent. Obviously, this is a good thing. The goal is to win and the Yankees do that very well and have done so for a long time. We can play the doom and gloom game and say this is going to be a crappy year for the Yankees, but we all know that the Yankees will most likely NOT stand pat and that the starting rotation will probably be tweaked by the time Opening Day rolls around.
Switching gears a bit, let’s focus on ourselves as fans. Literally every team goes through “gap years” and maybe Yankee fans need to start opening up to the idea. There may not be one in 2011 or in the immediate future, but there will be a time when the Yankees are not the class of the league. We always say that the World Series is the ultimate goal and that is healthy. What’s not healthy is for fans to think that the season is a failure if the Yankees don’t win the Fall Classic. That expectation is incredibly unrealistic. While it’s not likely and we shouldn’t be happy if it happens, there is always a chance that the Yankees could have a bad year. If and when that happens, we have to remember the one thing we sometimes forget: it’s baseball; and sometimes in baseball, crazy things happen.
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