If you are a baseball fan and have more than zero eyes, you know that this Yankee team hasn’t even remotely lived up to its lofty expectations. Not only are we watching the team hover around .500, we’re watching one of the most uninspired performances, day in and day out, possibly in recent memory. While the boys may be riding “high” on a three game win streak, it’s going to take one of the best stretches in the game’s history to reach the playoffs; and to win the division? That is going to more than likely take something unprecedented.
Offseason after offseason, trade deadline after trade deadline, we’re promised that this is our year. Has the immense pressure, combined with poor leadership, combined with the often-injured baby bombers not being babies anymore, finally caught up to the team and cemented them amongst the most disappointing teams in recent memory? Well, let’s take a look at the contenders and you decide.
*DISCLAIMER: I know there are other disappointing teams out there. These just stuck out to me when I was thinking about this dud of a season.
2019 Cleveland Browns
Is it really considered a disappointment when it’s one of the worst franchises in pro sports? Baker Mayfield was one of the hottest names in football at the time. The man was posing half-naked with tigers, making Hulu commercials, and routinely dismantling Colin Cowherd on live television. Myles Garrett was a sexy pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Odell Beckham Jr. came to town as the disgruntled superstar that needed a change of scenery. The stars were all aligning perfectly for the laughing stock of the NFL to become the fun, lovable, underdogs.
Boy, were we all wrong there. All of the hype surrounding them, mixed with some Yankee-esque coaching, sent them spiraling toward the bottom. It wasn’t all just smoke from the fans either, this group fooled Vegas – giving them a win total projection of 9, and the same preseason shot at the Super Bowl as the Aaron Rodgers led Packers. We all know what happened from there. Even those who aren’t football fans, tuned in to watch as the Browns got embarrassed week after week in primetime games to the tune of a 6-10 record and missing the playoffs altogether.
2011 Boston Red Sox
Since we clearly can’t beat them on the field this year, we can have a laugh at their expense on the internet. Boston holds the title for quite possibly the worst September collapse in the history of the sport. Not many can say they hold a record of that caliber. This “powerhouse” held a 9 game lead in the East coming into September, only to go 7-20 in the month and miss the playoffs altogether – pretty comical. If nothing else, the 2021 Yankees can say they did not meltdown in one month, they have been a complete joke for the entire 85 games they have played up to this point.
Back this team up to the 2010 offseason and this gets even funnier. Superstars, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, teamed up with the already stacked team, including Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, to form one of the heaviest hitting teams in history. Coming into the season, the Red Sox were 5/1 to win the World Series and had a win total projection of 95.5. While most of these high profile names performed well on an individual level, Carl Crawford stood out as one of the biggest busts of the year, slashing .255/.289/.405 and missing the catch in game 162 to lose and end their season. As the old saying goes, “the rest is history”. Immediately after the season, the 2010 offseason treasures were shipped away and the Sawx went on to overhaul their roster.
Let’s just pretend to forget that it worked and they ended up winning it all in 2013.
2004 USA Men’s Basketball
I’m going to keep this one short because I don’t know basketball well and I’m not going to pretend like I do. What I DO know, is that a team constructed of Hall of Famers – Lebron, Allen Iverson, Time Duncan, Carmello Anthony – should not be the first USA team to fall short of the gold since 1992. This collapse on the world’s biggest stage led to a complete overhaul of their team and philosophy, including a coaching change to Duke legend, Mike Krzyzewski.
Much like the 2011 Red Sox, they went on to win the gold two years later. (Maybe this is a trend? God, I hope so)
2011 Philadelphia Eagles
Ouch. Vince Young actually dubbed this the “Dream Team” heading into the season. Fresh off of signing Michael Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin, the Eagles were a trendy pick to win the Super Bowl, checking in at +800 and tallying a preseason win total of 10.5.
Coming into the last stretch of games, this Eagles team was 4-8 and were the brunt of most of the league’s jokes. Even after winning out, the Eagles finished 8-8 and missed the postseason altogether – not really “Dream Team” level stuff there, guys. Michael Vick, a guy that was supposed to be competing for an MVP, finished with only 18 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions. The defense underperformed, the offense underperformed, it was an all around collapse that, in part, led to Andy Reid looking for a new job in the 2012 offseason.
