With a win over the Angels tonight — or a Rangers loss to the A’s — the Yankees will clinch their first playoff spot since 2007, which really isn’t all that long ago but sure as hell feels like it. But don’t worry about staying up late to watch the potential celebration: There won’t be one.
Joe Girardi and company have made it clear that there won’t be any wild Champagne manifestos for a mere playoff spot; that’ll have to wait until the Yankees clinch the AL East. That seems destined to happen at home; the Yankees start a six-game homestand on Friday. That homestand begins with three against the Red Sox, and if you’re feeling frisky, there’s a possibility the Yanks could clinch the division against the Sox. The magic number is nine, and if they can push it down to six before Friday, a sweep would do the trick. (Otherwise, the Royals’ three-game visit will have to suffice.)
But still: Don’t teams usually celebrate when they earn a playoff spot? After all, the Rays did last year. In fact, the Rays had four Champagne celebrations last year: One for clinching a playoff spot, one for winning the division, one for beating the White Sox in the ALDS, and one more for beating the Red Sox to advance to the World Series. Had they beaten the Phillies, their five Champagne jams would set a record that would appear impossible to beat.
Of course, that made sense for the Rays. Making the playoffs was a revolution in Tampa, and deserved the wild festivities. But the Yankees? Popping the corks because of math? Please. Girardi and the gang will save it until they return to the Bronx, thank you.
By the way, lest you think Girardi is being too stringent about this: You should check out Tony LaRussa. The Cardinals manager won’t allow his team to celebrate a division title without a victory … even if the magic number is down to zero. You have to win the title on the field, according to LaRussa … to the point that, in 2005, he actually made clubhouse attendants take down the plastic from the locker room because the Cardinals had lost that night. But he’s a genius, dontchaknow?