If I were in charge of Major League Baseball, I would declare that the Yankees make the playoffs every season.• ALCS Game 2: Today, 4 p.m. ET on FOXOK, I'd probably get a little backlash from the other 29 teams in the Major Leagues, so I'm guessing my "Yankees eternally
If I were in charge of Major League Baseball, I would declare that the Yankees make the playoffs every season.
• ALCS Game 2: Today, 4 p.m. ET on FOX
OK, I'd probably get a little backlash from the other 29 teams in the Major Leagues, so I'm guessing my "Yankees eternally in the postseason" dream wouldn't happen for me. Then again, the presence of the Yankees in the playoffs has unfolded enough through the decades without somebody forcing the issue as Grand Poohbah of the game.
For verification, the Yankees opened the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World on Friday in Houston -- taking a 2-1 loss in Game 1 -- after they came from behind to beat the Twins in the AL Wild Card Game, and then surged past the Indians by overcoming an 0-2 deficit during the best-of-five AL Division Series presented by Doosan.
:: ALCS schedule and coverage ::
You may rub your eyes, because this makes no sense. Usually, you feel a playoff run coming for the Yankees by Labor Day, or maybe the Fourth of July, but these guys in pinstripes are a surprise. This supposedly was a franchise building toward the future, with a slew of gifted, yet raw, prospects in the Minor Leagues and the likes of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino (all 25 or younger) getting acclimated to the big leagues.
Instead, many of the young Yankees combined with veterans such as Carsten Sabathia, Player Page for David Robertson and Brett Gardner to win 91 games for the Bronx Bombers during the regular season. Now, they're just four victories from having a chance to extend their record number of World Series championships to 28.
Drama. Wonderful drama. You often can expect as much whenever the Yankees are still playing in October. Once, Babe Ruth pointed to a spot beyond the ivy at Wrigley Field, swung and trotted around the bases. Pitch after pitch, Don Larson didn't allow a runner during an entire World Series game.
Speaking of the World Series, remember Reggie Jackson and his three homers on the first pitch from three different pitchers? And what about the day Bucky Dent came out of nowhere to stun the Red Sox with a home run at Fenway Park? Years after that, Boston folks were giving Aaron Boone a middle name not fit for a family website after his walk-off shot pushed the Yankees past the Red Sox to the ALCS.
This love affair with theatrics was just more of the same earlier this week in Cleveland for the Yankees during their ALDS Game 5 clincher against the Indians. First, Didi Gregorius became only the ninth player to hit two homers in a winner-take-all postseason game. Later, Gardner spent the top of the ninth doing what Yankees hitters traditionally do in the fall -- put together a long at-bat. Gardner singled on the 12th pitch, driving in a run with another coming across on an error on the play.
You can't have drama in sports without a little controversy, and the Yankees know about that, too. Their controversies have ranged from Billy Martin kicking dirt on umpires, to Jeffery Maier reaching from the stands at Yankee Stadium to touch a fair ball.
There also was everything from whether Ruth really did call his home run back then against the Cubs during that World Series game to whether Yankees manager Joe Girardi should have used a challenge when Indians pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch during a crucial point of ALDS Game 2 that led to an Indians victory.
These controversies just make the Yankees more interesting. In fact, they rarely fail after these attention-grabbing incidents occur. They rattled off three straight wins after the one involving Girardi.
Nothing against the Indians, the defending AL champs, loaded with a bunch of splendid players and led by future Hall of Fame manager Terry Francona, but they aren't the Yankees. Nobody is. You can love them or hate them, but you can't ignore them. To translate, you follow them for whatever reason, because everybody does this time of year, and it's been that way forever, even before the first World Series telecast in 1947.
Since we're right there, going back 70 years ago, guess who won it all back then over the Dodgers? Yep, the Yankees. Those were the Bronx Bombers of Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra, and they followed the dynastic group led by Lou Gehrig and Ruth.
Later, through the 1950s and the early '60s, the Yankees stayed famous with much help from Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford before Reggie Jackson joined Thurman Munson and Catfish Hunter to trigger a dominant stretch for the franchise during the late '70s. Then, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera became the leaders of Yankees teams that captured four World Series championships from 1996-2000 and another in 2009.
Now, the Yankees are threatening to make it deep into the postseason with Judge pounding balls, Gregorius making it easier for fans to accept that Jeter is an owner rather than a shortstop, Severino causing hitters to squirm and their farm system exploding with talent.
To translate, this is just the beginning of another stretch of significance for the Yankees, whether you smile or frown.
But I'm sure you'll watch.
Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com.