Jun
14

The Yankees, the Rangers, and different ways of falling short

By

While the Yankees were busy shutting out the Athletics for their fourth straight win last night, another New York sports team was a couple hundred miles south in Los Angeles, playing the franchise’s most important game in two decades. The (hockey) Rangers were trying to climb out of a three games-to-none deficit in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals, winning Game Four on Wednesday to force a Game Five against the Kings on Friday.

The Rangers lost the game and thus the series last night. It all happened in the blink of an eye in double overtime too, as gut-wrenching a loss as you’ll ever see. Here’s how the season ended:

Brutal. It was over before you knew what the hell happened. Just like that, it was done.

If you’ve been reading RAB long enough you know that I’m a Rangers fan — not nearly as much as I am a Yankees fan, hockey is a distant second sport to baseball for me — so naturally I was pretty bummed out about the loss. But not nearly as much as I have been for recent Yankees postseason exits. The feelings were way different.

To make a long story short, the Rangers were clear underdogs not just in the series against the Kings, but throughout almost the entire postseason. They rallied back from a three games-to-one deficit in the second round and were not the best team in the conference. Not by a long shot, yet they rode an all-world goaltender and overcame some serious adversity to reach the Finals. It was the epitome of the “just get into the postseason and anything can happen” mentality.

So, when the Rangers lost last night, I was disappointed but not devastated. The regular season and especially the postseason run were thrilling and exciting, every step of the way. Following the Rangers as they exceeded expectations and got to within three wins of a championship as a legitimate underdog was not something I was used to seeing as a sports fan. The Yankees are never the underdog. The notion of them even being considered an underdog is silly. That’s just not who they are.

When the Yankees won the World Series in 2009, I felt like there was a sense of relief to go along with the excitement. They were supposed to win. They’re the Yankees. When they lost the ALCS in 2010 and 2012, there were no thoughts of how exciting it was to watch the team get there. All the focus was on their inability to advance further. That whole “win the World Series or the season is a failure” mantra has consumed the franchise and it’s sucked some of the joy out of winning. Not all of it, but some of it. At least that’s how I feel. You’re welcome to feel differently.

Sports are supposed to be fun, right? I watch (entirely too much) baseball because I love it and it’s fun and it’s a great escape from everyday life. There will be some devastating losses along the way, that comes with the territory, but as a Yankees fan the good has outweighed the bad over the years. The opposite is true of being a Rangers fan. There has been more bad than good over the last 15-20 years. So, even though the Rangers lost last night and it completely sucked, it didn’t diminish the ride. All the exciting moments and huge wins over the last few weeks were some of the best times in my life as a sports fan and that’s never going away.

I don’t know, I think this post is coming off as pretty dumb and I’m not sure I’m making my point. I guess I’m trying to say that watching the Rangers the last few weeks was a breath of fresh air in my life as a sports fan. It reminded me that sometimes you’re going to lose and it isn’t a complete and total failure. The memories are still there. I love the Yankees and I choose to be a fan and I fully accept the whole “win or it’s a failure” life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But seeing how the other half lives was eye-opening. If you’re not going to sit back and enjoy the ride regardless of the outcome, then what’s the point?

Categories : Musings
  • Mike R.

    I revel in your pain, Mike.

    -From a loser Islander fan.

    • ChuckIt

      Now that Broeur is being put out to pasture “King Henrik” is top goalie in the league.
      Always been a Devil Fan.

  • Steve D Fl

    I am not really a Ranger fan. I have been an Islander fan since they started. I have been living in Florida since 1990. And over the years have become a New York fan. So I like to see all the NY teams do well. Sure I have my favorites(Yankees, Giants, Islanders). The Rangers went a lot further then anyone expected.The Kings were just a better team. Big, strong,fast and 4 lines deep. Rangers have nothing to hang their heads about. IMO

  • TWTR

    The Rangers’ run has been fun, in part because I have been able to watch so many homegrown players, who they drafted and developed, become important NHL players. If the a Yankees could do that, with their payroll advantage, they would be golden once again.

    For the Rangers, the question now becomes, how do they get better? Trading two firsts for a 39 year old makes that task a lot harder. Paradoxically, the win-now philosophy usually means winning less because it often shrinks the window for being in a position to win.

