The Yankees' playoff hopes are essentially gone by all measures save for the most minuscule percentages. This comes as a truly troubling idea to some because for almost two-decades the Yankees have been at the upper echelon of the baseball hierarchy. In the case of many young fans (myself included) it is an adjustment. The thought of missing the playoffs, of watching an offense so unsightly that there should be a notice from the FCC, is something many fans have either never experienced or forgotten. Winning has been the only thing we have known until recently, and that long duration of success breeds arrogance. Having never experienced the Yankees falling out of contention weeks before the regular season’s conclusion also brings about feelings of denial and anger when it finally occurs, as it had this season. To those who are struggling with those feelings, I direct you to the articles of Jason Cohen and Greg Kirkland on how to face that denial, and how to cope with it. For the rest who have already made peace with the Yankees fate, understand that while our favorite baseball team may not have met the ending that we wanted, this season still contained its fair share of fun stories.
It seems so long ago that IF Yangervis Solarte wore pinstripes, even though it has been only a few months. Before the 2014 season, the man with the unusual name appeared as just another non-roster invitee that most of the community assumed was in camp as roster filler. The twenty-six year old had an outstanding spring training outplaying incumbent infielder Eduardo Nunez (not exactly a difficult feat) and taking his place on the Yankees roster. For anyone who has been following the Yankees, this came as a surprise, though Nunez had demonstrated an inability to do anything but lose his helmet, Girardi and company continued to give him ample time in lineups as well as the field. Ousting Eduardo gave birth to Solarte’s first PSA nickname, "Not-Nunez." Solarte would later earn multiple new names when he began mashing in the regular season. For several weeks, the man named Yangervis was not only one of the hottest players on the Yankees, he was one of the hottest players in all of baseball. Though his hot start eventually faded, Solarte proved to be a gift that kept on giving when he was flipped at the trade deadline for Chase Headley who has provided his fair share of good memories that will be discussed at a later time.
Tex has had a frustrating year at the plate. Fortunately for us, the Yankee first baseman did not carry those frustrations off the field or else we may have been denied so much joy. For many years, Tex has built up a reputation of being intense, boring and robotic. Starting last year, we began seeing a different side of him, culminating this year into some legitimately hilarious moments. Maybe his processor has shorted out, maybe he forgot to update his anti-virus software, but all I or anyone else knows is that Mark Teixeira has created more than his share of wonderful, gif-able moments. In January of this year, we got a taste of Tex’s skillful dramatic acting, when he and former ace, CC Sabathia performed a scene from the drama August: Osage County. During spring training when a swarm of bees suddenly descended upon the outfield like it was Nicholas Cage, Tex emerged from the dugout to help, not with a smoke machine or insecticide, but with the stuff all bees love: HONEY!
The biggest gift Mark Teixeira has provided the world is his show "Foul Territory." Shot before the regular season at the Yankees' Tampa facility, "Foul Territory" has the first-baseman as the host as he tries his hand at interviewing with various teammates to awkward and hilarious results.
Brandon McCarthy has been an absolute gem since being traded away from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Vidal Nuno. It has been mentioned before that Arizona forced McCarthy stop throwing the cutter and, after the trade, the Yankees implored the right-hander to pitch how he wants. Results were outstanding, with him pitching to a 2.54 ERA and a 2.97 FIP in the second half. The right-hander is hardly the only McCarthy that has been a great addition to the Yankee organization, as his wife Amanda and her tweets have become must-reads to every Yankee fan. It is very difficult to convey much in 140 characters, but the McCarthy’s have proven to possess deft fingers and quick wits which are able to constantly put out comedy gold in quick little tweets.
The Yankees have had a brutal year, there is no denying that fact. They are not going to make the playoffs but take solace in the bright spots that have existed this season. Take time, think about some of things that you enjoyed this year, because I promise that you will be surprised at how many wonderful things have occured even in a down season.