The Yankees have already put the AL East mostly to bed. If they haven’t tucked the Jays, Sox, and Rays in yet, it’s only to taunt them more. So it’s hard to get too juiced about anything left in the regular season, unless there’s some historic choke on the horizon. Still, the Astros showing up to the Boogie Down is always something of an occasion, because apparently neither the Yankees nor the fans can let go.
Oh sure, Jameson Taillon will never admit to purposely plunking Jose Altuve to start the game. But it felt like giving in to the bloodlust Yankees fans have had ever since the cheating scandal came to light, because the Yankees still feel something was taken from them in 2017. Even though they’ve had multiple chances to make up for it. Even though they employ Carlos Beltran again. Even though former Astro Marwin Gonzalez is in their dugout.
If there’s one team, one organization, that’s supposed to be above this shit, it’s the Yankees. Even the Dodgers don’t bitch like this. They went out and went to the World Series twice more, even winning one. It’s not like the Yanks don’t have a full trophy case anyway. Aren’t they the guys who are supposed to shrug it off the most and say, “We’ll be back next year, because we always are. Look what you had to do to beat us?” Five years later and the boos still rain down. Who’s got the inferiority complex again?
And the Yanks are now 52-18. They’re off to one of the best starts in MLB history. Maybe it’s because the Astros look like the only team that can even think about challenging them right now, and the goblins of 2017 will arise again in the fall when these two dance again, should it come to pass. But whatever. It’s the New York Yankees. One year isn’t supposed to knock them off their invincible high horse built on their history. They laugh at everyone else and point to “27.” Are they really still bitching about that one that got away?
To boot, New York has bigger problems. Aaron Judge capped off yet another winner with a walk-off single, as the Yanks came back from three runs twice to win 7-6. His arbitration hearing is today, which feels only like the preamble to his free agency come winter. Judge is having an undisputed MVP season, and also feels like the first player in a long while to simply walk out of the Bronx when the time comes. Maybe that’s what’s feeding Yankee fans’ insecurity. Because the Bronx is supposed to be the magnet, the destiny of all great players. You come to the Yanks to cement your legacy. You don’t simply walk out of Yankee Stadium.
Or maybe it’s the oddity of not seeing the Yankees act like the Yankees, and actually penny-pinch when it comes to paying someone. Judge is 30, and any team might have some pause about paying him $40 million or more when he’s 35 or older. But again, this is the Yankees, who can eat contracts like Animal the Muppet.
There would be some karmic justice to watch Judge collect an MVP and then watch him leave, given how many players have done similar and gone the other way (Giambi, Cole, Mussina, Stanton all leap to mind immediately). It’s not a feeling that Yankee fans are used to, watching every at bat of their local hero and wondering if this might be the last time they do so. Scouring every story and pouring over every quote and rumor for any inkling that the tides have turned. That there isn’t a cold chill waiting when reports leak in November or December of a deal being struck with… oh, the Giants or Angels or Mariners. Maybe it has the bleacher creatures feeling off.
Anyway, the point has been made about the Astros. They’ve moved on, including returning to the World Series twice. Baseball has basically moved on. Whining is supposed to be beneath baseball royalty. Isn’t that what you are, Yanks?