A couple of thoughts have been meandering through the nether regions of the skull of late, and naturally, if it's late summer and baseball is the topic, the New York Yankees must be front and center.
For New York Met fans in particular, who have no dog left in the hunt, no jam left in the cupboard, no gas left in the vehicle - well, you get the idea - its emblematic to note the Yankees have re-assumed whatever media prominence had seeped over the bridge to Flushing, Queens earlier in the year when the Mets were deserving recipients of some attention.
This year, it's about home runs (plenty of them) and a plethora of reserves and pick-ups. Neither is unexpected. Anyone in the Yankee lineup can hit a home run, and seemingly, with terrifying ease. On multiple occasions, they've clubbed several in one game. In one of the Red Sox games over the recent weekend, they deposited four solo shots into the very accommodating seats. But the real bewildering developments have emerged from a group of players other teams decided weren't useful any more. It's baffling, because it seems to happen all the time. A player fails elsewhere, pulls a Yankee jersey over his head, and Clark Kent turns into - well, the analogy is obvious. An unheralded player emerges from the minor leagues, and suddenly develops into a prominent role player, enormous hits exploding off an unknown bat.
Derek Lowe is the latest incarnation of the Yankee phoenix, rising from the ashes of late career releases. Lowe was dreadful for the Cleveland Indians at 8-10 with a 5.00-plus ERA. He arrives on the Yankee mound against the best hitting team in baseball, the Texas Rangers, and is unhittable. Let's review Eric Chavez. In the five years before he joined the Yankees last year, Chavez hit .241, .240, .247, .100 (a handful of plate appearances), and .234. During those five years, he drilled a total of 40 homers with 22 of them in the first of those five years. This year, the resurrected Chavez is at .305, with 13 homers in a little more than 200 plate appearances. What happened? The Philadelphia Phillies apparently believed Raul Ibanez was finished. He's pounded 15 homers as a part-timer. How about Jayson Nix, who batted .169 for Toronto last year? He seems to make a big play every game. Oh, and how about Ichiro Suzuki, .261 for Seattle and .322 for the Bombers?
It's a typical Yankee theatrical display.
Glenn Vallach has been a New York Mets fan since foolishly abandoning the mighty Yankees in his youth after Mickey Mantle retired. Since the fond, fleeting memories of the Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee years, he sits quietly yearning for a fraction of the success enjoyed annually by the team that inhabits the borough in which I was born...waiting and hoping...waiting and hoping.
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Mets page
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Yankees page
- · Yahoo! Sports Eric Chavez page
- · Yahoo! Sports Raul Ibanez page
- · Yahoo! Sports Derek Lowe page
- · Yahoo! Sports Ichiro Suzuki page
- · Reuters, Japanese power lifts Yankees over Red Sox