When attempting to contextualize this enigmatic Yankees season, I keep coming back to David Spade: short and generally unlikable.
Actually, no (though that's pretty accurate). I'm actually referring to the CBS sitcom Spade stars in, Rules of Engagement.
Full disclosure, I've never actually seen an episode of the Rules of Engagement (which already puts this analogy on shaky ground). To be honest, the last time I watched the Tiffany network for a non-sports event was probably Nick Swisher's wooden cameo on How I Met Your Mother a couple years back.
"Hey Neil Patrick Harris, that's a real home run of an idea you've got!" ***not actual dialogue
But I do have a general understanding of the existence of RoE, and the 2011 Yankees share some similar character traits:
- Both feature a cast of seasoned veterans (Jeter, Mo, A-Rod = Spade, The Guy Who Played David Puddy from Seinfeld, the busty blonde from Reno 911)
- Both have the backing of gazillionaires (Hal and Hank Steinbrenner = Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions)
- Both have Penny Lane ties (RoE co-star Oliver Hudson is the brother of Kate Hudson, who A-Rod used to get it on with,
probablydefinitely while staring at himself in the mirror.)
- Both sit smack in the middle of the standings/ratings. The Yankees are 23-19, one game out of first and four games out of last. RoE has finished between 23rd and 47th in the ratings in its four seasons, the equivalent of an 85-77 record in baseball.
The best way to describe it is that both seem to just kind of exist out there in the ether, their presence on television proof that they exist, a cosmic placeholder created by the satellites. But do either really matter?
The Yankees took care of business in Baltimore, righting the ship with a sweep over an Orioles team that suddenly looks strikingly similar to the non-Showalter squads that came before it. Next come the Mets, perfect timing for a Yankees team struggling to get any sort of momentum going this season.
Can the Yankees can use the sellout crowds and New York stage to jump start a season curiously low on adrenaline?
Let's hope so, and let's face it, stranger things have happened. For instance, David Spade impregnated a Playmate of the Year.
If that doesn't tell you anything is possible, I don't know what will.
Dan Hanzus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @danhanzus.