I am a diehard Yankee fan, remembering watching the 1996 team and getting goosebumps as I could feel the stadium shake through my TV. I lived vicariously through Scott Brosius–cuz on the field I am not a big talker yet always hoping to be a hero like he was in ’98 Fall Classic. I shed a tear as we all chanted “Paul O’Neill” in his last game and watched this warrior always lay it on the line and smash one to many coolers.
This Yankees team is mediocre–closer to last than first at 28-28. This year may be different as their 12 year post-season run is on the line. Even if Jorge Posada comes back healthy and Mike Mussina and Andy Petitte do not wear down, can the Yankees make it to the playoffs? I never thought the crossword loving Moose would be tied for the AL lead in victories with 8. Yes, Giambi is heating up. But how long can he wear that thong? Can we forget the ever steady Hideki Matsui leading the team and the AL in batting (.330)? Last but not least, we have the best closer ever to play the game. Reliable and amazing Mariano. For all of us Yankees fans, there is still a glimmer of hope.
Our Yanks can’t just worry about themselves this year though. There are too many teams to climb over. The Rays (yes the Rays!) are for real and the hated Sox are still the team to beat. The Blue Jays will compete as well with two top aces in Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett. With too many aging veterans, a suspect rotation, and a mismatch bullpen of Ohlendorf, Hawkins, and Farnsworth, there is a lot to make me nervous and reach for that bottle of Pepto.
Talent is important, but this team needs passion. That is why I love #62– a charismatic, yet fiery, hurler from Lincoln, Nebraska. He brings it. He doesn’t care. He throws hard, strikes people out and lets it out. He screams, pumps his arms and get his teammates excited. Some say he’s showing the batter up, but isn’t baseball supposed to be a kid’s game? Baseball is fun, right? The stadium comes alive as he trots in from the bullpen. We watch with anticipation with every 95 mph heater and that bending slider.
I put my faith in this 22 year old pitcher to relight the fire and begin our resurgence. On Tuesday, Joba, I trust…