Yankees elimination is one to relish

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Yankees elimination is one to relish

People will tell you they are a classy organization. Media talking heads will say that all they do is win. Their fans will tell you that youre just jealous of all the championships. All those things may in fact be true, but watching the Yankees crash and burn in spectacular fashion is still oh so glorious.

Last nights season ending pinstripe defeat was sweeter than most. After they were granted a rainy stay of execution, the 2012 version of the Evil Empire was swiftly and emphatically swept from the playoffs by a surging Detroit Tigers team. After dealing the Bombers an 8-1 drubbing in the clinching game, the Tigers were showered with champagne and the Detroit ground crew kept the tarp ready in case of any Waldman related precipitation.

Ok before I go any further, lets get the obvious out of the way. Yes, the Red Sox season ended sometime right after the press conference that named Bobby Valentine as manager. Yes, the 2012 Red Sox were the baseball equivalent of that 50 foot dead whale floating around Boston Harbor. Long dead and bloated, they floated aimlessly though the season slowly decomposing. Yes, next year will probably end up being the bridge year that fans didnt want to stomach in 2010. And yes, as Comcast SportsNet's Mike Giardis report from an anonymous Red Sox illustrates, even after the in season removal of a quarter billion of bad attitudes, there is still some clubhouse cleaning that needs to be done. To put it simply, the 2012 Red Sox were historically bad.

This years Yankees, on the other hand, soldiered though a successful if unspectacular run to the American League East title while surviving a late season push by the resurgent Orioles as well as numerous injuries, not the least of which was a season-ender to all-time great closer Mariano Rivera.

Unfortunately for the Yankees and their fans, thats pretty much where the highlights end. Yes the Yankees did win a thrilling five game divisional series with Baltimore, but if the Os had someone to close games other than Byung-Hyun Johnson, New York would have been done in 4 games and the plans for Raul Ibanez to be canonized as the patron saint of pinch hitting would never have made it to the Vatican.

The Pope wont have to worry about commissioning any stain glass windows commemorating the Yankees performance in the ALCS. Last rights are now overdue as the Detroit Tigers demolished a Yankee team in offensive shambles. Batting ineptitude that harkened back to the late 80s versions of the Bombers was the story of this series, which suited Curtis Granderson fine as hes been perfecting his Steve Balboni impression all season. Even the Williamsport-like confines of New Yankee Stadium proved insufficient to artificially animate this slumping Yankee lineup. But they did prove intimate enough to allow Alex Rodrigez to grab some digits as he alternated between riding pine and lowering the Yankees carbon footprint as a right-handed wind farm.

It got even worse for the pinstripes as the almost immortal Yankee captain, Derek Jeter, was felled by a freak ankle fracture. Till this point in his career Jeter has been the baseball version of Dorian Grey, seemingly ageless. But a routine grounder combined with an already weakened ankle, and Jeter having less range than Michael Cera painted the portrait of the Captain's mortality. (And before I get added to Dan Shaughnessys anonymous axis of internet evil, like Rivera, I hope Jeter recovers fully and returns. I have nothing but respect for both players and hope they end their careers on their own terms, which will include a standing ovation in their last appearance at Fenway.)

Its only fitting that after the heart and soul of the Yankees was carried off the field that the rest of the team collapsed like a house of cards, but not before adding delicious insult to unfortunate injury.

As a result of trailing a series three games to none, the Yankees and their fans were forced, once again, to revisit the darkest moment in franchise history. Every time a team trails a seven game series three games to none, in any sport, the footage of the 2004 Red Sox come from behind series victory gets rolled out. Its the gift that keeps on giving for Sox fans. Now Yankee fans were not only subjected to reliving the worst choke in sports history, but forced to read from Yankees scribe Jeff Bradley of the New Jersy Star-Ledger about how the Yankees themselves should watch Four Days in October and embrace the mantra of Kevin Millar Dont Let us win tonight.

The Yankees must have just fast forwarded to the end of that documentary because their game four performance was a carbon copy of game seven of the 2004 ALCS. The ace Hessian of the Yankees staff falters under pressure and the Bombers are ushered out of the post season in blowout fueled by a barrage of home runs.

This is truly a Yankee defeat to relish, not only for its magnitude, but because the outlook for New York next season is uncharacteristically grim. CSNNEs Sean McAdams Yankee post mortem might as well have been written on the walls of a Mayan temple. If half of the quatrains in McAdam's piece hold true, the Yankees wont have to worry about embarrassing playoff attendance for some time.

Personally, the thought of not being able to witness the Yankees squander hundreds of millions of dollars in cataclysmic post season fashion, is a bit depressing, but as we know, all good things must come to an end. Right Suzyn?

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

BOSTON - The weight room, as much as Instagram, has been Pablo Sandoval’s home in the offseason leading up to the 2017 season.

His change in diet and routine have clearly led to visible results, at least in terms of appearance. His play is yet to be determined. But his manager and teammates have taken notice.

“Compliments to Pablo,” John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment he’s made. He’s reshaped himself, that’s apparent. He knows there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base. So, we’ll see how that unfolds. We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past. Return to that level of performance.”

Farrell noted that Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are the other two players in contention for time at third base and while others, such as prospect Rafael Devers, may get time there in the spring, those are the only three expected to compete for the job.

“The beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition in camp,” Farrell said. “And that was born out of third base last year [when Travis Shaw beat out Sandoval at the third base]. That won’t change.”

Sandoval's 2016 season ended after shoulder surgery in April. 

While the manager has to be cautiously optimistic, Sandoval’s teammates can afford to get their hopes up.

“Pablo is definitely going to bounce back,” Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com “Especially with the weight he’s lost and the motivation he has to prove a lot of people wrong, to prove the fans wrong.

“He’s been a great player for his whole career. He’s not a bad player based on one year. Playing in Boston the first year is tough, so, hopefully this year he’ll be better.”

Prior to Sandoval’s abysmal 2015, his first season in Boston, when he hit .245 with 47 RBI in 126 games, the 2012 World Series MVP was a career .294 hitter who averaged 15 home runs and 66 RBI a year.

If Bogaerts is right and Sandoval can be that player again, that will be a huge lift in filling in the gap David Ortiz left in Boston’s offense.