Larry Mahnken and SG's

Replacement Level Yankees Weblog

"Hey, it's free!"

The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has moved!  Our new home is:

Larry Mahnken
Sean McNally
Fabian McNally
John Brattain

This is an awesome FREE site, where you can win money and gift certificates with no skill involved! If you're bored, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!


Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

October 26, 2003

Not with a bang, but a whimper: Florida 2 , New York 0
by Larry Mahnken

Since becoming a hardcore Yankees fan in 1991, I have seen my favorite team win four World Championships, six American League Pennants, make the playoffs nine consecutive years, and be robbed of a playoff appearance and a possible World Championship by the strike. I came in just as the Yankees were climbing out of the cellar (although I had always been a fan, just not devoted), and I witnessed their entire rise to glory. I have, most definitely, been spoiled.

Maybe I take defeat harder than the average fan, because it's something that I haven't been used to. Maybe all fans take defeat as hard as I do. In 1995, I was miserable, because of how they lost, and how sure I was at the time that they'd never win a title. '97 was, at the time, depressing and frustrating, but I've since buried that loss, as they followed it up with a perfect season, and two more titles after that. I was miserable again in 2001, because of how very close they were, and the manner in which they lost it. Last season was more rage than anything else, as they got their brains beaten out by the Angels. This season, the beat the Twins fairly handily, which I expected. They had their hands full with the Red Sox, which I also expected, and at the moment when I was sure they were going to lose, they won, and I was joyful. Now they've lost the World Series, and I'm not angry, I'm a bit sad, but mostly, I'm frustrated.

The Yankees were the better team in this World Series. The better team does not always win a short series though. The Braves were better than the Yankees in '96, the Indians were perhaps better than the Braves in '95. The Yankees defeated two superior teams in the 2001 American League playoffs, before falling to a team that they were fairly evenly matched with. They beat a team that was probably better than them in the ALCS. The 1960 Pirates beat the Yankees, the 1953 Yankees beat the Dodgers, the '54 Giants beat the Indians. The '69 Mets beat the Orioles, the 1906 White Sox beat the 116-win Cubs. I could go on and on about how often the inferior team wins a postseason series. That the Marlins won this series does not make them the better team. But that also doesn't matter, because they did win the series, and they do get the trophy, and the rings, and the flag to fly. And that, in the end, is what matters. Goliath didn't go home and say, well, I lost to David, but I still know that I'm stronger than him! Because he was dead. Dead men don't gloat, and pennant winners who lose to inferior teams in the World Series don't gloat, either.

I won't write much today about how and why the Yankees lost--I probably won't write much about that for quite a while. They played poorly, they failed to capitalize on the many, many opportunities they had, while Florida seemed to capitalize on every one they had. They were only outplayed in one game--last night's game, but they gave away three games in the first five, and did themselves in.

And so that's it, the season is over. The Yankees will go out and sign one or two big free agents, probably make a trade. Assuredly, some mediot will write about how the Yankees have ruined baseball with their buying of titles, and how small market teams can't compete, yadda yadda yadda. Of course, a small market team won in 2001, and a mid market team whose lease makes them essentially a small market team won this year, and of course, Bud Selig has stopped preaching the doctrine of competitive imbalance and is trying to take credit for the success of Florida, saying the new CBA made it possible (it did no such thing). Whatever. People who write that should be fired. It never was true, and now the irrefutable evidence of it's falsity exists. Small market teams can compete just fine; small payroll teams can compete when the circumstances are right. Go ahead and let the Yankees buy up the free agent market. Take note: the Yankees didn't sign a single premier free agent from 1996-2000. Since signing Mike Mussina in late 2000, they haven't won a single title.

The Yankees won't collapse. They're old, they're declining, but 1964 isn't just around the corner. The collapse will be a few 85-win seasons, just out of contention--if, of course, it happens at all. They'll contend for a title again next year, but it'll be tougher. Boston and Toronto will be better, and the Yankees might not even make it out of the East.

But let's talk about that tomorrow, or next week, we've got a few months to bitch before they play again. The 2003 season is over, but the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog isn't out of stuff to write--I think. Especially with the Yankees, you know that there will be a lot to talk about in the offseason. Although I hope to, I might not be able to write everyday, but I'll try, and I'll keep the site regularly updated, and I'll write about any important story involving the Yankees (and some that don't).

I started this blog as a way to put my opinions about my favorite team and sport out there for people to read. Some of you liked my style of writing, some of you liked my analysis, and some of you hated me, although I'm not sure why I'm worth hating. I thank you all for reading, and I hope that you return regularly during the offseason, and that I can make your visits here worthwhile. I'd like to offer special thanks to some people who have particularly encouraged me in my writing: Art Martone, Jay Jaffe, Alex Belth, Aaron Gleeman, "Repoz", and everyone in the Yankees Game Chatters on Baseball Primer this year, all of whom I consider my friends. Also, I'd like to mention Dan Szymborski, who didn't actually do anything, but who said I've never mentioned him on the blog. Well, now I have.

I'd also like to give personal thanks to my friends and family: Dad, Mom and my sister, Beth; I love you all. My friends Stef, Bella, Mikey, Kosko, Chrissy, Tyler, Rob, Bill, and Jeff Patrick, who hates baseball with a passion, and who I'm sure will torture me mercilessly about the Yankees' loss, but has encouraged me in my writing nonetheless.

Sorry for all that personal crap that you likely don't care about, and if I forgot to mention you, well, now you know that I don't care. Just kidding. If I forgot you, I'm sorry.