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March 21, 2008 at 12:05 am ET
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Your Team Ain’t S#!t #26: The Yankees

Since no one else will, I will fill the void of objective team season previews and Devil Rays information on the interwebz:

By previewing the 29 other MLB teams and comparing them to our beloved Devil Rays, in anticipation of the 2008 season which is sure to be the greatest in Devil Rays history, ….

Working backwards through the final Bugs & Cranks Top 30 rankings, we continue with The New York Yankees….

Argument #1. The Yankees will Always be the Evil Empire, because they got the Most Dollars, and the Least Sense.

My esteemed colleague Ed “Lover” Valentine tried to spin that in yesterday’s eulogy to George Steinbrenner:

Even if you hate the Yankees with a passion, baseball is better when the Yankees are good. It’s no fun to hate a team that stinks. I mean, seriously, who hates the Devil Rays? The Orioles? The Pirates? The Royals? No one, because it’s not worth the effort.

Say what?

The Yankees stink beyond stinking.

They are the Worst Team of the Millennium.

The Orioles, the Royals, and the Pirates have all been better than the Yankees for the past 7 years.

And that is fun.

I don’t hate them. I just enjoy when they fail so miserably.

When they were winning*, baseball was unwatchable. But that they now can’t manage to do anything while having every possible advantage — that’s hysterical.

True believers, go buy the shirt from the newly opened Rays Index store — in festive Devil Rays colors.

Argument #2 The Oldie, But Goodie…. (Like Patrick Smith.)

It begins with a disclaimer….

Hold your head high, Ben Zobrist, you're a Devil Ray. Hide your face in shame, Jorge Posada, you are a Yankee. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)Writers will occasionally use misleading “teasers,” something in the headline, lead paragraph or photo caption to grab the reader’s attention. That’s not what I am doing here. I also want it to be perfectly clear straight off — this is not an “opinion” piece. The following is based purely on facts and neutral, unbiased, impartial and totally objective interpretation of those facts.

Who: The New York Baseball Yankees.

When: This millenium (2001-the present).

Where: North America.

What: An unparalleled record of failure.

Why: Cosmic justice?

The parameters of this little baseball history lesson: Granted the Rays have never won more than 70 games in a season, or finished closer than 18 games out. But…What is the point of baseball? What is every major league team trying to accomplish? (Try to follow here, to some degree this reasoning draws on the Chuck Klosterman theory of probability, cited long in a different post by The Incredible Hulkower: Something either happens or it doesn’t.)

The point of baseball is to win rings, a big gold trophy with pointy poles and flags, the World Series.

No team has ever accomplished this in its first three years, hence my focus on the current millenium (2001-2007). Over those six years, the Devil Rays have the exact same record of failure as 23 other Major League teams.

You can't run from the past any more than you can jam a plastic straw into an orange. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)Of course, though, the Yankees’ record of failure over the past seven years is clearly the most spectacular of all, one perhaps unmatched by any team in any sport ever.

2001: With a one-run lead in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series and Mariano Rivera on the mound, the Yankees choked and found a way to lose to the expansion Diamonbacks, who had only existed for four years. No expansion team had ever won the World Series that quickly.

2002: The Yankees lose in the first round, 3 games to 1, to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the State of Californication. The Angels came into existence in 1961 — this was the first time they had ever won a postseason series.

2003: After an epic Cubs-Red Sox World Series was narrowly averted, the Yankees are manhandled in the World Series by another expansion team, the Florida Marlins of Blockbuster.

And the Award for Outstanding Achievement if the Field of Patheticalness goes to... (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)2004: The coup de grace. No team in the over 100 year history of Major League Baseball had ever failed to get to the World Series after being as close as the 2004 Yankees. Leading the ALCS 3 games to none, the Yankees had a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning and again had Mariano Rivera on the hill. Lead-off walk, stolen base, base hit, blown save. The Red Sox won in the 12th on David Ortiz’s 2-run walk-off homer. Game 5: Yankees lead 4-2 in the bottom of the 8th, but let the Sox back in it again. David Ortiz led off with a solo homer off Tom Gordon. After two more runners reached, Rivera came in and gave up a game-tying sac fly. Ortiz again came through with the game-winning hit, this time in the bottom of the 14th. Then there were the last two games: the Yankees played both at home, but never managed a lead in either contest.

