The Curse of Andruw Jones (AP photos)
Guaranteed trips to the postseason that are guaranteed to end early. Home playoff games that don't come close to selling out. Andruw Jones hanging out in the clubhouse.
Yes, the New York Yankees have somehow morphed into an Atlanta Braves for the new generation, a franchise that makes disappointment as much a part of its fall as Halloween.
The comparison between the two teams really isn't out there just yet, but it probably should be if the Yankees sink all the way against the Tigers in this ALCS (and, yes, this post probably guarantees a comeback starting against Justin Verlander in Game 3 on Tuesday).
If you stack up the 11 division titles the Braves won after the move to three divisions in 1995 and the Yankees teams since the "Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty" (Game 7 of the 2001 World Series) the postseason records between the two surest bets in the regular season are remarkably similar:
There are differences here, of course. New York boasts a much bigger payroll over that time and blew one ALCS after leading three games to none. But two Yankee teams before that time frame should get credit for stopping two of those Braves teams in the World Series.
If anything, this comparison of track records really underscores the random nature of the postseason ever since the postseason field expanded to eight teams and the LDS series was made a best-of-five. It also really shows just how special the Yankees were to win four World Series between 1996 and 2001 (while coming within three outs of a fifth).
Still, as the Yankees have transitioned from the homegrown feel of the early Core Four years to the days of wildly spending on the free-agent market, there's no denying that the Yankees have ended their season with feelings of angst more often than not. If you're going to asterisk those great Atlanta Braves teams because of a lack of titles, then you have to do the same with the Yankees over the last 10 or so seasons.
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