I'm sure we've all had this thought during the 2013 season: how can it get any worse? It seems the Yankees have found an amazingly varied number of ways to suffer completely embarrassing and shocking losses. But just when you think that maybe, just maybe, the worst has come to pass, they smack you upside the head with another crushing defeat. Sunday was the apex of this. And, as per usual, the blame lies squarely at the feet of the worst Yankees offense in twenty years. It was a loss that sealed their fate as playoff spectators, but it was also so much more than that.
Obviously there was the very real possibility of the festivities for Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte being followed up by a defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. Such a loss would probably put a damper on what was otherwise a fabulous and supremely well-executed affair, regardless of how it came to pass. But with this team, this incredibly frustrating team, they managed to turn a loss into another nightmare. More failings with runners in scoring position. More mental mistakes. More Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells, the Gruesome Twosome. Wasting wonderful performances from both of the men that were being honored. A victory that seemed so tantalizingly close, only to have it slip from their grasp. The signature terrible performance from a team that's had a ton of them. In a way I pity this team; they gave it everything they had, and failed once again.
Even the ill-fated 2008 Yankees were able to muster up a good showing and victory when sending off the old Yankee Stadium. A disappointing season salvaged with one everlasting positive memory. But when it came time for the 2013 team to leave an indelible mark on the minds of their exasperated fans, they fell flat on their collective faces. It almost feels appropriate that after the front office's stinginess in the 2012 offseason the various bargain basement castoffs were major players in the most prominent loss of the season. Perhaps if the "Exit Sandman" merchandise that was being advertised when the paint on Rivera's retired "42" was barely dry doesn't sell as well because of the terrible loss, the front office will be more inclined to disregard the much-discussed "$189 million" mark.
But it's said time heals all wounds, so I will be interested to see how Sunday, September 22nd 2013 will be remembered by Yankees fans. Can the positive emotions of Mariano's pre-game ceremony and Pettitte's standing ovation be separated from the negative emotions of the team's performance that very day? I certainly hope so, because I want to put the 2013 Yankees out of my mind as soon as possible while remembering Sunday's festivities fondly.
Thanks for everything, Andy and Mo. You deserved better.