If you waded into the RAB comments a month ago, you’d have thought the Yankees were on their way from first to last. It wasn’t just limited to this site, of course; Yankees fans everywhere complained that this team was done, that they had no chance, that it was obvious to anyone who knew anything about baseball that they were going to miss the playoffs.
Yet here we sit, the Yankees taking a much-needed three-day vacation after having secured the best record in the American League. Funny how that works out: the team that was the best for more than two-thirds of the season ended the season on top, despite hitting a rough patch.
Apologies to those of you who didn’t lose your cool. There were undoubtedly a number of fans who remained levelheaded, and many of them frequent RAB. I’m sure your lives were much more pleasant from August 16 through September 11, when the Yankees went 9-15 and saw a six-game lead turn into a tie for first.
Don’t get me wrong: that time was no fun. But it involved a series of events over which we had no control. While we do get invested in the sport — some of us more than is healthy — it’s sheer insanity to let it affect other facets of your life. The fact that the Yankees had played so well up to that point — they had the best record in the AL by 2.5 games — should have bought them a little slack as they hit a rough patch. That they were missing some key players, including their ace and two middle of the order hitters, should have bought them even more.
Honestly, it was relatively easy to weather this storm. All you need to do is fine something else remotely interesting to take your mind off matters. I suggest some of the more blatant trolls on RAB try this. Not only will you feel better in the head, but you’ll be much more pleasant in the comments sections. We’d all appreciate that.
Read a book. It’s the great cure for nearly any stressful situation. Just find a book, any book, and start reading. I guarantee it’ll help you get over your favorite baseball team losing a few games. You might even learn something in the process. Plus, you could uncover some lines that prove prophetic.
“The Yankees cannot lose.”
“But I fear the Indians of Cleveland.”
“Have faith in the Yankees my son. Think of the great DiMaggio.”
“In the American League it is the Yankees as I said,” the old man said happily.
“They lost today,” the boy told him.
“That means nothing. The great DiMaggio is himself again.”
– Ernest Hemingway, Old Man and the Sea
I imagine the last part of that conversation coming on Saturday, after the loss to Toronto, only replacing DiMaggio with Cano.
Immerse yourself in another hobby or — gasp — work. When the Yankees were losing games it actually became easier to focus on work. Yeah, weird, right? But without the pressing need to finish by 7 so I could flip on the game, it became easier to sit down and really dig deep into something. I got to test out an all-in-one PC from Lenovo, which was fun as anything. I also got to some serious writing, which is typically quite difficult during baseball season. But it could have been building model solar systems, cracking passwords, or any number of hobbies.
Remember the past. You don’t even have to look to previous seasons to see how a team can wax and wane during a season. The Yankees went 11-15 from April 24 through May 21 before going 25-7 from the 22nd through June 27th.
Do — anything, really. Sorry for coming off as condescending, but it’s really straight forward stuff. If the Yankees bother you that much, turn your attention elsewhere. They’ll be there when you get back. It doesn’t make you a bad fan to turn it off when it makes you upset. What makes you a bad fan is watching, getting mad, and making a fool of yourself in front of others. Sure, it might just be an internet message board or social media service, but you’re still acting the fool. To me that’s far more egregious than turning away and avoiding those ill feelings.
As we’d say back in the olden days:
Honestly, the past few days have been quite wonderful. They’ve been somewhat stressful, because there remained the chance the Yankees would play the play-in-game, or even a playoff for the AL East crown. But that’s just part of baseball’s normal excitement. Plus, when Raul Ibanez hit that homer in the bottom of the ninth, was there any doubt left in your mind that they’d take the AL East?
It was a rough month in the middle there, for sure. There’s nothing not frustrating about a 9-15 stretch that eliminates a six-game lead. But that doesn’t invalidate the previous 114 games, nor does it mean the slide will continue for the final 21 games of the season. And, of course, the Yankees went 16-5 in those final 21, which brought their final record closely in line with the .592 winning percentage they had before the collapse began.
Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. It’s baseball. It happens.