Which is the true analogue to this brutal Yankee cycle, wherein steady progress is promptly undercut? It evokes a primordial beast, hatched in the murky swamps of prehistory, lurking in crepuscular stillness beneath the window of a placid suburban home, awaiting the night. It conjures the memory of Odysseus' impetuous crew, loosening the knot on Poseidon's ox-hide bag as they neared the coveted harbor, unleashing torrential winds to bear them seaward. It summons poor Yossarian, forever approaching the mission cap that grants safe passage from battle, only to have the total raised at the final moment by faceless war-time bureaucrats.
All find the mark, to some degree, but to truly attack the heart of Yankee ineptitude, simplification is necessary. We must hearken back to the oldest myths, those which detail the plight of man in simple, repeating images.
Sisyphus bent his weight against the intractable boulder, attaining his hard-won inches, nearing a summit. And when the peak was reached, downward, downward rolled the stone, while the weary man panted, hands on knees, and knew again the meaningless futility of his task.
What the Yankees face when they meet Boston or L.A. can be summed up in that lonely, inevitable word: gravity. Nature- not some enemy bestial, human, or divine- undoes our string. And like Sisyphus, we're conscripted to this fate by personal shortcomings. He, former king, considered himself a peer of the Gods, and equal in cunning to Zeus. We, former champions, have neglected the processes of construction and maintenance which are the requisite horses preceding the cart of success. Strength alone conveys the rock uphill, but gravity will not be mastered.
Thursday evening, we pulled even with Boston, and our boulder poised precariously on the peak. Three days later, with baseball's first half complete, we've rolled three games downward. The Sisyphean season continues.
Joba Chamberlain: Terrible
Home Run Derby: Stupid
These Adjectives: Interchangeable