It stings. I watched and felt years, maybe decades of my life come off over the course of a few days.
Since April, I had an emotional investment in the New York Yankees. My great-grandfather saw Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play. My dad watched Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. Love for the Yankees is in my blood.
Over the course of the 162 game regular season, I witnessed the best this Yankee team had to offer. They could not stop winning. Then things took a sudden turn.
All of a sudden wins became harder to come by. I watched the standings as the seemingly unbeatable Boston Red Sox stormed through the 2018 season. I was mortified. I, and every Yankee fan on the face of the earth, have an eternal and ingrained hatred for the Red Sox. To say I was panicking was an understatement.
My panic turned to despair when, from the bleachers in left center field on a warm August night, I watched Kansas City pitcher Jakob Junis hit Yankee superstar Aaron Judge on the top of the hand with a fastball. I heard the shattering of the fracturing chip in his hand from my seat hundreds of feet away. In the same moment, I felt my hopes and dreams of a playoff run shatter.
After Judge went down and the offense faltered, and the Yankees blatant lack of pitching became magnified. That did not help lessen my concern. I lost all hope. They were done, right? Judge was hurt, our other hitters looked clueless at the plate, New York had no pitching and Boston was seemingly invincible. I should have thrown in the towel right then and there.
But how could I do that? I love the Yankees and I really hate the Red Sox. I had too much emotionally invested to just stop watching baseball. So I kept on tuning in every game.
The American League Wild Card Game came and went. In a win or go home game, I was surprisingly confident. The Yankees thrashed Oakland. Judge homered, which was heavily reassuring and satisfying. Giancarlo Stanton, the man making more money in four days than the average sports journalist fresh out of college ever will, homered as well. Stanton looked more lost than a freshman on move-in day prior to that.
So just like that, New York was back! Boston awaited, and the excitement of the mere chance to beat them got my blood pumping. I knew that in order to win the series, New York had to at least split the first two games at Fenway Park. They did. That was it, the Yanks had them right where they wanted them.
Then, it happened.
Boston humiliated the Yankees in the Bronx, not once, but twice. Just like that it was over. I was not mentally prepared. Of course I knew there was a chance they could lose, but I never wanted to believe it. I was angry and upset. Yankees baseball got me excited and motivated every day and now the despised Red Sox moved on.
I have not been able to bring myself to watch Boston take on the Houston Astros yet. The Yankees were eliminated on Oct. 9. Maybe this weekend, I’ll be able to watch. Just maybe. I don’t know if I’m ready yet.