2021 New York Yankees
Here’s what we’ve all been waiting for. What in the hell are we watching every night? It seems like every single day, the Yankees are setting a new 40 year record low stat. Our beloved “Bronx Bombers” aren’t exactly bombing right now; checking in at 21st in runs scored, 9th in homeruns (our strong suit), 13th in OPS, and 14th in SLG%. Yikes. Where are the heavy hitters we were promised? This was supposed to be a team that was putting up an ungodly amount of runs and expected to just “live with the pitching”. Newsflash, you can’t “live with the pitching” when you lead the league in double plays and are 21st in the league in runs per game.
With a 41-40 record at the halfway point of the season, the Yankees are on pace for an 82-80 finish
That would be their lowest win total since 1995 and their lowest winning percentage since 1992
Moreover, this makeshift pitching staff that saw NICK %@&*ING NELSON start a game last night is just flat out bad. There is no way to sugar coat this one. Cole has been absolutely exposed since the sticky stuff crackdown, pitching to a mid-4 ERA since and going just 3.1 innings against our crosstown rivals. Kluber has been on the IL since May and has zero idea when he’s coming back. Montgomery has been up and down. Taillon can’t get through the order more than once. German has been bad. When your offense is underperforming to the magnitude it is, you simply cannot rank 21st and 22nd in runs allowed and homeruns given up, respectively.
The Yankees had the majors’ second-best ERA (3.16) through June 2, and since the memo that there would be a crackdown on sticky stuff went out on June 3, they’ve had the fifth-worst (5.47) (H/T @Joelsherman1)
We all thought the back half of 2020 was a fluke that the weird COVID year brought us. It’s looking more and more like that .500 team is what we really are. After coming into the year as the AL favorites, the Yanks currently sit 8.5 games out of the East and 3.5 back of the second wild card spot.
The jury is still out on whether or not this team finishes as poorly as it started. With a July schedule including Houston, Boston twice, and Tampa, the boys could very easily find themselves well below .500 coming down the stretch if they don’t figure it out soon.
*BONUS TEAM: 2017 FSU Football
This one is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been an FSU sports fan since around the same time I became a Yankee fan. If you are a college football fan at all, you know that 2017 was a complete and utter disaster. Coming into the year, the Noles had the 4th best odds at the National Championship and led off the season against perennial powerhouse, Alabama. 1 vs 3 would clearly be an indicator of a playoff matchup right?
WRONG. FSU went on to lose the opener by seventeen and their starting QB went down with a career-threatening injury. Fast forward to December and head coach, Jimbo Fisher, is on his way to Texas A&M, FSU is rescheduling FCS opponent, Louisiana-Monroe, just to qualify for a bowl game, and the FSU athletics department is spiraling toward mediocrity and bankruptcy. Oof.
Final Power Rankings:
6) 2019 Cleveland Browns
5) 2011 Philadelphia Eagles
4) 2004 USA Men’s Basketball
3) 2021 New York Yankees***
2) 2017 FSU Football
1) 2011 Boston Red Sox
*** = Season still in progress
All bias aside, I put the Red Sox at number one just because of the sheer magnitude of the collapse. Blowing a nine game lead in the East in September is just unfathomable. If the Yankees pulled something like that, I would probably have to become a Miami Marlins fan. As someone who lived in Florida for 22 years, please don’t make me do that, Yankees.
FSU checks in at two, due to that season, literally, destroying an entire athletics department of a major DI school.
Coming in piping hot in the three-hole, the 2021 Yankees. HUGE asterisk by this one because of the schedule still remaining and my Yankee fandom delusion. Technically, this team could still turn it around and contend in the playoffs, which would knock them off this list. The more likely scenario however, is that the Yanks fade off into to obsolescence and shoot up this list.
Snagging the next spot, the hardest to rank, USA basketball. I feel like the four spot is accurate there. A tournament that only happens every few years is tough to accurately rank.
Five and six were by far the easiest on this list. An aging Michael Vick who spent two years in prison leading your team? Pass on taking that bet. Any Cleveland sports franchise in general? Pass again.
If you feel like I snubbed someone… you’re right, I probably did. Hit me up on Twitter @Chan_Drake and let me know your thoughts. Misery loves company right?