By Andy Singer
It isn’t always pretty nor does the end of the game ever seem to go according to plan, but the Yankees are abiding by the Al Davis creed: “Just win, baby.” That’s what the Yankees are doing over the last couple of weeks by any means necessary. Remember when the Red Sox were the toast of the league with their surprising start? Yeah, the Yanks are up by a game and a half on them following this week’s sweep. It’s a joy to watch, particularly when some of the long shots contribute the way they have. From a raw analytical and logical perspective, I don’t think Andrew Velazquez is anyone’s idea of an ideal shortstop on a competitive ballclub. But right now? I love watching him play. This team finally has some personality and they just look looser. Winning will do that. I think a lot more of it is on the way.
As always, thanks for the great questions, and keep them coming to SSTNReadermail@gmail.com. In this week’s SSTN Mailbag, we’ll talk about the Yankees’ uniforms, Sevy’s nebulous return, and the final stretch of the AL East race. Let’s get at it:
Michael S. asks: After watching the highs and lows of last night’s Field of Dreams game, the uniforms still are on my mind (trying to forget that ending may take some time too). The White Sox unis were sick! My dad’s comment was “why don’t the Yankees have special uniforms too?”. Honestly, they looked nearly identical to the modern uniform, with a slight tweak here and there (and that awful “swoosh” on the chest). I know the Yankees are a team of history and tradition, so don’t beat me up too bad for this, but… Is it time the Yankees had an overhaul to their uniform?? So many teams have great looking updated uniforms, and alternate jerseys now. What is holding the Yankees back from throwing something new in the mix?
Ah, Michael, I don’t bite…much, and I’m better trained than I used to be! In all seriousness, I’ve heard from a lot of fans who were very disappointed with the Yankees’ uniforms in comparison to the White Sox’s uniforms at the Field of Dreams game. I am a very hardcore traditionalist when it comes to the Yankees’ uniforms, but I’m going to try to look at the other side of the coin here.
The truth is, I too found the Yankees’ appearance in Iowa underwhelming. The oversized, interlocking NY hat didn’t evoke any feelings of early 20th century baseball for me, so I do think the Yankees missed the mark on uniforms by a bit. Much as I would prefer to see the Yankees wear either their pinstripes or away gray uniforms all the time, I think there is a place for the occasional appearance of an alternate uniform. The truth is that I probably won’t like it, but I think they can come up with something that most people would appreciate. Now that the Yankees have the Nike “swoosh” on their uniforms, fans are already getting used to the idea of change with the Yankees’ iconic uniforms. I don’t want to see the everyday uniforms change, but a new alternate could be fun.
Here’s an idea: the Yankees should present 2 or 3 alternate uniform ideas to fans prior to Spring Training. Then during Spring Training, the Yankees could play exclusively in those uniforms while fans vote on the ultimate alternate uniform selection. Whichever uniform wins the fan vote becomes the new Yankee alternate that gets used 10-15 times during the season.
I would issue a word of caution though. I’ve been very lucky through my day job to travel abroad to places where baseball is either non-existent or far down the list of popularity. Even in those places, I’ve seen the interlocking NY hats and pinstriped uniforms. The New York Yankees really are an international brand, and people associate pinstripes and the current hat with the Yankees all over the world. The Yankee tradition is a very real marketing tool for the team, and the relative lack of change in the uniform department is part of that mystique. Too much change is a dangerous game to play, but a little tasteful change might be fun.
Brad asks: Is Sevy done for the year?
Woof, this one hurts. All of the video from both of Sevy’s aborted rehab stints has been nothing short of electric. Sevy’s fastball has sat in the mid-to-high 90s with the wipeout slider we know can wreak havoc on opposing lineups. Most interestingly, the change-up, Severino’s best pitch in the minor leagues which had deserted him in 2019 through elbow troubles, looked like his best pitch. Yankee fans had good reason to be excited.
I am very worried about the shoulder “tightness” Severino experienced earlier this week. A second opinion and no new news for days is a really bad sign. At this point, I have a hard time believing that Sevy’s ability to build up enough to start even if he gets a clean bill of health. The best case scenario is that Sevy comes back in mid-September to be a multi-inning weapon out of the bullpen. The worst case scenario is that he gets shut down for the remainder of the year. I think we’ve reached the point where it’s a 50-50 proposition that Severino pitches this year. Every day that we don’t hear something about his shoulder hurts those odds.
Keep your fingers crossed. I’m not sure where this is going, but it’s not looking good.
Gary asks: Can the Yankees win the AL East? Am I nuts for believing?
No, I don’t think you’re crazy. As of this morning, the Yanks are 5 games back from the Rays with a little over a month’s worth of games left. I wish the Yankees played the Rays more frequently in September, but if the Yankees keep winning at anything close to their current pace, it’s totally possible for the Yanks to catch the Rays.
The trick is going to be finding solid innings from multiple pitchers through September. The bullpen is stressed pretty close to the water line right now, so a couple of new faces have to step up.
At the end of the day, I’ve been the optimist in the room with the Yanks all year. The law of averages dictated that the Yankees were going to bounce back, and we’re seeing the overcorrection right now. I think there’s a good chance it continues through September.