By Sweeny Murti
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A few thoughts after a sweep in Detroit:
— All season long Joe Girardi professed his faith in his lineup, saying that he believed deep down his hitters would get it done. Regardless what you thought of his words, it was hard not to think that yourself. The lineup was full of All-Stars, a problem any manager would love to have. But those rallies never seemed to come. And in the end, it was almost comical how feeble the Yankees’ offense looked.
LISTEN: Girardi after ALCS sweep
— The Yankees were good enough to get to the World Series. I said it many times on the radio and in this space this season. Obviously I was wrong because they didn’t get there. Is that a great upset? No. The Yankees were a good team, but not a perfect team. The Yankees were as good as any team in the tournament, but the field is so much better than it used to be that losing isn’t a shock. Play badly, and you will lose. The Yankees did that. Being swept was beyond prediction. This was almost historically bad and embarrassing.
— They had shortcomings, of course. But even the most pessimistic Yankee fan could not see Robinson Cano going 3 for 40 in nine postseason games. Not after he hit .333 the last two postseasons combined and certainly not after he went 24 for 39 over the final nine days of the regular season.
Cano had a chance to show he was ready to make this his team, ready to take on the responsibility that comes with the big contract he will certainly get after next season. This October failure will not go away easily, not until he proves his worth as the Yankees most dynamic player.
— The A-Rod soap opera will swing into full gear now until someone says once and for all he is not being traded. But until the day in February when he shows up in Tampa wearing his spring training Yankee jersey and cap, will we really believe he’s coming back?
I’ll give you this much. Public comments could have made this situation much, much worse… but didn’t. For all the missteps and just plain stupid things A-Rod has done over the years, his remarks after Game 4 made it clear — the blame was squarely on him for not hitting, and putting Joe Girardi in the position to think about benching him.
LISTEN: A-Rod places blame on self
There is some repair to be made, especially since these torpedoes about being traded are coming from somewhere. But A-Rod did as much as he could to quiet the situation after Game 4. He likely did not succeed, but he did his part.
Next step—the secret phone call between A-Rod and Joe Girardi.
More on A-Rod and the Yankees off-season maneuvers in the coming days.
— One last thought. This is Bud Selig’s Utopia: where the Yankees are the Yankees, in the playoffs every year, which is good for baseball. But many other teams have just as good a chance to win. The Yankees have won at least 95 games four years in a row, but have won the World Series only once. They have made the Final Four twice in the last three years.
The Yankees have become the Duke Blue Devils. Earn a 1-seed, or a 2-seed to the Big Dance and go home more times than not. Win a championship every once in a while, still call yourself successful.
And in reality, that is successful. The Yankees will not win the World Series every year. And the further we are removed from 1996-2000, we will recognize how difficult that was.
The Yankees. The Celtics. The Lakers. The Canadiens. The Steelers. The Packers.
Go on and on. Every sports dynasty loses. And when they do it’s fairly devastating because they are just expected to win. But it happens. And you know that they will compete at a championship level again the following season.
What changes need to be made for the Yankees to be, well, the Yankees in 2013? Be heard in the comments below!