Via John Harper -
If anything, it showed a rather startling team-wide lack of mental toughness. You can blame some of that on the loss of Derek Jeter to a broken ankle in Game 1, but that’s no excuse for the complete lack of fight with the season on the line.
And while A-Rod blamed two weeks of postseason futility at the plate, saying it “sucked the energy out of us,” another player privately made a far more indicting observation: that the ballclub was affected by the hostility from the fans at Yankee Stadium last weekend.
“I really think the booing spooked a lot of guys,” the player said. “A lot of guys hadn’t been booed before, and they couldn’t believe how nasty it got in the stands.”
Obviously Nick Swisher admitted to being sensitive to such treatment after Game 2, but the player said Swisher was far from alone in his reaction.
“A lot of guys were talking about it in the clubhouse,” he said. “I was surprised by how much it bothered them. I really don’t think they ever recovered.”
If that’s true, well, so much for the big, bad Yankees.
And, in any case, it’s time that GM Brian Cashman considers how poorly this team has played in October, other than 2009, when he starts making decisions about next season and beyond.
Something has to explain how the Yankees seemed a half-step slower than the Tigers in everything they did on Thursday. For that matter, when Mark Teixeira was doing a Jason Giambi impression with his glove at first base, you had to think that neither their hearts nor heads were really in this game.
Afterward Rodriguez basically said not to blame him.
“You can take one guy,’’ A-Rod said, referring to himself, “and say, ‘Let’s blame him, let’s get him, put the coffin on him, knock his ass out.’ But at the end of the way I felt the wind was sucked out of us the last two weeks.”
Rodriguez is probably right about how heavily the overall offensive struggles weighed on this team. Yet there’s no avoiding the obvious here: the last few days made it look and feel as if a divorce with A-Rod should be imminent.
Booing at home the problem this post-season? Oh, Em, Gee. Grow a pair, will ya?
Blaming the fans…that is soooo weak. Ugh.