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Peter Griffith

(Brent Schwert)

The breakup of the Yankees has begun.
New York fired strength and conditioning coach Marty Miller on Wednesday, citing a recent spate of injuries that has decimated their starting rotation. Evidently Miller wasn’t doing a good enough job of keeping pitchers like Jeff Karstens healthy. Karstens is on the DL with a broken leg, and clearly Marty should have prepared Karstens’ bones better by keeping him on a strict regimen of three tall glasses of M-I-L-K a day.
Much to the delight of a majority of baseball fans, the end of April finds the Yankees in last place in the AL East with a dismal 10-14 record, five and a half games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox. And boy does it feel good to write down that sentence.
I say it’s about time that the Bronx Bombers had a taste of last place baseball. For too many years the East has been a two-team popularity contest.
And while the Red Sox aren’t really that much better these days, it’s certainly satisfying to hear Yankee fans have to resort to the sort of excuses that we real sports fans have been working on for years: weather and injuries. “If it weren’t for the lousy weather and starting pitcher X’s hamstring injury, we could have made a run of it this year.”
What I’m worried about though is that this can only end two ways: Either New York hangs around the bottom of the East all season and misses the playoffs by 15 games, or they find their stride and a new strength coach and storm back to take the wild card.
Either way, the rest of us better plug our ears: If NY doesn’t make the playoffs, we’ll hear the end of Yankee excuses sometime in the summer of 2012, and if they do, well . we’ll never hear the end of it.
I’m hoping for the former, obviously. Joe Torre will lose his job and we’ll have a few rebuilding seasons before the Yankees regain their dominance of the baseball world.
And I guess even if New York does manage to come up with some pitching somewhere and make a run at the playoffs this year, it will have meant that A-Rod has continued his torrid April pace and we’ll get to see one of the finest seasons of baseball put together in a long time.
I don’t really know if that’s a comfort, but you take what you can get.