I couldn’t watch anymore. Miguel Cabrera had just hit a first-pitch, two-run home run to send Comerica Park into a frenzy and that was it. Well, really “that was it” came when the Tigers scored in the bottom of the first inning. If CC Sabathia and the Yankees bullpen wasn’t going to pitch a shutout then the Yankees most likely weren’t going to win Game 4, and I don’t know how a team expects to win the ALCS let alone the World Series under those conditions.
So I didn’t watch anymore. I turned the game off as the finality that is elimination and the last game of the season set in. Luckily, I had already experienced Phase 1 of the Yankees Elimination Process when Derek Jeter went down on Saturday night and the Yankees lost a game they couldn’t possibly lose, so I wasn’t as devastated as I would normally be. (Once Phase 2 kicks in this weekend, I will be sure to break it down for Monday. I will keep this Game 4 reflection short, just like the Yankees kept the ALCS. But I will need the weekend to think about the 171 games of 2012.)
I didn’t see what could be A-Rod’s last at-bat as a Yankee or Nick Swisher’s or Curtis Granderson’s. I didn’t care to. I didn’t need to see anymore strikeouts since I had seen a lifetime of them since the postseason began and you can only watch miserable at-bats for so long.
An 8-1 loss, 16 hits allowed and a sweep. That’s what I get for believing in this team. I was stupid to think that CC Sabathia could win Game 4 and then Andy Pettitte could win Game 5 and send it back to the Bronx because that would mean that someone, anyone from the heart of the order would have to do their job for one at-bat with runners on base. Actually, it would mean that someone would actually have to get on base before they could do their job. “Why not us?” Because Eduardo Nunez was the only source of offense in Games 3 and 4.
After the game ended, or maybe while it was still going on since I stopped watching, I met my friends Andrew and Dave at a bar to reflect on everything that had happened since Opening Day on April — when Joe Girardi had CC Sabathia intentionally walked Sean Rodriguez to face Carlos Pena in the first inning of the first game of the season and Pena hit a grand slam. As we were talking and doing the opposite of celebratory drinking, Andrew hit me and pointed to one of the TVs at the bar. I thought it was going to be something happening in the Cardinals-Giants game or a big play in Thursday Night Football. I turned to see Phil Coke slamming his glove to the ground and the Tigers racing on to the field to celebrate handing the Yankees their first postseason sweep since the 1980 ALCS.
“Why would you tell me to look at that?” I asked.
“You need to see that,” Andrew replied.
It was like I was training to work in the emergency room and Andrew was forcing me to watch someone die for the first time.
But it wasn’t my first time seeing the Yankees eliminated and it won’t be my last. That doesn’t mean it gets any easier.