June 13, 2007

Underdogs Instead Of Underachievers

While listening to ESPN's Mike & Mike this morning, Mike Greenberg gave a brief re-cap of the Yankees victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night. Immediately, Mike Golic sarcastically asked "Did they pick up a game against Boston?" The answer of course, is no. He further went on to state that it would take a "colossal" failure on the part of Boston for the Yankees to overtake them and that the wild card was a more reasonable objective for this Yankees team. His tone didn’t suggest confidence for either of those scenarios happening.

Everything Mike Golic stated could very well be true, and the Bombers could wind up bombing even worse than they did for the first two months of this season, injuries or not. However, according to this writer's eye, this team has apparently hit its stride and looks as if they are ready to pounce. Pounce on what, I'm not sure. But, if the wildcard is what they need to shoot for in order to make it to the post season, then so be it. Nobody sneered at the Boston Red Sox when they won the World Series as a wild card team. For some reason, now that the Yankees find themselves in that position where they can only reasonably shoot for the lower tier berth for a chance at the post season, everyone is quick to mock them.

After all is said and done, no one can predict what is going to happen this season. The Yankees, if they continue to persevere, can win the division. With one hundred or so games left, and with solid pitching from their rotation, and maybe a key trade come the July 31st deadline, this team is perfectly capable of of over-taking Boston. There is no rule which states that teams can't continue to surge after they begin to surge. In other words, there’s no reason to suspect that they won’t stop playing this well after they’ve only recently started to play better baseball.

This combined pack of pinstriped mercenaries and homegrown winners constitute a ball club with not only big money contracts, but top shelf talent. They've already been beaten down by injuries, plagued with poor play and listlessness. But, Joe Torre, the man with his hand on the magic buttons which he pushed to orchestrate his teams from 1996 to 2000 to World Championships, has pushed these buttons again, more frantically than before, and many more times, and he seems to have programmed this group to play cohesively and to pitch like a true, professional, Major League starting rotation. It doesn’t hurt that they also have a lineup which can pound an opposing team’s pitcher for six or seven runs per game. The acquisition of Roger Clemens also has brought some momentum to this heretofore inert team. However short lived this momentum that The Rocket brought with him to the Bronx lasts, they now have a fighting chance with him here.

It has been said that there is a sign in the Yankees clubhouse at Legends Field in Tampa which states "Unless you're the lead dog, the view never changes." Well, the Yankees are no longer the lead dog in this race. This writer prefers to think of them now as underdogs. There's a lot to be said for underdogs; and, fans tend to root for the underdog. The question is, will the spoiled Yankees fan root for them?

No comments: