It is now around or getting close to the midway point in the regular season. You have probably noticed something bad, something new, something that you potentially haven’t seen for a very long time; the Yankees are bad. They’re actually not that bad though. They’re just average. Being average is bad. It’s quite possibly badder than bad, because if they were bad they’d simply be horrifically bad. Instead they’re just slightly bad, but could be good, which is worse than being bad. To help fans cope with the badness, here is a helpful survival guide for the "Averagepocalypse" that is coming our way.
1. Abandon all hope
The first step is to identify the primary problem. In the case of the Yankees being just an average team, the primary problem is hope. That’s what makes being bad easier than being average. For example, you may think the Yankees were bad in 2013 and 2014, but you could at least blame those years on injuries and slightly off years for certain players. The 2015 Yankees, with their foolishly vigorous offense, gave fans hope that they could make it back to prominence. Obviously, as you've now realized, that was a mistake.
Overachieving when you’re not good is bad. If the Yankees had a truly bad year in 2015, Brian Cashman and the front office could have worked harder towards not putting out the same exact lineup they did this year. Well, not quite exact. Starlin Castro replaced Stephen "glue that holds the offense together" Drew at second base. In any case, they could have worked harder at being bad instead of the little to nothing they did in trying to remain good.
It’s important to know one’s place in baseball, because that's clearly how a sport with a 162 game regular season works. A team should either be really good or really bad. Being average just adds a certain mystery to the game of baseball that, when you really think about it, is bad. The unknown is scary. As the character Red so eloquently put it in the movie The Shawshank Redemption, "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane." This is why you should abandon it. Throw in the towel. The Yankees are done for. Time to plan for the future.
2. Find a group of survivors with whom you can relate and agree
Some fans are not going to follow Step 1. No matter how doomed the Yankees are to this new life of quasi-mediocrity, there will be some people who still cling to hope no matter what. They will spout fairy tales about other teams that have climbed out of the gutter to reclaim first place. Or they’ll speak of myths and legends about there now being two wild card slots, allowing average teams into the postseason. These fans are lost forever and will be lucky to make it through July with their sanity still intact. Forget them and focus on your own survival.
Because human beings are, by nature, social creatures, you will need to find other survivors that think like you do. These fans have accepted this new world and are ready to survive in it, at least for three years anyway. Tales will be told around the campfire about the great 90’s rebuild of the past, when Gene "Stick" Michael took a middling, pathetic Yankees team and turned them into a juggernaut of a Dynasty.
Certain details, like the 1993-1995 Yankees actually being decent to great teams, might be neglected. That’s okay. It’s more about the feeling of safety and your new found camaraderie than it is about the facts at this point in time. As long as they’re prepared to move on and focus on rebuilding for the future, everything else is irrelevant. Now that you’ve found your new brothers and sisters, it’s time to map out what you all need.
3. Forage for whatever you can and get rid of what you no longer need
You’ve obviously already cut out any feelings of hope, since you no longer need it. It’s now time to focus on what is needed to try and rebuild your proper pinstriped society. First, the Yankees need to get rid of the things that caused the Averagepocalypse in the first place.
Players that weren’t hitting or pitching well? Gone. Players that were hitting or pitching well? Trade chips. Managers and coaches that tried to keep hope alive? Worthless. General Managers who couldn’t understand the need to be dominant or bad enough to get top draft picks? Adios. Owners that care more about money than how good or bad the team was? There’s the bunting door.
Everything has to go, from top to bottom. Since the Steinbrenner Bros. or [insert future owner's name here] don’t care as much as George Steinbrenner did about winning, your group is going to have to ban together, via protests and boycotts, to force them to sell the team to someone else. This new owner should be like The Boss, someone with so strong a desire to win that it trumps the actual facts about what they did or didn’t do as an owner to help achieve said victory. The new Boss can hire a new staff, then fire them, then hire new people, then fire them, then re-hire the old guard, then fire them again, then hire even newer people, then be banned from any baseball activity so that the new people can build one of the most flawless, perfect, injury-free teams in baseball history. Simple.
Unlike average mastermind Brian Cashman, the new GM is going to have to know where the Yankees clearly stand at all times. If they’re bad or merely just adequate, they need to tank, get draft picks, and focus on the future while making sure that the future is only three years away. If they’re good, their dominance must be so understood that there can be no doubt of their impending three to five World Series victories. There is no middle ground. This new GM cannot make the same mistakes that lead to the 2009-2012 Yankees. Putting together a team that had five over 90+ win seasons, five playoff berths, and only one World Series win? That’s the kind of lackluster general managing that lead to the Averagepocalypse in the first place. Never again.
4. Never forget what separates you from the animals and savages
While survival is your primary focus, it’s also important not to lose one’s humanity to the horrors one now faces in this new slightly awful reality. As Yankees fans, it is key to remember that venerable pinstriped blood courses through your veins. You don’t just root for any piffle baseball team. You root for the most storied, gloried sports franchise ever. A franchise that deserves the best young prospects and the most prominent superstars of any other team. That’s the way it’s always been.
If injuries occur, no matter how fluky they might be, it’s the strength conditioning coach’s fault. Or the GM’s fault. If a certain highly touted prospect doesn’t turn out well, obviously the scouts screwed up somewhere. Or the GM did. If players who played well elsewhere come to the Yankees and play badly, or they leave the Yankees and play well, the manager must be the one to blame. You should probably blame the GM as well. Remember that things don’t just happen. They’re the Yankees. There’s always a reason and therefore, always something or someone to blame. For example, the GM. Blame the GM.
5. Dominance or despair
The Yankees are going to be bad for some time while they attempt to rebuild. Obviously, they cannot attempt to compete and rebuild at the same time. That’s just not how these things are done. Thankfully, rebuilding only takes a decade or three for other teams not named the New York Yankees. In three years, this guide will probably become obsolete for you. The Yankees will once again be atop the plateau of greatness, holding their new World Series trophies up high. If they’re not, they better be tanking and going after top draft picks, like teams do in football. The baseball draft is much like the football draft, especially in all the incredible ways that it’s nothing like the football draft.
Remember to trust no one outside your group. Those people have been corrupted by this new plague of other teams adapting, spending and wanting to be good. They have accepted this new life of an average, just merely okay New York Yankees team. Things like pride, power, and pinstripes are just mere words to them now. With the help of this guide, you should be hunkered down and fully prepared for the oncoming storm at this point. Good luck and godspeed to you and your loved ones. Do not worry, the Averagepocalypse will soon pass and the Yankees will either be truly dominant or be truly awful. As long as they don’t ever have to try, everything should be fine.