Yankees avoid being swept...
... which is at least better than the Angels, the Phillies, or the Cubs managed to do. This was by far the most lopsided first round in MLB postseason history, with a cumulative win-loss record of 12 to 1, and a cumulative score of 69 to 34. What does it all mean? I'm not sure if there are any general lessons. The Red Sox were simply dominant, as they have been for most of the season, so their easy win against the Angels was no surprise. The Rockies and the Indians showed competitive "fire in the belly" as well as under-appreciated playing excellence, while the Diamondbacks were fortunate to face a relatively weak foe in the Cubs. It's a tossup for the next round on the National League side, while the Red Sox have a clear edge over the Indians on the American League side.
Back to the woe-befallen Yankees, on the theme of looking on the bright side:
- At least Alex Rodriguez hit a home run, breaking a long postseason hitless streak.
- At least the New York fans got to see one more postseason game victory in Yankee Stadium, which has only one more year to go, and no guarantee of a postseason berth in 2008.
- At least Bobby Abreu kept hopes alive in the bottom of the ninth with a home run into the right field corner upper deck. (Jorge Posada almost repeated the feat, but it was a foul.)
- At least Roger Clemens won't get any of the blame for the loss, after leaving early in what will probably be his final major league game.
- At least they made it to the postseason in the first place, which is no easy feat -- for the 13th year in a row.
- At least they lost the ALDS to a team that is worthy to be a champion: Congratulations to the Indians!
Sadly, it seems all but certain that manager Joe Torre is about to get the boot from Mr. Steinbrenner, whose expectations are insanely high, as Tyler Kepner of the New York Times wrote; hat tip to David Pinto.) Steinbrenner keeps forgetting that baseball is just a sport, and that putting more money into it doesn't guarantee you a successful outcome. Meanwhile, Mariano Rivera's contract probably won't be renewed, and A-Rod is expected to opt out of his contract with the Yankees. His comments, though a bit confused, aptly convey the emotions of a frustrated star-crossed star:
I will tell you one thing about this team, ... We left our hearts and souls out there and we can't look in the mirror and say we left anything behind. We left it all out there and I think the city of New York, for that, should be proud. (MLB.com)
MLB on TBS
Millions of baseball fans were "blacked out" from watching the first round series because TBS bought the "broadcasting" rights. (Actually, they are cablecasters, and the B in TBS really should be a C.) I think it was a dumb move by MLB to allow bidding by a television company with limited coverage. I'm sure most folks can watch TBS, but for something as important as the baseball playoffs, nearly everyone ought to have access. Otherwise, the sport will continue to became an elitist fancy, losing its grass roots appeal to Average Joes. Anyway, I thought the TBS crew did a fairly good job, with Don Sutton in the lead play-by-play role. I always enjoy listening to Tony Gwynn, who has such a funny accent, but Cal Ripken's speaking style is about as dull as Cal Coolidge's. Speaking of which, Skip Caray was not exactly the most colorful of commentators either, but that wasn't his main job, so his recent dismissal by the honchos in Atlanta was uncalled for, I thought; see lindyssports.com.