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Monday, October 22, 2012

Marchman: The 2012 Yankees’ Quiet Success Story

Funny, the day I struck out 4-times against Frank MacCormack...a steamfitting pile of plaatsvervangende schaamte is exactly what I left in the batter’s box.

There is a Dutch phrase that should by now have made its way into English, or at least into baseball, where it would do a lot to make sense of the painful end to the Yankees’ year. Plaatsvervangende schaamte means “place-exchanging shame,” the mortification you feel on behalf of someone oblivious to what they’ve done wrong. If the fans felt it on behalf of their team as they slowly died against the Detroit Tigers, the team would be at least as right to feel it on behalf of the fans.

A baseball season is so long and complex that the only way to make sense of it is with stories, and the agreed-upon story of this year’s Yankees is that they were failures who managed not just to lose when they should have won, but did so in the most embarrassing way possible. They are down as a dead team, whose decades-long reign is at long last over.

But there’s another way to tell this story. Everyone seems to have agreed to forget this, but this year’s Yankees were supposed to be a bit too old, slow and tied to an outmoded style to win a championship. Running their lowest payroll in years and with a pitching staff patched together from chop shop parts, the conventional wisdom was they were a minor contender. At the start of the year, ESPN polled 50 “experts,” and just three had New York winning the World Series.

...They would never say it, because they can’t, but this isn’t the story of a failure. We saw that in Boston, which had its worst season since the 1960s, and in Texas, where the Rangers pulled one of the great swan dives in baseball history over the last week. The Yankees had a season that, except for the reputations involved, had a lot more in common with Baltimore’s, or Oakland’s: They made it far, they came up short, they left some great memories. If there’s any shame in that, it doesn’t belong to the players.

Repoz Posted: October 22, 2012 at 09:32 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: October 22, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4278785)
I think it's pretty obvious the word he's looking for is schadenfreude.
   2. McCoy Posted: October 22, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4278792)
I think the word he is looking for is fahrvergnügen
   3. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4278794)
The truth is that Marchman's absolutely right. The Yankees put on a great stretch run to win the division. They then beat Baltimore with a combination of outstanding starting pitching and a few timely hits. I'll also bet that if you look at the pre-season BTF predictions, few people here thought that the Yanks were going to win the World Series.
   4. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4278796)
No, the word he's looking for is Queensrÿche.
   5. Randy Jones Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4278798)
I'll also bet that if you look at the pre-season BTF predictions, few people here thought that the Yanks were going to win the World Series.


Citing preseason predictions by either the "experts" or people here is pretty meaningless, especially with regards to the Yankees. The "experts" often make picks purely to generate controversy/page hits or as fodder for an article. Many, many people here(and elsewhere) either hate the Yankees or just don't like seeing them win so often, so they pick against them based on that alone. Pretty sure that most of the projection systems had the Yankees as the best or one of the best teams. That said, this season should still not be considered a failure or anything like that.
   6. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4278800)
I think the Yankees were greatly aided by the implosion of the Jays and the Red Sox. They had a good year but the AL wasn't very good, the AL East was nowhere near as good as it has been and they shouldn't be over-confident going into the offseason. They had good results, but Yankee fans, I think, weren't fooled into thinking this was a quality team.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4278804)
I'll also bet that if you look at the pre-season BTF predictions, few people here thought that the Yanks were going to win the World Series.



I bet if you look at the preseason BTF predictions, even fewer people will have picked the actual winner. Picking the WS winner in April is quite difficult, particularly with the whole crapshooty playoff format. The Yankees were expected to be one of the best teams in baseball this year, by both us and the rest of the baseball-watching public. And we got that one right.

   8. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4278805)
crapshooty

Hey!
   9. McCoy Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4278815)
On further review I think it was the phrase "crème brûlée" that Marchman was looking for.
   10. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4278817)
The Yankees has a surprising first half -- they were a tremendous success story then, doing much better than expected. Then they almost blew a huge divisional lead, and had to play great down the stretch to avoid falling out of first place, which they were able to. They kind of didn't show up for the playoffs, which is disappointing.

I would say they did slightly better than they should have been expected to.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4278823)
I would say they did slightly better than they should have been expected to.


With the injuries they had (which, frankly, didn't seem any less severe than my woe is me team), I think they did significantly better than they should have been expected to.

