Another Unhappy Ending
The 2012 Yankees season ended in an all too familiar fashion for the Yankees. It ended without a parade down The Canyon of Heroes, just like every season has other than 2009 has since 2000. This postseason exit, at the hand of the Detroit Tigers, was probably only topped by the 2003 collapse against Boston as the most embarrassing postseason exit yet.
It is unfortunate that the futility of the Yankees in the ALCS will override the regular season they had, as it was one of the most satisfying regular seasons the Yankees have had in a while. It was not just another ho- hum division championship. The Yankees had to battle every single day down the stretch in September, with the Orioles giving them no breathing room. They avoided loosing a 10 game lead and overcame a mountain of injuries to key players like Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Brett Gardner. It really is amazing that the Yankees won 95 games with all these injuries and Joe Girardi deserves credit for squeezing everything he could out of this team. However, the 2012 Yankees will be remembered for none of that.
They will be remembered as the team that batted an anemic .157 in the ALCS, which is the second lowest total for teams participating in a LCS since 1969. They will be remembered for the RISP fails that crippled them. That was a little overblown during the regular season, but it certainly was not in the postseason. The Yankees showed a lack of mental toughness that is unexpected from a team of veteran players and so unlike the 90′s Yankees. What will also be remembered is that the Yankees wasted the champiohsip caliber pitching that they got.
This will also be remembered for what happened to Alex Rodriguez. He was unfairly benched by the organization, while others around struggled as much or more than him. He was the scapegoat and the reason for the benching probably goes beyond his performance on the field, as they probably wanted to embarrass him enough so he might waive his no-trade clause. It is a shame that something like that would come before winning.
The Yankees scored six runs in four games against Detroit, after scoring the second most runs in the AL this season. Without Raul Ibanez’s heroics in the ALDS it would have been the same story in that series. The really scary part is that other than Justin Verlander, the Yankees did not see another elite pitcher in these playoffs. The Yankees face a similar problem this offseason that they have in the past. How can they get an offense to hit in the regular season and the postseason? That is one of many questions they must answer heading into the offseason.
This is the kind of series that you think will evoke change and if it doesn’t there obviously is a big problem. We will have plenty of time to get into what’s next later, as this winter could be one that shapes the Yankees for awhile. Today is about remembering what was and reflecting on that. It was really a fun regular season, that was really satisfying, and it ended about as bad as you can imagine. It seems so strange that the team showed such toughness in September and once October came it all went away.
Many fans expecting a World Series championship every year are spoiled. 26 other MLB would have loved to have the season that the Yankees did and would love to have their playoffs. However, how they went out this year is unacceptable. The feeble at bats, not putting up a even a fight and seemingly looking like a little league team in the elimination game was truly awful. This kind of performance should leave a sting.
Remember this season however you want, but in five years we might look back at it as the season that changed the direction of the Yankees. We might look back at it as the last stand by some of the core guys the Yankees have had over the last decade. It was another fun season that ended wrongly, that will lead to another winter of discontent. That has become too much of the norm lately.