    I think that type of move is the kind of mistake that has kept too many NY teams from winning more championships.

  • The Guns of Navarone

    Agreed. Couldn’t be prouder of this Rangers team. I’ll always remember this run even though they fell short. The “World Series or Bust” mantra is silly and outdated, just like most of the Yankees policies. The no extensions and no facial hair policies come to mind. I agree it takes the joy out of winning for me. I really don’t enjoy the “what went wrong,” and “Yankees fail again” narratives when they exit in the ALCS. That’s a hell of a run for any other team.

    • lightSABR

      I’m with you. I confess I’m a spoiled Yankees fan in that I consider a season a failure if they don’t make the playoffs. But once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen. I didn’t enjoy the ALCS loss to the Tigers a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t outraged by it. We had a good team; we just picked the wrong time to go cold. It happens.

      But please, keep the facial hair policy, or at least keep some policy that keeps the Yankees from looking like this: http://extras.mnginteractive.c.....~1_300.JPG

      • ChucIt

        your right. The RED SUX looked like Al Kaeda last year,& that Wacko on the Giants? good releiver though…

        • vicki

          he’s that wacko on the dodgers and a bad reliever now.

          • ChuckIt

            Thanks for the update

      • The Guns of Navarone

        Well I agree it’s a failure if they don’t make the playoffs, especially with the expanded wild card. That ALCS against the Tigers was an abomination. It wasn’t just going cold. They set a new standard for futility. That one stung. I think they can have beards without looking ridiculous. Just make it a policy of keeping it trim or whatever.

  • Jake S

    “Sports are supposed to be fun.”

    I’ve been trying to tell this to a lot of people over the years. Sports are indeed supposed to be fun, a distraction from the many things about real life that aren’t. If they’re no longer fun for you, it’s time to turn off the TV and go do something else.

    If you feel yourself getting actually angry on the regular over the performance of a sports team that really couldn’t give a shit about you, it’s time to find a new hobby.

    • ChucIt

      I get you. I enjoy watching & bull@#@*%@ng about my favs, but at the end of the day,I’m not going into a deep depression if they lose.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    I feel you, this past Eagles season was the most fun I’ve had watching sports since those seven games in 2010 where Vick looked superhuman.

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    Still not as bad as being a Jets fans Mike. What a bummer that’s been

    • ChucIt

      Oh Yeah? Try being a DALLAS fan in JERSEY!

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        Yeah, it’s not fun to be the absolute worst.

        • ChuckIt

          And It’s not looking up.

  • Yangeddard Solarte

    It’s championship or bust. Is anyone going to remember the 2013 Spurs? No, but they will the 2014 Spurs. It’s all about winning. George understood that and that’s why we had so much success in the late 90s. It’s too bad his sons don’t feel the same way. It’s more about making a profit than winning a championship. More about dollars than the fans. So many empty seats and so few rings since George passed away.

    • ChucIt

      But rember this: With the Yankees there is no profit without championships. They make the WS & the Bandwagon will be full of MCHNDSE buyers who “always”Liked them,or “they’re my second favorite team”

    • hornblower

      Nonsense! GS took all the joy out of the sport. Not until he was suspended did the Yanks give younger players a chance and build a winner again. With George running things in the 80’s they were awful.

      • Yankee$

        St. George’s angelic reputation will grow and grow. That Statue of David-Like monument of him will aid and abet the rewriting of history. It’s easy to learn a lot about history (reputations of just about any historical figure) by watching the present…some things simply don’t change.

      • ChuckIt

        Say what you will, but he did a lot better than CBS ever did.

        • hornblower

          Gabe Paul built the late 70’s Yankees and when he left GS started consulting his family doctor and his maid about how to improve the team. The 80’s and early 90′ clubs were the result. The holy trinity of Gene Michael, Buck and Howie Spira rebuilt the team.

          • ChuckIt

            Your mistaken- George FIRED the maid& the family doctor to IMPROVE the team

  • YG49

    Dumb? Nope…you stated it PERFECTLY!

