By May 7th, I was fairly certain I had arrived at a conclusion:
It is better to wait without baseball, than to have baseball and continue to
Something about one day turning into another day, turning into a week, turning into a month, didn't seem as evil and depressing and annoying and perplexing, as when one has nothing but days and weeks and months without baseball. However, days and weeks and months of continual loss is just pure unadulterated shite and one must ask themselves, "Why am I allowing myself to be a victim of this stupid game when I could spend a nice day in the park on the swings, kicking over sand castles and throwing sticks at nearby joggers?"
On May 7th, I was already aware of the Pythagorean projection for the 2009 New York Yankees; Slated to win 95 games, slated to lose the Division despite having acquired Teixeira, Burnett, and Sabathia. Slated for, at most 3rd place, within the American League East, behind the evil Boston Red Sox and equally annoying Tampon Bay Rays.
By May 7th, after having lost 5 games (out of 5 games) to the evil Red Sox...and after having lost a myriad of other games to the evil Tampon Bay Rays, Toronto, Baltimore...ah hell, you name the team, we were losing to them...rolling over and handing them wins.
In fact, by May 7th, we had a total of 13 wins. Uh huh. 13 whole wins...and 15 big fat losses...
AND...we had just accomplished another rare milestone for most baseball teams*: we had just completed yet another losing streak: this time of 5 straight games...(and, as irony would dictate with all the "5's," involved)...yes...we were 5.5 games back for the division.
(* except for the Marlins, Nationals, Orioles, Mets, and all them other sucky teams.)
The season had just begun. And we couldn't hit, we couldn't field, we couldn't pitch, we couldn't run...but DAMN! did we did have that whole WALKING THE BASES LOADED and STRIKING OUT WITH MEN ON BASE thing down pat.
I remember that morning of May 7th...
I sat down...and there on the tv...an interview with Jeter...the Captain...
after yet another Yankees / Red Sox loss.
And there he is...answering the usual non-applicable questions encountered by interviewers after losses...asked by some nameless / faceless person who generally has no concept as to what the game of baseball involves...but relishes the idea that they are talking with the LOSER who MAY OR MAY NOT just break into tears and beg for a hug...
as if we're the Mets or something...
but the question...
I'll never forget it. A clearly fatigued (and seemingly annoyed NON-CRYING) Jeter, was enduring question after question about Boston's dominance and what the hell is wrong with the Yankees and so on and so forth, was asked: "Do you have any concerns for this 2009 Yankees Team?"
(Which I thought was a repetitious question and just filler for detaining Jeter just a little bit longer for possible post-interview huggage...)
And then he turned his head, looked straight into the camera and uttered a single word: "Nope."
His lips pursed, his gaze still straight at the camera...a cold silence filled the room...and those eternal 5 seconds of Jeter looking straight into the camera...at the viewer...at ME, basically...that determination...that confidence...
I walked out onto the balcony and thought to myself: he's delusional.
And then the questions rolled into my head: "How can he be so emphatic? Why did he say he has no concerns? Did he just want to end the stupid interview? No concerns? Is it the money? Does he have no concerns cause he just doesn't care?"
But then the answers rolled in. "He cares. He's a professional. He knows how to play the game. They all know how to play the game. Something is missing that I haven't seen yet, but he knows this 2009 Yankees team has what it takes and will do what they need to do. He knows something. And, if HE has no concerns, and he REALLY CLEARLY DOES NOT, then I will have no concerns, either. I will wait. I will wait and see if I can discover what he knows about this team.... I will wait, and I will see..."
By May 23rd, 2009, the Yankees were able to amass a 9 game winning streak and come within 1 game of the Division.
Ah, yes...throughout the 2009 season, the Yankees had a losing record to teams like the evil PHILLIES...and almost got swept by both the CLUELESS FLORIDA MARLINS and the equally inept WASHINGTON NATIONALS...
They lost 9 to the evil Red Sox...and the world of Yankee fans were beginning to believe the end of the world was at hand...sackcloth and ashes were going up in stock on Wall Street...
but then the 2009 Yankees TOOK the evil Red Sox for 9.
And...in the end, that whole projection of 95 wins was somewhat misconfigured, as the New York Yankees finished the regular season with 103 wins...went on to the World Series, and went on to become World Champions.
And, after the end of the 2009 season, I came to a "Derek Jeter Emphatic Delusional," conclusion: "Tis better to have played and lost...Than to have never played at all."