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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sweeping generalizations: Thy name is Joel Sherman

New York Post columnist Joel Sherman can be good at times, but he also makes a whole lot of sweeping generalizations based on one game. Yesterday he was at it again, trying to find all sorts of eerie parallels between this weekend and 2004. He writes in today's New York Post:
Just about the only downside for the Yankees in Friday night's blowout of the Red Sox was how much it was reminiscent of their Game 3 victory in the 2004 ALCS.

The Yankees won that contest 19-8 at Fenway, Hideki Matsui hit two homers and the Yanks took a three-games-to-none lead. At that moment, the Yanks appeared more likely to join a Broadway chorus line en masse than fail to reach the World Series. Their magic number was one with four games to play. But they never did get that victory, and no one ever Cursed again.
Yeah, because yesterday's game was so much like Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. You had the Yankees leading into the ninth yesterday, until Jacoby Ellsbury stole second against Mariano Rivera, and the Sox went on to win on an extra-inning homer from David Ortiz.

What's that you say? The Red Sox hit A.J. Burnett hard, for the worst start of his career, and the Sox destroyed the Yankees, 14-1? You mean it wasn't a carbon copy of 2004? Who knew?

For his own sake, I really wish Sherman wouldn't write these sort of pieces. Because there are other times I think he's really great. But he shouldn't jump to conclusions after one game. It's like when he wrote this about CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira after Opening Day:
Sabathia was the highest-paid free-agent pitcher of the offseason and Teixeira the highest-paid position player. In a down economic climate, the Yanks invested $341 million on just those two. They are not going to feel bad about those decisions at 0-1. However, no one wants to make a bad first impression as a Yankee because the hole is always a little deeper, so deep that many never truly escape.
Yeah, because Sabathia and Teixeira have been such disappointments as Yankees this year. They could never overcome those horrific Opening Day performances. Sheesh.

Back to Sherman's piece from this morning. He also opines:

They entered yesterday leading the Red Sox by 7½ games with one-quarter of the season left. For the record, their magic number was 34. But the most important magic -- it seemed -- was percolating in the Yankees clubhouse. The team's confidence was peaking. They have a cresting sense that they are a special group.

Of course that is exactly how it felt in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway after the game of Oct. 16, 2004....

After all, blowing a three-games-to-none lead in the postseason is unique. But since 1900, eight teams that trailed by 7½ games or more after the 121-game mark have gone on to finish first, including the 1978 Yankees.

What does this even mean? It's a terrible analogy for a variety of reasons:

* The Yankees have felt that this was a pretty special team for a while now, not just Friday night.

* Only Murray Chass seems to think the Sox's season is already over. Besides, even if the Yanks faltered, and the Sox surged, the rest of the way, there still is a pretty good chance that both teams will still make the playoffs (which is why the comparison to 1978 is flawed - we will never have another one game playoff for the Yankees-Sox again, due to the wild card.) So the season wouldn't be over for the Yankees.

* The Yankees just pummeled the Sox with an 18-hit barrage two weeks ago, and they ended up sweeping the series. Oh, I guess they were safe from some spooky curse because Hideki Matsui didn't hit two homers in that game. Sheesh.

Sherman continues:
Yet a 14-1 Red Sox rout yesterday provides pause to all the celebrating.
Who was celebrating, exactly? Even Sherman notes in his column that Joe Girardi pointed out the season wasn't over yet.

But what kills me the most about Sherman's piece is that it comes from the same guy who wrote this less than two weeks ago:
Humiliating the Red Sox is usually enough to turn the Bronx into nirvana. But the latest version of a Boston Massacre is just one slice of the Yankees' current heaven.....

Clearly the Yankees are soaring toward the postseason now while doing damage to the Red Sox's October plans. Maybe life could be better in the Yanks' corner of the Bronx. Again, send postcards to explain how.
On August 10, the Yanks were sailing towards October in Sherman's world. Now, the sky is falling because of one stinking loss.

Here's what I took away from yesterday's loss:

* A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada are not on the same page. They'd better work it out, and quickly. Or else Jose Molina ought to be catching Burnett for the rest of the year.

* I miss Johnny Damon (!) in left field, and I hope he's healthy enough to play there tonight.

* Alfredo Aceves has been terrible as of late.

* Kevin Youkilis gets on my last nerve.

* Jonathan Papelbon apparently has multiple personality disorder - according to the FOX broadcast, he actually calls himself Cinco Ocho. I wish somebody on the Sox would call him the real nickname he deserves - Cinco Dopo!

But I'm certainly not going to read yesterday's loss as like being 2004 all over again. That's just silly.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!

8 comments:

"Nutball Gazette" said...

Next year if Matsui is gone,
Bring up Cervelli, Have him catch 90 Games, and posada 40 games and Molina 30 games, and Posada can DH another 80 games and then be the back up the Backup 3rd catcher PH the rest of the season

bring back o'neill said...

Lisa,

I responded to Sherman's article and mentioned you in there. http://www.nypost.com/seven/08232009/sports/yankees/sober_reminder__blowout_much_like_2004_a_186035.htm
You have to understand Sherman is a rat who has no business covering the Yankees. I await the day the Post wises up and sends to where he belongs.

"Nutball Gazette" said...

Sherman is hated in every city.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, get off the cinco dopo thing. It makes you look stupid.

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

I really don't understand this anonymous postings, specially when they are offensive. Why be anonymous? It's not like you are going to jail or someone is going to kill you. So that just shows how classy and coward you can be.
I would agree on Cinco Dopo he is more like "Cinco Loco" or even "Sin Coyoles" just like offensive anonymous postings are "Poco Hombre."

Ann O. Namus said...

What difference does it make if you leave an anonymous comment or use a made up name or initials or whatever? I can understand if you are having a back and forth, but otherwise why does it make you feel better? Lisa and Jon give people the option - blame them if it ticks you off.

Uncle Mike said...

Didn't Sherman write "Birth of a Dynasty" about the 1996 Yankees? That's one of the best books ever written about the franchise. But if you're expecting objective journalism, I remind everyone that he writes for the New York Post.

It really sucks to score 11 runs on your biggest rival... and lose by 9 runs! It really, really sucks to score 29 runs in 3 games on your biggest rival... and lose 2 out of 3 at home! Ah, but if you ARE that big rival... hee hee hee hee...

Jeter may finally win his first Most Valuable Player award, which is weird, because I'd practically handed it to Teixeira already. Tex has made a huge difference for the Yankees, but this is still Derek's team, and for all those who've written him off -- and all you bozos who thought Jose Reyes had become the best shortstop in New York, shame on you -- Derek has announced his freakin' presence with authority.

Whatever's going on between Burnett and Posada, it has to be straightened out now. Burnett has done everything else right when it comes to being a good teammate, so, as the veteran, as the deputy captain behind Jeter (for all intents and purposes), I think Posada needs to take the initiative here and, diplomatically, straighten out whatever's wrong between them. Molina's a good backup catcher, but, hitting the last homer in the old Stadium aside, he can't hit.

Sabathia -- 7 innings, no walks. Beautiful, but I am concerned: He's been so good, throughout his career, in August and September, but October, ouch. Does he burn out? The Yankees should watch him carefully: I know he's a horse, but if you're going to use that analogy, don't drive him too hard in winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, because the Belmont Stakes is yet to come.

If you ever visit Cape Cod, the Cape Cod League Museum is in the same building as the John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis. They've got a Cape Cod League Hall of Fame, which includes a few Yankees. The one that matters is Thurman Munson of the Chatham A's.

A lot of Yankee Fans made the trip into Boston this weekend. Like me, they left alive and happy. Sox fans really, really hate us -- as if we gave a damn about that.

Once again, I got out alive and in one piece. I'm reminded of the words of the Beach Boys: "My buddies and me are gettin' real well-known. Yeah, the bad guys know us, and they leave us alone. I get around."

I also picked up a new book about the Sox: "It Was Never About the Babe" by Jerry Gutlon. I'm about halfway through it, and it's really good at dispelling some of the many myths and legends about that most mythical of sports teams, the Boston Red Sox. Note that I said most mythical -- not most myth-worthy.

Ah, the Mets, the Mets, the Mets, the Mets...

"Nutball Gazette" said...

Uncle Mike
That is the best writing I have seen in a long time.
Great Job