Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It's finally over. For the first time in 14 years, the Yankees will miss the playoffs.
Is it a surprise that the run would come to an end in 2008? For most, probably not. They needed an amazing second half of baseball in '07 to get in, and last year's squad certainly didn't get any younger.
Even casual fans could see the end coming, and most were probably surprised it didn't end sooner.
There have been a couple of problems that have lead to this point, the biggest being the age of the team. Jorge Posada, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite, and Mike Mussina are all long past their prime playing years (Mussina's career year non-withstanding). And their young talent - namely Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy - have failed, so far, to live up to expectations.
Alex Rodriguez has been a constant distraction. Though he'll likely go down as the best player to ever play the game (or will certainly be in the argument, at the very least), he simply hasn't justified his exorbitant contract.
So where do the Yanks go from here?
The contracts of Giambi, Abreu, Pettite, and Carl Pavano (finally!) will expire in about a month. Will General Manager Brian Cashman stay on board and continue to try to rebuild through the draft? Or will Hank Steinbrenner make like his father and throw big bucks at impending free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira?
One thing for certain is that this will likely be a very different team in 2009, and it has to be, since the AL East is no longer just a two headed monster.
The only thing left for me to wonder about now is what to do with all the newfound free time I'll have in October. I already watch a ton of college football. I have yet to reach a fantasy football league playoff in the main league I follow, so perhaps I'll dedicate more time there.
I'm sure I'll watch some, if not most, of the MLB post-season action, though it won't be the same. But admit it, love 'em or hate 'em, you'll miss the Yankees in October.