• Wild Thought: What’s Good Enough?

    Posted by on October 12th, 2009 · Comments (30)

    Today’s wild thought centers on what’s “good enough” for Yankees fans, now, that New York has won an ALDS for the first time in five years…

    Do the Yankees have to go on and win the World Series for this season to be considered “great”? Or, would it be enough just to reach the World Series – and the outcome of the Fall Classic doesn’t matter?

    Or, do the Yankees even have to win the ALCS for this season to be considered “great”? What if it’s a hard fought ALCS that goes six or seven games, and, in the end, the Yankees lose – but do it in a manner that’s not embarrassing (and they just get beat by a team who played better)? Is that “enough” for you, as a Yankees fan, to say this season was a success?

    Me? I want to say “As long as they play hard, and don’t give away the ALCS, I can live with that.” But, deep down, inside, I want them to reach the World Series – at a minimum. And, if they get there, I’m probably not going to be “O.K.” with it if they lose.

    I wasn’t “O.K.” with it in 1976, 1981, 2001 or 2003. So, I doubt I’ll be fine with it now. Yet, sincerely, again, I want to say that a good showing in the ALCS, win or lose, should be enough to say “Hey, being the second best team in the league, and just missing by a whisker of being the best, is nothing to be ashamed about, etc.” It’s just that I don’t think I’m capable of pulling that off…for whatever reason.

    How about you?

    Comments on Wild Thought: What’s Good Enough?

    1. Raf
      October 12th, 2009 | 11:07 am

      I want them to win the World Series, no doubt about that. BUT if they don’t win it all, it doesn’t take away from what they’ve accomplished so far.

      That’s the attitude that I have a problem with, that if they don’t win the World Series it’s a failure, as if making it this far is some sort of trivial accomplishment.

    2. MJ
      October 12th, 2009 | 11:24 am

      Raf wrote:

      I want them to win the World Series, no doubt about that. BUT if they don’t win it all, it doesn’t take away from what they’ve accomplished so far.
      That’s the attitude that I have a problem with, that if they don’t win the World Series it’s a failure, as if making it this far is some sort of trivial accomplishment.

      Raf speaks for me on this one. He said it best.

    3. October 12th, 2009 | 11:43 am

      @ Raf:
      @ MJ:
      So, when the Yankees lost to the Marlins in the 2003 WS, you guys were cool with that? Didn’t chap you at all? You weren’t mad over it?

    4. Raf
      October 12th, 2009 | 11:56 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ Raf:
      @ MJ:
      So, when the Yankees lost to the Marlins in the 2003 WS, you guys were cool with that? Didn’t chap you at all? You weren’t mad over it?

      Define “mad.” I was definitely disappointed. But mad? Nah. That series loss didn’t hurt as much as the 1995 ALDS.

      Game 4 I was like WTF after Cabrera’s HR barely cleared the wall. But that was tempered by “BIG GAME PITCHER” David Wells going in game 5. Thought we were looking @ a tied series. Then his back acted up, and I was like “WTF” again. Tempered that with Beckett going on short rest for game 6, figured that the series would be tied, and I’d be there for game 7.

      Things didn’t quite work out that way.

    5. October 12th, 2009 | 12:00 pm

      @ Raf: You’re a better man than me. ;-) I was pissed off and felt that the Yankees lost a WS that they should have won in 2003.

    6. Raf
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:01 pm

      And that still didn’t take away from a division title, as well as a hard fought ALCS.

    7. Raf
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:04 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      You’re a better man than me.

      Definitely more mellow :D

      I thought the same too, that the Yanks should’ve won the series. I was at game one, and was a bit surprised that the crowd was as quiet as it was.

    8. MJ
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:07 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Of course I was upset. I wanted the Yanks to win, after all. To this day, I still think the ’03 was our last, best chance to win it and feel like we missed one that should’ve been ours.

      But I don’t view the ’03 season as a failure or a dissapointment, merely as a great season that didn’t end the way I figured it would.

