Okay, so the biggest news so far is that to accommodate all their invitees the “lesser” Yankees are being forced to share numbers 87-99 — 2 players per number. So while we await any major news from the Spring Training warm-ups, I’m going to switch it up here with a bit of a recap over the next few days, to remember where last season left us and what the off-season produced.
The Yankees’ 2013 season really began the last day of the 2012 season – Wednesday, October 3, 2012. The Baltimore Orioles fell to the Tampa Bay Rays at the Trop, going 1-for-3 in their final season series, securing their spot as a potential Wild Card (which they won over the Rangers two days later) and giving the Yankees a 2 game lead to clinch the American League East.
If one equates a standard baseball season with a school year, then making it to the Post-Season is like going off to a great summer camp right after your last class. Some people don’t join you – rosters reduce from the swollen September Forty to the Shining Twenty-Five, usually heavy on pitchers and your power hitters.
The odd thing about Post-Season is that for all the glory and bonuses surrounding it, nothing actually counts toward your career, even if you carry a title. You can have the best average of your life or hit 12 monster home runs or pitch 4 perfect games, and it will never appear in your official career statistics. This is why the Post-Season is like summer camp. You can become a skilled equestrian or learn how to make a canoe out of toilet paper or be awarded the funniest kid in the camp, but when you go back to school in a few months, none of that really matters in the long run. You can talk about it and carry those awards and skills, but you will still have to take math and science next year. No amount of summer camp “life skills” will excuse you from your academic pursuit and applies toward your eventual high school degree.
Does it make someone a better baseball player because they went to the Series six times but batted below .200 every Post-Season over someone whose career batting average is well above .300 and never made it to the World Series? True, most Hall of Famers do have at least one World Series ring to their name, but it’s the 162 games during the regular season that far outweigh anything else.
I know the age-old philosophy that the ultimate goal of a team is to win the Series. So does that mean the Yankees failed? Perhaps, but only in respect to the goal. The Yankees as a team congealed to form the camaraderie you want to see in your team, as we saw in the celebration an individual’s victory or the mourning of an individual’s loss. There’s a reason why the Yankees don’t have their names on the backs of their jerseys like most of the other clubs do — the team is more important than the individual.
Like I said in a previous post, I would rather be the biggest loser on a winning team than the star player on a losing team. I’ll be discussing this more at length over the next few days because we certainly saw this in action and several times worked to the Yankees advantage over the course of the 9 games they played last October.
So we prepare to put the past behind us, embrace another season, and hope for the 28th Championship in 2013.