The season starts Friday night when the Yankees attempt to get that elusive championship No. 28. The Yankees will face the AL Central Division winner/patsy Minnesota Twins to start off the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium.
The regular season served nothing more than exhibition games and a backdrop for the Yankees. It isn’t the 103 regular season victories that matters. It’s winning 11 postseason games.
This season is only a success if the Yankees win a championship. If they fail to get it done like the last nine years, they will be nothing more than a nice regular-season team that does not have what it takes to win a championship. Nine years represent too long for a proud franchise to have a championship drought.
Even Yankee apologists know they can’t keep making excuses for a talented team with a $210 million payroll. It’s about the results. If not now, when? These core players such as Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge played enough to figure it out in the postseason. Like the team, that trio must show they can be Mr. October.
These last few seasons have not been a success despite what Yankees fans and certain Yankee cheerleaders in the media like to tell you.
It’s not just the burden the Yankees go through. The Giants, Jets, Knicks, Rangers, Devils, Islanders and Mets deal with high expectations like the Yankees. We call it the standard. No Canyon of Heroes parade means failure for the teams that play in the nation’s biggest media market. It’s been awhile since the 2011 Giants season that New Yorkers celebrate a championship parade. It’s the longest drought here, and it’s unacceptable.
The Yankees provide the best chance of having a parade here. They have all the tools to win it all. The lineup and bullpen should lead the way, and their starting rotation should be competent enough to do fine in the postseason. Their young core players have enough experience. They have been the best team in baseball this season despite the fact the Houston Astros have more wins than them in the regular season.
They know they can win it all. Their bats and gloves represent sheer confidence. Their pitchers throw Ks that create fear to other hitters. They bring quality and urgency almost every game this season. Past disappointments serve as a teacher for these guys.
There’s no weakness in assessing the Yankees. On paper, they should be good. This is the best team since 2011. They are so good that they really don’t need a manager to lead them, as evident with Yankees manager Aaron Boone running this on autopilot. A cardboard cutout can manage this team come to think of it.
It was the Yankees finding a way to take the series against a great Los Angeles Dodgers team in late August that made an impression. Their lineup and their pitching overwhelmed the Dodgers. To do this on the road provided that belief they can win it all.
Yankees fans are all in on this team. They know a championship team when they see one. This is as good as it gets.
Here’s the best part of the Yankees: They embrace the pressure to get it done. They know they can get it done. They grind game in and game out. They expect to win every game. WIth this talent, it’s easy to feel that way. That’s half the battle.
There’s a different feel to them unlike past years. These guys played like the championship Yankeees teams from the 90s, which they bring fear of God to other team. Opposing teams know if they beat the Yankees, it will be earned, and they should be worn out after beating them.
The Twins, Astros or anyone in the National League does not come close to the Yankees. There’s no reason to think we can’t celebrate a parade by the end of the month before the Knicks and Rangers depress us to a long winter.
All that’s left to validate this season is 11 postseason victories. It’s about the last man standing. It’s about celebrating in the last game of what has been a long season.
No one celebrates regular season accomplishments, especially in this town. It’s about championships and nothing more. No one remembers about the Yankees hitting 306 home runs this season. No one cares about the team overcoming so many injuries, especially since they can afford to get depth with a payroll they have. 103 wins does not really strike any fancy with the fanbase.
Regular season wins won’t be on Yankeeography ever. What matters is this month. Only 11 postseason wins jolt New York.
We all know what they can do. Now it’s about bringing the championship home.
For a proud franchise to have a 10-year championship drought, it’s too long. Seven years is way too long for us to celebrate a parade. It’s an equivalent of a Dallas Cowboys title drought that is still ongoing.
If the Yankees can’t get it done now, it could be they never will. We saw talented teams not get it done when it matters. Look at the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers in this decade. This is not the list the Yankees want to be in.
This season is about credibility, and the only way they earn it is win in October.
If there is no championship, this season serves as a waste of everyone’s time.