Monday, October 19, 2009

No Tylenol Needed

By SCOTT MORGANROTH

As tough as it was to watch the Detroit Tigers become the first team in baseball history to blow a three game division lead with four games remaining, seeing the Minnesota Twins get swept by the New York Yankees 3-0 in the American League Divisional Series eased the pain.
Considering the fact that I live in South Florida, otherwise known as "Manhattan East" meant that if the Yankees would have defeated the Tigers, I would have had the New Yorkers bragging in my ear that they defeated my hometown team.
When the Tigers dropped the opener of the 2006 ALDS, all I heard was "your team was over matched."
But when the Tigers ousted the Yankees 3-1, it was great to see these folks in distraught.
There is no doubt that the Twins were over matched in their series with the Yankees. It's one thing that they were tired after defeating the Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings in the AL Central Playoff Showdown, only to find themselves on an airplane heading to the "Big Apple" where they would lose 7-2 in the opener 18 hours later.
These franchises are like night and day. The Yankees payroll exceeds $200 million while Minnesota's is under $70 million. Minnesota played without one of its best players in Justin Morneau.
Best of all, I didn't have to listen to the New Yorkers in 2009, who in actuality, would have watched their team steamroll past the Tigers.
Yet, I find myself rooting for the Yankees to win the World Series.
Skipper Joe Girardi, who was the National League Manager of the Year in 2006, when he guided the Florida Marlins to a 78-84 record and kept them in Wild Card contention, only to be fired by Owner Jeffrey Loria, has done a nice job since joining the Yankees in 2008.
In 2008, during the final year of Yankee Stadium, Girardi posted an 89-73 third place finish which his squad fell short to a hot Tampa Bay Rays squad.
The opening of New Yankee Stadium was celebrated with a first place finish and 103-59 record.
The Bronx Bombers saw Captain Derek Jeter become the franchises all-time hits leader with 2,747 but more importantly, they currently lead the LA Angels 2-0 in the American League Championship Series. The Yankees have won five straight contests.
The 2009 Yankees appear to be a team of destiny. They spent their free agent money wisely by bolstering their pitching staff adding C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to accompany clutch post-season performer Andy Pettitte.
Young studs Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain have stabilized the middle of their bullpen while future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera continues to close games masterfully.
During spring training, Alex Rodriguez was making headlines for all the wrong reasons with his use of steroids. Now he's finally performing well in the playoffs with a .368 average, three homers and eight RBI in five games.
The Yankees paid big money for free agent Mark Teixeira and he delivered during the regular season with a .292 average, 39 homers and 122 RBI to give Rodriguez protection in the middle of the lineup.
When a team has character players to complement its stars, that's usually the ticket to championships. Guys like Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher, Johnny Damon, Jerry Hairston Jr. to name a few have made their contributions to provide character in the clubhouse.
During New York's glory years in the late 1990's, the Yankees had Scott Brosius, Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Chuck Knoblauch, Chad Curtis, Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson, to complement Jorge Posada, Jeter, Roger Clemens, Bernie Williams, Pettitte, David Cone and Orlando Hernandez. Girardi was a catcher on this squad managed by Joe Torre.
These players proved to be the capable role performers that blended well with the highly paid stars.
This year, Rodriguez, Teixeira, Sabathia, Burnett, Matsui and others have an excellent chance to win their first championship rings. They'll be able to do it with the opening of a new stadium.
Should the Yankees win the World Series, they will have won 40 American League Pennants and 27 World Series titles.
Including the playoffs, the Yankees won 10 straight games against the Twins. A World Series victory would be 47 playoff series wins for this storied franchise.
I think they'll defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 and home runs will fly out faster than fireworks on July 4th, at Citizens Bank Ballpark and Yankee Stadium, both being hitter friendly venues.
Best of all, I saved money by not going to the drug stores to invest into Tylenol having these New Yorkers saying, "What happened to your Detroit Tigers?" Thanks Twins for saving me the aggravation.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

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