Don’t declare the Yankees dead just yet

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As I wrote this morning, the smart money is on the Tigers. They’re up 2-0, they’re at home and they have Justin Verlander on the hill. Not a bad way to live life.

But no matter who is favored, I’m rather surprised at how many people seem to be totally writing the Yankees off as dead.  Sure, if they don’t turn things around quickly they are roadkill, but there is nothing about their current plight that is 100% unprecedented or 100% fatal.  From the AP:

The 1974 Oakland Athletics won the World Series despite hitting .198 in the postseason. The 1962 Yankees did as well, even though Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were a combined 7 for 48. Perhaps the most encouraging historical memory for the Yankees comes from another of their championship seasons. In 1996, New York was shut down by Atlanta in the first two games of the World Series. At that point, the Braves had won five straight games by a combined score of 48-2. Then the Yankees took the next four and won the title.

I remember 1996 quite well, of course.

The point isn’t that things are good for the Yankees. They’re awful!  The point is that fundamental nature of baseball simply does not prohibit anyone who is hitting poorly to suddenly start hitting well. It certainly does not prohibit anyone who is down 2-0 to come back.  Momentum in such matters is a myth.

I think the Tigers will win this because so much is in their favor at the moment and thus so are the odds.  But if the Yankees break out the bats tonight and win a game against Justin Verlander — and Verlander did lose eight times this year — they find themselves down 2-1 and with their ace, CC Sabathia on the mound tomorrow.

In light of that, why does it seem so hard for people to acknowledge at least the possibility for a comeback?

Twins hire Baseball America’s John Manuel to work in the pro scouting department

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John Manuel of Baseball America announced via his Facebook on Tuesday that he has been hired by the Twins to work in the club’s pro scouting department. Manuel started working for Baseball America in 1996 and has been an editor for the publication since 2005.

The Twins have been among the slowest teams in baseball to modernize, but a recent reconstruction of the front office helped the team reach the postseason as a Wild Card team. Manuel will work with a front office that includes president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine.

The Twins aren’t the only team to poach baseball writers. The Astros’ front office, for example, includes former Baseball Prospectus writers Kevin Goldstein, Mike Fast, and Colin Wyers. So it’s not surprising to see Manuel get a job with the Twins.