The Yankees (21-9) Appear To Be For Real
May 11, 2017
This wasn’t supposed to be a special year for the Yankees, who have had so many of them in the past. But they’ve been winning a lot in the early part of the 2017 season and last weekend they captured my attention. They were in Chicago to play the defending champion Cubs. I watched all three games on television and was so impressed that I decided to devote my weekly column to them. You probably know by now the Yankees swept the series, including the six-hour, 18 inning win
on Sunday night which was completed Sunday morning. The Yankees then flew to Cincinnati, arriving at 5 a.m. and beat the Reds that night. 10-4. I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my life and as you might expect I start every season focusing on the Dodgers and Angels. But I sometimes get impressed by other teams and other players. In spring training last season I wrote favorably about the Cubs, who hadn’t won a World Series in 108 years. Then they did win one. I’m not predicting the Yankees will win the World Series this season but I think they’ve done enough to merit some close inspection. I begin with Aaron Judge, their 6-foot-7, 270 pound rookie outfielder.
At the beginning of this week he led the American League in home runs with 13 and RBI with 28. Judge, who played at Fresno State, is now 25. At his current pace he would hit a record 78 home runs this season. Yankees manager Joe Giradi says Judge reminds him of Derek Jeter, the former Yankee great who’s having his number retired this weekend after 20 spectacular seasons. Judge met Jeter two years ago and says Jeter advised him to stay consistent and don’t be depressed if you have a bad month. Judge appreciates Jeter’s advice but hasn’t had a slump yet. Judge isn’t merely a big guy with power. He’s been described as the best athlete in any sport and makes some terrific diving catches. The Yankees have a nice blend of veterans and youngsters. They also have two premier relief
pitchers, After losing Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs last season they got him back as a free agent with a five-year contract. The Yankees currently lead a division that includes the formidable Orioles and Red Sox. Can they stay in first place all the way? That might not happen but the franchise with its great history is gaining more and more fans. The Cubs are coming here to play the Dodgers on the May 28 weekend and I plan to ask some of them what they think of the Yankees.