They’re streaking like it’s 1961. In fact, that’s the last time the New York Yankees managed a 12th consecutive victory, which they accomplished last night in Oakland against the A’s.
They’ve got the sluggers. (Is Giancarlo Stanton’s home run last night at the Oakland Coliseum still rising toward Mars?). They’ve got the starting pitching (Gerrit Cole is their new Roger Clemens). They’ve got the bullpen (Well, Aroldis Chapman isn’t quite Aroldis Chapman, but he did get his 300th career save to seal that 7-6 win over the A’s). They’ve got the manager (Wonder why Bronx folks aren’t threatening to dangle Aaron Boone from the Empire State Building anymore).
They’ve got the charisma (I mean, they’re the Yankees).
They’ve also got a decent chance to continue their surge from 9 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East on July 25 to holding the lead for the first Wild Card spot in the AL over the Red Sox by three games to extending their record number of World Series championships to 28.
I hate the Yankees, but I love them.
So should you, along with anybody else who believes in red, white and blue, which happens to be the colors of the Yankees’ logo.
More so than any other professional sports team, we need the Yankees to function exactly the way they are now: A dominating and dynamic bunch that is must-see TV, even beyond their Yes Network that Forbes determined “had the highest average television ratings during 2020 among the 25 MLB teams whose games are broadcast on a regional sports network.”
There’s that, and then there’s the Yankees’ No. 1 ranking by Forbes among Major League Baseball team evaluations at $5.25 billion. And, yes, Forbes placed the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys (supposedly America’s Team) first in value among all pro sports franchises at $5.7 billion.
Consider a couple of things, though:
- The Cowboys have been around since 1960, but they didn’t become significant on a consistent basis until their season before and their season during their trip to the 1967 Ice Bowl in Green Bay. They lost that NFL championship game to the Packers. In contrast, New York’s American League baseball team began as the Highlanders in 1903, changed its name to Yankees in 1913, got this Babe Ruth guy in 1920, and you know the rest. Since then, the Yankees have rarely lost to anybody in significant games.
- The Cowboys’ last Super Bowl victory was 1995. Not only that, but they’ve spent most of the subsequent years fluctuating between mediocre and worse than that. Let’s go back to, oh, say, 2009, which happened to be the last time the Yankees won the World Series. While the Yankees have spent the 11 seasons since that year reaching the playoffs eight times, the Cowboys have managed just three winning seasons.
Take the Yankees over the Cowboys. Nobody else in pro sports is even close in stature to these arrogant yet dandy folks into pinstripes.
Here’s something else: When the Yankees rolled into Atlanta earlier this week, they faced their mirror image from the National League. The Braves also had a horrible start. In fact, they didn’t rise above .500 for the season until August 5, and they lost outfielder Ronald Acuna to a leg injury.
Courtesy of everything (hitting, pitching, fielding and managing) — led by All-Stars Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies at the plate and a starting rotation that ranked in Major League Baseball’s top 10 for quality starts — the Braves began to streak. They pulled away as leaders of the National League East with a nine-game winning streak heading into their two-game series against the Yankees.
The Yankees swept them, and they did so before near-capacity crowds of 39,176 and 37,426, respectively, cheering mostly for them.
It was Truist Park, but it sounded like Yankee Stadium.
Then again, when you’re America’s True Team (as I say through clenched teeth), you have that effect on people.