As this week has progressed, baseball fever has become contagious around Arizona. You literally cannot walk around Phoenix without seeing someone with some type of Diamondbacks item displayed. Whether it be a hat, shirt, flag or tattoo; these people are genuinely getting into the notion of their team being in the World Series.
But another concept has also been introduced. One that is so twisted and wrong that it is inconceivable that such a thing would even be considered. The New York Yankees are being touted as the sentimental favorites to win the series? What are you kidding me? Having the New York Yankees listed as a sentimental anything is a sure sign that the apocalypse is upon us. Now don’t get me wrong, it is not that I am disrespectful of the Yankees, it is just that there is no way New York and sentimental can be thought of in the same sentence. I have been to enough baseball games and seen enough New York fans to know that they are in serious need of an attitude adjustment. Granted, the New York fans that are usually in attendance at Bank One Ballpark are cheering for the Mets but New Yorkers are New Yorkers. They are rowdy, obnoxious, and loud. Granted, they are fairly knowledgeable about baseball but still. I have to draw the line at becoming sentimental about their ball club, its players or fans.
The other thing that is getting real old real fast is all this talk about the Yankee mystique. Rather than building up that the team is somehow invincible because of the past success that this franchise has had, let’s call it like it is.
First, this team is seriously lucky. No one should have the kind of luck these guys have experienced. Balls seem to bounce the Yankees way more often than they have a right to. Even miscues have a way of working out. Take that play by Derek Jeter against Oakland in the Divisional series. Jeter was in the wrong position and had to run to chase down a really bad relay throw. Instead of playing out like it should of, Jeter makes some lucky toss to get Giambi out at the plate. Incidentally, Giambi was safe but again the Yankees got lucky that the umpire blew the call. Instead, this series of events was called “a defining moment”. If defining means being rewarded for bad play, yeah I guess you could call it that.
Second, George Steinbrenner spends money like a drunken sailor when it comes to building this organization. Now before any of you start jumping all over me about how the Dodgers and the Orioles have high payrolls and they are not in the World Series, let me explain my argument. In the case of payroll, I am not talking about just the players on the field. Rather, I am talking about the infrastructure that Steinbrenner has been able to put into place. The Yankees have more advance scouts and support personnel than A-Rod has marriage proposals. This means that the Yankees have more film and more data than any other team in existence. So before they actually play an opponent, they know them inside and out. That in my opinion is a huge advantage. You can get away with having mediocre players and coaches if those average players and coaches are well prepared. Preparation will beat talent nearly every time.
Third, if I hear one more time that every American father wants his son to grow up to be Derek Jeter, I think I am going to scream. As an American father I can tell you that if my son becomes Derek Jeter, I will ride him until the end of the time telling him that if he would have applied himself more so that he could have been A-Rod or Nomar. Of course the other piece of advice I would have to give him would be, “if you have a chance to date Mariah Carey, do it boy. What are you thinking?”
I doubt either the Diamondbacks players or the fans buy into the argument that a putting on a pin stripe uniform is synonymous with putting on Superman’s cape. If New York believes this, they are in for a rude awakening as Schilling and Johnson start hurling kryptonite at them at 98 miles per hour. Mark my words, the Diamondbacks are going to give the Yankees all they can handle in this series. Mystique or the numbers of championships your grandpa’s Yankees have won mean nothing in the desert.