The Detroit Tigers punched their ticket to the World Series Thursday night, eliminating the suddenly punchless New York Yankees for the 3rd time in 7 years, 8-1. However, if you go by the tabloid media in New York, that ain't the story.
The Yankees have won just one World Series in the 9 years that Alex Rodriguez has been in the fabled pinstripes. As the postseason wore on, the media repeatedly harped on "A-Rod"'s repeated playoff struggles, all but saying that his 2009 heroics were in fact an aberration. However, whatever the malady is that hits Rodriguez like a ton of bricks every October, save for '09, it spread like a contagion through the rest of the lineup, as they seemed to have done just enough to oust division rival Baltimore in the ALDS a week ago, but couldn't get the lumber awakened fast enough. Suddenly, the Saturday night heroics of Raul Ibanez, who came over from Philadelphia in the offseason, were forgotten. Wednesday's postponement delayed the inevitable. Regardless of how they play in the regular season every year, the Tigers have the Yanks' number when October rolls around.
Over the last two days, there has been speculation that the Yankees would eat the remainder of Rodriguez's ridiculous contract, renegotiated during the 2007 postseason, during which time, "A-Rod" had seemingly parted company with that noted con artist/barrister/sports agent, Scott Boras, but the exorbitant deal was Boras level highway robbery. In order to effect a trade of Rodriguez, who has already stated that he would not waive his no-trade clause, even if it meant going home to Miami and join the moribound Marlins, the Yankees would have to absorb the bulk of the contract. Simply put, "A-Rod" is going nowhere.
However, Ichiro Suzuki, the hitting machine from Japan who came over from Seattle at the trade deadline, is a free agent. So is Nick Swisher, who can play both outfield & first base. If I'm Brian Cashman and/or the Steinbrenner brothers, I'd keep Ichiro, let Swisher go, and let Ichiro play right field, his natural position, next year, now that Brett Gardner is healthy. "A-Rod" leaving is not happening, if but because the WWE will have Wrestlemania at the Meadowlands next Spring. Rodriguez attended this year's big show with ex-WWE &WCW femme fatale Torrie Wilson at his side.
Funny thing is, Wilson seemed not to buy into the idea that Rodriguez was cheating on her with some unnamed female fans at Yankee Stadium during the ALCS, throwing baseballs with his phone number on them, according to press reports. Maybe Torrie should talk to actresses Cameron Diaz & Kate Hudson.......!
Let us consider the pitching. CC Sabathia suffered another October meltdown, just like he did with Milwaukee 4 years ago vs. Philadelphia. Aside from Andy Pettite & Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees don't really have anyone dependable behind Sabathia. Ivan Nova fell apart at season's end. Phil Hughes has been schizophrenic on the hill. The Yanks are hoping to get ace closer Mariano Rivera back in 2013, but will they also retain his substitute, Rafael Soriano? Michael Pineda, acquired from Seattle, spent the entire year on the DL, but will he be a factor in 2013? So many questions, and yet all the press wants to talk about now is one player that they want gone.
The Yankees will be back, of course. It wouldn't be October without them, and it's always interesting with them, win or lose. Panic, though, should no longer be an option.