Historic Hosting of Yankees on Pirates’ Horizon
The Pirates are who we thought they would be. But the Yankees have been as good or better than they’ve ever been so far this season. They’ll be something to see next week at PNC.
Start spreadin’ the news, the Yankees are coming.
And they’re bringing history with them.
The three-game sweep of the A’s the Yankees completed on Wednesday afternoon bloated their record to a Major League-leading 56-20, which matched the best 76-game start in Yankees’ history and the best by any Major League team in the last 93 years (since 1930).
Wednesday’s 5-3 victory was achieved via the Yankees’ Major League-leading 24th comeback.
It included home runs by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees’ Major League-leading 125th and 126th of the season.
The 232 runs the Yankees surrendered were the fewest in the Majors and the fewest through 76 games in Yankees’ history.
And this is a franchise with 27 World Series Championships-worth of history.
The Yankees’ winning percentage was .737 through Wednesday, well ahead of the .716 the Mariners posted when they went 116-46 in 2001 and set a record for victories in a season in the Expansion Era (since 1961).
So this is far from just another dominating season in the Bronx.
All of that and the traditional Yankees mystique make the Yankees’ upcoming visit to Pittsburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday the most anticipated arrival at PNC Park since Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.
Or, perhaps, the Rolling Stones and Pearl Jam.
At least until Billy Joel returns in August.
All that will be missing when the Yankees show up on the North Shore in their road gray uniforms will be the pinstripes.
These Yankees are rock stars. Judge and Anthony Rizzo are a modern-day reincarnation of Mantle and Maris, or Ruth and Gehrig. Clay Holmes has been so dominant as a fill-in closer Aroldis Chapman hasn’t been missed in his recent stint away from the team due to injury.
Yes, Network play-by-play announcer Michael Kay eyed Chapman’s impending return during Wednesday afternoon’s broadcast of the series finale against Oakland and observed, “An embarrassment of riches could become a little bit of an issue.”
It wouldn’t be the first time.
Traditionally, that’s why the Yankees have been so universally and enthusiastically hated by everyone who doesn’t sport an interlocking NY ballcap.
They have too much money.
They spend too much money.
They win too much.
And even when they haven’t (amazingly, it’s been since 2009 that the Yankees have celebrated winning the last game of the season), they’ve found ways to earn their “Evil Empire” designation.
But this is different.
This, potentially, is history.
Because of what these Yankees are doing and how they’re doing it, they’re transcending the standard contempt and jealousy with which the Yankees have traditionally been greeted.
For a change, Tuesday and Wednesday won’t be about what the Yankees have and the Pirates don’t (even with Holmes, Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole suiting up in the visitor’s locker room in the ballpark they once called home).
It won’t be about what the Yankees spend and the Pirates won’t.
For those who appreciate history, Tuesday and Wednesday will be about watching history in the making.
Stop by on Tuesday for the Bill Mazeroski Bobblehead (no matter the obvious Yankees-Pirates disparity on any and all levels at any particular instance, the Bucs will always have 1960).
Stay to see the Greatest Show in Sports continue to amaze as it unfolds.