      I knew the ’01, ’04, ’05 and ’07 teams didn’t have the juice but I thought that the ’06 team probably could’ve done a better job of showing up, and probably could’ve made it to the WS that year.

      Anyway, the larger point is that I don’t believe in the so-called Steinbrenner Doctrine (I find it — and anyone who believes in it — idiotic and simple-minded) so I don’t view any season that ends without the WS as a failure. Disappointment at missed opportunities can hurt for only so long but you have to take a step back and appreciate the process too.

      The 2009 season has been an absolute blast. I hope we win the World Series. I’ll definitely be sorry if we don’t and I’ll wonder what if. But I won’t ever call the ’09 season a failure.

    9. YankCrank
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:16 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Anyway, the larger point is that I don’t believe in the so-called Steinbrenner Doctrine (I find it — and anyone who believes in it — idiotic and simple-minded) so I don’t view any season that ends without the WS as a failure. Disappointment at missed opportunities can hurt for only so long but you have to take a step back and appreciate the process too.

      The 2009 season has been an absolute blast. I hope we win the World Series. I’ll definitely be sorry if we don’t and I’ll wonder what if. But I won’t ever call the ‘09 season a failure.

      Exactly how I feel. It’s not the Yankees God-given right to win everything every year, and with not making it out of the first round in five years and missing the playoffs last year, just today feels like a great accomplishment. I hope for a World Series, but a lose in the ALCS, while disappointing, wouldn’t make the season a failure for me.

      Generally speaking, we’re the most spoiled, unappreciative fan base in the World and it pisses me off. We take an organization that made the playoffs 13 straight years and call the last seven years of those a complete failure. We take a guy named A-Rod, one of the best players on the planet…ever, and boo him unmercifully whenever he fails without realizing failure is a part of the game. I love the Yankees, and I love the passion of our fans,…but I also hate the full-blown ignorance within our fan base as well. I hope over the next few years, more Yankee fans appreciate the little things and don’t think anything less than a WS Championship is a complete failure.

    10. Raf
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:18 pm

      MJ wrote:

      I knew the ‘01, ‘04, ‘05 and ‘07 teams didn’t have the juice

      I thought that they did. In 01 & 04, I was thrilled to have Rivera on the mound with a lead. 05, I was hoping for Rodriguez to punch a single somewhere to RF, or barring that, put one in the seats. 07, I was fairly confident that Wang wasn’t going to shit the bed twice. 06, I figured the Yanks were in a bit of trouble, but I figured with Sheffield and Matsui coming back, all would be right with the Yanks. There was a Verlander sequence to Rodriguez that summed up the Yankees posteason that year. Two nasty fastballs on the black, then he dropped in an 0-2 curve for strike 3.

      RJ needing an epidural before game 3 hurt, it hurt a lot. I had little to no faith in Wright for game 4, but he wouldn’t have been the first lousy pitcher to pull a good start out of his ass, so I was hoping for that at least; 3 runs over 5-6 innings or something. I was hoping to see Wang on short rest, and was a bit annoyed that didn’t happen, but it was explained a year or two after that Torre didn’t think Wang could handle the workload just yet.

    11. Evan3457
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:18 pm

      Was not angry at 1976. Knew the Reds were much better.

      Was angry after 1981. Thought the Yanks blew a series they should’ve won by losing miserable games in the middle 3. Leaving a ton of guys on base in the 5-4 loss to Valenzuela after they got 4 in the 1st three innings, blowing a 6-3 lead in the 6th inning in game 4, and losing a 2-1 lead in the 7th in the 5th game on back to back HR’s by Yeager and Guerrerro against Guidry of all people, while going 1 for 9 with RISP vs. Reuss.

      Was not angry after 2001. Thought the Yanks had been thoroughly outplayed the great majority of that series, and were only in a position to win because Byung Hyun-Kim was an awful closer. When Mariano gave up the scratch hit to Gonzalez, I was stunned and angry for about 5 seconds, then I turned to my father and said: “You know what, Dad? The better team won. It was amazing the Yanks even got that close to winning it.” He agreed.

