Installed in the doors of every locker in the Yankees clubhouse is a laptop computer, one of the countless “oh, look how fancy we are” amenities of the $1.6 billion new stadium. Most of these computers are never touched; Derek Jeter’s has been on the same AccuWeather.com page since April, and Johnny Damon typically only uses his to change his wallpaper from one woman in a bikini to another. Baseball players just don’t need computers. Still, they’re there, and it was strange to see such a modern luxury — computers next to jockstraps! — juxtaposed with the century-long tradition of Champagne being sprayed in the locker room after a championship season. Did they forget about the Champagne when they installed them?
The Yankees clinched their first American League East title at the new stadium, in the park’s first season, with a convincing series sweep over the Red Sox yesterday. It’s astounding that the Yankees–Red Sox season series ended up tied, considering that the Yankees lost the first eight. That’s difficult to do.
It was the Yankees’$2 100th victory of the season, a number they haven’t hit since 2004 — which was a long time ago, and memories are hazy as to how that season ended. They’ve also clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs at the World Series, so if any of that Champagne sneaked past the plastic tarp and messed up those computers, they better hustle to replace them.
The last week of baseball for the Yankees will mostly be a combination of rest and repetition for the starters; expect to see lots of Ramiro Pena tonight against Kansas City. We have eight, maybe nine days to recharge our batteries, get caught up on our sleep, and relax until the postseason begins. Clinching early means you can set up your playoff rotation, give people some days off, and generally stretch your legs before the long playoff haul. Which means by Saturday or Sunday of next week … we should be just about ready for the A-Rod can’t hit when it’s important stories to return. In a season that has busted almost all the old Yankee melodramas, that’s one that’s destined to resurface. Enjoy this calm while we have it.