October 21, 2019

Do They, Now?

Mike Lupica, once considered (by some) as one of the best sportswriters in the country, is a shell of a poor man's version of his former self.

All he can do at this point is string together basic statements of fact. He puts maybe four or five of these bland sentences together, then hits "enter" a couple of times and starts a new paragraph. Any person reading his column could do his job at this point.

Lupica's latest Daily News column has a nice headline - "Coming Through In October Is Not A Yankee Tradition This Decade" - but it's a brutal (yet fascinating) read. Here are its first four paragraphs, with each sentence given its own line:
The last World Series game the Yankees played was in November of 2009. [Hey, Mr. Writer. How about starting your first sentence with the subject of your piece? "The Yankees played their last World Series game ..." And I have a big pet peeve about "of" in a date. Hate it. And why not give the actual date, since it's a big deal in the context of what he's writing [sic]?]

Derek Jeter had three hits at the new Stadium, on the night when the Yankees brought all their winning over to the north side of 161st St. [Here is the box score.]

Andy Pettitte was the starter and the great Mariano Rivera was the closer and Jorge Posada was behind the plate. [And Damaso Marte got a hold and the great J.A. Happ pitched for the Phillies and Dana DeMuth was the right field umpire. ... Looks like Lupica does not consider Pettitte and Posada "great".]

The Yankees won their 27th Series that night against the Phillies.

Once again the Series was theirs.

And ours in New York City.

The Yankees have been waiting for No. 28 ever since. [Passively waiting for a knock on the door ...]

They had a chance to bring the Series back to the Bronx and back to the city this weekend in Houston, if they could have become the first Yankee team in over 50 years to come from three games to one down and win at this time of year.

Then the new Yankee closer, Aroldis Chapman, gave up one of the most famous October home runs any Yankee pitcher has ever given up, to Jose Altuve, one of the littlest big men in baseball history.

Brett Gardner turned and watched a season end in the Yankee outfield the way Yogi once turned and watched Bill Mazeroski's home run go over the left field wall in Forbes Field a million years ago. [He's so precise with dates, but he can't type 1960? Also, four sentences from now, he'll refer to FDR's first year as president, which was 1933, aka two million years ago?]

The Astros did to Aaron Boone's Yankees what Boone once did to the Red Sox, on the other side of 161st St., in the bottom of the 11th, Game 7 of the ALCS, 2003.

And now the World Series belongs to somebody else.


It belongs to Houston for the second time in three years and to Washington, D.C., which hasn't had one since the first year FDR was president.

To Yankees fans, it is starting to feel as if it has been that long for them.
Lupica offers absolutely nothing a fan could not get from either watching the game or looking at the box score. Lupica wastes 48 words reminding us what happened when Chapman faced Altuve last fucking night! (He's like one of those inane MLB "Flashback" videos that show clips from the 2019 NLDS. Flashback! To five days ago!)

Lupica clues us in that Houston won the pennant — no, sorry, what he writes is that the World Series "belongs to Houston". Whatever the hell that means (because no one has ever said that about a pennant-winning team, ever).

No analysis. No perspective. No style. No guru. No method. No teacher.

King Obvious's History Lesson doesn't get any better as you read on - he tells us TWICE that 10 years without a World Series appearance feels like 100 years to MFY fans - though you might chuckle here and there:
For three straight years, these Yankees have played exceptional baseball.

If you count the playoffs, they have won a total of 308 baseball games in this span. [294 games if you don't. Why does he feel the need to tell us they won "baseball" games?]

They just produced one of the most satisfying – and admirable – seasons in Yankee history, winning 103 regular season games after they put 30 players on the injured list.

Now they lose two crushing extra-inning games to the Astros.

Carlos Correa hits an 11th inning home run in Game 2.

Altuve walks off with their season, after midnight in New York on Sunday morning. [After midnight comes the morning, yes.]

Once again, a very good Yankee team was not good enough.

They thought they had enough bullpen and enough stick – enough to put a $300 million sticker named Giancarlo Stanton on the bench Saturday night – to get back to the Series.

