It’s Post-season Eve, so we’re taking this opportunity to take one last look at the Yankees’ regular season. Sure, they ran away with the division, but things weren’t looking so good back in early May, when A-Rod was still hurting and Chien-Ming Wang was pitching himself out of professional baseball. To do this, we’ve charted the season based on how worried Bill Simmons’s friend JackO has admitted to being throughout the course of the year. (And yes, we know that’s two Bill Simmons posts in one day.) For those who don’t listen to Simmons’s podcast — or for those who do and can’t keep track of all of Simmons’s friends — JackO, a.k.a. John O’Connell, is a die-hard Yankees fan from Connecticut. During his appearances on “The B.S. Report” to talk about his favorite team, Simmons asks him how worried he is about the Yankees, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most worried. Some highlights from the season, through JackO’s eyes, after the jump.
April 15: With a 4–4 record as of the taping, JackO’s feeling good about the Yankees, who still haven’t played their first home game. The next day, they’ll open the new Yankee Stadium with ace CC Sabathia on the mound. Life is good.
April 28: We enjoy JackO’s appearances on Simmons’s podcast. We really do. (Also, he’s got his own theme song, and that’s awesome.) But just about everything he said on this day was straight-up crazy-talk. After getting swept by the Red Sox, JackO describes himself as being a 150 on the scale of 1 to 10. He bemoans the loss of Brian Bruney (“the one bright spot in the bullpen”), suggests the team be blown up and “start from scratch,” and refers to Mariano Rivera as “the most overrated player in the history of Major League Baseball.” Oh, Johnny, indeed.
June 24: JackO questions whether A-Rod will get going. The previous weekend, a tired Rodriguez was given his first day off since returning to the lineup. The Yankees would go on to win 13 out of 15.
August 3: The Yankees had won eight straight to open the second half, but more recently had dropped three out of four to Chicago. JackO gloats in the wake of the Times’ Manny/Ortiz revelations, but Boston’s coming to town, and the Yankees are 0–8 against the Sox on the season. Little does JackO know, the Yankees would win nine out of the last ten against Boston to tie the season series.
August 14: On this night, the Yankees would go 30 games over .500 for the first time all year, thanks to a 22–6 record since the All-Star break — their best second-half start since 1941.
August 21: The Yanks had swept Boston in New York two weeks earlier, and head into Fenway where they’ll take two of three. Says Simmons about how worried he is about the Red Sox: “I don’t even think I can be calibrated.”
September 7: The division all but assured, JackO admits he might be a negative number on the scale of 1 to 10. Life is good once again.
September 18: Presumably, his level of worry here has more to do with Boston (winners of seven out of eight) than with the Yankees.
September 25: He’s not at all worried about the division, but he’s an 8 when it comes to his feelings about the playoffs. Is this rational? Perhaps not. But since when did that stop Yankee fans?