The Bronx is Burning.....2007?

The first half of the 2007 season has come and gone. With all the stories of the first half, one story can not be overlooked - the disappointment of the New York Yankees. After 85 games, the Bronx Bombers boast a baffling 42-43 mark and sit 10 games out of first place going into the break. How stunning is it? This is the first time since 1995 that they are under .500 before the All Star Break. The greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera, only has 11 saves. They are 6-15 in 1-run games. They threw a pro-rated 28 million dollars at a 44 year old (he’ll be 45 next month) in mid May. They were swept by the Colorado Rockies. They became the first team in MLB history to use 10 different starting pitchers in its first 30 games. They spent 46 million on Kei Igawa, and he’s spent most of the last 2 months in the minors. The list can go on and on, but hey, let’s lay off them for now. It is only the All-Star break.

They did have some bright spots. Alex Rodriguez is having the season of a lifetime. He leads the Majors in almost every offensive category. Jorge Posada is quietly having one of the best years of his career, and Derek Jeter has been nothing but stellar both on the field and at the plate. Young phenom Phil (Don’t call me Philip) Hughes showed signs of brilliance in his last start when he took a perfect game into the 7th inning before he hurt his hamstring and landed on the DL. Andy Pettitte gave a quality start just about every time he took the mound. After that, not much to cheer about these days in the Bronx.

In early June, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner told General Manager Brian Cashman he was on a “big hook.” The Yankees then went on a winning streak and all was forgotten. A 14.5 game lead by the Red Sox became 7.5 in 10 days. Roger Clemens was on his way to save the season and the bats were starting to heat up and A-Rod continued launching balls out of every ballpark. Then they returned to their early season form, inconsistent hitting, pitching, and “lack of effort” according to Pettitte and Posada. The talent is there, but apparently it doesn’t show up to the ballpark everyday. Certainly, a cause for concern in Yankeeland. We all want to see hustle, determination, concentration, quality at-bats, moving guys over, driving in runs in big spots, the Yankees of old. Are they there? Or are we beating a dead bush?

Whatever the case may be, the Yankees have 77 games to make or break the 2007 season. They have an upcoming schedule that favors them and looks to put them in a position to make a serious run at the postseason. Games against Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Kansas City, Toronto, and Chicago should give the Yanks a shot, if they can win these series. Now is the time for Yankee fans to look at their team and realistically sense a possibility of a no show in October. The Yanks must win every series for the rest of the year to reach 95 wins, a mark that usually gets a team into the wild card. Or hope for a Boston collapse in the second half, just like 1978 when they came back on the Red Sox after they were down 14.5 games on July 14th. History is on their side. It’s time to rise to the occasion, time to reclaim their throne atop the A.L. East, time to quiet all the critics, but most importantly, its time to win!
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