   12. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4278826)
This is crazy. Everyone expected the Yankees to contend for the division and win 90+ games. It's true that few people thought they'd be dominant, but that just shows that they basically lived up to expectations.
   13. McCoy Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4278828)
I think the Yankees were greatly aided by the implosion of the Jays and the Red Sox. They had a good year but the AL wasn't very good, the AL East was nowhere near as good as it has been and they shouldn't be over-confident going into the offseason. They had good results, but Yankee fans, I think, weren't fooled into thinking this was a quality team.

The Blue Jays didn't really fall apart until August. They were 51-51 on July 30th and then went 22-37 to close out the season. The Yanks from August on went 8-5 against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox as well didn't fall apart until August. They were 55-55 on August 6th and then went 14-38 to close out the season. The Yankees went 7-2 from that point on. So they went 15-7 against the Blue Jays and Red Sox from August on. The Yankees heading into August were 60-43 and would go 35-24 from there on out. I'd say playing those two teams as they folded probably added 3 wins or so to the Yankees win column.
   14. Danny Posted: October 22, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4278840)
Running their lowest payroll in years and with a pitching staff patched together from chop shop parts, the conventional wisdom was they were a minor contender. At the start of the year, ESPN polled 50 “experts,” and just three had New York winning the World Series....The Yankees had a season that, except for the reputations involved, had a lot more in common with Baltimore’s, or Oakland’s: They made it far, they came up short, they left some great memories.

Looking at those 50 "experts,": 49 of them picked the Yankees to make the playoffs, and 38 of them picked the Yankees to win the AL East. Zero picked either Oakland or Baltimore to make the playoffs.

Equating their performance versus expectation to those of the A's and Orioles is crazy.
   15. AROM Posted: October 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4278880)
They kind of didn't show up for the playoffs, which is disappointing.


That would have been nice, and resulted in a Baltimore - Detroit ALCS.

What if this happened: 8th inning, bases loaded, 2 outs, J.J. Hardy gets a hold of one against Sabathia for a grand slam. Baltimore up 5-3. In the bottom of the 9th against Jim Johnson, Yankees get a bit of a rally going, ending up with bases loaded for Eric Chavez. He pops out to Manny Machado to end the game.

Would that outcome be easier for Yankee fans, losing a well-fought close series instead of advancing to a butt-whuppin?

The story would be on Girardi - leaving Sabathia in too long when Robertson could have come on in the 8th, and benching A-Rod in favor of the guy who makes the final out.
   16. The Ghost is getting a Woody Posted: October 22, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4279026)
Arom (15), I think you're right. At a minimum, the A-Rod issue wouldn't have been such a stress point gong forward.

When King George ran the team, I used to figure a sorry showing like they had in the ALCS would lead to big changes, often to their long term detriment. Now, there will be no panic, though there will be moves.
   17. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 22, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4279037)
Would that outcome be easier for Yankee fans, losing a well-fought close series instead of advancing to a butt-whuppin?
Nah, I'll always take advancing, even advancing to a butt-whipping. Particularly as I thought--and still think--that the Yankees were a better team than the Orioles, so losing to them would have been most annoying.
   18. Don Malcolm Posted: October 22, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4279040)
The Yanks were tied with the O's (81-63) on the morning of September 15 after losing the opening game of an nine-game home stand to the Rays, 4-2. They then ran off a seven-game win streak against the Rays (who were only 3 games out on the 15th), the Jays and the A's, during which time they played either Nunez or Nix at SS or 3B due to injury/age issues related to Jeter and A-Rod. That was great work, and absolutely needed at that time, because the O's were still hot and not giving up. They won 14 of their last 18 games and were pushed hard to do so--the fatigue from that was evident in the ALDS, and after the inability to steal Game 1 of the ALCS away from the Tigers it really seems that they had nothing left to squeeze out of the tube.

I think the Yankees are the embodiment of the "loudness" button on a stereo system--in their case, it's automatically on from the get-go and the nuances of their success can never be seen or heard in terms of a decibel level that would be roughly equivalent to "quiet." Their emphasis this year on the long ball further helped to further obscure any subtlety or nuance in how they played and how they won, particularly in that stretch drive. So while Tim is onto something in what he wrote, he doesn't appear to have quite gotten the words that best express the concept into play.
   19. rlc Posted: October 22, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4279148)
All through September I couldn't ignore how much the 2012 AL East reminded me of the 1980 AL East - the Orioles chasing the Yankees for months and just...never...catching them. The correspondence was shaken by the wild card situation, so I got to enjoy some postseason baseball, but now I realize that the parallel has continued to play out with the evidently winded Yankees being brushed aside in the ALCS. I just hope there's no work stoppage next season...
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 22, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4279274)
All through September I couldn't ignore how much the 2012 AL East reminded me of the 1980 AL East - the Orioles chasing the Yankees for months and just...never...catching them.

