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Friday, July 19, 2013

THE YANKEES WILL "GRIND IT" IN THE SECOND HALF

Losing streaks are fine.  Let me rephrase that… losing streaks are NEVER fine, but losing a few in a short period of time is better than being losers all season long.  You feel me? The Yankees made every periodical and publication rethink their predictions of “the Last Place Yankees” in April, Jim Bowden of ESPN included (Read REAL MEN ADMIT MISTAKES) and the first part of May.  Then something happened… reality.


I’m here to state the simple fact that if the Yankees don’t change their losing ways now, this is over for the 2013 Yankees.  Sure, the Yanks have been dealt a bad hand.  It started in the off season with unusual signings.  We had, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner, who got hot, but you can make an argument that they got hot at the wrong time.  


In reality, they seem tired now, and it’s not only them. Besides Brett Gardner and Hiroki Kuroda and the constant hitting lately by Ichiro Suzuki… what has happened to my Yankees?  In short, you will blurt out “OLD”, but I hate using that term.  I’m 41. In baseball years, I probably shouldn’t be stepping foot on the field, but if you think about it, it’s all in how you think, not in how you feel.  


Like when Andy Pettitte got hurt earlier this season, that tweak in his back, the first thing he told the press was “It has nothing to do with my age.”  You know what? I got that.  He squashed the media blitz immediately.  Derek Jeter busted an ankle and came out and said age didn’t contribute to that injury.  I got that… it was just an injury that lingered way too long.  Now... I love the Captain, there is nothing I like more than a gamer, a guy that goes out there under any circumstance and gives it his all… he's a warrior, but even he can admit at this point now that he hurt the team by not being around yet this season. That's a post for another time though...

The Yankees need a shake up. The Yankees need life.  Wake up!  Dig down deep, find that energy we had when Wells showed up excited to be in pinstripes and ride it!  Sure, the Yanks may look for some pieces to the puzzle to try and bulk up our offense, but we have the tools already, we have the talent, we just need to stop thinking so much and just go out and play!

Lately, there are 2 things bothering me.  I don’t see Robinson Cano as a future Yankee leader anymore… there, I said it.  He’s no Derek Jeter.  You can rip me for throwing Cano under the bus, but let me be clear; Derek Jeter rallying players, Cano does his job. And you know what? There’s a big difference.  Leaders lead and players play. Cano’s a player, a great one at that, but the team doesn’t follow him, he doesn't guide his club like Jeter does.  I’m not sure if it’s his personality or the way he deals with the players. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love him as a player, he’s fantastic and dynamic and all of that... and he turns it on better than anyone, but it almost seems like he’s playing for himself and not for the Yankees.  You may disagree, and you’re allowed to, it’s just my observation as of late looking at his guy recently.  His body language says it all.  The other part of Cano that bothers me is this recent statement that he’s going to test the Free Agent market, read HERE.  Now look, we all knew it was coming and he has the right, but my feeling is, if he REALLY was a team player, than wait to make those kind of statements until after the season ends.  No more distractions… let’s go out and play! We’ll deal with that later.

Secondly, We need a reality check on Kevin Long.  Is his job the biggest joke in sports? A hitting coach who still has a job after a championship caliber team (on paper) can’t hit? How does that happen?  Sure, with big name players come big name personalities, I get that.  Some players don’t want to change their routine and so, they don’t want to listen to Long who is giving hitting advice.  They’re set in their ways, I get that, but Long is paid to help hitter's hit. He is not earning his paycheck and he has been exposed this June.  

Sure, we can wait for Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter to come back and cross our fingers that it all works out and they lift us up, but the reality is, this is exactly why we have Long! When guys like Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are out, and new players get slotted in, this is where the Long money is being made, isn’t it? He needs to teach these “other” guys to get on base and knock in the ducks on the pond. It’s fundamental baseball.  Don’t believe me? Read YANKEE BASEBALL: THE BASICS OF HITTING. Wake up!

Sure, I’m down on my Yankees, but I’m down because they're down.  The body language is evident. They look like they just want the game to end.  I once asked my 9 year old, who hates kid pitch to tell me his approach to hitting kid pitch.  He told me he hoped to get walked or strikeout.  He forgot he has a baseball bat in his hand.  That’s how I feel like my Yankees are right now, not aggressive, not looking at the field and poking it in the holes, like an Ichiro Suzuki for instance. See the ball, hit the ball.  Stop over thinking and look for something to drive.  I hate to throw every fundamental hitting cliché out there, but this is reality, we suck, but we shouldn’t.

In closing, I say this… I never give up on my Yankees, the pinstripes run deep, but there comes a reality check that every player needs to think about… Do you want to "Grind it" out and win the game and go down fighting? OR Do you want to just not make the playoffs?  I am a firm believer that even the worst teams can win everything if they have confidence.  With confidence and teamwork, everything else follows… Wake up Yanks… get back to basics… it’s July for Christ’s sake. It’s getting late early.

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