You can set your watch by it. The calendar flips to June and all of a sudden the New York Yankees go on some ridiculous run that makes fans feel as though they won’t lose much the rest of the season. Their 19-4 record this month bears that out. As wonderful as the Baltimore Orioles have been so far, doesn’t their 4 game deficit feel like it is about 14? As usual with the Bronx Bombers, the question is: can they sustain this run all the way to the World Series?
In a way, it is unfair to judge a Major League team (even the Yankees) solely on their playoff performance. Sure they have the highest payroll and seem to get every call known to man (last night’s Dewayne Wise adventure being the latest) but that shouldn’t dismiss what they have been able to do during the regular season. Baseball is without question the toughest sport to reach the postseason and the Yanks have been there every single year (except 2008) since 1995. That is a worthy accomplishment and should be respected by all fans, even the biggest Pinstripe-haters. At the same time, it is hard to overlook their payroll advantage. While most teams can only absorb one below-average performance by their highest paid players, the Yankees can absorb two or three of these kinds of seasons because they are so many guys around to pick up the slack. Look how badly the Twins slumped in 2011 when Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau had rotten seasons. They were in the playoffs just the prior year. Also the Yankees and their fans view anything short of a World Series as a failure, yet when others start bringing up that very point, those same people say we shouldn’t dismiss their great regular season. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.
As far as the rest of 2012 goes, I hate to break it to Bomber fans, but the Yanks are not the team to beat. The Texas Rangers, winners of the last two American League crowns are the best team until someone beats them. Lest we forget, when the two of them squared off in the 2010 American League Championship Series, Texas smashed New York, outscoring them 38-19. If the Yanks come up short again, don’t get on their cases for being failures. Enjoy the regular season because the ride to October is a lot of fun when you are winning.
Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com