Wishing ill on the New York Yankees might be good for the soul but it is, ultimately, pointless. There are only so many creative insults one can lob toward the Bronx that won’t be instantly silenced by a cold, dispassionate utterance of the unofficial Yankees mantra: count the rings.
Worse yet: counting the rings can and does stop any good natured ribbing dead in its tracks. No team can argue more success, both in the last twenty years or the long history of the American League, than the New York Yankees. Few teams can claim a better nucleus of homegrown players than the authors of the last 18+ years of Yankees, all best known for their work in pinstripes.
Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Jorge Posada up the middle. Andy Pettitte on the hill in October, Mariano Rivera taking over late, baseball’s all-time leader in playoff games pitched. Since 1995, these are autumnal constants for baseball fans.
The Yankees have weathered the departure of most of their “golden generation”, the core of stars and near-stars that back-boned the Yankees to World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009, not to mention claiming the AL pennant in 2001 and 2003. All told, the Yankees only missed the postseason once in the Wild Card era – 2008. While the Yankees spent big on free agents and took on more and more salary to keep that machine running, the Yankees always featured that collection of well-known names.
The Yankees are, barring a miracle, poised to add a second playoff-less season to their unbelievable ledger of regular season triumphs. Not officially dead yet but, as they prepare to battle the Rays in Tampa Bay, the Yankees wildcard hopes are riding off into the sunset, following two more of their most recognizable stars.
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