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Why the New York Yankees Will Win the AL East in 2013

Demise of the Bronx Bombers Has Been Predicted Many Times Before

Yahoo Contributor Network
Why the New York Yankees Will Win the AL East in 2013
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Between Derek Jeter, left, and Mariano Rivera, there are two hands full of World Series rings. That kind …

COMMENTARY | There is no shortage of doubters of the New York Yankees on the eve of the 2013 season.

Yahoo! Sports' own contingent of baseball writers is firmly on that bandwagon. In their preseason predictions, none of the four writers picked the Yankees to finish higher than third in the AL East. One writer, Mike Oz, has the Yankees finishing below .500 and dead last in the division. None of the quartet forecasts New York reaching the postseason for the 18th time in the last 19 seasons.

Even the hometown guys don't like the Yankees' chances in 2013. The New York Post picked the Bronx Bombers to finish third in the AL East and out of the playoffs.

Sure, it looks bleak. Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Phil Hughes -- all former All-Stars -- will open the season on the disabled list.

In their stead, players such as Eduardo Nunez, Ben Francisco, Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart, guys who are barely household names in their own households, are projected to be in the opening-day lineup on Monday, April 1.

But here's the thing. If the competition in the AL East wants to bury the Yankees, they'd better do it quickly. Jeter and Hughes will likely be back before the end of April. Granderson comes back in early May. Teixeira is projected to make his return in early June. Rodriguez could be back by the All-Star break.

Suddenly, the lineup that is the punchline of so many funny, funny jokes becomes something much more formidable.

There is one thing the Yankees have that no other team in the AL East has, other than the Boston Red Sox. That is the experience of winning the whole thing.

Jeter has been part of five World Series winners. Ditto Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Kevin Youkilis brings the experience of a pair of ring-winning campaigns in Beantown to the Bronx this season. The active roster includes eight other players (Robinson Cano, Francisco Cervelli, Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner, Hughes, David Robertson, CC Sabathia and Teixeira) that were part of the Yankees' 2009 championship postseason roster.

So if there is a single factor that can carry the Yankees above the expectations of so many of the experts, it is that championship experience.

This is an organization that is accustomed to winning. For nearly two decades, the Yankees being in the postseason has been nearly as much a sure thing as death and taxes (with the lone exception of 2008).

If it's true there is, in fact, no substitute for experience, well, the Yankees have it ... in spades.

Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator based in upper Michigan who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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