For all of my lamenting as a sad sack Jets fan, I also have the pleasure of rooting for the New York Yankees in the baseball world. My Yankees fandom started early in the 70's. For some reason my father, a lifelong National League fan, began putting the games on for me on my transistor radio. Many nights of my youth were spent listening to Phil Rizzuto give the play by play as Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles, Mickey Rivers, Reggie Jackson etc, went to the World Series in 1977 and 1978. I was imprinted with the pinstripes at that time and my love of them has never waned.
There have been some lean times. 1982 to 1993 were awful. The Yankees were a pathetic mess. 1994 was ashame because they Yankees were awesome and were on a collision course with the juggernaut Indians in the playoffs. Also, the Montreal Expos had the best record in the National League before the strike and I was very excited for their long suffering fans. 1995 marked the Yankees return to the playoffs and I was lucky enough to witness one of the greatest playoff games of all time which included Don Mattingly's only postseason homerun and a game winning home run by Jim Leyritz in the bottom of the 15th inning. The Yankees ended up losing to the Mariners because Randy Johnson was an assasin and Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Junior were absolutely unstoppable, but there was no denying that Yankees were back. The return to glory was imminent.
Joe Torre took over the team in 1996 and the Yankees won the World Series. A fresh faced Derek Jeter was the rookie of the year and it was like Camelot for Yankee fans. 3 more World Series championships followed in 4 years and it was an embarrassment of riches. The New York Yankees were the kings of baseball and all was right with the world as far as me and baseball were concerned.
Yesterday the New York Yankees completed yet another series in which they choked very hard against an opponent they should have dispatched. I am not going in to a deep analysis of the series, but there is no way they should have lost to that Tigers team. The Yankee pitching imploded and their vaunted bats went silent. It has happened to them far too often in recent years at critical times. We have become the Atlanta Braves of the American League and the Yankees need to be fixed.
The Yankees manager in 1995 was Buck Showalter. In 1996 Joe Torre took over and the Yankees got over the hump to win the World Series. 10 years later, with a heavy heart, I think the Yankees have no choice but to part with Joe Torre. There are rumors Lou Pinella would replace Torre and while I don't think he is a great choice, there are worse ones. His personality is almost the diametric opposite of Torre's and I think the Yankees need a kick in the ass.
I am going to try and put together a "Fixing the Yankees" series of posts, but work is as insane as ever and I don't know how much time I am going to have to write.
No 1 of Consequence