  • JonnyD

    Mike you have the best sports related website I have ever visited. I read your site everyday, you seem like a good guy, you’re very responsible and knowledgeable. If Hank and Hal and Randy/Rudy were as good as their jobs as you are at this you’d have a lot less heartache :)

    Hold your head up high kid you earned it.

  • John Cee

    Sports are supposed to be fun, but all too often they are taken way too seriously; an attitude fueled by a speculative illness that has run rampant through this country. Baseball suffers less from this illness since speculating on baseball is a long term endeavor that requires patience and offers little immediate payout. Other sports like football, basketball, and hockey are much more amenable for gambling.

    I can’t help but think of DeNiro’s character and family in the Silver Linings Playbook in this regard: gambling on football literally saved the family and the individuals! This, of course, was not a less than obvious commentary on the pathetic state of our culture. It was a bit over the top, maybe, but, we all know people of that ilk.

    I am predominantly a baseball fan. I watch the playoffs regardless whether or not the Yanks are participating. I watched the Red Sox win in ’04, ’07, and last year with friends who are Sox fans. I love the game and watching the best makes it even more enjoyable for me.

    Rooting for a specific team can exacerbate emotional highs and lows, but as I matured and grew to understand what sports really are, I have become more and more desensitized to that effect. This is not to say seeing Jeter bumbling around SS and perpetually batting 2nd despite his obvious shortcomings doesn’t annoy me, but I sure don’t lose sleep over it.

    The thing is, I now enjoy baseball more than ever and probably watch way too much of it. Conversely, I need to watch it less than ever. The result is baseball has become very fun for me.

    • ChuckIt

      I’ve said this before-I like my sports,but there are a lot of more important things going on in my life,and sports are a great side line, but when a grown man cries over a playoff loss,or some young man gets violent with an opposing fan,we should really stop and see where the line should be drawn between reality& sports relating to the fan.

      • John Cee

        It’s all about perspective. The perspective of sports has become distorted by hype/propaganda machines like ESPN and FOX and all major league sports.

        • ChuckIt

          True.And the media will cry’you always blame us” when the truth is the competition is so intent on being the first with the “Breaking Story” that they often misrepresent the facts and twist quotes.

  • Paisa

    If it makes you feel any better, when they announced that the Kings had won and showed the highlight of that last goal at Dodger Stadium last night, the people in the stands gave a sort of muted cheer for about 15 seconds and then went right back to taking pictures of themselves and engaging in the general aloofness that plagues Los Angeles.

  • Goboh

    “When they lost the ALCS in 2010 and 2012, there were no thoughts of how exciting it was to watch the team get there.”

    Once upon a time there were two leagues, and after a long summer of baseball and the excitement of a pennant race, the champions of those two leagues met in what was called the “World Series.” It was glorious and was played during the glorious weather of the first week in October. I truly feel bad for baseball fans who never experienced what that was like.

    As for feeling “bummed out,” I guess you weren’t alive in 1960 {or even 1965).

    • Paisa

      Sounds like a beautiful thing.

  • dkidd

    remember the countless complaining posts (circa 2012) about how the yankees were built to dominate the regular season but fall short in the post-season?

    zen baseball is always the way

    • ChuckIt

      I have been to close to a hundred baseball games in my career(REALLY)-the world series with the Yankees included- But my fondest memory was being at the”Chambliss” game.I had waited since grammar school for the Yankees to do something,the Mets being the team dejour in my area,so even though they got swept in the series,& won the following year(I was there too)The excitement of that first time we always be rembered like yesterday.

    • Dalek Jeter

      That was before the dark times. Before the year of Chris Stewart and Jayson Nix the starters.

      • ChuckIt

        Not for me.My dark times started in 1968 w/2 older brothers & their memories of Micky Mantle.I saw him play once that year, at 1st base,& he struck out 3 times& popped up once, against Catfish Hunter& John Odom combined.Mel S took the loss.They were also known as the Horace Clark Years.(why they pinned it on him I don’t know, he was a good hitter& all around solid player)1976 was my redemption for being a faithful Fan during the CBS years

  • John in Forest

    Mike, I feel exactly the same way you do, about both the Rangers and the Yankees.

    The Yankees could begin by letting Girardi wear a different number. This business of wearing the number for the next championship is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. Why not brand “28” on his forehead instead?

