Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Series Game 1: Get off the ledge, everyone! It's only one game!

Last night was a bad loss, but it's still only one game. One game, not four, unless they somehow changed the rules and are giving the World Series trophy to the Phillies just because they dominated the Yankees in Game 1.

The game reminded me of Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium. In both games, CC and Cliff Lee pitched well, but Lee got the win. In both games, the Yankee bats were stifled, and in both games, the bullpen imploded. And in both games, the fans seemed really out of it.

Remember all the hysteria in Yankeeland over that humilating loss? I do. But somehow, the Yankees managed to get it together, and win 57 games in the new ballpark.

You would think sportswriters would be able to keep some perspective - CC was very good (other than giving up the Utley homers) but Cliff Lee had one of the all-time great postseason performances, and at any rate, it's still only one game.

But not New York Post columnist Joel Sherman. He wrote this on Twitter after the game:

@nyp_joelsherman Whose season feels more over: #Yankees 0-1 in World Series, #Knicks 0-1 in regular season

Get a grip, dude. Are you really serious? What a breathtaking lack of perspective.

But sadly, that's typical for Sherman, though, when it comes to his columns, tweets, and blog posts after bad losses. Here's what he wrote after the Yankee's season opener loss, when Sabathia and Teixeira had lousy debuts in their first game in pinstripes:
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.
It's true! CC and Tex never truly escaped that bad first impression. We're doomed!

Then there was this Sherman hysteria after A.J. Burnett and  the Yankees lost 14-1 at Fenway Park in August, the day after beating the Sox. He even brought up the specter of the 2004 over this one loss, fretting that the Yankees could lose the division to the Sox.
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.
Turns out that the only thing that Saturday loss to Boston - the one where A.J. Burnett yelled "Why, why, why" on the mound - was that Jorge Posada stopped catching Burnett. The Yankees ended up winning the series finale, didn't lose a game to the Sox for the rest of the year, and Boston finished in second place, eight games behind this Yankees. And after losing the first eight games of their head-to-head matchups, the Yanks ended up tying the season series. Oh, and did I mention that the Yankees are in the World Series now? Other than that, Sherman's prognostication was on the money!

So why am I doing this whole walk through memory lane? Because while it's true that this Yankee team has had some brutal losses this year, but they have invariably prevailed. If you're a Yankee fan who really thinks that the World Series is over because of one brutal loss, do yourself - and the rest of us - a favor and jump off the bandwagon now. Thanks.

Yes, other than Derek Jeter, the Yankee bats looked flat all evening. And yes, Phil Hughes was terrible. And yes, why Joe Girardi would put Brian Bruney on the postseason roster at all, let alone have him pitch in this game, made no sense.

But it's still only one game. In 1996, I flew up to New York and spent almost $300 on a ticket to see Andy Pettitte get his butt kicked in the rain in Game 1 of the World Series to the Atlanta Braves, the defending world champions. And then the Yanks lost Game 2 at home. The bridge-jumping then was fierce, and the media was in hysterics. Yet somehow, the Yankees managed to win three games in the then-intimidating atmosphere of Atlanta, and then clinched their first title in 18 years at home.

Am I saying the same thing will happen this time? No. I'm just saying that it's ridiculous to even suggest that the season feels "over" because of one game.

There is one Squawker cohort who doesn't feel the same as me, though - my cat, C.C. After giving a grudging paw of approval to the Yankees ace, she takes it all back, hissing and scratching in CC Sabathia's direction after each Utley homer. She's not pleased. Cats have no loyalty.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


NAM said...

The Media make try to transform every game into the game for all ages. You are so right Lisa, there is a lot of baseball left to play.

Anonymous said...

One game does not a Series make. Pedro may pitch well but our guys can get to him and that bullpen because you KNOW he's not going to pitch 9 innings like Lee did last night. Burnett has to pitch like he did against Beckett when we beat Boston on Alex's 15th inning walk off home run. I said we'd win it in six so I'm sticking with it.

Jonmouk71 said...

The Pie Man has to step up big time. Yankee bats have to wake up - especially the righthanded hitters. Swisher looks particularly lost as he was ahead in his counts on two occasions last night and popped up hittable fast balls. Incidentally, in the Yankees' history, they have faced the reigning WS champs seven times......and are 5-2, losing only to the 1922 Giants and 1976 Reds. They beat the Giants (1923), Cardinals (1943), Dodgers (1956), Milwaukee (1958) and Atlanta Braves (1996). No need to panic yet.

The Emperor said...

Say what you will, but tonight is a must-win for us. If we lose Game 2, we're losing the series.

Not being a pessemist, but we will have to face Cliff Lee again this series. Do you want to face him again behind two or three games?

Paul from Boston said...

Emp - please don't take this offensively when I say you sound like me!

Similar to what I said yesterday:

Game 3 is Cole Hamels who has not been nearly as good this entire year. I'm not saying its an automatic win for NY, but its not an automatic loss either - last year it might have been.

I just don't see Yankee bats staying as quiet as they did last night for the whole series.

Is Cliff Lee on short rest going to be Cliff Lee of last night? If Manuel doesn't think so then you'll likely see Blanton. Right.

I do agree 0-2 is tough, but worry about it if/when it happens.

Hang tough, Emp, and keep the Pepto handy!

The Emperor said...

Thanks, Paul. I got the Pepto and the Rolaids ready. :-)

I'm not panicked yet. I know it's just one game and Cliff Lee is just like Roy Halliday on the mound. CC did well, but Cliff was otherworldly.

Hopefully Philly played their best game last night.

I'll feel a lot better if we win tonight. It's better going to Philly at least tied 1-1 with all their savage fans calling for our execution -- it'll probably feel more like the Colleseaum in Rome 2,000 years ago than a modern day baseball park.

Anyway, here's to beating Pedro and to A.J. keeping it together.


Uncle Mike said...

As I said, when you look at the record in going on to win the Series by the winners of the various games, 1 through 7, the Game 1 winner actually has the lowest winning percentage.

No need to panic. We are not Met fans.

Just the same... Time to smack Number 45 around!

Anonymous said...

Great perspective. Joel Sherman hates the Yankees and most likely washed out of Little League. Tonight,
AJ was great, Molina picked off a runner, and Hairston had a base hit. The pre game blogs has use going down in flames. Also without Hughes we would be playing golf. He will bounce back.

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