September 20, 2009
Baseball's first postseason bid could be sealed today if the Yankees beat the Mariners in Seattle and the Rangers lose at home to the Angels.
But despite ending a postseason drought that lasted all of one year — an eternity marked in Steinbrenner time — don't expect New York to start getting crazy with the champagne on getaway day at Safeco Field.
That's because the Yankees have said they'll be holding off on uncorking the Cook's until they seal the AL East title in the next week or so. The team's magic number for the division is currently at nine and it's likely that the Yankees will be lucky enough to celebrate that crown during their next homestand at Yankee Stadium against either the Red Sox or Royals.
Seeing as how the Yankees have been to the postseason 47 other times, it's not hard to understand why they're downplaying the achievement (though all bets should be off when it comes to A.J. Burnett(notes) and Nick Swisher(notes)). It's back to business as usual in the Bronx and there's little reason they should put the lamp shades on their heads for beating out an AL wild card field that was hardly up to the challenge.
Reserving their randiness for beating out the Red Sox is the right way to go.
But it just isn't the Yankees who should always go this route. Last season, it seemed as if the Rays went off the chain in celebrating every milestone — playoff berth, AL East title, ALDS, ALCS — and the only result was a huge spike in the sales of Patron.
Of course, that Rays team was a bit of a special case in that they were extremely young and exploring uncharted territory for the franchise. But in most cases for most teams, the cause for a celebration should be examined with a critical eye and exercised only in specific cases. I'd argue against the superfluous division series parties, too, but that's another post for another month. (Just give it a few weeks.)