The day to day minutiae of life has a tendency to grab a firm hold on all of us. This is especially true during the social media age where information is available in an instant. As a result, we tend to believe the happenings of the present moment are the most important. And this is true to an extent. After all, a collection of moments lead to trends and trends lead to conclusions. Sometimes, we need to pull back and assess the entire situation. This is oftentimes the case when it comes to long baseball seasons. So here is a friendly reminder.
The 2019 New York Yankees are really good. They’re so good you can make a strong case that they are currently the best team in baseball. Of course Dodgers, Twins and Astros fans would disagree, but at the very least the Yankees are in that conversation. They’ve played well against both the best and dregs of the league. They’re great at home and strong on the road. Their record of 34-11 against AL East teams is the best record against division opponents in all of Major League Baseball. They just took 3 of 4 from their closest division competitor and are now eight games up.
Normally, a post like this would include statistical analysis and astute observations to back up a claim. As we all know, this season is anything, but normal. This feels like as good as time as any to focus solely on silly things like spirit, character and mettle given the incredible circumstances the team has experienced.
At the time you’re reading this, the Yankees have over 20 players experience an IL stint. Some of these players include:
- Aaron Judge
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Luis Severino
- Dellin Betances
- Gary Sanchez
- Aaron Hicks
- Didi Gregorius
- Miguel Andújar
- Clint Frazier
- James Paxton
- Luke Voit
If we’re being honest, this should’ve derailed the Yankees’ season. You can’t overstate how crucial each player listed is to the franchise. It would be frustrating to watch, but also understandable if the team used the injuries as a crutch and found it difficult to compete day in and day out. Here is an actual lineup from a MLB game on April 22nd:
The Yankees won this game 4-3 in 14 innings against the Angels. The hero that night was Gio Urshela. That game perfectly captured the heart of this team. They held and blew the lead multiple times, but found a way to win. That attitude has stuck all year.
A season will challenge every team’s character at some point. It just so happened the challenge for the Yankees began in their opening week. All this did was establish the emotional foundation of the squad. It wasn’t primarily built by Judge, Stanton and Severino. Instead it was the likes of DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela doing the heavy lifting. The calm focus of Aaron Boone is a major contributor as well. There is an expectation to win every day. There is an attitude that they’re never out of a game. And why shouldn’t you have that approach when the team didn’t back down during their most troubling times.
We all get caught up in the day to day issues of the team. Do the Yanks need more pitching? Probably. Do a lot of us have complaints about the lineup construction? Yes. Is the load management plan for the players really frustrating to watch at times? Absolutely. These are all valid points. With that said, we have to remember how awesome this team is. The Yankees actively turned their biggest obstacle into their biggest triumph to date. It is making the season even more exciting to watch than normal. There is a lot more work to be done as the ultimate goal is a world championship. As we acknowledge that fact, it is ok to take a moment and appreciate all the Savages in that clubhouse.