In the end, the most important guy in their bullpen walked George Springer with two outs and then watched Altuve lose one. [Which you have now mindlessly repeated three times, including twice only 41 words apart.]

Two years ago, they came to Minute Maid Park ahead of the Astros three games to two, not behind. [That was 2017.]

They were that close to their first Series in since '09. [Editors are sometimes useful.]

Then they scored one run in the last two games that year. [Good old 2017.]

Not as good as the Astros then. [2017, yo.]

Not as good as the Astros now. [2019, which is not 2017.]

Even at the end, in what was called a bullpen game in Game 6, the Astros bullpen was better. ["What was called" ... by who? ... Oh. Everyone.]

Final score says so.

They bring the Series back to Houston this week.

The Yankees go home.

And 10 years since the last Series starts to feel like 100 to Yankees fans.

As much of a show as they have been, and they were as much a regular-season show as they've been in 20 years, the Yankees have now played two World Series since 2000.

They have played one in the last 16 years. [Isn't math amazing?]

This continues to be the longest stretch they have gone without playing a World Series since the 15 years between '81 and the appearance of Torre's Yankees in 1996. [Good lord. You said they played in one WS in 16 years and that was their longest stretch without playing in a WS! From one sentence to the next, he's clueless. And no World Series appearances from 1982 to 1995 is 14 years (actually, it's 13, since there was no WS in 1995). So much for math.]

This loss to the Astros does not diminish the season they gave their fans. [And yet you will claim, six short sentences later, that the Yankees always have "expectations" of winning it all. So which is it? Has 2019 been diminished or not?]

The Yankees won 100 regular season games in 2018.

The Red Sox were better, winning 108. [108 > 100!]

This year the Astros won 107 to the Yankees' 103.

Now the Astros get them again in the postseason.

This is what it used to feel like for the old Knicks when they were going up against Michael Jordan.

But these are the Yankees.

And the Yankees, in the words of Reggie Jackson, have "expectations," no matter how long it's been since they last won it all, with old Yankee champs like Jeter and Jorge and Andy and Mo.

Now they start all over, after this kind of ending. [That what all 30 teams do at the end of every season, including the WS winner. They start all over, the following spring, at 0-0.]

They have to wonder what they can do, if anything, with Stanton, whom they never needed, certainly not with an A-Rod-like contract that feels as long as the current Word Series draught. [Why the British spelling, old bean? Does that drought feel like 10 years or 100 years or since 1933?]

They have to be prepared to throw Stanton-like money at Gerrit Cole, who just dominated them in an ALCS the way Justin Verlander did two years ago. [Again, that was 2017.]

Over the last three years, the reality is that the Astros got Verlander and Cole and the Yankees did not. [True. I saw those guys wearing "baseball" uniforms with "Astros" on the front a couple of days ago.]

It really does seem as if the Yankees haven't had a starting pitcher overpower somebody the way Cole overpowered them last week since Roger Clemens struck out 15 Mariners in October of 2000.

In the end, the Yankees didn't lose to the Astros because of starting pitching.

They lost because they didn't hit enough in the clutch – until LeMahieu – in this postseason the way they didn't last year against the Red Sox. ["They didn't hit enough in the clutch the way they didn't last year" ... This professional writer's salary would shock you.]

And in Games 6 and 7 the year before that. [Once more, that's 2017.]

"The ultimate pain," Boone said when it was over. [Well, he likely would not have said that before it was over.]

One World Series for the Yankees since he inflicted that kind of pain on the Red Sox once. [A good editor would have deleted that "once".]

Ten years and counting since the last Series.

Feels like a hundred to Yankee fans. [So I've heard. ... It feels like a hundred years since I started reading this column.]

They used to make everybody else wait 'till next year. [But you just said the Yankees went 15 [sic] years between World Series appearances, so I don't understand.]

Now they do. [Barely makes sense following the previous sentence. "They used to make everyone ... Now they do."]

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