There are still a few more days left in the month of August. I want August to be done with. I've had enough of summer as a hot, humid whole. Winter is coming. Oh right, Autumn is coming first. The regular season is about to enter its final month of the year. The month where miracles and heartbreak begin to show themselves. Every win matters during the regular season. September wins matter that much more. They shouldn't, but they do. Okay, they matter to teams with actual playoff aspirations. They mean nothing to the Astros, Rockies, Twins or Royals. Wait, can I put Red Sox on this list now? I'll hold off on that joy for the time being.
Now that we've reached September, it's time for another Psychological Fan Study. This is one PFS that I've actually been looking forward to doing. I don't think fan emotions are any higher than during this month of the year. September wins matter more. September losses matter even more than that. Division rivals are now important to beat, especially with the AL East only September. Well I guess we do play the A's and Twins for a three game series here and there. It's the Rays and O's series which will most likely bring out the emotions though.
For those of you who don't know or didn't pay attention, what I will do is post some scenarios and I hope to get back honest and detailed answers regarding these scenarios. Those scenarios after the jump.
Scenario #1: Competitors vs. Chumps. In the month of September the Yankees will face a mix of good teams and lesser teams. Losing to a competitor sucks. Losing to a team that by all rights the Yankees should beat sucks as well. Even though you don't want to lose at all, which type of team would it bother you more to lose a game to? Which type of team do you find it more important to defeat?
Scenario #2: Reflections. The Yankees lead over the O's at just 3.5 games. It use to be much larger. With the AL East lead tighter than ever, do you reflect on any of the wins or losses of the past? Are there any game in the past you remember in particular? Do you simply ignore the past and focus on making it to the playoffs?
Scenario #3: FIRST. The Yankees have been plagued with injuries this year. The Yankees only hit home runs. The Yankees cannot hit with runners in scoring position. Further narratives and panic. What happens if the Yankees clinch first place in the AL East? Does that wash away all those "issues" during the regular season? Do you bring those concerns with you into the postseason? Will Cashman or Girardi get any praise?
Scenario #4: SECOND. Here's a more evil Scenario #3. What happens if one of the Rays or O's overtake the Yankees and they only clinch a Wild Card birth? Do you attribute that to bad luck or the injuries throughout the year? Do you then blame Cashman or Girardi? Are those losses you particularly remember during the year that much more painful?
Scenario #5: Excitement. Nothing is guaranteed with the AL East so close this year. The Rays and O's are right on our pinstriped tails. Do you actually find this uncertainty exciting or do you prefer domination? Are you following the other close races in the other baseball divisions this year? Do you think the whole Wild Card First Round Elimination Cage Match is making this September more or less exciting as a Yankees fan? Do you think the Cage Match is good for non Yankees fans?
Scenario #6: EVIL. Very simple. What if the Yankees do not make the playoffs at all?