Monday, May 16, 2011

Yankees complete Grand Slam of Fail in lost weekend

You have to hand it to these Yankees. They really do know how to go down in flames. Some teams are about the slow burn, but not our beloved Bronx Bombers. They collapse in a fury, unloading all their demons for public consumption in the process.

Consider the following four things the team managed to accomplish/divulge in one weekend series. It was, in so many ways, The Grand Slam of Fail™.

1) They served as the defibrillator that resurrected their arch-rivals from the dead. The Red Sox entered the weekend three games under .500 and looking less comfortable than Thom Yorke in the Jersey Shore hot tub. Three road wins later and Boston has evened its record for the first time since opening day and emasculated its nemesis in the process. Awesome! Even worse, the Yankees have allowed the Sox to fall back on all the familiar jock tropes that athletes rely on to feel better about themselves. "We're back to 0-0 now," "It's a new season for us," "The only good hooker is a dead hooker." Hold up ...

2) They were enveloped by Posada-gate and all the hard questions that came with it. Listen, Georgie was wrong to ask out of the lineup on Saturday, something he admitted 24 hours later. On Sunday, he received a standing ovation from fans, drew a walk as a pinch-hitter and learned the team won't take any disciplinary action against him for his transgressions. Turn the page (hopefully). It was an unpleasant incident for everyone involved, however, and it provided a nauseating preview of the headaches the Yankees will face in the coming years. Sure, Posada's situation is uncomfortable, but at least his contract is up after this season. What about when Derek Jeter is hitting .220 next August while showing the range of a Pacific walrus at shortstop? Or in 2014 when a 38-year-old A-Rod needs a new hip and still has a presidential term left in pinstripes? Don't even get me started if CC Sabathia relapses back onto Cap'n Crunch. And if you and I are thinking ahead to these scenarios, you know Brian Cashman is, too. This might be why it appears the GM hasn't slept in 12 years.

3) Yankee Stadium doesn't scare anyone. Derek Jeter said on the closing night of the old Stadium that the Yankees were going to bring all the ghosts across the street to the new house. I will always believe in Derek Jeter — he's won five rings and watched Minka Kelly change out of a cocktail dress, after all — but I'm not so sure the supernatural stuff went down. The Yankees are just 13-11 at home this season, attendance has dropped, and on too many nights the crowd seems distracted, disinterested or both. The home of the Yankees has been demystified, and I can't foresee anyway to undo this without the use of a time machine. A theory: Maybe the ghosts crossed the street, saw the disgraceful Legends Seats and moat, turned around and pulled up some chairs at Stan The Man's. I can't blame them.

4.This team might not be any good as presently constituted. Ah yes, the most important revelation. Granted, we're catching these Yankees at a collective lowpoint. But there are some bona fide areas of concern here, and now approximately one quarter of the way through the season, the sample isn't so small anymore. Their defense stinks. The back end of their rotation is showing cracks. Sabathia hasn't been an ace. Phil Hughes has a mysterious shoulder injury. Nick Swisher has regressed to the 2008 version that got him shipped out of Chicago. Rafael Soriano could be channeling Carl Pavano on a Dominican Idle scale. Posada could be going through a mid-life crisis. Jeter has four extra-base hits (but still gets to watch Minka Kelly slink out of black dresses). Without proper reinforcements in both the rotation and lineup, it's hard to talk yourself into 90 wins right now.

Am I saying the Yankees are dead? Of course not, though I suspect some of you have them some where between bin Laden and Liberace on the pulse scale. The American League East is in a transition year, which I believe will allow a flawed team like the Yankees to hang in the race until reinforcements arrive. But there's no hiding the fact that this weekend was a damaging one in Yankee Universe, one that showed how close to the surface their vulnerabilities really are.

Buckle up, folks. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Dan Hanzus is a contributor to Pinstripe Alley. He can be reached at or on Twitter @danhanzus.

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