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Peter Griffith

(Brent Schwert)

Any baseball fan will tell you that they have two favorite teams: the team that they root for, and whomever is playing the Yankees. So for those of us who root for the 22 teams who didn’t make the playoffs this year, Oct. 7 was a great day. It was the day that the Yankees were sent home early.
It had been said that the ’06 Yanks were not only the best team in baseball, but perhaps the best team that the Yankees had ever put together. Maybe even the greatest lineup in the history of the game. I can’t argue with that. In fact, it makes the Tigers’ 3-1 series win in the ALDS (first round!) even sweeter.
So what happened to America’s Team (My apologies to Cowboys fans)? Well, great pitching beats great hitting every time. Detroit had the best pitching in the bigs this year, and even the Yankees’ suffocating lineup (Robinson Cano hit 9th and challenged for the AL batting title) couldn’t get going against the young guns (Verlander) and crafty veterans (ageless Kenny Rogers) that the Tigers brought to the mound. They were simply outpitched. And I laughed all the way onto the Tigers bandwagon.
Next comes the shakeup, right? Firings every which way, the Boss spending his 200 million some other, more profitable way? Well . no. He backed Joe Torre for next year, and A-Rod says that he likes his manager too much to leave. Besides, the Yankees loyal fans will keep coming back, right?
Well not so fast. Another disappointing exit from the playoffs coupled with the Mets success (this year’s real “best team in baseball”) might just push New York’s fans — and their anything-less-than-a-championship-is-a-failure attitude right over the East River, where Shea Stadium is quietly becoming the best place to catch a game in America’s baseball city.
Luckily, even if there is an intra-borough power shift, I don’t see anyone hating the Yankees any less. And with Cory Lidle doing his best Mohammed Atta impression, New Yorkers have to worry about a new kind of terror – this time in the form of losses, coming straight from The House That Ruth Built – and Kenny Rogers Took Down.