Russell: They May Go Home On Monday, But You Can Appreciate the 2016 Yankees

A lot of focus has been paid to the Yankees future, but hopefully the fans appreciate what happened in 2016. Mark Teixeria’s walk-off grand slam with two outs in the ninth on Wednesday gave the Yankees a 5-3 win when they were one out away from being officially eliminated from playoff contention. It also clinched the 24th straight winning season for the Bronx Bombers.

“It’s a great moment for him and it’s a great moment for us,” Joe Girardi said.

When the Yankees play their 159th game on Thursday, it will mean something. Nobody saw this coming early in the season. On May 5, Baltimore beat the Yankees 1-0, as the Yankees fell to 9-17. It looked the the early stages of an interminable season. Then they fought back to respectability. Trades were made and it looked like Brian
Cashman was waving the white flag. The Yankees were 52-52 after July.

Then they started a series with the Mets which was the least anticipated Subway Series in history. Now the Mets and Yankees are still alive.

An infusion of young talent, including Gary Sanchez, reinvigorated the Yankees when they could’ve folded.
On Wednesday night, Boston took a 3-0 lead into the ninth. The Yankees had one hit, an infield single by Brett Gardner in the fourth. Because of Toronto’s loss, the Red Sox had clinched the division. Boston was ready to celebrate and the Yankees could’ve been ready to roll over. Instead, the young guys are getting an education on playing games through to the end.

“You never stop playing the game,” Girardi said. “You just never stop. You never know. We had one hit through eight innings. One hit. It can happen fast.”

Craig Kimbrel couldn’t retire any of the four batters he faced and Joe Kelly gave up the blast to Teixeria.
There is the idea that any season that doesn’t finish with a championship is a failure. That may have been true when the Yankees fielded All-Star laden teams during the mid-2000s. The last few years have been different. The 2013 team won 85 games despite a plethora of injuries. The 2014 team was out scored but still had a winning record. The 2015 team surprised many and made the playoffs, even if it was for one night.

But this season really could’ve gotten out of hand. They lost 17 of it’s first 26 games, and the team looked old and worn down. With four games left, the Yankees are 82-76 and are still mathematically alive. They get one more game against David Ortiz and the Red Sox and then look to play spoiler against Baltimore this weekend.

While the future is bright, enjoy what the 2016 season has left to give, too.

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