AL Wild Card spot.
But thanks to sub-par and inconsistent competition courtesy of the Rays, Rangers, Orioles, Indians and Royals, the Yankees are still clinging to life for a coveted postseason berth.
Looking at all the teams above, not one stands out as destined for October.
Many experts are using team’s strength of schedule as a predictor for who should continue to the postseason, but I don’t think this fact lends much in regards to this particular pennant race.
That is because all six teams have been consistently inconsistent all season, so you might have better luck picking the two Wild Cards out of a hat.
But the Yankees have one thing that their competitors do not that can propel them at least into winning one of the Wild Cards.
It has nothing to do with anything physical.
Nor is it based on how many talented or injured players your team might have, as you can’t buy or sell this.
What is it that the Yankees have that no other contending team does?
And at the very least, Mo deserves to end his career pitching in a postseason game and the Yankees players are the only ones who can make this happen.
Otherwise the greatest closer ever to play the game will finish his illustrious, 19-year career on September 29th at 2:30pm, at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. The Astros are currently the worst team in baseball posting a 51-99 record.
Maybe it’s me, but doesn’t that ending seem totally wrong and unfitting?
And I am not one of those Yankees fans living in la-la, convincing myself that this team could win the World Series or anything.
But winning a Wild Card berth is in this team’s reach, and sending Mo off in October would be fitting.
Below are two short lists that might make you believe that the Yankees can do this.
The first is of pro-athletes who did retire on top; and the second is of those who retired after getting to the championship but in the end were defeated.
Went out on top…
- New York Yankees – Joe Dimaggio – 1953 World Series.
- Baltimore Ravens – Ray Lewis – Super Bowl XLVII
- San Antonio Spurs – David Robinson – 2003 NBA Finals.
- New York Giants – Michael Strahan – Super Bowl XLII.
- Denver Broncos – John Elway – Super Bowl XXXIII.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Jerome Bettis – Super Bowl XL.
Came very close…
- New York Mets – Willie Mays – 1973 World Series.
- Brooklyn Dodgers – Jackie Robinson – 1956 World Series.
- Cleveland Browns – Jim Brown – 1965 NFL Championship Game.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 1989 NBA Finals.
I will leave you with two quotes.
The first from Ravens Terrell Suggs about winning the Super Bowl for Ray Lewis:
“Ultimate cake. There will never be another leader like him and we sent him out like his brothers, and his legacy will go untainted.”
And the last from Ravens Ed Reed who told Sports Illustrated after the Super Bowl on how it was a tough road:
“The game was a replay of the whole year. Started good, got ugly, but ended great. It ended great.”
Mo deserves the very best sendoff, but the question to do his teammates have the same spirit to make the postseason happen?