  • jjyank

    I’m not a Rangers fan, but I really appreciate this post, Mike. I’ve never been able to comprehend the excessive negativity that frequents the comments section here. At the end of the day, baseball is just a game, and it’s supposed to be something fun we do with our free time. I don’t come home from work to watch a game and then spend the rest of the day sulking about it and bitching on the internet throughout the following day. If the Yankees have a bad game, I’m disappointed, but I shrug it off and move on to something else.

    Zen baseball. Enjoy the highs, shrug off the lows, and enjoy it. We Yankee fans are probably the luckiest fans out there. We’ve been blessed with some amazing teams and awesome moments. Even when the teams aren’t very good, I have faith that it won’t last. Why? Because we are the New York Fucking Yankees. Say it with me now.

  • emac2

    I have a terrible trade idea that I need to have someone help me understand.

    Tell me why this trade doesn’t work.

    Samardzija for

    JR Murphy or Sanchez
    Betances
    Phelps
    Whitley
    Warren
    Severino
    Abi Avelino
    Tyler Austin

    I would rather wait and sign a free agent but with an extension I’d probably bite as a Yankee. I might want an overpriced reliever back too.

    As a cub it depends on other offers but 2 major league starters and two back end bullpen guys as well as a ready starting catcher and a couple of high end low level prospects means upside as well as 5 guys for your 25 man roster today that are under control for a long time and very little money.

    5 cheap major leaguers that can actually play and can do more than fill replacement level production or back up positions is worth more than a star to a team like the Cubs. They are also playing in the AL east so they aren’t stars but they aren’t question marks.

    Be brutal but give me reasons.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      Because Samardzija isn’t good enough to justify paying that much.

      • emac2

        You’re totally right.

        I thought he was 24 or 25.

        I also mix him up with sherzer and forgot only one of them is really good.

    • jjyank

      Noooooo.

      1. An 8 for 1 trade, really?

      2. We’re giving up 4 guys on the 25 man roster who are all range from useful to very good for one pitcher? I feel that weakens the team far too much.

      3. Going off that last point, that absolutely guts the bullpen. Who is the back end of the bullpen going forward? Robertson and…Kelly? What if Kelly gets hurt again, or what if he sucks?

      4. I’m not sure how much value those lower level guys even have. I think it makes more sense to hold on to them to see if they either pan out for the Yankees, or succeed at higher levels and increase their trade value.

      You did say to be brutal :P

      I would never agree to that trade.

      • jjyank

        Also, what CLS said. I wouldn’t mind trading for Samardzija, but it can’t be for a whopping 8 players.

      • emac2

        I would trade that many for a number one starter.

        But I don’t follow other teams any more and just assumed Samardzija was a 1. He’s probably a 3.

        • Cool Lester Smooth

          Yeah, the media has a way of inflating these guys. Samardzija’s a good pitcher, but he’s not special.

    • Dalek Jeter

      In what world does 1 starter (who has ace stuff but until this season never really lived up to it) worth a potential future all star catcher, 2 of the best relievers in baseball this season through today, 2 major league starters and 3 prospects? That trade almost assures The Yankees don’t make the playoffs this year and cripples them for years to come for literally 1 starter.

      • emac2

        See above. My mistake.

        But – just to get the answers I was looking for and knowing he isn’t available, though they should consider a deal like this if presented.

        What if it was Felix Hernandez?

        What would have have to add or subtract to get a deal done assuming they are ready to trade him to us and what would you be willing to trade since those are two different values?

        • Dalek Jeter

          If Felix became available tomorrow? I still think an 8-1 swap is ridiculous…but I’d have to think it’d be at least Gardner, Betances, Murphy/Sanchez, and a healthy Banuelos or Pineda.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            This.

          • emac2

            I’m not sure I follow.

            you would add Pineda and Gardner and make it a 10 for one or 8 for 1 is still ridiculous but you would have to upgrade 2 of the 8?

            Gardner was another play er I figured we would have to include.

            • Dalek Jeter

              No, it’s be a 4 for 1, the 4 I mentioned. Nobody trades 8 players for 1. It just doesn’t happen.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’d absolutely consider that for Chris Sale or King Felix……oh wait, we’re not talking one of those guys?

    • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

      I doubt there are more than a very precious few players for whom it would be worth trading 8 players, no matter who they are.

      Jeff Samardzija is not one of them.

    • ChuckIt

      Yes, but everyone knows Samardzidja wants out,& with FA looming,2 good& 1 marginal prospects or players(or a combo) could get him at the right time.Thats why I wonder about Bell. Dumb Move,or part of a plan?

      • jjyank

        Neither? What does Bell have to do with anything?

        • ChuckIt

          if they have to give up current bullpen pitchers,they’d have to be replaced with experience.Lots of talent still in the lower levels,but no experience.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Bell is a guy you give a look in AAA to to see if there’s anything left. He’s not a part of any plan. He’s a cheap flyer with a solid past history. Everyone does this.

    • Mike

      Our team is well built to go deep in the playoffs. If the Cubs want to dump Samardzija for B prospects and cash considerations I’d do it. That’s too much.

  • emac2

    Do you really consider watching baseball to be a break from your everyday life or is that just a generalization for civilians?

    • ChuckIt

      Just a generalization.

  • Get Phelps Up

    “When they lost the ALCS in 2010 and 2012, there were no thoughts of how exciting it was to watch the team get there.”

    I know that I sure enjoyed watching them get there, especially in 2012 against the O’s with Raul’s heroics and CC’s masterpiece in Game 5. Even in the 2010 ALCS they had that huge comeback in Game 1.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Hockey is for Russians and Canadians.

    Baseball is for everyone.

    • ChuckIt

      Except Russians& Arabs.

  • Cheval Anonyme

    I’m in my early 60’s, and have lived through a whole lot of different Yankees teams. When I was a kid, Mantle, Berra, Whitey Ford and (for a brief moment) Maris were still winning championships. Then the Yankees went into a deep abyss that appeared dark and hopeless until the George Steinbrenner revival. I recall when Roy White, then Murcer and Munson appeared; there was hope again. To this day my personal favorite season is 1970. The Yankees only came in second, but something new and fresh was emerging from the ashes. I’ve never felt that feeling again, even in the actual championship years that followed.

    • ChuckIt

      I guess your like me- the CBS years i call them,except I was 8 & just starting to become a fan.Do the names Jake Gibbs,Bobby Cox,Joe Pepitone,Lindy Mcdaniel,Danny Cater,Jerry Kenney,Ron Woods,or Stan Bahnsen ring a bell ?

      • Cheval Anonyme

        Every single one. I remember Kenney and Bahnsen coming up as hot prospects, even. Pepitone was a pretty good player who straddled the last years of the great 60’s team and the dark days. And Cater is more famous for being traded away, than for playing for the NYY. The other guys were mostly someone else’s retreads, although McDaniel was a quality veteran reliever.

        • ChuckIt

          And Don’t forget Ralph Houk & Bill Virdon before the advent of Billy Ball.

  • Mike

    The Rangers were just as good or better than the Kings. I expect us to be back in the Stanley Cup next year.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Not gonna happen.

  • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

    With age, comes cynicism when you follow a sports team. Nothing will beat the first time because you were younger and it was etched on your mind.

    It will feel newer when the last vestiges of the old guard (namely, Jeter) are gone and a new batch of homegrown talent become the identity of the franchise. Whatever the new “core” of young players are – when they win their 1st championship, you will feel the requisite joy.

    • ChuckIt

      Your speaking of the new generation of fans. Jeter & co. were GREAT, but for me,the 70’s yanks will always be special.

  • rogue

    I had the game on DVR, didn’t want to know the score, and figured that RAB, a baseball site, was safe.

    Thanks Mike. :)

    I’ll still watch just to see the Cup being hoisted.

  • Evan3457

    The reason why the Rangers’ run was exhilarating was that nobody expected them to make it. To be sure, they were lucky in that the Bruins were not in their half of the Eastern Conference brackets, or they’d have lost this series in more or less the same way they did to the Kings, just as they did last year. They were lucky the Canadiens knocked out the Bruins for them. They were lucky that Krieder’s takeout slide wiped out Carey Price, whom they never score off of, ever.

