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There was a time, and not that long ago, when the New York Yankees were the kings of sport.
It’s true that they still lead Major League Baseball with 27 championships. But the last one took place in 2009. That’s a dozen years ago. Heck, some current Yankees fans were too young to even know about the team’s past greatness.
And guess what? None of that will be changing this year, as the Yankees were bounced by the hated and hosting Boston Red Sox, 6-2, in the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday. Boston has now eliminated New York from the postseason three straight times.
Instead of being a feared power, the Yankees of the last decade have been much like they were this season. And Dan Martin of the New York Post described it perfectly.
“The Yankees’ season, which they often called a roller coaster, ended with a thud thanks to a career-worst postseason performance by Gerrit Cole and a lineup that didn’t give them much of a chance,” Martin wrote.
Cole lasted just a little more than two innings on Wednesday, equaling the shortest start of his postseason career. In his 13 previous playoff starts, he had not pitched fewer than five innings.
Worse, as the Yankees have gone south, the Red Sox have been on the rise.
“Since the Yankees were up 3-0 in the 2004 ALCS, the Red Sox have beaten them in eight of nine postseason games,” noted Jeff Passan of ESPN. “Boston has won four World Series and New York one.”
The Yankees are little more than a pretender anymore. You think this will be their year, but eventually, the wheels come off.
At some point, you have to start asking questions. Perhaps they start with general manager Brian Cashman, given that questions generally start with the front office.
Cashman signed a five-year contract extension in 2017, and if he makes through the end of the 2022, he will become the longest-tenured GM in Yankees history. The first half of that tenure went well, with the Yankees winning four championships. But lately? Not so much.
Meanwhile, the doubts surrounding manager Aaron Boone have already begun. Boone was hired in 2017, and his contract is expiring.
If the Yankees were the Minnesota Twins or Seattle Mariners, then hey, maybe none of this would be such a big deal. But they’re supposed to be a force. Lately, it’s just been a whole lot of fizzle.
That probably won’t fly in Yankee Nation, and it’s fair to wonder what’s next. Because for the Yankees, it just can’t be more of the same.