      Was not angry in general after 2003. Was specifically angry at Wells, who didn’t keep himself in shape, but told Torre and Stottlemyre he was ready for Game 5. Game 5 was critical, because Beckett loomed in Game 6, and I knew he’d pitch a great game and would probably beat them. When they had to pull Wells because of his back, and I saw Contreras had to come in, I was 99% sure the series was gone, because Contreras was awful in key spots the whole year that year. Sure enough, Contreras buried them in Game 5, and cost them the Series. I was so angry at Wells for his immaturity and irresponsibility, I never wanted to see him again. Still don’t, really.
      ================================

      How far do they have to go?

      Right now, they’re at par. This is as far as they needed to go for me to feel the season is not a total waste. They should’ve made the playoffs and they did. I felt they had as good a shot as anyone to win the division, and they won it. They should’ve beat the Twins and they did.

      Now, the Angels are just as good as the Yankees, and matchup well against them. If the Yanks win, I’ll be very happy, and expect them to win it all. If they don’t win, depending on the manner in which they lose, I think I can accept it. If the Angels hit like they did against them in July, or in 2002, well there’s nothing anyone can do. On the other hand, if the Angels win it because the Yanks don’t hit at least a couple of their starters, and bounce the Angels’ pen around; if the Angels don’t hit that well, but run wild and steal every game on the bases, then I’ll be a little torqued off about it.

      Let me put it this way: the Yanks can win this series, but I have no firm expectations on it, either way.

    12. MJ
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:28 pm

      @ YankCrank:
      100% agree with you.

      Maybe it’s because we haven’t made it out of the ALDS since 2004 or maybe because I’ve grown up a lot (as a fan and as a person) over that time, but last night’s game brought me incredible joy. It felt so gratifying to make it into the ALDS and it felt even more gratifying to see A-Rod have such a dominant series.

      I was at my girlfriend’s apartment and she and I haven’t been together through an October playoff run yet so she was legitimately surprised when I started pumping my fists and doing my Ultimate Warrior (WWF) routine when A-Rod hit the game-tying HR and then when the Yanks finally put the Twins to bed. She’d never seen that kind of joy before.

      I was thinking about this yesterday, before I went to bed: I’ve always loved the Yanks and I enjoyed the ’96-’03 years as much as anyone could enjoy them. But I fell in love with the team again this year. I love Swisher and Aceves and CC and AJ and A-Rod (most of all) and I guess it took all those years of “failing” for me to get such simple joy out of “only” winning the ALDS.

      Sorry for rambling…

    13. Evan3457
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:29 pm

      FWIW, an internet “source” says the Yanks are -178 for the ALCS, the Angels are +163. In effect, the Yanks have been installed as 17 to 10 favorites (not quite 2-1). The odds are “saying” the Yanks probability of winning is approximated at .63, the Angels at .37. It was in the realm of .8 for the Yanks in the ALDS.

      Again, the line must reflect heavier pro-Yankee action based on fan support. Actual odds must be shorter than that, and by a decent margin.

    14. MJ
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:30 pm

      @ Raf:
      I hear what you’re saying but, from my POV, the ’01 Yanks were punchless and the ’04 Yanks starters/relievers didn’t really inspire me all year.

      Anyway, it’s a moot point.

    15. YankCrank
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:34 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Sorry for rambling…

      Not rambling at all. You make a lot of sense, I was with my Dad and my gf watching the game and I had to sit back and remember the last time I celebrated a Yankee playoff advancement at home and not at other random cities because of college and baseball travel. It was the 2001 ALCS, which seems forever ago, so needless to say I was also overwhelmed with joy when we sealed last night’s victory.

      Also, Ultimate Warrior is my favorite wrestler of all time. Your impersonation must be awesome!

    16. MJ
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:44 pm

      @ YankCrank:
      Thanks man.

      I was a huge Ultimate Warrior fan and I only break it out when I can’t control myself and have to release all that energy. I used to do it in my football league and now I only do it when the Yanks do something so incredibly awesome that it happens spontaneously.

