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May 16-17, 2012
May 17 isn't supposed to go like this. Not for the Yankees.

In 2 separate conversations with 4L-ers, I realized the Yankees don't look like themselves. On a day where they ALWAYS look like the greatest quintessence of themselves.

#1. Strange

The chain of conversation:

players that make me think I'm reading the Onion whenever I see their names on account of having just assumed they'd have gone the way of the dinosaurs by now-->Jason Giambi-->how much nicer it is to watch plays at first base when you know Tex is there and not the manic scooping/glacier moving Giambi-->Strange's sister however has nothing but love for Giambi-->she was present when he hit a grand slame walk off-->May 17th, 2002-->May 17th, 2012-->the contrast is blinding.

#2. Ohyob

Earlier that night, I get off the subway with Ohyob, and I start checking my phone to see what happened in Rangers game while we were underground. And I'm grumbling because the Rangers were already down 1-0, and then see that the Yankees were down 8-0. The Rangers eventually took a 2-1 lead, only to let the Devils score twice on them to win the game.

And normally I'd say that that kind of deflation is worse than an all-out ass-kicking. Like, 99.9% of the time I'd say that, actually. But not last night. Last night I would have loved it if the Yankees scored 7 runs in the 9th, falling 1 run short. I mean, I wouldn't have LOVED it loved it. But if my options are that, and what actually happened, then yes I would have preferred if not loved it.

I relay the scores to Ohyob whose interest in sports is analagous to my interest in politics/current events. There are some facets of it I like, (like the NYPD blotter section of the Post), but generally the only time I'll read the paper is when I'm in a doctor's waiting room and the only other periodicals are The Oprah Magazine and Redbook.

Which is neither here nor there, really, but the point is my sports-agnostic buddy turns to me and says, "So exactly how bad are the Yankees this year?"

And it wasn't the first time he's asked me that.

Last Wednesday, we're watching the Yanks lose to the Devil Rays, in a horrifying 4-1 stomach punch that involved a blown save by D-Rob. And Ohyob who is making an objection observation given what he knows and has seen this year, asks me that same question that posed last night.

The first time I wrote it off, tried to just act like that was just preposterous etc etc. There was a whole bar full of sad Yankee-Ranger-Knick fans, so it was easy to deflect the attention away from baseball.

But when he asked again last night, I wasn't as dismissive of his query. I mean, I didn't say they were bad. But I didn't say it wasn't an unreasonable question.

I don't even know why I'm thinking like that. It's not like me. I almost always write losses off as anomalies, because that's what makes the Yankees the Yankees: losses have always been anomalies for them. Throughout their franchise's history.

So why can't I do it now? Why am shifting my weight from leg to leg mumbling non-committal non-answers, like a girl whose just been asked "What's the deal with you and Boy?" And she knows there is no "deal," so she's all "I don't know, it's weird."

It IS weird. The Yankees have scored a whopping 2 runs in the last 2 days.

Shockingly, it was Grandy in both games that got the run. He's becoming like the Kobe of the Yanks, in the "Even if I rock out every single game, I can't win always win it myself" sense. Not in the snarling, sore-loser sense.

Then there's Tex, whose persistent cough apparently is accompanied by neurological symptoms of candor:

"We should have scored a few runs early, that was the problem...Offenses are going to go through that...The guys don't look like they're having a lot of fun. But they're doing their work and they're preparing and it'll change."

No, they don't look like they're having fun. But they don't look like they're doing their work either. Or not well, anyway. And what are they preparing for? The Rapture? A formal invitation to the win column? It sounds so cryptic and ominous. "They're preparing and it'll change." I swear that line has gotta be in the Children of the Corn script or something.

Also, the problem was that you didn't score runs period. Not that you didn't score EARLY. Furthermore, technically if you had just gotten that one run, you would've been fine if the opposing team hadn't treated our starter like a meatball-popping rookie.

And just like that, Phil's quietly improving favor has dramatically dropped. Like the little Hand Strength meter on Zynga Poker. It'll zip to the top when you're dealt a pair of queens. And then the first 3 cards drop on the table and all of sudden you're not the coolest kid on the block anymore. And the meter falls right back down. It's annoying.

So is his lacking of breaking ball. C'mon, guy! Your fast ball is very hittable now, so what exactly do you find when you reach back and trace the outline of the seams? What pitch is in your bag that will get the job done?

I mean, in fairness it was only 2 runs. But that's 50%. (I did that math in my head. No TI-82, what what.) And 7 hits is a lot. Wade followed suit, let up a 2-run ding, just like Hughes. Bautista then Arenciba. Bautista is not real. He's like Bowser on Mario Kart. A beast in certain situations but overall slow to get there. Mario Kart with a game genie though, because I'm pretty convinced he's a "juicer." I don't say that about players ever, unless they're on Boston.

The Yankees are in 4th place. Jeter, being Jeter, reminds us not to panic because no one's popping champagne in May and similarly no one should be hanging their heads.

Thank you for boiling things down for us, Captain. You're right, though. I just want to see some urgency. But I have the feeling we're just gonna be hearing a lot of "marathon, not a sprint" soundbytes if the Yankees don't get their heads in the game.

Playing the Reds this weekend. I have no idea why. This is going to be a good weekend. I'm not jinxing it. I'm asserting it.

They need a walkoff. But if not a walkoff, a regular win is just as great and fantastic.

Id imperfectum manet dum confectum erit.



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