• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

One of the most pleasing things about having a blog is the ability to use Google and Nexis to remind MSM of all the things they’ve been wrong about. Hifalutin types like to call this “holding the mainstream media accountable.” After all, making predictions is a big part of journalism (though we’re not really sure what it’s supposed to add to the conversation) and an even bigger part of sports journalism (where at least it does no harm). But where’s the fun in predicting things without snarky bloggers to rub your mistakes in your face? One of the bigger gaffes this season has to be the many voices that declared the Yankees dead in the water before June. Now, of course, the Yankees have shaved 10.5 games off their previous deficit and are within an easy four-game striking distance of the first-place Boston Red Sox.

Sad Yankees.Coley has already called out ESPN’s Jayson Stark for writing that the Yankees were done. On May 31, Stark wrote:

ARE THE YANKEES DEAD?

This is another dangerous question, considering the Yankees are “only” 7½ out in the wild-card race.

[...]

One thing we know, however, is this: They’re not catching the Red Sox. No team in history ever has been 14½ games out before June and come back to finish first. And only the Miracle Braves were that far back at any point and wound up playing in October.

And today in ESPN’s Page 2, Jeff Pearlman formally retracts his column of May 18 stating that Joe Torre should be fired. In that column, Pearlman wrote, ironically now, that calling for the men’s soccer coach at his college to be fired was “remains my greatest journalistic regret.” Yet forging brazenly ahead, Pearlman continued:

I bring this up because today, for only the second time as a writer, I am recommending a person be fired.

This time, however, I am right.

The New York Yankees need to rid themselves of Joe Torre. Now.

[...]

“[The Yankees] are a flat tire, with nary a jack for miles. Here is a team in dire need of pizzazz, of intensity, of spirit, of soul.

Happy YankeesOddly, Pearlman called Torre’s first championship in New York “one of the great managerial achievements in Yankees history,” but then attributed most of Torre’s success in those years to his talented coaching staff and the front office, which supplied him with “mature, self-motivated men in their early-to-mid 30s who didn’t need to be pumped up by their manager before a big game. ” That hardly sounds like a managerial achievement to me—in fact, it sounds like Pearlman’s argument was basically, “Joe Torre was a good manager because he doesn’t manage.” He should have retracted this column whether or not the Yankees started closing in on the division title.

But why pick on ESPN? They were hardly the only scribes to write off New York. Over at SI.com, John Donovan wrote of the Yankees on July 24:

Their string of nine straight American League East titles is toast. The 12 straight postseason appearances? Well, I can’t be completely sure, but I think I smell that burning, too. It’s almost unfathomable to think that the Red Sox, who own a 10-game cushion on both the Yankees and Blue Jays, can choke away the division lead. The Sox simply have too much pitching, both starting and in relief, to blow it. And the Yankees’ possibilities for landing the wild card look nearly as bad. They’re down 8 1/2 games in that race and have a ton of good teams to pass — Cleveland, Seattle, Minnesota and Oakland, not to mention current division leaders Detroit and the Angels. It’s just too much to ask, even for a team that’s second in the league in scoring (5.4 runs a game).

And of course, there were some blowhards in the Boston area making the same claims. “This race is already over,” wrote Bill Reynolds in the Providence Journal of the AL East pennant. “Finis. Kaput. Done. Over…Write it down.” In the Lowell Sun, Teddy Panos advised, “After Labor Day, the Sox will be exactly where they are now—comfortably ahead of the Yankees and setting up the rotation for the playoffs.”

Then, of course, there was all the moaning by the New York papers—scathing disdain on the back page of the Post and restrained despair within the New York Times. Most recently, for instance, Cashman was castigated for letting the Sox get Eric Gagne. But that’s a subject for another day.

I, of course, never made such foolish predictions because I, of course, am a Red Sox fan. I believe in my team–with a capital B, in certain instances–but I never, ever trust them.

7 Responses to “Yankee Doubters Eating Their Words”

  1. Paul Moro says:

    Bonds’ achievement is “legit”. In Ruth’s day, ground-rule doubles were home runs too. I say accept this as an inevitablity and move on. Cheer for the next guy to break the record. Oh wait. That’s A-Rod…

    Besides, I can’t physically prove that Ken Griffey didn’t cheat. Can you?

  2. Coley Ward says:

    I cannot prove Griffey didn’t cheat. I was just holding him up as an example. And I didn’t know that about ground rule doubles. Interesting.

  3. Paul Moro says:

    The ground-rule double thing was changed in 1930. Prior to that, all balls that go out of play once it bounced fair was considered a home run. But I have no idea how this affected people’s homerun totals. But to balance it out, the centerfield wall of Yankee Stadium in Ruth’s day was something like 490 feet away from home plate. To counteract that, both left and right field fences were less than 300 feet away. What a weird park.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    For more on different home run “eras,” check out this column by Globie Bob Ryan:

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/2007/08/05/ignoring_eras_is_an_error/

  5. Paul Moro says:

    Sarah, you may torch me for this, but I still refuse to eat my words. The Red Sox are winning the AL East. Book it.

    If I’m wrong, I promise to write anything on Umpbump that you’d like. I can write the praises of your wisdom. I can even write about how great Curt Schilling is.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    Torch? Moi??

    Seriously though, I would be elated if the Red Sox won the division title. Of course! I just think that completely writing off the Yankees when there were a hundred games left to play was, um, perhaps a bit shortsighted.

    I wrote about this in my Metro column this week. Stay tuned. :)

  7. Sarah, the Red Sox WILL win the East. Won’t be by 14 1/2 games, though I don’t recall reading any Yankee obituaries that said the margin would stay that big.

    Keep blogging!

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