Was It Really a “Wasted Year?”

When I was on the road following the Yankees last year, voicing my distress about the team’s horrible first half to Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News, he said, “Yankee fans have to appreciate how hard it is to win.” That line made it into the book. What got cut in the editing process was what he added. “Derek Jeter always says a season is a waste if you don’t win the World Series. I completely disagree with his all-or-nothing philosophy, because it’s trickled down to the fans, and I think it’s a shame.”

And now here is Jeter, telling Kevin Kernan of the NY Post the same thing: “This year was a waste.”
Was it? Obviously, it was disappointing. Clearly, we all wanted not only to make the postseason but to win a 27th world championship. No question, we were hopeful that Joe Girardi and the kids (not just Hughes and Kennedy, but Shelley Duncan too) would succeed.
But a waste? I beg to differ. I watched just about every game this season and there were pleasures to be had. In no particular order:
* Molina throwing out runners. Great job by a second string catcher who stepped up when Posada went down.
* Damon re-emerging as a solid leadoff hitter, batting .300 and running the bases like the Damon of old.
* The Veras-Bruney-Ramirez bullpen making a strong showing for most of the season. Once Joba moved to the starting rotation and Farnsworth and Hawkins were dealt/DFA’d, they got the job done and were later joined by Robertson, Coke, Marte and Giese. Bruney was good before his injury and even better after, and Coke has been a revelation.
* Joba adjusting from the pen to the rotation, seemingly with ease. Personally, I like him in the pen as heir apparent to Mo, but either way I’m flippin’ glad he’s on my team.
* Mo having one of his best years ever. The guy is 39! Now we hear he has a shoulder problem and pitched with pain all season, which makes his performance that much more amazing.
* Mussina coming back from a dismal year to become our ace. I sure hope he gets win #20 tomorrow. No one deserves it more.
* Abreu shining yet again at the plate. Six straight seasons with 100 RBIs, 20 homers and 20 stolen bases. Not too shabby.
* A-Rod putting up good numbers in an “off year.” Love him or hate him, I’m glad he opted in as our third basemen or we’d be talking about Joe Crede. I’ll take those 35 homers and 100+ RBIs any day.
* Nady landing in Yankeeville. The guy reminds me of the gritty Tino and Brosius and O’Neill. With a little more patience at the plate, he could be outstanding.
* Gardner speeding around the bases. Who knows if he’ll be able to hit consistently, but he was a spark plug late in the season when we needed one.
* Aceves showing some promise as a possible starter next year. Either that, or he’ll end up being the “Mexican Chase Wright,” as Peter Abraham called him.
* Jeter breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for hits at Yankee Stadium. Hello, Derek? Was making history this season really a waste? I didn’t think so.
Any other thoughts while I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy?


  1. kabsy77@yahoo.com

    Hey Jane! Awesome blog you’ve got here. I would like to say that any season where you get to enjoy baseball for 162 days a year is a good season. I’m not a fan of the Jeter mentality either for this reason. Yeah, I’m seriously missing the whole eager anticipation of the playoffs right now, and yes, I prefer going to games where they actually look alive, but to have a constant thing to look forward to for six months a year? That’s pretty fab in itself.

    Your summary of all the positive-ish things we got to see this year is proof that there’s always some kind of silver lining. Nice way to look at it.


  2. Jane Heller

    Hey, Karen. Welcome and nice to “meet” you. I’m sort of laughing at the post I wrote today. I’m not usually a look-on-the-bright-side person. But what good does it do to whine about what should have been? We all know what the problems were. Mostly I’m just sad there won’t be any games to watch and I’ll have to get a life!

  3. snoverc511@strose.edu

    Hey! I just read your comment on my blog (alleitersbullpencatcher.blogspot.com). I agree, us females must stick together.. Anyhow, I think the best part of this season definitly has to be the comeback of Mike Mussina; considering the start he had this year and everyone wanting him gone.

  4. Kylie

    First of all, you give me far too much credit as a fan. I bemoaned the Astros’ suckage as much as (and possibly more than) any other fan; though I did keep going to the games, I never expected a W. I was the ultimate pessimist.
    Secondly, I am just as surprised as you are about Moose. And excited. Good for him 🙂
    Third, I’m also glad Nady plays for you guys, because that means he doesn’t play for the Pirates anymore and I was sick and tired of dealing with him! 😀
    Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com

  5. Jane Heller

    Yeah, Greg. There are plenty of games if you’re a Red Sox fan! You must be psyched, but beware the Angels this year. They were physical wrecks when you played them last year.

    Thanks for stopping by, Al Leiter’s Bullpen Catcher. (How great is that name for a blog, huh? I’m jealous I didn’t think of it. I have a little scene with Al in my book, at the Toronto airport, after I’d had too much bad wine on the plane. So embarrassing.) Yeah, Moose is probably the #1 positive this year. I hope he decides to come back, now that he’s figured out how to change speeds and arm angles and all the rest.

    Kylie, great comment about Nady. I get so fixated on the AL during the course of the season that I don’t pay enough attention to the NL. Glad we took the X-Man off your hands! 🙂

  6. jimmy27nyy

    Hey, Jane …

    It’s interesting, that before viewing your above post, I also was impressed with Kevin Kernan’s article, in Saturday’s, September 27th, New York Post, about Derek Jeter … It is an outstanding article about how Jeter feels the 2008 season is a wasted year, because the Yankees did not get into the post-season, and will not win the World Series … I totally respect Derek Jeter’s winning philosophy — he leads by example … The Yankees winning philosophy, starts with George Steinbrenner, is carried onto the field by Jeter, and is expected by the fans !!! … I see your point, though, Jane, as you write in your post about many highlights from the 2008 season, which were great moments that we all enjoyed, and are now memories that we will always remember … There were many good things that took place in the 2008 Yankees season … But, like Jeter said in the Kernan article, “you work from November to this point for one reason, that’s to play in the post-season. That’s the botom line. And, if you don’t play for that reason, you shouldn’t be playing” … Anyway, we both thought enough about Kevin Kernan’s article to include it on our blogs [you, in your post; me, in my response to comments made by a non-Yankees fan on my blog] … I guess, “great minds think alike” !!! … Also, Jane, excellent comments by you, to that same non-Yankees fan on my blog … As you will recall, the person did not reveal which team that person roots for; but, of course, was very critical of the Yankees … Non-Yankee fans just do not understand the great Yankees Tradition … It’s that tradition, and the link to the great winning history of the past, that makes winning so important to the Yankees Organization, and Yankee fans !!! …. Jane, great post as usual !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]


  7. Jane Heller

    Jimmy, interesting that we both singled out Kernan’s article but have slightly different interpretations of it. I believe it’s important for the players to have a winning mentality and for us as fans to believe in our team. I was just saying we should also appreciate the individual accomplishments. For me, calling any season “a waste” sounds a bit extreme!

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