I don’t know if the Yankees have ever looked so screwed before. Game one looked, for a moment, to be the typical Yankee mythology, making up four runs in the ninth inning. But, then things took a darker turn in the twelfth, starting with Derek Jeter’s ankle.
I’m sure it comes as a surprise to no one that I’m pulling for the Tigers in this series. Even so, I feel a certain sadness over Jeter. I’ve written here before about how my perception of Jeter has changed over time. I didn’t like him for a long time because he was the Yankees personified. But, the more I think about it, he really has handled his career in the best possible way in virtually every situation. The guy goes out, gives it the proverbial 110% every night in a market that is not the most forgiving. He has handled the media with class and dignity at all times. I don’t know what more you could ask for. It doesn’t sound like this break will end his career, but it’s just a shame to see him go down in the playoffs like that. And, you know, he’s not a spring chicken any more. It might take significantly longer than anybody realizes right now for that ankle to heal. And if he’s not ready for spring training, who knows? It’s not entirely out of the question that we’ve seen the last of the Captain.* But, if Jeter had to pick a way to go out, an injury on a play giving it his all had to be high on his list. To quote Tony Kornheiser** on PTI, “going out like a warrior.”
*I know the Yankees have had many, many captains through the years, but has there been another player that really seems to embody being the Yankees’ captain in every facet the way Jeter has? And to do it in an age where the media is all-consuming as we live in now, it really is just impressive. And, on a related note, is another team (except for possibly the Red Sox, and even that seems to be on a much lower level) that we care about who the captain is the way we care about the Yankee captain?
**I think it was Tony, anyway. If it was Wilbon, my apologies to him.
Over in the National League, the Giants have a problem. AT&T Park has been nothing by kryptonite to them in the playoffs. That may not sound like the biggest problem in the world, except that AT&T Park is in San Francisco, and you have home field “advantage.” After being manhandled there twice by the Reds, they were flawless on the road. Last night looked pretty bad other than the fourth inning. This is not the first time they’ve been shut out in eight out of nine innings this October, either. They made it work, however improbably, against the Reds, but this just isn’t a strategy I think you’ll be able to ride all the way to the championship. I know the Giants have an amazing rotation. I mean, they couldn’t even find a spot for Tim Lincecum to start, even after he seemed to right his season. But, as good as the pitching is, you’ve got to score some runs, and I just don’t know if the Giants have quite enough fire in their bats.
Of course, I think I said that every round of the 2010 playoffs, and we all saw how that worked out.
Over on the gridiron, this weekend played out exactly how I predicted. The Colts had their letdown against the Jets, pretty well out of the game by halftime. The Boilers looked plain impotent against Wisconsin, unfortunately reverting back to “who we thought they were” territory. I’m starting to get a little worried about a bowl berth. And I don’t think Ohio St. will take it easy on Purdue after being beat in West Lafayette twice in a row and almost slipping up against lowly Indiana.
But, as almost always, Wabash remained a bright spot. Even after senior All-American quarterback Chase Belton went down fairly early with a mild concussion, the Little Giants romped in St. Louis, beating the Washington Bears 34-14. Going through an Alumni Breakfast Club with Kristine and her college roomies pretty well made sure that I didn’t stay awake to actually watch Wabash, though. I did see we were up 20-7 at halftime, which told me pretty well all I needed to know. Thanks to some other upsets, this week’s win led to a little bit bigger jump in the polls, up to thirteenth this week. It’s not sixth or seventh like we were, but much better than seventeenth.
The Giants give it another go tonight. Surely the can’t lose four in a row at home, can they?