To: Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees
I’m sure when you all looked at the 2012 schedule back in March, you probably assumed the post-Labor Day series in Baltimore would be a 4-game walk-in-the-park.
Turns out you were right.
It WILL be a walk-in-the-park.
For the Orioles.
Let me officially welcome you guys from New York to the beginning of the end. I imagine you started to feel it – for real – last weekend in Yankee Stadium when the Birds buzzed in and slapped you around on Friday and Sunday, serving notice that this September might be different than the others of the last 14 seasons prior to this one.
In fact, let me take a second to remind you that Yankee Stadium actually transformed to “Camden Yards in The Bronx” this year, as the Orioles won all three series’ played in “your” place. How’s that humble pie taste, Joe?
If you haven’t been paying attention — and honestly, when I watch the Yankees this season, I wonder if you are — the Orioles are threatening to claim the top spot in the American League East. And with Tampa Bay putting their foot up your ass in Florida earlier this week, the Yankees are in the not-so-delightful position of actually having to fight for the right to make the post-season.
For once, the Yankees are just like any other team, fighting and scratching for wins down the stretch. You’ve lost more than you’ve won since the All-Star break. Not all bad for a team of scrubs. But not good for a team like the Yankees who are supposed to win 55% of their games just by showing up at the stadium on time.
And now, on September 6, the time has come to separate the men from the boys. Let’s see how the Yankees react to this moment-of-truth over the next four days in Baltimore. Do you have the stones to man-up and win 3 out of 4 to put a halt to this freight train in orange? Or will you buckle under the pressure of that 10-game A.L. East lead you squandered in less than 50 days?
Here’s my guess: The Yankees are going to leave town late Sunday evening embarrassed and battered.
Based on the pitchers you’re scheduled to send to the mound, I’d say you guys will be very fortunate to win 2 of the 4 games and more likely a safe bet to win only one. And it sure wouldn’t surprise me if you go 0-for-4 in Charm City this weekend.
This weekend, by the way, is simply the finishing touch on a season gone haywire here in Baltimore, where the Orioles have done the unthinkable and gone from worst to maybe-first. That we’ll be jetting above the Yankees in the process is just icing on the cake. I’m not naive enough to think this is the beginning of some sort of decade long trend where the Orioles win division titles “on the trot” (as they say in England) while the Yankees wallow in 3rd or 4th place. That gives me even more energy to laugh at what’s happened this year. It’s come completely out of nowhere. We might not experience something like this for another decade. So while we have it, here, at our fingertips, we’re going to revel in it. You don’t mind, do you?
How that all relates to the upcoming post-season, I have no idea. But I know this…when the dust settles in a few weeks the Orioles will be ahead of the Yankees in the standings.
Make book on that.
(Please see next page)