I have to confess that I’m still a little bummed over the Yankees being knocked out of this post-season, as we sit here and watch four teams continue on with October baseball.
Thinking about feeling this way, yesterday, I started to think about how I felt each time the Yankees were defeated, in the post-season, during my following the team. Here’s the list:
1976: This one hurt. But, everything happened so fast – and it was as if it hit you, all the pain, in a flash. It was like stepping off the curb and then getting blind-sided by a Mack Truck doing 100 MPH.
1980: The Yankees never had a chance in this ALCS. The Royals were on a mission. And, it was a strange Yankees team – even if they won a ton of games. Bob Watson, Eric Soderholm, Ruppert Jones, Aurelio Rodriguez, Tom Underwood, Gaylord Perry…they just didn’t seem like Yankees to me. Plus, I was a freshman in college when this happened – and that was distracting. This one didn’t hurt all that bad.
1981: Stupid work-stoppage year. That whole “First Half Champ” and “Second Half Champ” thing just made this a bizarre year. The post-season didn’t carry much weight with me because of the split season format. While I would have been happy if the Yankees won the World Series, it didn’t kill me that they lost. I was even there for Game 2 of the World Series – and it seems like a non-memory to me. If I didn’t have the ticket stub, I may not even remember having gone there.
1995: To this day, this one was a killer. After the winning run scored in the ALDS for Seattle, I sat, on my knees, on the floor, about a foot away from the TV, for what seemed like an hour. I couldn’t move. For whatever reason, this one really hurt – probably because of the lead they blew in the series and the fact that it had been so long since Yankees October baseball.
1997: This one pissed me off more than it hurt. I thought the Yankees had a case of “fat cat” fever during this series and took too much for granted. On the bright side, the loss in this series was something, in my mind, that lead to the butt-kicking attitude that the Yanks had in 1998.
2001: Stunned. For a solid month afterwards, I walked around like a young grieving widow in mourning. It took me a long time to come around after this one – even though the Yankees were clearly out-played in the series.
2002: This one was just embarrassing for me. I felt like the Yankees were a no-show for the ALDS. It didn’t hurt – it was just an embarrassment. Although, for some reason, it didn’t make me very angry.
2003: Now, this one pissed me off – more than 1997. After the thrill of the ALCS, there’s no way the Yankees should have lost the World Series. Plus, on the stat sheet, they out-played the Marlins – except during key moments of games. I think all the members of the Yankees team should look back at this one with a ton of regret – especially Torre.
2004: On a pain-scale, this one was up there with 1995. On an embarrassment-scale, it tops 2002 – by far. And, on an anger-scale, it tops 1997 and 2003. Yet, it was not something that left me stunned for a long time like 1995 or 2001. After Game 5 of the ALCS, you just had a feeling that it was over – maybe the Yankees players felt this too? I’ve gotten over this one much quicker than I imagined – but, I do still find myself telling people that the Red Sox choked in this series “by allowing the Yankees to win the first three games – as, clearly, the Sox were the better team that year.”
2005, 2006, and 2007: These are all the same in many ways. Going in, you expected the Yankees to make a decent to good showing. However, in the end, the team played each series like a non-winner. And, afterwards, you felt like the Yankees may have reached the World Series if they had won their ALDS match. Each of these was disappointing, but, not fatal-feeling like 1995 or 2001. And, they were embarrassing, but, not like 2004 or 2002. And, each of these left you a little angry, but, not like 1997 or 2003. Perhaps the cumulative impact of 2001 to 2004 has numbed me to the point where it would be difficult to be very disappointed, embarrassed, and/or angry here? It’s possible.
I moved past 2005 and 2006 by the time the World Series was played. I expect that I will do the same with the results of this past Yankees’ ALDS. Until then, I’ll probably remain just a little bummed-out.