"Win some, lose some, that's what they say..." This pretty much sums up what the 2011 season has been like for the New York Yankees so far. The Yankees have a good record, and at 44-31 they are currently tied for first place with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL East. From an outsider's perspective, the Yankees appear to be doing very well. And I guess they are. I guess because I watch them every day, I tend to overreact to the slightest problems the team faces.
All the experts and magazines thought this was the year for the Red Sox. The YANKEES were to be the underdogs in 2011. Although I tried to convince myself that I didn't believe what the media was saying, perhaps I did consider their points a little bit. Although I watch every game and I see every moment, both the highs AND the lows, maybe I don't see the Yankees as clearly as I had thought. I mean they are playing well, right? They are 7-3 over their last 10 games, the gap has closed in the AL East, so why am I not entirely convinced that this team has what it takes to go all the way?
I grew up watching the Yankees and lived through the dynasty of the late 90s and early 2000s, but I was too little to really appreciate it. For me, 2009 was the first time my team won it all with me along for the entire ride. From the first pitch of Spring Training to the final out of the World Series (I remember staying up to see the whole thing even though I was sick with swine flu), I was there. 2009 was a special season, and I will never forget it.
Maybe that's the problem.
Championship seasons are very special, and the Yankees have been blessed with 27 of them. What I need to realize, is that all winning seasons are different. The World Series Champion 2000 Yankees and their 87-74 record surely did not play the same as the historic 114-48 Yankees of 1998.
Maybe the 2009 Yankees were a little different than the 2011 Yankees, but that doesn't mean the 2011 Yankees can't win.
For what the Yankees have dealt with so far this year, I'd say maybe they are worthy of first place. On April 15, they lost a starting pitcher who won them 18 games the year before in Phil Hughes, who is still not back, but is supposedly getting closer. The "killer bullpen" really never ceased to exist, since Feliciano didn't play, Soriano was a bust and then went on the 60-day DL, and Joba Chamberlain underwent Tommy John Surgery. Fill-in starter Bartolo Colon went down, forcing the Yankees to dig even deeper. They lost their Captain, Derek Jeter, and combated slow starts by key offensive forces Nick Swisher, Jorge Posada, and Brett Gardner - all while the Red Sox were supposed to be amazing. For the Yankees to be where they are right now, despite the fact that they have not had their whole team and have not "clicked" yet, I think I should be proud of them.
Eventually, the Yankees will get their real team back. Maybe then, they will go on a winning streak longer than 4 games and gain the momentum and confidence they (and I) need to play like the championship team I want so badly for them to be.
But until then, all they have to do is keep on hanging in there. It has been working so far.
by Virginia Califano
Questions? Comments? Contact Virginia at firstname.lastname@example.org