Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Yankee killer, where are you?
The playoffs begin today. Finally. What was that two-day gap about anyway?
For me, this season's playoffs mean another year of rooting vigorously against the Yankees. The Yankees can NOT win again this year. If they win, the entire baseball season was in vain, a great reeking disappointment filled with putridness. For me, the baseball year almost ceases to exist when the Yankees win the Series.
Remember the late '90s when the Yankees were winning all those World Series? I hardly paid attention to baseball then. What was the point?
Worst of all, if the Yankees win, I'll have to hear gloating from some of the worst behaved people I know. This isn't as big of a problem as when I was a kid (thank you, rational-thinking Yankee fans). But it's still there. See an obnoxious driver on the road? Before you know it, you will also see an N.Y. insignia on the back of the vehicle that is committing at least 15 traffic violations.
Also, for every true Yankee fan, there seem to be two or three front-runners, who have attached themselves to the team just so they can feel good about themselves. A co-worker a few weeks ago was complaining about a relative, who didn't want to watch a certain college football team because suddenly the team wasn't as good as he thought it was going to be. I laughed and said, "I'll bet he's a Yankee fan." Without hesitation, the co-worker said, "He's a HUGE Yankee fan." Not surprised.
So, really, I don't need that in my life. I deal with enough people who think they're better than they are for different reasons -- humility is a dying art. I don't need their sports team giving them a false sense of confidence, too.
So that's why I need a Yankee Killer.
Frank Lary is probably the original "Yankee Killer." It was even one of his nicknames. When he was with the Tigers, he beat them so often that Casey Stengel pushed back a start for Whitey Ford because Ford would go up against Lary. "If Lary is going to beat us anyway," Stengel said, "why should I waste my best pitcher?"
Lary was 7-0 against the Yankees in 1958, a year in which the Yankees won the World Series. He was 28-13 lifetime against the Yankees.
Sadly, there is nothing on the back of this card that mentions his Yankee-killing exploits. He was just starting out in the majors. But you do get to see that his middle name is "Strong," and that is awesome.
This post also serves as my '56 of the Month post, but the reason it is really here is because I am hoping that it will help inspire a newborn Yankee Killer in this season's playoffs.
I mean some Yankee fans think they can will their team to victory. So, I can think my post will lead the evil empire to defeat.
But just in case Frank Lary doesn't work, here is some back-up:
Josh Beckett: Won the deciding Game 6 of the 2003 World Series for the Marlins with a 5-hit shutout against the Yankees.
George Brett: Launched Goose Gossage's fastball into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium during the seventh inning of the Royals' deciding Game 3 victory over the Yankees in the 1980 ALCS. What fun I had that postseason.
Randy Johnson: Went 5-0 against the Yankees in the playoffs. Then he arrived in New York and didn't do so hot. Hee-hee.
Edgar Martinez: Hit .317 against the Yankees in 138 games. I heard Yankee fans constantly complain about Edgar. He also hit Mariano Rivera quite well.
Johnny Podres: The 23-year-old pitched two victories against the Yankees in the 1955 World Series, including a Game 7 shutout that gave the Dodgers their first championship. Woo-hoo!
Scott Fletcher: You laugh. Fletcher hit .318 against the Yankees in almost 500 plate appearances. His career batting average was .262.
Larry Gura: The Yankees traded him away. And then he routinely returned to wax them.
Manny Ramirez: You can crab all you want about Manny-this and Manny-that. Ramirez has my undying support for his 2008 half-season with the Dodgers and for the way he blasted the Yankees while with the Red Sox. His OPS against the Yankees, especially the last four years with the Red Sox, is crazy.
Lew Burdette: Beat the Yankees THREE TIMES in the 1957 World Series, including shutouts in Game 5 and Game 7 to lead the Braves to the title. That's simply amazing. If New York should somehow make the World Series after this post, I'll have to feature this card again.
Chuck Finley: Pitched so well against the Yankees that they almost traded Andy Pettitte away for him. Of course, beating the Yankees in the early '90s wasn't terribly difficult.
Roy Halladay: I am so glad he is still in the postseason. He's like my trump card in the event that the Yankees and Phillies meet up. Halladay beat the Yankees five times in 2008.
Just for more insurance, I'll throw out a few more names of noted Yankee nemeses:
Pedro Martinez, Ron Cey (1981 World Series, woo-hoo!), Luke Scott, Luis Tiant and Pedro Guerrero.
Hopefully, that will work.
OK, time for the playoffs.
Don't make me feel as if the season was for nothing.