2005: At the end of the regular season, Joe Torre decided resting his team was more important than playing for home-field advantage. In another first-round loss to the Angels, the Yanks lose a decisive game five on the road in the monkey-friendly confines of Angel Stadium at Anaheim.

2006: The Yankees win the first game of their first round series against the very inexperienced Detroit Tigers, but then lose three straight to end their most recent chapter of ignominity. (That’s right, I had to make up a new word in order to give full expression to how bad the Yankees have been this millennium, in order to pack in an extra syllable of shame and patheticalness.) Interesting side note: after sweeping Oakland, those same Tigers become the first team ever to commit an error in every inning of a World Series.

2007: For the third straight year a first round exit to a team that would not go on to win the World Series. This time they add the flair of trailing the series continuously from Game One on.

So what does it all mean?

Well, first 29 other teams should be very happy they aren’t the Yankees. So chin up, Pittsburg Pirates and your 15 straight losing seasons.

Point two: almost all comparisons are silly. For instance, especially in baseball, a sport which lacks a balanced schedule, a salary cap, and revenue-sharing, comparing win-loss records or last-place finishes is only guessing. If at any time over the last seven years the Devil Rays had been in another division, they almost certainly wouldn’t have finished last and probably would’ve had a winning season too.

Last point: the future is bright for the Devil Rays. In the next few years, the Devil Rays could be the first baseball dynasty (meaning repeat World Series championships) since the 1970’s, when the A’s won three straight, followed by two by the Reds and two by Reggie’s Yankees.) The closest any team has come to that feat would be the Twins winning in 1987 and 1991. (Some might argue that the Yankees of the late 90’s should be included–but everybody knows those were fixed, or that the Blue Jays won back-to-back in 1992 and 1993–but Canada doesn’t count.)

And Devil Rays Manager “Coach Joe” Maddon has three things that new Yankees manager Joe Girl-ardi doesn’t?

A World Series ring from this millenium. (He was the Angels’ bench coach.)

And testicles.

****

I will keep saying it every six months until they prove otherwise: the Yankees are undeniably the Worst Team Of The Millennium, so of course they simply ain’t shit compared to our Devil Rays.

We’ll prove it head-to-head pretty quick: at the old dump in the Bronx, Friday April 4 to Monday April 7; at the Trop, Monday April 14 and Tuesday April 15, and then, Monday May 12 to Thursday May 15; back for a quickie in the Bronx, Tuesday July 8 to Wednesday July 9; then back to prove it some more at the Trop, Tuesday September 2 to Thursday September 4; and for the final time at the Bronx shithole, Friday September 12 to Sunday September 14.

Coming soon to Your Team Ain’t S#!t Compared To The Devil Rays….

On Deck: #27 The Cleveland AL Franchise

In The Hole: #28 The Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

Previously on Your Team Ain’t S#!t Compared To The Devil Rays….

#1 The Pittsburgh Pirates

#2 The Houston Astros

#3 The Florida Marlins

#4 The Baltimore Orioles

#5 The Kansas City Royals

#6 The San Francisco Giants

#7 The Cincinnati Reds

#8 The St. Louis Cardinals

#9 The Chicago White Sox

#10 The Washington Nationals

#11 The Texas Rangers

#12 The Oakland Athletics

#13 The Minnesota Twins

#14 The Toronto Blue Jays

#15 The Los Angeles Dodgers

#16 The Milwaukee Brewers

#17 The Atlanta Braves

#18 The Seattle Mariners

#19 The Chicago Cubs

#20 The San Diego Padres

#21 The Arizona Diamondbacks

#22 The New York Mets

#23 The Detroit Tigers

#24 The Colorado Rockies

#25 The Philadelphia Phillies

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4 Responses to “Your Team Ain’t S#!t #26: The Yankees”
  1. Adam C. says:

    Boring.

  2. FrankDiscussion says:

    Tampa Bay is an up and coming “dynasty” ?
    Disregard win-loss records ?

    Have to admit, your posts are good for a laugh, comic relief, nothing more. Speaking of comic relief, this year you might actually better the Orioles !

  3. Dirty Water says:

    I’ll second that. Amazing.

    Curious what the asterisk in “When they were winning*” is for. Is it a reference to the Mitchell report, ie, all the steroids those championship teams of ’98-’00 were doing?

    250 million payroll and they still have to resort to cheating.

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