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June 11, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

Five men who did something no living man has ever done.Wow. THAT sucked. This is the low point of the season. The low point of the last ten years. One of the lowest points of all my years as a baseball fan.

I'm talking, of course, about Hideki Matsui's 0-4 performance today, a tremendous letdown after such a hot five games.

I kid of course. Today was the inevitable result for a team that's been playing well below it's talent for the past month and a half. As Derek Jeter pointed out, these Yankees haven't won anything, but yet they seem to act like they have. If you include Bernie, there's only seven players left from the 2000 team, and only five left from the '96 team. This team still needs to earn it's place in history, they can't rest on laurels won by other players.

Before I go any further, I have to tip my worn, misshapen, sweat-stained Yankees cap to the Astros for doing something that hasn't been done in 45 years, no-hitting the New York Yankees. A no-hitter is a great feat, and to do it, you need to be lucky, but you also need to pitch well. Tonight, the Astros pitched well, and deserve their accomplishment. Kudos.

But, goddamnit, the Yankees really need to pull their heads out of their asses NOW. George may think that money will solve all the problems the Yankees might have, and even dream that he can somehow accquire Vlad Guerrero, Brian Giles and Curt Schilling with the total lack of talent they have in the upper minors, but it's just not so. The Yankees have made so many short-sighted trades in the past few years, lost so many draft picks signing free agents, and misused the ones they had, that they are forced to rely on free agency and salary dump trades. Someday soon, it's going to all come crashing down, and the Yankees will have a $170 million second division team.

I don't think that's happened yet. This team is much better than they've played lately, although nowhere near as good as they played in the first 24 games. I think that they'll win the division, but unless they get real help for the bullpen--which means NOT anybody with the initials UUU--and at least one decent hitter on their bench, it'll be a short postseason again.

If the Yankees start losing, and the Jays, Sox and A's win, it might lead to a hardcore sabermetric movement in the Bronx. Stop overpaying players, stop wasting draft picks, stop wasting roster spots on no-hit backup catchers, and the Clay Bellinger types. Field a consistently excellent team with a payroll below the luxury tax threshold, and have enough money and prospects to accquire star players to fill holes.

Okay, I think I scared a few people there. Don't worry, it'll never happen, not while George is in charge. His ego is far too big.

Now I have to go find some new furniture, dammit.