Philadelphia, PA – There was a moment on Sept. 5 when I thought to myself, wow, the New York Yankees are really going to do this, aren't they?
The Yankees had come into the opener of a series with Boston that night having won five of six - many of those wins coming in come-from-behind fashion - to get themselves right back into the AL playoff hunt. However, they found themselves down, 7-2 in the seventh inning of that one and again roared back with six runs in their half of the frame to go ahead of the Red Sox.
Something special seemed to be happening in the Bronx for a team that had tens of millions of dollars in payroll sidelined by injury. A team whose lineup routinely featured the likes of Jayson Nix, David Adams and Chris Stewart for the better part of the season.
It almost seemed like destiny.
At that moment, I pictured Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on the field at Yankee Stadium handing a World Series trophy to Alex Rodriguez. Only Rodriguez could end this of all seasons in bizarre fashion like that.
It would have been too good to be true.
And you better believe that same scenario had probably crossed Selig's mine a time or two since Rodriguez returned.
But, as awesomely uncomfortable as that would have been, it's just not going to happen. The Yankees went on to lose that Sept. 5 game to Boston in extra innings and have now dropped eight of 12.
The wild card standings may still list the Yankees as having a shot, but the 3 1/2 games they are behind may as well be 300. They have finally run out of gas and it showed in a 2-0 loss to the woeful Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
"We're playing terrible and it's not good. It's a bad time to be doing it," said Andy Pettitte, who absorbed the loss on Tuesday. "We put ourselves in a horrible position. Obviously, we can't have too many more losses."
The mere fact the Yankees were even in this position is kind of amazing when you consider Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira have combined to play 32 games, Curtis Granderson endured two long trips on the disabled list, Rodriguez missed the first half of the season and the guy they brought into replace him, Kevin Youkilis, hasn't played since June 13.
Not to mention the whole Rodriguez PED drama the team has had to deal with.
And let's not even talk about the team's starting pitching. CC Sabathia is having the worst year of his career, Phil Hughes has lost 13 games, more often than not Pettitte has looked every bit of 41 and as good as Hiroki Kuroda was in the first half, he's been just as bad in the last two months.
But even with all that, the Yanks were right in it, thanks in part to another tremendous season from Mariano Rivera. But, even the great Rivera has looked mortal as his career winds down.
But, even after losing three of four to the Red Sox two weekends ago, they still had a fighting chance. The Yanks rebounded from that to win three of four from the Baltimore Orioles, but then a visit to Boston changed everything.
The Yankees were swept by the Red Sox in Fenway and looked very much like a team that should be on the golf course in October rather than one that will be playing postseason baseball.
Regardless if the Yankees reach the playoffs, Girardi should be the AL Manager of the Year. If he doesn't win, he'll certainly be the runner-up, probably to Boston's John Farrell.
Still, as much as Selig probably would have enjoyed the attention that a Rivera run to a World Series in his final year would have garnered his sport, you have to believe that he's happy that the mega-market New York Yankees probably won't be anywhere near your television sets this October.