26 Oct 2006
For the uninitiated, the New York Yankees lost to Detroit in the playoffs, and for the 57th year in a row, they will not win the World Series. Actually they last won the World Series in 2000, so it's only been 6 years.
In my humble (and often distorted) opinion, the Yankees have been the best team every year since they last won. It seems like every time the Yankees lose in the playoffs it's because of flukes. Rivera allowed a broken bat blooper against Arizona in 2001 (when every guy they got on base seemed to break a bat and get an infield single). And the Yankees shouldn't have had their second baseman or shortstop playing in then anyway - they should have been planning on a double play. Jeter would have caught the blooper and prevented the winning run.
In 2003 the Yankees lost to the Florida Marlins in the World Series. I think Florida's Josh Beckett was the first human to pitch every inning of every game in a series. And he was the only pitcher New York had serious trouble with. And if the Yankees and Marlins had played three million seven-game series that year, the Yankees would have won two million of them.
In 2004 the Yankees lost to Boston. They only needed to win one more game to go to the Series, but a rain-out occurred, allowing the slightest shift in momentum. Boston did the unprecedented and won four in a row to steal the Yankees' glory. Oh yeah - a rainout happened again this year against Detroit after a game one win by the Yanks. And as I already mentioned, Detroit went on to victory. Never underestimate the power of rain to throw a team's destiny under the bus! (Or for that matter, don't overlook how partial cloud coverage, 5 mph breezes, and crisp autumn evenings can turn the tide of sports history.)
In 2002 and 2005 the Yankees lost to the Anaheim Angels of the Southern California Greater Metropolitan Regional Marketing Scam team. I can only surmise that Anaheim was a sneaky and cheater-filled team long before they changed their name between the 2004 and 2005 seasons to try and earn more money from the association with Los Angeles. Their cheating-ness is why they beat the Yankees both times. (FYI, their real team name is "The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim".)
And while I'm on a roll with this complaining thing, the Yankees were the best team in 1997 too, and would've beaten every other team in baseball in a seven game series except for Cleveland, who of course they ended up playing. And the Yanks would've taken every team in 1995 except for Seattle, who they also ended up playing. And they would have won in 1994 if the strike hadn't killed the season. And there's no doubt they were the best in 1996 and again from 1998-2000 since they won the World Series those years. But just so people remember, they had the worst record of any team in the playoffs in 2000 and still won. It was because they didn't try during the regular season since they knew they were the best team in baseball and could coast through the playoffs.
Okay, I've strayed. The Yankees were the best team this season and should've beaten Detroit. I will now present some pretty amazing analysis to shore up my position. The Yankees' season winning percentage was .599. The Tigers' percentage was .586. By this metric (eat your heart out Bill James), the Yankees were .013 better than Detroit. What's that you say? The Tigers played in a tougher division so their winning percentage skewed lower because of it? Actually, the Yankees' record against the central was 23-12 (.657) while Detroit's was 45-30 (.600... and Detroit didn't have to play themselves!). This particular metric says the Yankees were .057 better than Detroit. And how did the Yankees fare against Detroit straight up in the regular season? By my count (which may be wrong) the series ended 5-2 in the Yankees' favor. That's a .714 winning percentage versus .286, which means the Yankees were actually .428 better.
Quick review: I've shown the Yankees as .013, .057, and .428 better than Detroit. I'm no math major, but it seems the evidence supporting the Yankees is overwhelming. If I continue my trend of showing more and more convincing evidence, the next stat will show the Yankees as 2.4 bazillion times better than Detroit. So I'll save us the trouble and not provide any more facts.
So you see, slightly off-center logic and feigned reason have proven that the Yankees were the best team this season and actually in every season since 1994. I don't think baseball records were kept before 1994, so it'd be difficult to prove they were the best team before then, but I'm guessing they were unstoppable in years like 1990 and 1912.
The Yankees will probably be the best team in baseball again next season, at least according to the numbers.