By Barbara Anne Kirshner
The 2021 baseball season fizzled out for the Yankees with their embarrassing 6 to 2 loss against the Red Sox in the AL wild-card game. Fans were abruptly forced into a long, cold winter with the only ray of sunshine coming from the promise of spring training.
It is frustrating that Yankee fans were reduced to watching the ALDS with their arch nemesis the Boston Red Sox playing their villainous rivals the Tampa Bay Rays and then the ALCS with the Red Sox advancing on to play the sign stealing Astros. And the meanest cut of all is those dishonest Astros making it into the World Series against pearl-sporting Joc Pederson and the rest of the Atlanta Braves. The heart has been taken out of postseason for Yankee fans, but if there is any justice in this world the Braves will shut out the Astros.
There is much speculation over what our team will look like come 2022. The lingering question of will Yankee’s manager, Aaron Boone, face the same ax that the Mets’ Luis Rojas got as soon as the season ended was answered when General Manager, Brian Cashman, held a press conference on Oct. 19, where he announced Boone would receive a three year contract with the Yankees.
Cashman defended this decision by saying, “Boone is part of the solution not the problem.” This response has only added to the frustration of Yankee fans. Apparently, Cashman feels his shake-up in the coaching staff with firing hitting coach, Marcus Thames, third-base coach, Phil Nevin, and assistant hitting coach, P.J. Pilittere, is the easy fix.
In that Tuesday press conference, Cashman went on to take all the blame for the Yankee’s dismal season. He is almost putting his own head on the chopping block with statements like that. By taking ownership for the failures, does this mean he’s out next year when his contract is up?
One thing Cashman promised is that the roster needs a turnover and will not look the same next year. Cashman admits they are seeking a short stop, a catcher and even center fielder. So, what is the fate of Aaron Hicks who spend most of this season on the IL for a wrist injury?
And it is well-documented that Hal Steinbrenner, Chairman and Managing General Partner of Yankee Global Enterprises, does not rule with an iron fist like his dad, George, who went into every season with the foregone conclusion that his Yankees would win.
It appears the heart has gone out of the Yankees. At the end of this season, only two players carried the entire team, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. D.J. LeMahieu was a dud. He has undergone sports hernia surgery and is expected to be ready for spring training. Let’s hope that will get him back to 2019 shape.
Gleyber Torres, at only 24 years old, played like an old man, limping along when he should have been running to catch a ball. And the old man of the team, Brett Gardner, still has spirit though inconsistent at best. Don’t even get me started on Aroldis Chapman! Every time he came to the mound, it was cringe worthy! He has given away so many important games that it is perplexing he keeps getting chance after chance with Yankee fans reduced to sitting on the edge of their seats not knowing which Chapman will appear on any given day. Will it be the aggressor he was signed to be or will he melt down before our very eyes giving away the game?
What is there to say about the disappointing start of Gerrit Cole, the golden boy with his $324 million dollar contract, who was not so golden after all. He gave up two home runs before he was pulled in the second inning of that wild-card game. It looks like those spider tack rumors were true!
Poor catcher, Gary Sanchez, never gets a break. Yes, he fumbles behind the plate and fell into a long slump, but at least he worked hard, regrouped and started hitting home runs. At the end of this season, Sanchez was someone to count on for at least get on base.
I feel your frustration Yankee fans! We are reduced to boredom for the remainder of this 2021 season and we don’t even care who wins the World Series now that our ‘mighty’ Yankees have struck out.
Miller Place resident Barbara Anne Kirshner is a freelance journalist, playwright and author of Madison Weatherbee —The Different Dachshund.