    17. nettles
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:48 pm

      Why play for second place? “Good enough” is a WS title, as always. That’s what Jeter would tell you. Why are we even having this conversation? :)

    18. Raf
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:50 pm

      With me, as I’ve gone out and seen games in other venues and spoken/interacted with fanbases of other teams either online or in person (all which had started in and around 1992-93), I’ve grown more of an appreciation for the game itself.

      I love the Yanks and am thrilled when they do well, but I’ve become more of a baseball fan, and I can appreciate other teams and their histories. While I find joy in winning a world series, I also find joy in the histories and traditions that other teams have. The Braves have only one world series title to show during their run, but that didn’t stop me from tuning in when Smoltz-Maddux-Glavine were starting. That still didn’t keep me from following the 1993 pennant race. And didn’t take away from their playoff run starting in ’91. I’m a Yankees fan, but that still didn’t stop me from trying to watch Pedro at every opportunity I got (in Montreal and then in Boston). Not a Mets fan, but could appreciate the demons that Doc & Straw fought, and could take away life lessons from them. Also enjoyed watching Sid Fernandez & David Cone pitch. Whenever Oakland was in town, I tried to get there to see Rickey, and thank him for the memories (don’t think he ever heard me tho :D ). I was happy to see the Indians & Braves & Mariners finally get their act together, and was saddened when the Expos were run into the ground, eventually moving to DC.

      So on and so forth. All this to say, I love the Yankees, but I love baseball more.

    19. MJ
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:53 pm

      Raf wrote:

      So on and so forth. All this to say, I love the Yankees, but I love baseball more.

      Personally, I wouldn’t go so far as to say I love baseball more but I definitely love baseball a ton.

      I root for the Yanks first and foremost. And while I love the history and tradition of other teams, I’d still love to see the Red Sox go 0-162 next year. Eff their tradition and history.

    20. Evan3457
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:54 pm

      nettles wrote:

      Why play for second place? “Good enough” is a WS title, as always. That’s what Jeter would tell you. Why are we even having this conversation?

      Which is correct for Jeter to say and for the team to believe.

      We’re fans, and we know better. Over the last 40 years, the Yanks have been the most dominant team in baseball. This means I’ve seen them NOT win the title 85% of the years I’ve been a fan. In my opinion, it is therefore not reasonable to expect them to win it all most years.

      As for this year, even as 55%-60% favorites on paper to win the ALCS, the odds of them winning it all at this point are still considerably less than 50-50; no more than something like 30-35% overall at this point, having survived the 1st round.

    21. clintfsu813
      October 12th, 2009 | 12:57 pm

      MJ- Anyway, the larger point is that I don’t believe in the so-called Steinbrenner Doctrine (I find it — and anyone who believes in it — idiotic and simple-minded) so I don’t view any season that ends without the WS as a failure. Disappointment at missed opportunities can hurt for only so long but you have to take a step back and appreciate the process too.

      The worst thing is that its not just our fans that do this. The haters and the media do as well. I had Pirates fans giving me shit in 2003…PIRATES FANS! Us losing anything is a failure and a reason for the haters to hate. You can rest assured, even if we sweep LAA, but lose in the WS, the media/haters will come out and call the season a failure and bring up the recent failures.

    22. nettles
      October 12th, 2009 | 1:03 pm

      Evan3457 – I know. I’m just having some fun with it all.

      I’ve been a die-hard Yankees fan for over 35 years and have experienced all the team’s ups and downs during that time. I know how hard it is to win a title, because there have been many seasons – as noted above – where it all went oh, so wrong, when it looked like all the stars were aligned.

      I’m having a blast watching this team in the post season. It’s beginning to feel like a special team and season and my expectations are high. But if they don’t win it all, it still will have been a wonderful season.

