New Players & Fans Set To Experience Yankees in ALCS For First Time

By Jason Klein  

I walked my daughter to the bus stop this morning.

It’s a short stroll, really.  Around the corner and down a hill – just enough steps to pad my Fitbit stats and see some familiar October sights.  There were pumpkins on porches, leaves on the ground, and an interlocking “NY” on my shirt.

Of course there was.

ALCS Logo

Yankee Stadium Prepares For The ALCS’s Bronx Return.

The Yankees will play Game 1 of the American League Championship Series tonight in Houston.  Watching the Yanks play baseball deep into October is typical of my childhood.  Not so for kids my daughter’s age.

The Yankees reached the ALCS or World Series 7 times from 1996-2004.  Then, 3 more times between 2009-2012.  Since then, their lone Postseason appearance came in 2015 when they lost to the Astros in the AL Wild Card Game.

So, tonight is special for kids like my daughter, born within the last 10 years.

A boy waiting for the bus noticed my shirt and asked if I was excited for the upcoming series.

“Of course,” I said.  “How about you?”

His face lit up.  His smile was huge, like an Aaron Judge homerun swing.

“Yeah!” He said.  “I’ve never seen them play in the ALCS before.”

He then gave me a “thumbs down.”

“When were you born?” I asked.

“2008.  But I was too young to watch the 2009 World Series,” he said.

His excitement reminded me a lot of myself back in 1996 – the first time I’d seen the Yankees win a playoff series.  He had a look of wonderment – like he was about to witness something he’d never seen before.

He is.

My Yankees – you know, Jeter, Bernie, Pettitte, Posada and Mo – are nice historical footnotes for today’s kids.  Now, Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and the rest of this young core of players are ushering in a new generation of Yankees success.  They’re bringing the new generation of fans along with them. Judge-Sanchez

The boy’s reaction did make me further appreciate the late-90s dynastic run.  It’s so difficult to sustain success from one year to the next.  Every opportunity to win a championship should be treasured.  You never know when it will happen again.

Many say these Yankees arrived ahead of schedule.  They weren’t expected to compete this soon.  They are “playing with the house’s money.”

I disagree.

It’s never the wrong time to win a Title.  Teams that get this close must capitalize.  “Wait ‘till next year” isn’t guaranteed.

Just ask the 2015 Mets.

It’s possible, this could be the only shot this young group of Yankees have to win a World Series.

Or, it could be just the beginning of another sustained run of success.

The latter would give kids my daughter’s age a childhood experience similar to mine.  Yankees baseball, deep into the Fall, would once again be a familiar October sight.

Like pumpkins on porches, leaves on the ground, and an interlocking “NY” on my shirt.

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Favre’s Next Stop Should Be Canton

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 6/10/09

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, 25 to 30 hotel rooms were recently blocked off by friends and family of “retired” quarterback, Brett Favre.  Their itinerary: Green Bay, Wisconsin, November 1, 2009.  Certainly, the Packers must be planning a “Brett Favre Day” as part of their 1:00 PM matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.  They must be retiring his legendary number 4, and honoring his 16 seasons of work in green and gold…right?

Wrong.  These travel plans were made amidst the latest rumors regarding Favre’s potential comeback – this time, with the archrival Vikes.  His entourage would be better suited booking rooms in Canton, Ohio for the summer of 2013, the first year he’s eligible for induction into Pro Football’sHall of Fame.  Instead, the ole’ gunslinger just can’t stay away from the game he loves.  As a result, his comeback story has become a tired one.

Like a dinner guest lingering long after everyone else has gone home, Brett Favre has outworn his welcome in the NFL.  There’s no debating hisresume – he is one of the greatest players, and leaders, to ever play the game.  But its time the 39-year-old pack it up, head held high, and retire for good.

He looked weary, and old during the final weeks of his short stay in New York.  He looked defeated following the Jets 24-17 season-ending loss inMiami, at the hands of the man he replaced, Chad Pennington.  Despite it all, Jets owner, Woody Johnson, gushed over the job Favre did, and publicly expressed interest in bringing him back (after all, Johnson still had PSL’s to sell).

But, just as he did following the 2007 season in Green Bay, Favre, once more, opted for retirement.  It was back to Mississippi he went, riding off in the sunset, never to throw another touchdown, or interception, again.

Then a funny thing happened, Favre had surgery on his injured shoulder – an odd move for a retired player.  Whether it was feelings of resentment for the way he was exiled out of Green Bay, or his true passion for football, it appeared that Favre wanted to come back, again.

The decision to play, or not to play, ultimately belongs with the player.  No one else has the right to tell a willing and able athlete that he has to hang it up…after all, athletes have a very limited career shelf life, they should get as much out of that time as possible.  Instead, it is Favre’s constant uncertainty about his intentions that rubs fans the wrong way.

Had he expressed a desire to play again in 2009, no one would begrudge him the right to do so.  Instead, he told Johnson and the Jets, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and retired from football.  The Jets moved on without him, gave him his unconditional release, and drafted USC Quarterback, Mark Sanchez as his replacement.

Now, just five short months after the season ended, with his ties to the Jets cut, Favre has flipped again, and appears ready to get back in the game, a move that has further alienated him with fans tired of this stale act.  If he goes through with it, hotel rooms in Green Bay will certainly go for a premium this November 1st when the Vikings come to town.  So will rooms in Canton, OH the next time Favre would be eligible for Hall of Fame induction, the summer of 2014…or 2015…or 2016…

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