I didn’t write about baseball much this year. Didn’t watch it much either, for that matter. The Yankees sort of backed into the postseason, playing very badly in September. I didn’t have much hope for them in the postseason. In that sense, they didn’t disappoint me.
The great Yankees team of the late 1990s—home-grown players and veteran gamers I cared about, and headed by a great leader—feels very long ago. Now the old guard is just old (actually they are around my age), and the rest of the players are mere mercenaries. They have a guileless manager who seems out of tricks when the team doesn’t play well. My fanhood runs hot and cold these days. It’s just not the same.
I’m writing about it now because of something I’ve been avoiding for some reason: Ken Burns’ “Baseball: The Tenth Inning”. Tonight I stumbled on the second half, the “Bottom of the Tenth” which, as well as being a depressing chronicle of the sport’s doping scandals, is a depressing two hours of Yankees-bashing. Watching it, I had to relive the two worst moments in my life as a baseball fan: their losses in the 2001 World Series and the 2004 American League Championship. You would think from watching this documentary that Mariano Rivera did nothing in his career except blow important games. The first half better be really good, or no spare change for PBS this Christmas.