"A rude and brainless subculture of fascist drunks."
-- the late Hunter S. Thompson, on the subject of sportswriters
Both of today's New York tabloids have stories in them that would better be left in my cat's box (if I still had one). I know it's the All-Star break and they have to write something on this off-day before the second half begins.
The New York Daily News has some drivel they deemed worth two pages called "Building a Case for '09," with their own drunks, er, "experts," giving their best "guesses" as to what the Yankees will (or should, in their own warped views) look like when they open their new ballpark in 2009.
This is a real exercise in stupidity. Trying to determine what the Yankees will look like at the end of this season, let alone by April 2009, is really ANYONE'S guess, and you might as well take out your crystal ball, or Magic 8 Ball to determine that.
Naturally, they all predict they will sign all the "sexy" free agents, like Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Lowell, Mark Teixeira, Erik Bedard and Ben Sheets. So, what got the Yankees in this quagmire they're in now (overloaded with gargantuan contracts that at the time seemed great but are now an albatross), they will continue to do. (I guess some people never learn.)
But who's to say how the next two years will go. Players decline without notice (see Johnny Damon), and some young players could take everyone by surprise. Injuries, inconsistencies, declines, surprises. You just never can tell.
If you have time to waste, here is the complete nonsense: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2007/07/11/2007-07-11_building_case_for_09_yanks.html
And the New York Post splashed their back headline with this gem: "WE CAN CATCH SOX." A writer asked Derek Jeter a really probing and thoughtful question: "Can the Yankees catch the Red Sox?" So naturally they thought his response was back page news.
Honestly, what do you expect Jeter to say to a stupid, idiotic question like that? "Uh, no, the Sox are unstoppable. We might as well fold up our tents and stay home." He's the captain of the team, do you really think he's going to tell his enormous fan base that his team is well and truly done?
Just another reason to dislike sportswriters. (And it would have been nice if Kevin Kernan, who wrote this article in the Post, got his stats right. My buddy Steve pointed out to me that Kernan got Jeter and Posada's batting averages at the break wrong. Talk about sloppy reporting.)
Can the Yankees catch the Red Sox? While it's not impossible, it's highly unlikely. My friend Adam sent me an email on the subject the other day with a statistical breakdown, and here's some of it.
The Sox have a 10 game lead over the MFY and a record of 53-34 (.609) . The MFY are 42-43 (.494 ). The Red Sox have 75 games remaining. If the Sox win 95 games, they need to go 42-33 (.560) in the second half. That would be a bit of a disappointment, but the MFY would still have to go 53-24 (.688) just to tie.
In other words, the media can write all they want about how the MFY are beginning to play well. The fact is, the Sox need to collapse for the MFY to make it. I know the MFY have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way, but the Sox also have 15 remaining games v. Tampa Bay and they haven’t played the White Sox yet.
Of the Red Sox' remaining 75 games, 40 are against Tampa Bay, Chicago , KC, and Baltimore. They have 10 left with Toronto, 6 with the MFY, 6 with LA, 4 with Cleveland, 4 with Minnesota (to end the season), 3 with Seattle, and 2 with Oakland. 16 of their final 26 games are at home (they’re on the road v. Balt, Tor, and TB).
The MFY still have 23 tough games: 8 games v. Detroit, 6 v. Boston, 3 v. Cleveland, 3 v. LA, 3 v. Seattle. 13 of those games are on the road (that's not counting an additional 13 v. Toronto). If one assumes the Tigers are the best team in baseball, as a few writers do, then the MFY second half is tougher. The Sox are done with Detroit and hasn't played the Chisox. The MFY have the reverse. Also, 16 of their final 28 games in September are on the road.
Let’s be conservative: Boston goes 25-15 (.625) against the weak teams and 17-18 (.486) against the decent teams. Right now, the Sox have a 21-19 record v. Cleveland, Detroit, LA, Minnesota, MFY, and Oakland. They are 12-5 v. Tampa Bay, KC, Baltimore, and Toronto (they are done with Texas).
The MFY would still have to play .701 ball to win the division if the Sox win 95 games.
A pretty tall order, especially from an old and inconsistent team as the Yankees.