Deadspin put it best earlier this morning: Can you believe that there are 1-year-olds out there who’ve never seen the Yankees play a postseason game? Unimaginable! Now the only thing keeping those kids from witnessing the beauty that is the Great Rivera in the playoffs is convincing their parents to let them stay up until midnight to watch the games. Well, that and learning how to speak in complete sentences.
Clinching a playoff spot is just a formality in this case; it’s been clear for some time that this team would cruise into the postseason. In the long run, really, winning a game — any game, clincher or otherwise — in Anaheim is a bigger deal. And so is the game that Alex Rodriguez had: A monster two-run homer early, and the go-ahead sac fly in the ninth after the Angels walked Mark Teixeira to load the bases. (That probably counts as clutch, right?) It’s enough to look past the fact that they lost a five-run lead in this game, and that Phil Hughes, who allowed the tying (unearned) run to score, is coming back down to earth at just the wrong time.
As every announcer, columnist, and sports-talk host will remind you today, the Yankees have bigger goals in mind than just making the playoffs. (The magic number to clinch the East is down to six, by the way.) Of course, so does every other team in contention. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and you might as well get there first.