Friday, February 16, 2018


“I think the American League goes through us.” - Justin Verlander

Okay. He's not wrong. Actually, I think it would be freaking weird if he didn't think that. It's not really a big deal even though the media has been running with this since Wednesday. The Astros are the reigning World Series Champions so he should be riding high with confidence right now but we all know which team won the last back to back Championships.....even Verlander does.

This is the year we are supposed to be contenders again. Last year was never supposed to happen according to those "experts" but they were wrong. They forgot they should never underestimate the Yankees so Verlander shouldn't and I know isn't about to make the same mistake.

I'm glad Verlander is feeling confident. I'm also glad that baseball recognizes that we will be force to be reckoned with. Some are even calling us "favorites" which is pretty cool to see after just one year earlier we were in rebuilding mode and not expected to do much. I get why Verlander reacted to this:

Hell I even understand this from the New York Post:
"Everyone’s got to say stuff to get views or get likes or whatever,” Verlander said. “Obviously I think we’re the team to beat. I don’t really care about [someone’s] opinion, especially people that don’t play. Everything happens between the lines."

So let's see it play out on the field! I'm up for the challenge and so are the Yankees. CC Sabathia is definitely ready to answer that challenge. He's always ready to compete and he's not taking any of Verlander's bait. Our young guys have some experience now and Giancarlo Stanton's bat are about to make some noise so I am glad that Verlander is already talking his big game.

Here is what Verlander is going to realize and I think it will be sooner rather than later.....the Astros ARE a good team and have their big guns returning. The Yankees are a good team with a big addition and the American League West has also made some important additions.

The Astros are going to have to first outmatch everyone in their division again. I will be watching the AL West closely this year because I think that if the LA Angels can finally overcome their injury catastrophes from previous seasons they are going to give the Astros a run for their money at least offensively and if Shohei Ohtani adapts to Major League Baseball and is successful things could get interesting. The offseason may have been slow....if not dead but the Angels at least made some moves to improve their club.

No one should ever underestimate the Yankees. As disappointed as it was to end 2017 just one game away from a World Series berth the Yankees reminded everyone not to discard us. Experts said the Cleveland Indians would not only beat us but potentially sweep us. They were wrong we came back to win games three, four and five and the Indians were a damn good team and they will be again.

Then the Yankees did it again with the Astros. They made easy work to pass the Red Sox in the ALDS but that wasn't the case with us. We were down 2-0 and came back to force a game 7. The Astros had a hard time getting past us. We made them work for that World Series berth and Championship.

Verlander has all the confidence now but the MLB season is 162 games long and the “team to beat” is always just the one you are facing that night. You have to get to the postseason first. The Yankees could win the World Series without winning a single game over the Astros this season and then would become the “team to beat” without actually beating the previous “team to beat.” Did I use that phrase enough? Food for thought even in a very young Spring Training season.

So Verlander wants to be like the Yankees and win back to back rings. That's cute but we aren't going to make it easy for you. See ya in April!

--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj

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