By Lenn Robbins, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
Of the three Godfather films, the last one never quite lived up to the first two although it did produce one of the most memorable lines in the trilogy’s history.
Michael Corleone, so masterfully brought to life by Al Pacino, is struggling to legitimize the family business but he’s double crossed by rivals.
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” Corleone says.
That line could be the tormenting mantra of Yankees fans this season. Every time they’re ready to cut their losses, the possibility of what could be, largely based on what was expected, and what has been, pulls them back in.
Case in point: The Yankees start the second half of the season eight games behind the Red Sox and six and one-half behind the Rays. Eleven of their first 13 post All-Star games are against those two teams.
There might not a better chance to salvage this season than in the two-week period immediately following the All-Star break, which also coincides with the July 30th trade deadline. If the Yankees do not get off fast, that deadline might be moot.
But even if the Yankees, who have one, six-game win streak to their credit this season, open by taking, say, 6-of-8 from Boston, is there really a player out there who can make enough of a difference to transform this underachieving team from one that makes the playoffs to one that can legitimately contend for a World Series?
Texas slugger Joey Gallo has been mentioned but he won’t come cheap. Ditto Minnesota’s ace, Jose Berrios. Is Starling Marte a game-changer?
If DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez don’t have significantly better second halves does it make a difference how much the Yankees bust the luxury tax threshold?
Gallo would add a lefty bat but the Yankees are so righty heavy it’s a wonder Mitch McConnell hasn’t become a season-ticket holder.
Berrios would almost surely take some of the load off of Gerrit Cole, who might still be icing his body after his 129-pitch effort. But if Aroldis Chapman doesn’t get right quick, does the addition of a No.2 starter flip the script?
Alex Rodriguez is one of the most reprehensible people ever to don pinstripes but his baseball knowledge is undeniably. This is what he had to say about his former team Monday night on FOX Sports.
“The way the Rays and the Red Sox are going, I think, unless there’s radical change — and I don’t see one coming — I think the party’s over at least this year for the Yankees,” he said.
But these are the Yankees, the franchise that has made winning the World Series an annual pilgrimage. And any Red Sox fan that knows his or her history has muttered, “Bucky Bleepin Dent,” more than once.
Yankees fans begin the second half of the season having been double crossed more than Corleone, who was the ultimate double crosser. Sunday’s 8-7 loss to the Astros would have torn the heart out of most.
Here’s the good news. Those that allow themselves to be pulled back in won’t have to wait long to learn their fate.