They were down 2-0 to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series, and it’s fair to say the odds were stacked against them.
Familiar territory. Just like the wildcard game facing a 3-0 deficit against the Minnesota Twins, and just like the ALDS facing a 2-0 series deficit against the Cleveland Indians.
The next three games at Yankee Stadium were as good as it gets for a Yankee fan. The environment was rocking with the old-school Yankee Stadium vibe and a team that had you dreaming of the impossible.
Three straight wins over the 101-win Houston Astros. The stretch of victories at Yankee Stadium was no easy achievement.
Not only were the Yankees up against a very talented team, but they had their fair share of adversity. As you’re watching the games unfold, a four-run comeback in the late innings of game four followed up by a win in game five over Yankee-killer Dallas Keuchel, it was easy to dream big.
The dream of the World Series was right on the cusp, just one win away.
Unfortunately for Yankee fans, the fairy tale ride turned into a pumpkin down in Houston in games six and seven.
The same Yankee bats that pummeled Astros pitching in the Bronx were only able to muster three runs in four games in the Lone Star State.
The Yankees had simply no answer for series MVP Justin Verlander in the first game, nor Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers in the final game, and just like that their World Series dreams were crushed.
No World Series, no trip down the Canyon of Heroes, but despite the disappointment of the final two games in Houston, there is so much to love about the 2017 Yankee season.
The Yankees went into the year wondering if Aaron Judge could be an everyday right fielder. They wondered if Luis Severino belonged as a part of their starting rotation.
I think it’s fair to say both of those guys turned out a-okay.
The team wasn’t expected to be in game seven of the American League Championship Series.
They had an over/under number of 82 wins before the season got underway. They weren’t expected to make the postseason and they certainly weren’t expected to beat the Cleveland Indians in the division series.
The Yankees were gutsy, resilient and played with a passion that captivated the imagination of New York City.
This Yankees group was a fun mix of veterans and talented young players. There was personality, there was enthusiasm, and you get the sense as a fan that this was not the end of an era, but only the beginning.
The likability of the 2017 Yankees brought out a passion and energy in the new Yankee Stadium that hadn’t been heard since the days of the old stadium across the street.
This postseason run was new, it was fresh, and it was a feel good joy ride for the better part of three weeks.
Unlike other Yankee playoff defeats where you felt as if the team underachieved and let you down, this Yankee team and season gave you everything you could ask for as a fan.
The team exceeded expectations, they were fun to watch, and easy to like.
The innocence will end in 2018, the expectations will grow, but the future for the boys who reside on 161st street and River Avenue is bright.
Bright doesn’t do it justice. Young power bats and power arms with a ton of money to spend...good luck Major League Baseball, the Yankees are back.
2017 is only the beginning.
You can listen to me on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM on Sunday & Monday from 2 to 6 a.m.
JJ’s Week 8 Unlocks
(16-20 on the Season)
• Miami +3
• New Orleans -9
• Dallas -1.5
• Minnesota -9.5
• Detroit +3