Many of you, our faithful readers at BYB, know my passion (good or bad) for our favorite team. Those of you who have read my articles know that in addition to being a Yankees fan, I have a family that I’m even more passionate about. In fact, my very first article for Robert Casey was about a Spring Training trip I took with my son, Matt. He was in the sixth grade at the time – my how time flies. So, now I ask that you forgive, and indulge me while I briefly remove my pinstripes gear and write a little more on the family side.
I said goodbye to my son yesterday for pretty much the remainder of the summer. He’s off doing life things and will only be back briefly at the end of July before heading into his senior year at Syracuse University (like I said, time flies). I realize that this is probably it for him as far as living at home goes, and honestly this house will never be quite the same.
All three of my kids bring a little different angle to the family. Sarah, our oldest, is probably the most driven person I’ve ever encountered. When she sets her mind to something, stay out of her path and just watch in amazement while she achieves it. She also happens to share my passion for the Yankees, and in June of 2013 I wrote an article about my trip with her to see the Yankees play.
Kristen, our youngest, has an “old soul”. She’s beyond her years and, like Sarah, focuses on a goal and does not stray from it. She has a brilliant wit about her, and I wrote about her first trip with me to Yankees Stadium in April. To her credit (and I didn’t mention this in the article), she was the only one of my three kids to NOT throw-up in the Stadium.
That brings us to Matt, the middle child. As much of a hard-worker as the other two, he brings a sensitivity and passion into everything he does. As long as he’s been alive, it seems that his peers have always looked to him as a leader. Whether it is baseball, soccer, or something academic-related, Matt has not just assumed, but has been thrust into, a leadership role. It just comes natural to him and fits well. He adds a somewhat raunchy sense of humor (and what college-age kid doesn’t have that?) and a style all his own to everything he does. He is very protective of his sisters and is generous to a fault to those he loves. The house is always buzzing when Matt is home, and I think that is why I say it’s not going to be the same.
Because I’m a lifelong Yankees fan and a BYB writer, I’m always thinking about the team (Yankees gear now back on). Yesterday I had this incredible sense of “déjà vu” when Matt left, and couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was until I thought about the Yankees. My son’s departure left our house and family with a little less “color”. While we’ll still have some great moments – we have a vacation planned that should be great – we still won’t be complete without him around (I also felt this way when Sarah moved out). That’s the sense I get from our current Yankees team. While it IS contending in the AL East, I can’t help but feel it is missing parts – that it’s incomplete.
As with our family, the Yankees are going to have some great moments this season – and already have. With Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Bryan Mitchell, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and now Ivan Nova all solidly contributing to the cause, the team is continuing to stay near the top.
But, as I go through the roster, there remains a Stephen Drew, Chris Capuano, and yes, even Carlos Beltran who continue to get significant playing time, but add virtually nothing. All three are merely caulk filling holes in the roster simply because our GM Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi refuse to allow potential stars like Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Jose Pirela, Rob Refsnyder, and Luis Severino their chance to shine in the Bronx - except when an injury dictates that one of them be utilized.
As a result, our team lacks an “edge” that clubs like the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals (defending AL Champs) have. During Saturday’s broadcast of the game against the Astros, the YES Network highlighted the “25 and under” lineup that the ‘Stros feature. I couldn’t help but think that we could be doing the very same thing if we didn’t have the unimaginative GM and manager that we do.
I’ll continue to cheer the Yankees every win, but I’ll also know that this squad could be so much better. Like our family with Matt and Sarah home, the team wouldn’t be perfect with the Baby Bombers I listed above. There would be missteps, and yes even slumps. But, as with the full Skinner family, there would be an added energy and much higher ceiling to what it could accomplish with those future stars on board. Each of them has given us a glimpse as to what they can do. They just now need the chance to be full-time pieces to the puzzle.
I look forward to the next time Matt and Sarah are home. It makes us the complete package – a winning one. The same could be said for the Yankees if they’d allow their youth to make a name for themselves. It’s time to make this team complete once again and give it an opportunity to have something really special.