The Yankees are World Champions again, but it’s not the same this time. Evil Empire? I wish; at least “evil” is interesting.
Instead, what we have is the rise of the boring over the bad. Somehow, Yankeefication has become synonymous with boringification. Johnny Damon: went to the Yankees, became boring. Mark Teixeira: is boring, and thus is perfectly suited for the Yankees. Joba Chamberlain: has a mother who dealt meth. Yet somehow is boring anyway.
Even Alex Rodriguez is boring. You’d think a top slugger who dates starlets could at least manage to be mildly intriguing. And yet Kate Hudson was pretty boring to start with, and is now made even more boring by her association with A-Rod. The news that A-Rod has not one, but two, portraits of himself as a centaur? That should be, if not actually interesting, then perhaps titillating. (If you snoozed through Mythology 101, a centaur is a mythical beast that is half horse, half douchebag.) But it’s completely boring.
The Yankees aren’t even interesting in New York, where the Mets seem to have a lock on mental stimulation. The Mets may have failed spectacularly this year, but at least they failed in a way that engaged the frontal lobe. Sure, the Yankees won the World Series, but they won it dully: They essentially just scored a lot of runs. And yet, not enough runs so as to actually be remarkable.
And in fact, that’s in line with their one-note “strategy” for success over the 2009 regular season: just score a lot of runs. In the middle of the pack in pitching, defense, and baserunning, the Yankees ranked first in MLB in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage. And as the only team in MLB to score more than 900 runs this season, their games were interminably long even before Jorge Posada started making 4 trips to the mound per at-bat.
Most mind-numbing of all is the debate we’re sure to be inflicted with, post-Series, about the payroll disparity between the Yankees and the Rest. Yes, it’s pretty wearisome when a team wins just by buying the best talent available. But it will be even more tedious to rehash the same tired arguments about salary caps and payroll limits.
What would save the Yankees — and the free, baseball-loving world — from this state of ennui? A better Red Sox team in 2010. Let’s face it: the Yankees only manage to be exciting when they have a worthy foe.
Let’s hope that Theo pulls out all the stops to give the Boring Bombers a run for their (oodles and oodles of) money. Because right now, even hating the Yankees is boring.