    23. Raf
      October 12th, 2009 | 1:07 pm

      @ MJ:
      Same here, I’ll always rep the white and blue, for the most part; I haven’t bought a Yankees cap in years, I keep having to give them away (and they’ve gotten quite expensive). I rock a Tokyo Giants cap, a gift a friend game me from Japan.

      As for the Red Sox, well, we need them to be the ying to our yang. Bugs had Daffy, The Bandit had Smokey, The Roadrunner had Wile E. Coyote. We have the Boston Red Sox.

      While the rivalry may be overplayed, I haven’t seen how it can be any other way. I was kinda hoping they’d make the ALCS so I can make a quick trip to Boston and watch a game in person.

    24. MJ
      October 12th, 2009 | 1:16 pm

      @ Raf:
      I noticed the Tokyo hat when I met you at the 125th Street Metro North! I was wondering where you got it!

      True, the Yanks need the Red Sox in some way. But I’m not saying they should be contracted, I’m just saying I want them to go 0-162 next year! ;-) After all, before this year, the ’06 season was kinda fun because of the Boston Massacre II and them missing the playoffs (although all the A-Rod hating took a ton of joy out of that year overall).

      Nah, I was rooting for the Angels all the way. I think we’re due to beat them and I think the Red Sox might’ve swung the wild season back their way (0-8; 9-1; ??).

    25. Corey
      October 12th, 2009 | 1:38 pm

      MJ wrote:

      I think we’re due to beat them

      Yup, this is the year the Yankees get the rally monkey off their back.

    26. cr1
      October 12th, 2009 | 5:02 pm

      Good enough? With my rational hat on and no game in progress at the moment, I say maintaining the Yankees real standard of winning about one quarter of every WS ever played is good enough, and that I am satisfied as long as we keep adding rings at about that clip.

      If you had put that query up with a game on the line I might have fallen into the Yankees pretend standard way of thinking, which is to claim that nothing is satisfactory but to win it all every time.

      Jeter may be no kid in terms of player age, but he’s a kid in terms of my age and even in terms of my years of fandom, and I understand why someone who came along when he did might have expected to keep winning at that impossible rate. Sorry, Captain, but a longer look at reality will convince even you otherwise somewhere down the line.

    27. butchie22
      October 12th, 2009 | 8:27 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Was not angry at 1976. Knew the Reds were much better.
      Was angry after 1981. Thought the Yanks blew a series they should’ve won by losing miserable games in the middle 3. Leaving a ton of guys on base in the 5-4 loss to Valenzuela after they got 4 in the 1st three innings, blowing a 6-3 lead in the 6th inning in game 4, and losing a 2-1 lead in the 7th in the 5th game on back to back HR’s by Yeager and Guerrerro against Guidry of all people, while going 1 for 9 with RISP vs. Reuss.
      Was not angry after 2001. Thought the Yanks had been thoroughly outplayed the great majority of that series, and were only in a position to win because Byung Hyun-Kim was an awful closer. When Mariano gave up the scratch hit to Gonzalez, I was stunned and angry for about 5 seconds, then I turned to my father and said: “You know what, Dad? The better team won. It was amazing the Yanks even got that close to winning it.” He agreed.
      Was not angry in general after 2003. Was specifically angry at Wells, who didn’t keep himself in shape, but told Torre and Stottlemyre he was ready for Game 5. Game 5 was critical, because Beckett loomed in Game 6, and I knew he’d pitch a great game and would probably beat them. When they had to pull Wells because of his back, and I saw Contreras had to come in, I was 99% sure the series was gone, because Contreras was awful in key spots the whole year that year. Sure enough, Contreras buried them in Game 5, and cost them the Series. I was so angry at Wells for his immaturity and irresponsibility, I never wanted to see him again. Still don’t, really.
      ================================
      How far do they have to go?
      Right now, they’re at par. This is as far as they needed to go for me to feel the season is not a total waste. They should’ve made the playoffs and they did. I felt they had as good a shot as anyone to win the division, and they won it. They should’ve beat the Twins and they did.
      Now, the Angels are just as good as the Yankees, and matchup well against them. If the Yanks win, I’ll be very happy, and expect them to win it all. If they don’t win, depending on the manner in which they lose, I think I can accept it. If the Angels hit like they did against them in July, or in 2002, well there’s nothing anyone can do. On the other hand, if the Angels win it because the Yanks don’t hit at least a couple of their starters, and bounce the Angels’ pen around; if the Angels don’t hit that well, but run wild and steal every game on the bases, then I’ll be a little torqued off about it.
      Let me put it this way: the Yanks can win this series, but I have no firm expectations on it, either way.

