Baltimore – It’s too early to name the Yankees’ 2022 special, but it’s never too early to gauge their chances of being special. This is New York, the city that hasn’t seen a major sports tournament forever. And these are the Yankees, the franchisee who won 27 of them.
So, yeah, they’re going to be judged based on whether they can end their drought, which goes back to 2009 and feels scriptural, and whether they can end the drought in the metropolitan area, which goes back to the 2011 Giants and feels, you know, is Written order.
Unless the Rangers defeat them in the coming weeks.
The Yankees’ age was 27-9 after Tuesday night’s 5-4 win over the Orioles – made possible thanks to two home runs from Aaron Judge that were supposed to be three – it was the second time since 1940 that they had won 27 of their first 36 games. The other time, of course, was 1998, the defining season of Jeter Mariano Torri’s era. These Yankees went 114-48 and swept the Padres for the World Championship.
Can these Americans dominate in the same way? Mostly not. The 1998 team had a muscular memory of the championship (from their 1996 breakout), two of the seven greatest players in franchise history (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera), Hall of-Fame manager Joe Toure and a gigantic force in the owner’s chest (George Steinbrenner). Team 22 doesn’t have any of these things.
But once again, today’s Yankees pass the eye test. They look more diverse and more dangerous than the planned protesters of the recent past.
“I think it’s a special group, I am,” Aaron Boone said before his team won for the 20th time in their past 23 games. “There’s a very long way to go, so we have a lot to prove. Up until this point, I think we’ve proven to who and to ourselves that we can win games in a lot of different ways, and I think he showed up even on this wild ride.”
The Yankees won a game in Chicago by two strokes and eight runs from bowler Nestor Curtis, who had never gone eight times. They won a game in Baltimore on Monday night as Jabber Torres grabbed the first half to start a double play that, for all concerned, felt bigger than his three teammates.
On Tuesday night, the Camden Yards’ new, longer and deeper left field wall was the only one that could keep the judge on the field, “catching” him with a double RBI in the first — on a ball that would have gone in 29 MLB parks — before he twice cleared the fence in more forgiving parts of the yard. .
“About three,” Boone said, “but Build Your Own Park got him there.
“It is so special to be able to write to him there every day. I think what he does just allows everyone to participate.”
The judge’s monster, hit by four hits, allowed his team to survive a small crash on the ninth from Aroldis Chapman, the leader of the Most Likely early vote to Cost the Yanks in October. This situation needs to be closely monitored. Meanwhile, Yankees fans in the building on Tuesday night were chanting “MVP” for the judge at the end. There’s nothing wrong with having a superstar playing at the star level in a contracting batch while promoting all of the team-focused goals.
The Yankees lead the MLB 54 times (14 of Judge, baseball’s captain), yet 17 other teams have pulled off more than they did. Nobody says they’re not athletic, one-dimensional slugs anymore.
“I loved their ability to affect the ball but they don’t have enough ability to contact it!” Bill Livesey, the former Scout manager who helped build the ’90s dynasty, wrote in The Post about modern-day Yankees teams. Livesey also said that he “didn’t think New York would ever win [Gary] Sanchez is behind the board! “
This is no longer an obstacle to be removed. Nor does anyone wonder if the team’s current club chemistry is the real thing.
“It was really [from] “The first day is really remarkable for me, which I thought we were going through there,” Boone said. “And I think it’s thanks to these guys, their level of commitment to each other in a supportive way, and in holding each other accountable, competing with each other, investing time with each other. I’ve seen these things early on and often.”
Exactly why the Yankees are the best team in the sport. When asked what impressed him most about his short stint as third base coach, former Mets coach Luis Rojas replied, “I have to say Unity. There were different champions almost every day.”
“Our group is very modest. I’m the new guy here, but I think it’s about the uniform. I think you carry a lot of tradition, and I think men feel responsible in wearing that uniform.”
The truth is that after the Yankees ate a steady diet of Orioles for a fraction of the schedule, no one really knows where all this is headed. In 2019, the national champion was 14-22 after 36 games. Last year, the eventual champion was the Braves 17-19.
Baseball is a funny, choppy game, and the Yankees can end up very well as their post-season busts. The only thing they have proven so far is that they have a chance to be special.
A chance to celebrate like 1998.