|"Thanks, guys. I've got gift baskets for both of you in the car."|
The narrative for this ALCS has been written. Never mind their ballsy recovery from last night's 9th inning implosion by their "closer", never mind the great work by Dotel and Smyly to shut the door once it had happened, never mind the way Delmon Young suddenly turned "clutch" in a way that's only reserved for Yankees this time of year - the story's been written.
If the Tigers win this series, it's because the Yankees don't have Derek Jeter. They won't win because of excellent starting pitching, or the 3-4 combo for the ages of Cabrera and Fielder, or because most of the Yankee lineup (with the exception of Raul Ibanez, who's streakier than a paint job applied by a meth addict) could be swinging canoe paddles up there and not hit anything. The Tigers cannot win this, the Yankees can only lose it.
And, of course, if the Yankees pull it out, they have Won It For The Captain. They have overcome his loss, and relied on his sage advice (Presumably, it starts with "ignore all ground balls to your left") and his intangibles and his leadery leadershipness and, well, the Tigers are just there to play the part of the Washington Generals.
Either way, it's about Jeter. And while I'm not a reflexive Jeter-hater the way some folks seem to be, I'm also not a reflexive Jeter-lover the way many are as well. (See also: Gift baskets). And as sad as it is for one of the game's marquee players to be out for the remainder of the postseason, it shouldn't be the only story to come out of this series.
But it will be.