True baseball rears its head in October. If you can’t master the fundamentals of the game, you will get exposed. The pomp and circumstance of home run highlights and one-dimensional displays that overshadow baseball’s multi-faceted culture gives way to the intricate beauty of the sport and the wait…wait..bang that morphs into the pulse of the game as it takes playoff form and reverts back to its authentic self.
Guys who hit 62 homers during a regular season that allows them to feast on subpar pitching and tanking teams, can easily go 1-for-16 as AL MVP favorite Aaron Judge did during Houston’s four-game sweep of the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. He accepted the blame for “not stepping up when the team needed it.”
Aaron Judge Is Mired In Slump At Wrong Time For The Yankees | MLBbro Giancarlo Stanton’s Homer Can’t Save Pinstripes, Cleveland Ties ALDS
But one would be silly to assume that he could have carried the Yankees to victory over such a well-balanced and managed team by himself. His fellow MLBbro slugger Giancarlo Stanton was also non-existent.
While on a fast track to 500 career homers, Stanton only managed to muster 6 hits in 32 at bats during these playoffs, including a couple of early Bro bombs. He also failed to impose the kind of wood-waking that could compensate for Judge being in a mini-slump. With no other true threat to at least shake the opposition, the pressure on Judge to produce each and every at-bat has become a recipe for postseason disaster that he experienced for the sixth consecutive season.
This time, the unfortunate culmination to an historic season was another loss to Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros in the American League Championship series. It was a clean 4-0 sweep. The brooms were boomin’ in the Bronx. Another rain delay couldn’t even save the Yankees from Dusty’s destiny.
Judge’s decision to reject the Yankees’ $213.5 million extension through 2029 worked out brilliantly for him. Accepting such a deal would also have tainted the market, which is never good for player contracts. Prior to this season’s outburst, Judge was already a $300M player.
So shafting the initial offer and proving he is probably worth double that price for the right team was genius on his part. It’s showed guts and he will reap the glory.
What Happened ? Who Knows, But Don’t Blame The Bros
You can say the Yankees underachieved. You can blame the front office for not assembling a team that can generate runs without hitting homers. You can blame the superstars for not showing up. You can blame the superior pitching of the Astros bullpen and the hooded baseball savant sitting in the dugout with his black gloves looking like a 73-year-old Kanye West.
Either way, it’s a lesson in the art of baseball. Championships usually come down to how well you execute pitching and defense. On the offensive side, it’s about a team’s ability to play small ball when the big licks just ain’t there.
MLB can never be compartmentalized into a video game, homer derby where the other aspects of the game that makes the sport watchable and exciting is put on the back burner and buried by metrics and numbers that don’t play true when the chips are on the line. You can’t measure the heart of a player. You can’t measure momentum and you definitely can’t compute destiny. Right now, as currently constructed, the Yankees aren’t built to win a World Series.
The Phillies and Astros, however, seem like teams of destiny. Real teams, doing real things who know where they are going. The Yankees seem lost in the woods. But don’t blame the Bros.