Welcome to the third day of our five-part series WRNL Adopt a Team. On Monday, KnowDan pitched (get it, like a baseball pitch OR pitching an idea?) the Houston Astros, and yesterday, CycloneScholar put forth the Seattle Mariners for your humble consideration. Remember that Friday we will release a poll where YOU help determine which team we follow this summer, so tune in the rest of the week to see who else will be up for voting.
Now, without any more preamble, let's get to today's team.
The Team: New York Yankees
Full disclosure: I don't like being a Yankees fan. If I had to place money on it, most people who claim to be 'fans' outside of New York probably a) hate themselves too or b) have never won anything in their lives and want to have some claim to past success. After all, the Yanks are the most successful team in baseball history in the largest sports market in the world, so it's no surprise the bandwagon is a little overcrowded.
Despite the historic success, the Yankees have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, the first time this has happened in over 20 years. An 84-78 record was overshadowed by this fact. Throw into the mix the fallout from Alex Rodriguez's PED suspension and the recent slew of injuries to big-name pitchers, and New York is really hurting in the success department.
Turning now to baseball experts, let's see what the talking heads are predicting for the 2015 New York Yankee season:
Sports Illustrated: Projected 20th overall, good for 4th place in the competitive/retooling AL East. Aging batters, an average defense, and question marks around the pitching rotation are the highlights here.
ESPN, Burning Questions for 2015 Yankees: A look at some of the BURNING questions facing the Bronx Bombers this season. Is that the smell of a tire fire, or a finely crafted Cuban cigar?
The Wall Street Journal, Yankees Preview: Titled 'A Captain-less Ship', it pulls data from ZiPS, the apparent leader in baseball projections. The beset thing the Yankees have going for them? The AL East, which could be a competition not of who's the best, but who doesn't stink as much as everyone else.
Why the Yankees
There are several reasons to keep an eye on New York this season, even to the non-bandwagon baseball fans. Masahiro Tanaka was one of the best pitchers in baseball last year before dealing with elbow problems noted above. After rehabbing and electing not to undergo Tommy John surgery, how will he fare in his second year, and can he stay healthy and contribute for an entire season? CC Sabathia, the former pitching ace, underwent knee surgery last year- will he regain his old form? Alex Rodriguez can play, but at 39, does he have anything left without steriods?
Most importantly, this is not the New York Yankees of old everyone is familiar with. They're not the favorites for anything, and are going to have to stay healthy if they want a shot of even making the playoffs. It can be hard going from dynasty to disappointment (just ask the post-MJ Chicago Bulls), but the pressure is always on historically good teams to win. Will they crumble again, or end the drought of playoff baseball? This mediocrity should be something Cyclone fans aren't familiar with but can get behind while waiting for the valley of football and the peak of Hoiball.
Or, you could get through this summer the way I plan to:
Why Not the Yankees
I really shouldn't have to put much here. Chances are, you already dislike the Bronx Bombers, either because of their past successes, loyalty to a different team, or disdain for 'The Man'. Add in the fact that this season's potential could disappear in an instant and it would be akin to watching Texas Tech play 162 games, and the downsides become even worse.
A Hint for Tomorrow
Remember that on Friday we'll create a poll so all of you can vote to see who gets the coverage from your favorite band of hack bloggers.