    They took advantage of their luck, to be sure. They showed great fight and heart in coming back against the Penguins and winning a game 7 on the road. As a Ranger fan since 1969, I’m proud of them. I didn’t expect them to get nearly this far in October, or even in April. I also knew they were significant underdogs against the Kings (and they would have been against several other Western powerhouses), so I expected this result.

    Big and fast beats little and fast most of the time, and it did again here. The close scores of the overtime games conceals the fact that the Kings dominated the Rangers for long stretches of each game, and with the exception of the third period of game 4, scored as many as they needed to, whenever they needed to. With a little luch, the Rangers could have one any of the overtime games, but, with much less luck, the Kings were literally 3 inches (times two) from a deserving 4 games sweep. What should’ve happened in the Finals, did happen.

    ==============================================================

    If you want the joys of surprise playoff runs, stop being the favorite every year.

    • Evan3457

      Typos festival. Sigh.

    • ChuckIt

      How many times has a clear cut favorite taken it all. I don’t know for a fact but I would bet it’s not as often as one might think. As a matter of fact i’m sure it’s not in favor of the favorite.

  • McLovin

    It sucks, but I also saw my favorite football team win the Super Bowl. I wish the refs didn’t influence the series so much.

  • st0ney

    “I don’t know, I think this post is coming off as pretty dumb and I’m not sure I’m making my point.”

    Quite the opposite, actually. You absolutely nailed the point, and it was very well said. Great write-up, Mike.

    • vicki

      stone pony! sup.

  • vicki

    interestingly, i thought, i heard the kings (especially quick) use a lot of yankeespeak this post-season.

  • af

    Who cares? It’s June.

    • ChuckIt

      9 hours from now it will be monday, & except for a few small articles in the dailies,hockey will be forgotten ’til next season.Then the only official real sport will be baseball !

      • af

        You are neglecting the most real sport of all

        • ChuckIt

          If you are referring to soccer,well, it’s not my fault your a Mets fan.(but I understand their very close to a cure for that)

      • FIPster Doofus

        People who dislike hockey seem especially prone to saying idiotic things.

  • 461deep

    Yankees should for the near future or perhaps longer have a better chance to win the WS due to their $$$$. But this advantage has limits as parity, longer playoff schemes, other rich teams, unusual years like last season’s Red Sox among other pitfalls will probably preclude them from ever dominating MLB like in years past. This year with a pitcher like Tanaka and 1 other pitcher getting hot, they potentially can go far into the playoffs if they get into them.

    May sound perverse but if had to, rather lose WS in 7 in extra innings on a walk off squibler. Why? Because it means we were just a shade short & made the great run. Rangers close in every game to a better team. As their scorers did not come through. Felt bad many years ago when Yankees lost 1955 WS to Johnny Padres & the deserving Dodgers. No excuses but I believe24 year old Mantle was out during that series. Ebbets Field was small so a few fly balls by Mick could have changed a loss to a win.

  • Jason T

    A friend tipped me to this and I had to comment: I was a Yankees fan from 1990 – 2013. Besides my family, that team was the biggest constant in my life but the “Win or Worthlessness” attitude and another round of ridiculous, reactionary signings like Elsbury and Beltran finally did me in this off-season. I follow the Orioles now and it is a delight. A younger team, a looser team, a team that feels like a family and which has chemistry and a manager that doesn’t act like a pissed off corporal. Fans that show up and get loud.

    With these teams, you’re rooting for a uniform at a certain point, no matter how much “Pride, Power, Pinstripes” BS they shove down your throat.

    If you came up through the hard days of the 80s and early 90s like I did, if you loved Bernie and Paul and Jimmy Key and Charlie Hayes. Mike Stanley, Donnie Baseball, and later on Mo and Jeter, Andy and Jorge, then look at this team and tell me if you see anything even close to what those teams were? In terms of talent, character, passion, chemistry and philosophy?

    If anyone reacts to this, they might say I’m a quitter or disloyal, but the Yankees left me long ago. I don’t know what this mutated thing is that walks around in the familiar pinstripes, playing in this monument to excess that devoured one of baseball’s great historical landmarks and all the character that it had.

    Here’s to seeing how the other half lives. Baseball is fun again for me.