A roller coaster.
Jekyll and Hyde.
The best of times, the worst of times.
There are many times this season when these descriptions of the Yankees have applied in back-to-back days. Yesterday and Friday were just the latest. A day after winning 8-0 behind five homers, the Yankees were drubbed 11-1 by Cleveland.
You’d think I’d ought to be used to this by now. But I’m not. I can’t think of a Yankee team I’ve experienced as a fan that has been as up and down as this. Even the 2008, 2013, and 2014 teams that missed the playoffs and–at least in the case of the latter two–seemed dismal, were pretty steadily the same throughout the year.
The only other team that sort of reminds me of this one is the 2015 team, but by this time that year, they were gassed and done. There was no way they were advancing far. The 2021 team, though, keeps giving us just enough hope, don’t they? Given what we’ve experienced so far this year, it wouldn’t be horribly surprising to see the Yankees give it right back to Cleveland this afternoon.
This consistent inconsistency has somewhat warped my brain. How can I tell? Because when people ask me if I think the Yankees are going to make the playoffs, I still say ‘yes’ pretty unequivocally. After Friday night, it doesn’t seem so far fetched. After yesterday, it seems unattainable. This consistent inconsistency has led to one consistent thing: a lack of surprise.
If the Yankees fall flat on their faces for the rest of the year, I’ll be annoyed, maybe even angry. But I won’t be surprised.
If the Yankees practically run the table and surge into the playoffs, I’ll be elated. But I won’t be surprised.
If the Yankees make the wild card game and lose, I’ll be frustrated. But I won’t be surprised.
If the Yankees make a deep run in the playoffs, I’ll be ebullient. But I won’t be surprised.
Baseball teams that are very good or very bad are simple to figure out. Baseball teams that fall somewhere in the middle of that–like the 2021 Yankees–are much harder to figure out. Luckily, we don’t have much longer to wait for the answer. Let’s just hope it’s a satisfying one. With this bunch, who the hell really knows?