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ALCS Game 1: Gut Check Time

October 14, 2012

Jeter goes down in pain after fracturing his ankle (AP)

In the last week Raúl Ibañez has conjured up more magic than a matchup between Roy Hobbs and Henry Rowengartner at the Field of Dreams.  (If you didn’t understand the last analogy you need to brush up on your baseball movies).  Unfortunately, his fourth 9th inning, game-tying blast of the last 3 weeks was not enough last night.  In fact, as Saturday night turned into Sunday morning, in yet another extra inning game for the Yanks, that ethereal time where dreams happen at the Stadium brought only nightmares.

Tigers take the lead.  Jeter down.  Yanks lose.

Now comes the news that for the first time in his 16-year career, Jeter will be sidelined for the rest of the playoffs with a fractured ankle.  The Yankees can respond in one of two ways.  They can either fold or they can move on with fortitude.  I think the later is possible.  They have shown amazing resilience throughout this season in overcoming innumerable injuries including the loss of Mariano and staving off the relentless Orioles.  And if our recent comebacks have told us anything, we know that this team does not go down until the final out is made.

Maybe it will take a season-ending injury to their Captain to wake up Cano, Grandy, Swisher, and A-Rod from their slumps.  Maybe Girardi needs to spin his own version of Knute Rockne’s “Win One for the Gipper” speech–which, coincidentally was made at Yankee Stadium in 1928.  There is no denying that losing DJ is devastating.  I cannot picture October baseball without him, but our pitching has been superb this postseason and we still have more than enough power in our arsenal to toe the line with any team.  This is a moment when this team can come together and do something remarkable, something we will remember for a long time, that when the odds were long they came through.

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