Monday, September 22, 2014
Rant #1,294: What Might Have Been
Spoiler Alert ...
If you don't like professional sports, some of the columns I am going to be writing the next week or two are going to turn you off.
It is the end of the baseball season, the playoff teams are shaping up to the finish line, and I am a Yankees fan.
The Yankees have had an abysmal year this year.
Everybody got old at once. Nobody hit much. The team's minor league system appears to be barren.
However, there have been some bright spots.
As we approach the end of Derek Jeter's career, he seems to be rejuvenated the past couple of games playing at home.
He is playing like it was 1999, and yes, I can hear that old Prince song in my head when I write about this.
Yesterday, he had his fourth straight multi-hit game. He is the first Yankee of age 40 or over to record four straight multi-hit games, and his hits helped the Yankees win three of the last four games.
It probably won't get them into the playoffs, but Jeter is putting on a nice show for the hometown fans.
Yesterday's winner was Masahiro Tanaka, their mult-million-dollar import from Japan.
I was skeptical at all the hype this guy caused when they signed him.
He is treated as royalty in his home country. He actually married a pop star there, which is akin to Grace Kelly marrying royalty in Monaco all those years ago.
But that skepticism was turned on its head by his pitching.
This guy is the real deal.
He has like seven different pitches that he can use, and he throws strikes.
He was 12-4 at roughly the half-way point in the season, and then he went down with an injury that might require surgery somewhere down the road.
But he worked his way back, and it felt like the beginning of the season yesterday.
Tanaka was terrific in his short stint, helping lead the Yankees to victory.
It just gets you to wondering ... if he hadn't been injured, what would have been?
Of course, one can only speculated, but he probably would be at the 20-win level by now, which means the Yankees might have been eight games better in the standings, give or take a game or two or three, because they have had some success with pitchers pitching in his spot.
So let's just say they were four games better if he hadn't been injured.
The last time I looked, they were 4.5 games out of the last wild card spot.
If they had his four wins, they would only be 1/2 game out now.
Well, one can dream.
Between Jeter and Tanaka, it has gotten to the point that you only wish these guys could have been doing what they are doing the entire season.
As it is, the Yankees are probably going home next week, not making the playoffs for the second year in a row.
But at least the presence of Tanaka and a rejuvenated Jeter makes it a little more fun to watch them go down in flames.
I still have hope, but being a realist, I know what the outcome will be.
Wait 'til next year.
Posted by Larry at 1:40 AM