Wednesday, September 03, 2008

No Yankees In Post-Season, So Why Bother?

What will we do, with the New York Yankees not in the playoffs?

Who will we root against? Over whose misfortune will we revel, with the Yankees not in the post-season party, losing to an inferior opponent? Which player will we mock as being horse (manure -- a nod to Jim Leyland's rant about Justin Verlander yesterday) in the clutch, without Alex Rodriguez to cackle at? Which owner will we wonder is about to pop an aorta, with the Steinbrenner family gone fishing this fall?

It's real, folks. The Yankees are likely to be outsiders looking in for the first time in 14 years, when Fall Ball begins in a few weeks. Oh, they're in it, mathematically, but the magic number for their elimination is dwindling. It's 17 now, with only a couple dozen games or so to play.

So what will we do?

Well, there's the Tampa Bay Rays -- the "feel good" story of 2008. The Rays did it all in one year: changed their name (dropping the "Devil" portion), changed their uniforms, had their first winning season in team history, and are about to make the playoffs for the first time, too. That's quite an about face.

There's the sizzling AL Central race between the White Sox and the Twins -- the loser of which is likely to miss the playoffs entirely.

There's the wacky NL West -- a division where the winner, once again, will barely be over .500.

And there's Feel Good Story II -- the Chicago Cubs/Milwaukee Brewers, one of whom could either: a) end a 26-year-old playoff drought (Milwaukee), or, dare we say, b) a 100-year World Series drought (Cubs).

There's also the outside chance that the Tigers' wounds will have salt poured in them, if the Florida Marlins somehow sneak into the playoffs, and Andrew Miller pitches in October for them.

So there's a lot to watch as the season ends and the post-season begins.

But without the Yankees around for it, isn't some of the fun gone?


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