The Yankees are mad at Buck Showalter for pulling his stars early in their final game on Sunday. Are they right to be upset?
On one hand, I totally agree that a team should not lay down when there are playoff implications. I will go to my grave believing that the Reds and Astros didn’t give it all they had in the final week-and-a-half of the 1991 season, when they combined to lose eight of the Braves last nine games in the first of the Braves’ 14 consecutive division championships, and I am obviously still not over it. On the other hand, if the Dodgers hadn’t lost three of their last four games, it wouldn’t have mattered that the patsies laid down. And that’s really what it all comes down to.
My biggest issue with the Yankees’ gripe is consistency. As Buster Olney pointed out in today’s blog on ESPN.com:
Here’s the thing: It’s not up to the Rangers to help the Yankees. If home-field advantage was so important, the Yankees should’ve beaten the Royals one more time — remember how Kansas City swept them — or beaten the Devil Rays occasionally. Then, they could’ve controlled their own destiny.
Here’s another question: If the Yankees were so devoted to getting the home-field advantage and deserved Showalter’s support, why did they start Jaret Wright instead of Mike Mussina on Sunday?
The Rangers were up 4-1 on the Angels when they pulled Mark Texeira, Hank Blalock, and Michael Young for pinch runners in the third inning. Showalter viewed the act like a basketball coach replacing his star player in the last seconds of a game, giving the home crowd the opportunity to applaud a job well done. I don’t think baseball players necessarily need that, since the fans would have had the same opportunity when those guys came up to bat in the 8th or 9th inning or whatever, but that’s not the point. I think the Yankees have developed an overactive sense of entitlement, and they need to realize that if your problems are someone else’s fault, then you don’t deserve credit for your successes either.