Finally, a Yankees team we can love

Let’s be honest. When the “Yankees” lined up down the first base line on Opening Day, was this a team you were ready to watch for 162 games? Probably not.

Sure, there was Robinson Cano. You may have spotted Brett Gardner and Ichiro as well. But besides them, did anyone else catch your eye? Kevin Youkilis in pinstripes was “something else”, but what I mean is, did you feel comfortable relying on Lyle Overbay at first, or Vernon Wells in left? I don’t think so.

Where was Nick Swisher, the heart and soul of the team the past four seasons? What about Russell Martin, our Munson-esque backstop? How could we possibly win with these replacement-level, over the hill scrubs?

These questions and more swirled through many fans’ heads as the Yankees opened up the season back in April. Numerous analysts were picking them to finish last, and if they weren’t that harsh, they still predicted them to miss the playoffs.

Now of course it’s still early in the season, but who could have thought just how different the first month and a half would play out on the field, than we thought it would in our minds.

Here are our 2013 Yankees, at 22-13, first place in the A.L. East. A familiar sight without a doubt, but how they’ve gotten to the top of the division is as unusual as it’s ever been in the Bronx. Absent are the headlining stars – Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson – and present are former big name players revitalizing their careers, and youngsters trying to sink their teeth into the major leagues.

They still hit home runs like the usual Bombers, but win close games more often than not with solid pitching and nearly flawless defense. When was the last time those two aspects were keys to winning for the Yankees? It may have been in the playoffs, but certainly not on the path to get them there.

As mentioned, injuries have paved the way for players young and old to make an impact in pinstripes. Vernon Wells is second to Robbie Cano in runs scored, home runs, and average, Lyle Overbay already has 20 RBI, and Travis Hafner has made a fairly big impact when it matters with his still ferocious bat. Austin Romine, Preston Claiborne, Adam Warren, [and soon David Adams] have all made their big-league debuts and figure to be relied upon more as the days get longer and the season moves into the dog days of summer.

It’s hard to pinpoint the last time the Yankees have had so many role players, rather than superstars, and have been A) successful, and B) fun to watch. Maybe sometime in the 90’s, but they never went anywhere.

Sensing the sarcasm, no, this roster right now is not world championship worthy, and it will be a big help when everyone comes back off the DL. But, when they do, don’t be so willing to part with the Overbays, Hafners, and Wellses of the world.

Because truth be told, they’re the reason why Tex, Grandy, A-Rod and the Captain will jump right back into a pennant race they can win.

Keep it up guys…

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About Brian D.

A passionate 15-year old Yankees fan who has hopes of becoming an MLB journalist or broadcaster. He brings an optimistic, yet realistic take on the Yanks to Yankees Fans Unite, and essentially lives and breathes baseball.

Posted on May 12, 2013, in Analysis, Personal Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. My man Brian….good to see a post by you. How is everything with you….been to many games this year?

    There is definitely a refreshing, feel-good aspect to this year’s team. they have overcome constant injuries and haven’t had money to throw at the problem like in year’s past. Things should get even better when some guys return from injuries but I hope they take a bit of a lesson from this great start. A team of stars looks great on paper but every great team HAS to have guys who do the little things and play their roles. It’s also nice to see guys battling for their jobs. When you have a lot of journeymen and young players they can be hungry because they know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

    Who would have thought this Yankee team would be 1 game behind St.Louis for the best record in Baseball? Gotta love it. I must say I enjoy watching the games more this year also…..this team finds ways to win the close ones.

  2. Brian, it’s funny how everyone was killing Cashman for signing Wells, Hafner, and Overbay when they were signed, but now everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. It just shows how fickle the fans are. These same fans will kill players coming off the DL if they don’t produce. The pitching as always is the key to winning baseball games.

    • Doug, I wouldn’t call it a “bandwagon”, because I hope not too many people jumped ship when the season started. I will admit any day that I wasn’t a fan of the moves Cashman made, but I still was going to root for and watch the Yankees as intently as any season.

      To he honest, I enjoy watching this team win more than I did last year’s. It’s been a true team effort, and I know I wasn’t around, but does it really remind anyone of the late 90s teams?

    • Doug, dissecting every move is the right of all fans. We can agree or disagree with moves made by Cashman but a true fan roots for his team and every player whether he liked the move or not. Right now Cash and Girardi look like geniuses……that is the way sports are….GMs and coaches often get too much credit or blame when the team wins or loses. Players decide games but the buck stops with the leaders who must answer to ownership.

      Let’s hope this team continues to perform well because even though the team is in 1st on May 12th, a lot can change in 4-5 months. Thankfully, with all of the injuries they’ve had to endure, their top 3 starters and top 2 relievers have stayed healthy and that is the real key.

      • This team really fits Girardi better than the star teams. His personality is better on non-stars like it was in Florida. Good to see everybody writing again should be a fun summer. Now that I’m done with school I’m hoping to be able to write recaps for every game soon.

      • fishjam, at least you had the last part right, both Phelps and Nuno pitched great today. Pitching is the key to winning in baseball. The fans have no accountability.

  3. Brian, I myself am happy for Vernon Wells the most and guys like Hafner and Overbay, heck Overbay thought he was going to retire when he got cut by the Sox. Let’s not be delusional, these guys are just holding down the fort until the calvary returns.

  4. Brian D. …
    Nice to have you back shortly, a welcome addition to the force of writers.
    Matt S, (Thankfully) has a job that take up to much of his time so….

    I think a large hats off should be given to Fishjam, Doug, Matt B and young Delia E…all of whom are very talented and held down the fort while the fox where away….playing at work!

    They done, done good, fishjam didn’t even object to my opinion of the state of Jeter. Now, that was class! The made me an officer but, forgot the gentlemen part, me, I think they gave-up!

    I must say, I thought Cash should have let more farm hands come up and help but, so far so good!

    • old yankee, good day for the youngsters, Phelps, Nuno, Jospeh, and Romine have done well today.

      • doug…
        This has been but a few days in the life of these new kids, I myself have said, many times over many years the same thing;
        “Self, remember…do not be so quick to judge a player until, he has shown very good adjustments and has shown he can handle the faster and less forgiving baseball league in the word! Then take an aspirin and call me next spring!”

        A few fans, have wanted to give some of the kids a chance, for years. Other fans say they are still 2 or three years away yet. Being a year or so older than most, I have seen a few players (Mostly hitters) hit so, so on the farm but yet, when turned loose in the big guys parks they take off as if they where the best hitters around.

        Fans have said, the Yankees showed a few years ago…it is crazy to have 3 rookie pitchers in the starting line-up…they were right! Sometimes, one has to do things they dislike, when it works…it is great!

  5. Warren throwing 94mph today, Impressive!

    • doug….
      “Phelps, Nuno, Jospeh, and Romine have done well today.” Very nice days are here again, if or when one or more of the Kiddy Korp do good. And they have done, done dat dar!

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