You and me both. About the only difference is that in 1980 the O's caught up a bit earlier, after beating the Yanks 6 out of 8 times over a 10 day stretch in mid-August. Those 5 games in Baltimore drew the largest 5 game series crowd in the history of Memorial Stadium, and the last two games have to both rank in the top 10 or 15 regular season games in Orioles' history. Scott McGregor beat Rudy May on Sunday in a classic 1-0 pitchers duel, striking out Reggie three straight times while throwing nothing but high and inside fastballs that Jackson couldn't lay off of. And the Monday night game ended with Bucky Dent taking a called third strike from Tim Stoddard with the tying and winning runs in scoring position. Dent just sat there screaming at Rich Garcia for what seemed like a full ten minutes, but I was sitting directly behind the plate in the upper deck and that pitch was right down the middle. Great as this year's Orioles season was, it couldn't come close to matching the frenzy of Memorial Stadium during the Hagy years.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4279283)

I think the Yankees were greatly aided by the implosion of the Jays and the Red Sox. They had a good year but the AL wasn't very good, the AL East was nowhere near as good as it has been and they shouldn't be over-confident going into the offseason. They had good results, but Yankee fans, I think, weren't fooled into thinking this was a quality team.


Yea, but the O's weren't the doormat they usually are, and the Rays were still pretty good.

I think there was a tremendous amount of parity in the AL this year though. I thought the Rangers were the closest thing to a dominant team, and they fall apart in the last three weeks. No team strikes me as just god awful with maybe the Twins being the closest. I look forward to the day in which every team finishes 82-80!
   22. Danny Posted: October 22, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4279286)
I look forward to the day in which every team finishes 82-80!

I look forward to the Astros.
   23. RollingWave Posted: October 22, 2012 at 09:01 PM (#4279582)
The Yankees did about the rough average expectancy of them in this season, though the way they did it was certainly.... interesting... losing Rivera and Pineda, having what was really a rather injury laden season, but thx to Eric Chavez suddenly playing something like the Eric Chavez of old as well as Derek Jeter suddenly looking a couple years younger. And then going fairly far into the Post season but not all the way. (albeit most didn't expect a rather story filled ALDS win followed by a total disastor of a ALCS)

But it is kinda good now (for the Yankees, not for everyone else) that the Yankees top brass generally has a cool head and no longer make those knee jerk crazy moves that often anymore. though obviously given the team's age it's inevitable they need some serious turn over soon.

   24. BDC Posted: October 22, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4280086)
they fall apart in the last three weeks

One week, please. With six games to play, they'd just split a series with Oakland to stay four games ahead. I still prefer the story of that "collapse" to be an Oakland win instead of a Rangers' loss. Yes, the Rangers played like they were narcoleptic, but Oakland still had to sweep Seattle to be in a position to win the division with another sweep. I prefer the story to be that the A's won, for lots of reasons …

Given the parity, and relative to expectations, should any team be all that disappointed? The Angels improved over '11. The White Sox didn't really figure to get as close as they did. Cleveland, maybe. But even Texas had a lot of good weeks till their one bad one. I won't tell Yankees fans whether to be disappointed or not, though. Suffering is subjective :(
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 22, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4280134)
Given the parity, and relative to expectations, should any team be all that disappointed?


I can think of one. Well, I can think of two. But fear not. The first went out and got the guy who managed the second. Yay.
   26. BDC Posted: October 22, 2012 at 11:57 PM (#4280296)
I'm sorry, I have this impolite aversion to thinking about the team that went out and got the other manager. They'll be back. If not, somebody will write a bittersweet novel called Bobby V We Hardly Knew Ye :)
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 23, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4280299)
I'm sorry, I have this impolite aversion to thinking about the team that went out and got the other manager.


Hey, it beats your earlier tendency toward being carcinogenic.

   28. BDC Posted: October 23, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4280408)
Hey, it beats your earlier tendency toward being carcinogenic

:-D We can all safely root for the Tigers now without threatening public health.

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