The door closes on the Yankee's 2010 season, and several more open (and not all by fate or God or the universe). Perhaps Karma. Definitely some doors are being opened by fans, and a lot more by Yankee haters. The only door the Yankees care about is the one to the offseason, to a forced period of rest and contemplation. Perhaps much needed self reflection and time with family and friends. A time to recharge from the battles of the 2010 Major League Baseball season.
Before the door closed, I could hear the hinges creaking as it slowly swung shut. Though I was disappointed, I was not saddened or depressed. It's baseball. It happens. It also felt almost inevitable, in my mind. The opposite, a trip and a World Series championship, always seemed a miracle scenario. I had an unspoken fear that the long period between the sweep of the Twins and the beginning of the ALCS would be their undoing. Sadly, those fears were realized. I really think that week off messed up the hitters, especially Teixiera and A-Rod. And I think it definitely messed up CC and Hughes. AJ (in my opinion) and Andy pitched better because they were the only ones who actually needed that much rest, from fatigue and injury recovery. Heck, even Javy Vazquez might have pitched a no hitter with the amount of rest he had from the end of the season, his main issue being, if I recall correctly, a dead arm. So, I can't say I was surprised by the eventual outcome.
I'm not a naysayer or a negative fan. Just saying that starting in Game One, it was hard to see this team making it past the ALCS. I kept the faith, and always will, in my favorite team in all of professional sports. I truthfully had faith in AJ, Javy, Granderson, and Teixiera, when they struggled and overcame. I wanted to believe that they could turn things around, make believers of other fans, and at least Granderson has.
I will keep the faith in AJ and Teixiera, and wish Javy the best of luck in the future. He seems like such a good guy to get such bad luck (and the sad coincidence of bad luck and performance happening in baseball's biggest city). I always thought he unduly got a bad rap for the year not to be mentioned. He'll get more for this season, regardless of the good he brought to the team.
Before I move on to thoughts of the future, I'd like to share some thoughts on the immediate past and present. Perhaps I'm too sensitive, but it saddens me more to see fans (of any team) not only revel but celebrate the defeat of another team, much less the Yankees. I avoided coming to PSA for an hour or so after the final out of Game Six for that very reason. I much prefer constructive criticism, gently, but firmly, administered. Not because I think that people can't handle the opposite, more because I believe it's not necessary. It is highly unlikely that any fan who writes a post here, positive or negative, is going to have their post viewed by anyone on the Yankees. The only exception is Curtis Granderson, who, as a contributing writer on Yahoo! Sports, may be the most exposed to seeing a link on the same page as his blog post to "Pinstripe Alley".
I especially am disappointed in the national sports media, and for reasons I'm sure all of the PSA members are aware of: they love to not only revel in the Yankees losses, foibles, and miscues, but they never stop, never let up, and never change their mind. So, I will not be reading any columns on Game Six or any of the Yankees post-season moves until at least next year, when most talk will be about 2011 and not 2010.
For next year, I'd like to see most of the team back. I understand, from other persons posts, why some won't be likely to return: Javy, Berkman, possibly Pettite, Gaudin, Mitre, and a few others. I'd like to see someone other than Posada and Cervelli behind the plate, at least part-time. Both have had rough years defensively (Cervelli has been better than Posada from what I've seen). The rest of the lineup looks fine, but I'd be honestly ok with anything that is changed (or any offseason moves to improve).
The rotation is another story. CC is the ace. Hughes is the #4, still learning but ever improving. AJ is a wild card, but like I said before, I have faith in him to be better than he was in 2010. Even to be better than he was in 2009. I'm thinking the best case scenario would be a whole year of his performance in April and May of 2010. That leaves two open spots: one for Pettitte if he chooses to resign or retire, and one for someone else. I share feelings of two groups here: I would like to see what could happen with CC and Cliff Lee heading up this rotation, but I'd also like to see Joba and/or another pitcher from the Yankee farm system fill out the rotation and get back to the homegrown feel of the late 90s dynasty. I also can see how, as other posters have mentioned, Joba might be trade bait, especially after the lack of use in the ALCS, even after his much improved 2nd half of the season. I'd like to see Kerry Wood back, but can understand why he won't be. I still hope he would rather try for a WS ring rather than just go after closer money on a team that might pay a lot but not see the post-season.
Now, Joe Girardi. Love/Hate relationship going on with the fans of the Yankees. Loved as a player. Not so much as a Manager, regardless of the 2009 season and WS championship. I would not be disappointed to see him go, but I fear that won't be the case. I was most disappointed in Girardi regarding his managing of the bullpen, not so much in the sense of over-using/under-using players, but in the sense of not having any urgency to win games. Too many games in August and September where Girardi seemed to say "We'll live to fight another day." But the game was within reach before he brought in Chad "white flag" Gaudin. It's one thing to do that when you have a 10 game lead in the division. It's really not acceptable when you're trying to just make the playoffs. Hopefully the Yankees organization, if they resign him, has some sort of evaluation process where they can show him all the times he managed the Yankees out of the game.
Lastly, I just want to say, it's been a fun season. Not just watching the Yankees play, but sharing in the Yankees fandom on PSA. To the PSA writers and mods, keep up the good work. To the faithful PSA members, keep the faith. To the bandwagon fans, don't hurt yourself getting on the next wagon.