      Evan, I agree with you for the most part once again! Us old farts think bloody weel alike . I had zero expectations in 76, that wasn’t a dissapointment, I was just happy that they were there.

      IN 81, the loss was shocking. As I keep on saying it was devastating to me to say the least. I never expected the Dodgers to come back.

      2001 was a surprise given that the invincible MO was touched up. That was somewhat of a wake up call.

      @003. I remember telling one of my brothers during the ALCS that if the Red Sox or the Yanks played the Marlins,they would lose. They was something about the way the Marlins played that really piqued my interest. I wasn’t surprised it happen.

      2004. I remember that oneof my brothers and I had a talk about the ALCS when the Yanks were up 0-3. Strangely enough, it was surprising how we both agreed that it wasn’t over yet. Another Yankee fan(a doctor no less) wanted to bet my brother a considerable amount of money that the Yanks would win at that point. One stupid doctor I might add! I had a cousin of mine(a very successful doctor) who called me up for consolation on Game 6 and Game 7. During Game 6, I tried to console him and basically told him,it wasn’t over yet…when I knew that it was. The 2004 Yanks just weren’t that good.

      The Yanks should beat everyone they play in every stage of the playoffs,BUT I won’t be shocked if the Angels beat them. They match up better against the Yankees than the Red Sox do. Jorge Passedballsada isn’t a great defensive catcher, so expect Scioscia to command his troops to steal early and often. Yeah, the Yanks did well against the Angels in September BUT this is a different season. As for aroid, is he going to putter out like he did in 04? Will Damonic and the Baseless Runner hit some more? I really don’t know but if they lose to the Angels, it wouldn’t come as some sort of surprise. The Yanks are stronger in certain areas like the BP,their closer, power etc so on so they have a chance to beat the Angels. The Angels have the better manager and a better ability to manufacture runs.

      The Angels finally vanquished their demons with the decisive victory against the dread Red Pox. Can the original Evil empire finally get rid of that red themed uniformed scourge from So Cal? I had to see the Angels beat the Red Pox to believe that could happen, so anything is possible!

    28. jessicam
      October 12th, 2009 | 10:13 pm

      I don’t get mad when teams lose but here’s my thinking.

      If I thought the Yankees were not the best team in baseball, if I thought they had over achieved to win 103 games, if I thought they were the underdog to the Angels, I’d be ok if they lost the series.

      But I don’t think that.

      I think the Yankees have the most talent in baseball.

      I think the Yankees have that je ne sais quois or confidence that comes from knowing that they can come back to win a game no matter how late it is.

      I think they have great balance.

      I think they play heads up.

      I think they can out pitch teams, and out score teams.

      So I will be sorely disappointed if they don’t win the Series, because I believe the F.O. has given the Yankees as good a chance to win as they’ve had in a very long time.

      That said, the Angels are a very good team, and I fully expect a knock down drag out brawl.

    29. Tresh Fan
      October 13th, 2009 | 12:07 am

      My personal take:

      2009 may well be the Yankees last best chance to win the World Series for a while—maybe a long while. Rivera will be 40 next year, Posada will be turning 39, Jeter 36, and so on. So if the Yankees don’t win it all this Post Season I will be very saddened no doubt. But if they go down fighting, losing the WS in say 7 tight games I won’t be crushed. But if they lose in ALCS in 4 noncompetitive games I will be extremely pissed.

    30. October 13th, 2009 | 12:23 am

      @ Tresh Fan:
      All good points and a fair take on it, IMHO.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.