Mahler: O Poor, Pitiful Me: My Yankees Stink
New York Yankees' Kevin Youkilis in action during an opening day baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Monday, April 1, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
I got a phone call yesterday morning. The caller didn’t say a word. His phone number was ID blocked. All he did was laugh.
I knew it was coming. It was just another call from one of my dear Red Sox friends from the Upper Valley letting me know how bad things looked down in the Bronx on Opening Day.
New York Yankee haters unite! Here’s your chance to kick a dying dynasty while it’s down. Take out those baseball bats and get in line to take a shot at the Steinbrenner pinata. Yes, it’s a great time to be a Yankee hater.
The advance word coming out of spring training was bad enough. After watching Monday’s season opener against the Boston Red Sox, I can tell you with certainty that you are looking at the last-place club in the loaded AL East.
The Yankees are so bad, they make the Red Sox look like legitimate playoff contenders.
The Yankees are so bad, they look like a shutout waiting to happen.
The Yankees are so bad, Mariano Rivera may actually go entire weeks at a time without pitching for a save.
The Yankees are so bad, the Red Sox announcers were even making excuses for them.
The Yankees are so bad, they may be looking to make a salary dump when the July trading deadline comes up — only nobody will want their players.
The Yankees are so bad, even the MLB Network turned them down as a reality series.
The Yankees are so bad, the YES Network will just say no to the idea, too.
The Yankees are so bad, I won’t even care about them this year.
Kevin Youkilis, who was ceremoniously ushered out of Boston, is now the Yankees’ savior — along with his .250 batting average — no doubt to be shuttled between third and first all year.
While the Yankees resorted to retread Vernon Wells in left field, the Red Sox countered with highly touted rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. Wells went hitless, while Bradley scored twice and had an RBI.
To the silently suffering Yankee fans, it feels like 1965 all over again. Coming off a loss to St. Louis in their annual visit to the World Series the fall prior, the Yankee machine broke down all at once. Sort of like the aging Joe Hardy from Damn Yankees — they kept getting older every step they took. After a while, nobody even recognized them.
A team loaded with Hall-of-Famers with celestial stars names like Mantle, Ford and Berra turned into a franchise loaded with journeymen like Horace Clark, Roy White and Roger Repoz.
In 1965, the Yankees finished in sixth place with a 77-85 mark. The next year, they hit the cellar at 70-89. Those numbers look frighteningly similar to what this year’s group may bring home. Just look at some of the stats:
■ More than 200 of the record 245 home runs hit last year have either left town or are out of the lineup with injuries.
■ With the exception of Robinson Cano, the most productive years of the team’s other stars were back in 2007. These guys are over the hill and, in A-Rod’s case, overpaid.
It took 12 years before the George Steinbrenner influence brought greatness back to the pinstripes.
It may take longer this time. Because this time we got the wrong Steinbrenner sitting at the head of the table. This time we got Steinbrenner light — the son whose bottom line is dollars and cents instead of wins and losses.
Didn’t he get the memo? Plugging holes with temps isn’t a winning formula. Being just competitive isn’t going to pay the bills in that new stadium.
All of a sudden money is tight in New York? No free-agent stars in the fold; no promising minor-league help on the horizon? This is the Yankees, not the Royals or the Brewers. You can probably blame George for global warming, he is so steamed over this mismanagement.
With the awe and mystique gone, can Derek Jeter be long to follow? And then what? Right now, this lineup has guys like Ben Francisco (all of 49 homers in his seven-year career), Travis Hafner (who uses a post office box to send his mail to the disabled list) and Lyle Overby (who was cut last week by the Red Sox).
When Joe Girardi looked out on the field on Monday, he must have thought he was living an April Fool’s joke.
But nobody’s laughing in the Bronx. Here in the Upper Valley, however, the laughter is deafening.
Thanks, you guys.
Don Mahler can be reached — when he’s not in tears — at email@example.com or 603-727-3225.