Perspectives: How About That!
by Paul Semendinger
August 18, 2021
There’s an old baseball adage that you’re never as good as you look when you’re winning and you’re never as bad as you look when you’re losing.
For much of the season, the Yankees looked bad. Real bad. They were bad to the point where they were no fun to even watch.
But now, boy do they look good. They look great. They look fantastic.
Earlier in the year, they’d find ways to lose games.
Now they find ways to hang in there and win.
As a Yankees fan, I want to watch them win. Period. It’s that simple. And right now, they are winning. A ton.
The Yankees are 22-5 over their last 27 games. 22-5. Holy Cow!
Now the hope is that this isn’t an illusion. The hope is that these are the 2021 Yankees going forward. The hope is that they are this good.
If they are… look out!
Good times could be coming.
On July 25, the Yankees were nine games in back of the Red Sox in the loss column.
They are now ahead of the Red Sox in the standings.
If the season ended today, the Yankees would be in the post season. The Red Sox would be looking from the outside.
In baseball’s first century, up until 1920, the Red Sox were the better team when comparing them to the Yankees. By that point, the Red Sox had won five World Championships. The Yankees, had won none. But, in 1921, the Yankees reached the World Series and it all changed. The Red Sox wouldn’t win another championship that century.
Up through 2020, the Red Sox have been the better team of this century when comparing them to the Yankees. The Red Sox (from 2001 on) have “out-championshiped” the Yankees four to one. Now it’s 2021 and the Yankees have moved ahead of the Sox.
Might this be like 1921 all over again, when the Yankees first reached the World Series?
I’d be happy with World Series appearance in 2021, 2022, 2023, 2026, 2027, and 2028. THat sounds like a good plan.
Of note though, Aaron Judge better not get thrown out trying to steal to end the 2026 World Series.
Or, if he does, he better hit 60 homers in 2027.
Am I sold on the 2021 Yankees yet? No, not entirely. The games they are winning each seem like miracles.
On Twitter, Katie Sharp notes that the Yankees have been amazing in games scored by fewer than two runs:
Yankees in games decided by 1 or 2 runs: 68 games – most in MLB 45 wins – most in MLB .662 win pct – best in MLB — Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) August 18, 2021
Baseball is a game of inches.
The Yankees have been winning by inches.
Does this prove that they are good, really good?
Or does this prove that they are lucky, really lucky?
In the end, it doesn’t matter much. In the end, the Yankees are winning.
In the end, it’s fun to see the end of the game and have the Yankees leaving the field with the high fives and the smiles.
Smiles are good.
I remember a long time ago, in the 1980s, going to a Yankees game with my dad who is a true baseball fan.
I don’t remember the specifics of the game, but it was a fantastic game. There was great defense, great pitching, stolen bases, clutch hits… you name it. From a baseball standpoint, it was entertaining and fun and well-played, by both teams.
All I know is that it was a close game and in the end, the Yankees lost.
As we were leaving, my dad said, “That was a great baseball game…”
I didn’t understand.
The Yankees lost.
To me, that wasn’t great.
I just hope the 2021 Yankees keep winning.
*** Sometimes the great players, or the players who do great, come out of nowhere.
Like Luis Gil.
He was a prospect, but who could have imagined that he would not allow a run in any of his first THREE starts?
Talk about a shot in the arm!
He has been amazing.
Stories like his are so fun.
Teams that win championships seem to have stories of players like Luis GIl who come out of nowhere to make a huge positive impact.
I love it.
Let me conclude with some quick thoughts on Aaron Boone…
I made these points in the comments section of a post yesterday. Because I had some things to take care of, and then a baseball game of my own, I didn’t have time to follow-up with the thoughts…
The point was brought up, accurately, that Aaron Boone’s Yankees look great and that his overall record as a manager, if one looks at winning percentage, is amazing. All of this is true.
This brings up the age-old question (for which no one really knows the answer): How much credit/blame does a manager deserve when a team wins or loses?
The Yankees are winning again under Aaron Boone. I have to give him credit for this. But, is it him… or is it the better balanced lineup, or the law of averages, or just plain old luck?
One aspect of the game that has been a constant under Aaron Boone’s leadership has been that the team, as a whole, does not play good fundamental baseball. They have played a sloppy brand of baseball. They have lacked situational awareness. They’ve very often been a fundamentally flawed team.
I have blamed Aaron Boone for those things. I have said that a better manager would have a team that plays a better brand of baseball. I believe that still.
But, maybe it’s just the players he was given.
Maybe those things are all Brian Cashman’s fault. Maybe he gave Aron Boone a collection of players who, together, could not win consistently because they were fundamentally flawed. It is apparent that once many of the “regular Yankees” were out of the lineup and new, young, energetic players were brought up, and some lefty bats acquired, that everything changed.
Is it the players, or the manager, or…
In the end, this is the age old question.
Right now the Yankees are winning.
From my perspective, Aaron Boone deserves and gets the credit… just as he deserved the blame when the Yankees weren’t winning.
He’s the manager. He gets the credit when they win. Whatever is happening, Aaron Boone is doing it right.
Maybe, for this team, Aaron Boone’s approach is exactly what the players need. If it is… great!
The Yankees are winning again.
They might make the playoffs.
Next stop, I hope, is the World Series.
(How about that!)