Baseball: Yankees' big-hitters swept away in disgrace
Record scoring turns to record flop and it is embarrassment all round in New York
Saturday 20 October 2012
It was the whimper heard around the baseball world. The New York Yankees, the big-hitting, swaggering Yankees, were clean-swept out of Detroit on Thursday night, bringing to a torrid end a season that had seen them hurry through autumn in a rash of home runs. How the mighty hitters have fallen.
The home fans revelled in it; everyone outside New York revels in the fall of the Yankees. Chants of "sweep, sweep" swept around Comerica Park as the Tigers won 8-1 and made it four straight wins to settle the American League Championship Series. For the Tigers it means a first World Series in six years; for the Yankees it's a first post-season sweep for 32 years as their much vaunted line-up imploded to a degree rarely seen even in the extremes that have become common to New York's finest.
"Embarrassing," was how pitcher CC Sabathia put it. "Crushed," was Alex Rodriguez's take. "It's hard to stomach how we played here and at the most important time of the year," said Brian Cashman, the general manager. "We feel we let the fans down in New York, and each other at the same time."
The plan for the season was simple: it was the long-ball game. Out came what Joe Girardi, the Yankees' manager, termed "the big, hairy monsters" and away went the ball. Again and again and again. The Yankees hit 245 home runs during the regular season, a record return. Those hits, heaved by the likes of Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson, won 95 matches, the most in the American League.
But there was no Plan B. It was hit or bust and the Tigers bust them. The downturn was dramatic. Cano's 0 for 29 earned another Major League record, the worst recorded post-season return. It gave him an average of .056 – anything beneath .240 is considered poor. Granderson was .100, Swisher, labelled the "choke-meister general" by a fuming New York Post, .167. "We didn't swing the bats," suggested Girardi. "It wasn't one guy. It was a bunch of guys. It's hard to win when you don't score runs."
Girardi has borne the brunt of much of the criticism. None of his decisions came off post-season and hopes of running a new broom over an ageing line-up are limited by the number of players on long-term lucrative deals.
Rodriguez was paid $29m for a season that ended with a negligible contribution from the man who is halfway through the most lucrative contract in the history of the game. The next five years of Rodriguez will cost the Yankees $114m, this for a man who managed a single hit against Detroit. So poor was his form that Girardi benched him for three games – from where he did little to endear himself to Yankee fans by appearing to flirt with a bikini model during game one in New York.
Girardi insisted it was not all about Rodriguez. The man himself, though, did at least acknowledge his failings. "I've got to look in the mirror," he said. There have been broadening suggestions he may be traded to Miami Marlins, but he insists he is going nowhere – like his team, some might say.
"I love New York City and everything about being a Yankee," said Rodriguez. "The highs are very high and the lows are very low."
Latest in Sport
NFL player Marshawn Lynch answers every question in post-game interview with 'Yeah'
Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
Prince Harry leads the congratulations for Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, calling him 'an absolute legend' as he crossed the finish line
Chelsea vs West Brom: Jose Mourinho turns on ‘Dr Sergio Ramos’ in Spanish spat
Six things we learnt from the Premier League: Same old problems for Arsenal; Chelsea in cruise control; Spurs can take heart from poor start
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'
£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...