The World Series Is Over (Update)
Coachie has been all over this from the beginning, but it’s worth saying it now: the World Series is over. The next few days might bring great, plot-rich baseball, but the tension is gone. The story has been written. The Yankees are World Champions.
The half of you who hate the Yankees will say that I’m giving up too soon and the half that loves them will say I’m trying to pull some sort of voodoo “reverse jinx.” Sadly, both of these are wrong. I belived until right now that the Yankees could not win the World Series. I saw the strength of other teams, I saw the Yankees’ flaws, and I thought that given the remaning task and the obstacles in their way that there was a chance they could be derailed through injuries, slumps, and the bounces of the ball. Tonight that chance has been reduced to zero.
2004 may loom in the minds of many, but that’s a bad comparison. That year, the Red Sox had the feel of a team on a mission, and Yankee inevitability had been stretched to such absurd limits by Aaron Boone and their 3-0 series lead that the tension broke. Any baseball statistician will tell you that the chances of beating a very good team four times in a row is hard, but they will also say that it’s hard for them to beat you three times in a row if your team is good, and that if one team has beaten the crap out of a comparable team over any stretch of time it will eventually even out. It was just time for the Red Sox; I think that, now, it is time for the Yankees. Their teams have just been too good over the last nine years for their postseason failures to continue, especially now that they’ve got a team of this level two wins away.
If there’s any anecdotal measure by which to judge the series, it all works in the Yankees’ favor. As CF noted in his baseball preview, this Yankee team appears to be more cohesive than those of years past, and that the loose locker room has kept a group of the world’s best baseball players ready to do their jobs. The chances that this group cracks hard enough to lose three out of four games to a team that, frankly, they’re better than seems unlikely. Only a CC Sabathia meltdown of epic proportions could keep Philly’s hopes alive, by both evening up the series and casting a black cloud for the Yankees over a potential game seven with Sabathia on the hill.
But that too seems unlikely. Sabathia doesn’t seem to dominate great teams the way he dominates lesser ones, but he’s still a very good pitcher, and his October record is bound to adjust toward career norms at some point. For all the silly A-Rod/True Yankees business we’ve been exposed to this year, has anyone bestowed baseball’s greatest fake honor upon CC? And doesn’t it seem sort of inevitable?
The problem is not that I will believe it will happen, but that it doesn’t matter what happens later today. The Yankees are going to win the World Series now because they are the best baseball team on the planet and they only need to win two more games. A Phillies win would be one for history books, but only because of its sheer implausibility. Tonight, the World Series ended.
UPDATE: Scratch this. Choose life.