April is a funny time in the baseball world. On one hand, everyone is excited because after a long winter, real and meaningful baseball is back. On the other, us fans spend the month telling ourselves, “It’s just April, this can’t keep up.” I’m including myself in this, because I know for fact that I’ve used that line many times.
Last April, the Yankees had a miserable 8 - 14 record. A lot of fans were claiming that the season was doomed. I was right there telling the masses, “Relax, it’s only April. They can turn it around.” Which, they kind of did, going 76-64 the rest of the way. Unfortunately the turn around started too late, after Gary Sanchez decided to take 24 (eventually 39) baseball players and put them on his back. That’s not the point, though. I was right there in April, telling everyone to relax because it was just April.
Greg Bird is off to a terribly slow start this year, and once again I’m telling everyone: “It’s just April. Talk to me in June.” Give him some time, it can’t keep up. We all saw him tear the cover off the ball in spring training. We got excited. We forgot that he missed an entire season with an injury and gave ourselves false expectations.
Bird was ready, until he wasn’t. Now I’m seeing people suggest he should go all the way down to Double-A Trenton. We now know he’s been playing injured, but the point is I was still there to say:“Relax, it’s just April.”
That brings us to the Yankees overall record at the end of April. They went 15-8. Almost a complete 180 from last year, and I’m here to tell everyone, “Who cares that it’s just April?”
After winning the second game of the series against the Orioles this past weekend, the Yankees moved into first place in the division. This comes during a season where the Yankees weren’t supposed to have a chance to compete. Here at Pinstripe Alley, some of us were understandably excited. It looked a little like this:
While the majority of fans were excited, it did prompt some responses like: “As a Yankees fan, it’s still April” and “It's nice in April, but it means nada. And everyone knows it.” and “Settle down! It's April not August! This is a Marathon not a sprint!” and the list goes on.
Some may say it’s hypocritical to use the April excuse to forgive Bird’s start but not use it to judge the Yankees’ season thus far. From my point of view though, they’re two different things. I’m very well aware that it’s April and this may not keep up for the Yankees. That’s exactly the reason to enjoy it though.
For years and years, fans have been crying for the Yankees to go towards a youth movement. “I’d rather lose with the kids and at least see them play!” The Yankees are doing exactly what people wanted, they essentially accepted this as a rebuilding year and are playing the youth to see what they have for the future. The only surprise? It’s actually working. They’re competing.
Sure Bird struggled and Sanchez has missed most of the season so far. Behind Aaron Judge’s power and the pitching of Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, however, the youth is leading the way for the Yankees. They’ve led them to compete right now.
There’s a saying that divisions aren’t won in April, but they can be lost. If last year’s squad had this year’s April, they would’ve ended up with 93 wins, good enough to win the AL East or at least take a Wildcard spot. Brian Cashman sure knows as much:
“Nobody gets trophies for anything in April, but I’ll take how we’re playing right now,” Cashman said. “I feel like we’ve got some good momentum we’re building, and hopefully we can add to it rather than worry about it getting derailed at some point.”
The Yankees feel good about themselves right now, so why shouldn’t we? The Yankees being able to laugh after a loss (a weird one at that) shows you they’re in a good place. They believe in themselves. Why shouldn’t we? My first article for Pinstripe Alley asked whether or not it’s fair for Yankees fans to have a “World Series or bust” mentality, and my point then was the same as it is now: enjoy the ride.
Though his last outing was rough, Severino is showing what made him a stud prospect, Montgomery is giving hope for the future of the rotation and Judge is our large adult baseball son who is making baseball fans swoon with his mammoth home runs. Enjoy the ride.
It’s unsettling to see fans ruin it for themselves by bringing themselves down. There’s no reason not to enjoy what’s happening right now. I know I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts, and you won’t be able to rain on my parade. Try not to rain on yours either. I promise you, it’s okay to enjoy April, too.