I am no stranger to divorce. I am a two-time loser, having severed my unions with both the man I married when I was too young to know better and the man I wed when I was too work-obsessed to pay attention.
But I honestly thought I was over that particular brand of heartbreak — the accusations, the recriminations, the tears, the lonely nights, the division of property. I was determined not to put myself through another breakup, and yet I do not see any other way out. My current relationship has unraveled.
I gave it everything I have. I am sick and tired of the “I trieds” and the “What do you expect me to dos?” I’ve been begging for answers and all I have gotten are platitudes. Enough is enough.
And so I am divorcing the New York Yankees — all 25 men on the active roster, in addition to the manager, the coaches and the general manager. Oh, and the trainer, too. And, of course, the owner and all his baseball people.
The grounds for the divorce will be mental cruelty. I mean, I made a commitment to these guys, emotional and financial, and they betrayed and humiliated me by allowing the Red Sox — the Red Sox! — to run away with the division. When I think how I defended the Yankees to their legions of detractors, it hurts. It really hurts.
I was so loyal, so trusting, so willing to shell out $165 so I could buy Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings package and watch all the games from my house in California. And yet look at how they treated me. I will tell you how they treated me — as if I were a Kansas City Royals fan.
Yeah, I know. There have been injuries. A sore back. A cracked fingernail. A bone spur. A hammy. Please. I am not stupid. If a guy does not want to show up for me, he should simply say so and stop making excuses.
And yeah, there have been disruptions in routine. But again. A rainout is no reason to act all out of sorts and say, “I guess I just didn’t have good stuff.”
When, exactly, did I fall out of love with the Yankees? (To clarify: I will always love them, but I am no longer in love with them. There is too much anger, too much baggage between us now.)
Maybe it was when Cashman started spending a fortune to acquire pitchers who suddenly could not pitch, at least not in pinstripes. Vázquez. Loaiza. Contreras. Weaver. Wright. Pavano. Every time one of these guys would take the mound (or consult a surgeon), my heart would crack a little more. I kept wanting to slap Cashman, to make him feel the pain I was feeling, to strike back against what I perceived to be his abusive behavior toward me.
And do not get me started on how he breached my faith by overpaying for Clemens, a man who forced me to care about him only to leave me for Houston. It is still too raw.
Or maybe the love died when Zimmer quit and Torre had to make managerial decisions on his own. There were all those nights when Joe would call for Tanyon Sturtze in relief — so many nights that he turned that poor guy’s arm into a pretzel, the way he is doing now with Scott Proctor. There were also the nights when he would pull Mussina or Wang or whichever starter was actually pitching brilliantly and efficiently in favor of a reliever who would blow the game. (See Sturtze.)
And then there was his flip-flopping: “I won’t use Mo in the eighth”; “I have to use Mo in the eighth.” Those mixed messages can really get to a person in love. We all need to know where we stand, don’t we?
But my passion — that mad, crazy, dizzying feeling — really petered out as a result of the team’s collective offensive slump. (No, this is not about you, Jeter, although I have not forgiven you for not sticking up for A-Rod last year; and Jorge, you are not to blame, given your smoldering-hot bat.)
When I first fell in love with the Yankees, players knew how to bunt. They knew how to get runners over and get ’em in. They knew how to make productive outs. And — here is the biggie — they knew how to hit consistently and in the clutch.
Watching the current lineup flail at the ball was what finally made me decide to take action. I will pack up my Yankees T-shirts and caps and anything else I own with the interlocking N and Y and donate them to charity. I will stop checking the scores hourly. I will no longer dream about what might have been.
The truth is, I have already started to look elsewhere for satisfaction and companionship, which is how you really know a relationship is over. I have been watching the Devil Rayslately, and let me tell you: They do for me what the Yankees could not. They entertain me. They make me laugh. They put me in a good mood. They run and hit and they are young and cute. They do not win often, but they are fun!
Do you know how refreshing that is? How liberating? I am feeling frisky and free and unburdened now that I am with the Rays. (That is our little pet name.) It is not quite love. Not yet. But I am open to it.
As for the Yankees, if they suddenly start winning and somehow become not only the American League champions this season but the World Series champions, I will take that as a sign that they want me back and I will give them serious consideration. But as of right now, we are over. I am not that into them anymore.