The Red Sox won in six games, capturing their third title in 10 years. The Yankees have been home for a month, having missed the playoffs for just the second time since 1995.
Here are five things the Yankees can take away from the just-concluded World Series:
Dustin Pedroia is what Robinson Cano isn't: Cano may have the numbers, he may have the raw talent, and he has that sweet swing, but the one thing he lacks -- and Pedroia has it -- is the hustle. Pedroia leaves it all on the field. When he picked up the Gold Glove Award last month, there was talk that he may have been selected by some over Cano because of the hustle factor. Fair or unfair, it's the truth. As the Yankees contemplate what to offer Cano, it's something to at least keep in mind.
You can turn it all around in a year: The Red Sox went from 69 wins and a last-place finish to World Series champs. The Yankees are a lot closer to the top than Boston was at the end of last year. They did win 85 games this past season. In a down year, the Yankees were still in contention for a wild-card spot. They have more pieces already in place, including the manager. There's work to be done, but imagine how the Red Sox were feeling at the end of last year. That should make the Yankees feel a little better.
Baseball is better: It's not just the Red Sox and Cardinals; it's all of baseball. When the Yankees were winning their championships in the late-1990s and 2000, the league was nowhere near as competitive as it is now. There are far more quality teams, and the Yankees are no longer the best. In fact, they're not even the best in their own division. Parity makes the game better. It also makes it harder for the Yankees. But that's baseball. That's the way it should be.
The Yankees can learn from the "Cardinal Way": It used to be the "Yankee Way," but as I said before, it's a different game in 2013. The Cardinals win. When they need to regroup, they do. This is a team that's not afraid to say goodbye to its biggest star (Albert Pujols) and replace him with lower-cost options. The Yankees might want to think about that before they throw too much money and, most important, too many years, at Cano. It's not about spending the most money; it's about building a winning team, largely through a farm system that produces talent for the big club. That's why the Cardinals are around come October.
Love the game: This one's for the fans. Don't just be a Yankee fan; be a baseball fan. During Game 6, I was pulling for a St. Louis comeback. Not because I wanted Boston to lose, but because there's nothing better than a World Series Game 7. Baseball is bigger than the Yankees. With or without them playing in October, it's a great game. In 2013, I hope you enjoyed it.
Charles Costello has followed the Yankees for 30 years. He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the team during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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- Robinson Cano