The 2012 Yankees were a lot of things, but consistent wasn’t one of them. After getting off to a slow start, the Yankees were faced with losing two powerful components of their pitching staff. After having a 10 game lead until mid-August, the Yankees’ offense fell asleep. The Yankees merely stumbled into the playoffs, but were determined to prove themselves. After defeating the Baltimore Orioles in Game 5 of the ALDS, the Yankees entered the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. And in just four games, the Tigers proved to be the better team, and advanced to the World Series, while the Yankees watched the celebration from the visitors dugout at Comerica Park.
No one could have predicted the timeline of events that occurred during the 2012 season. As the year comes to an end, let’s take a look back at the most significant events that contributed the outcome of the Yankees’ season:
1) The Good
Although the end result of the season was elimination, the Yankees achieved a few positive accomplishments that deserve to be recognized.
Derek Jeter continues to secure his spot in baseball history by reaching new milestones every season. On September 15, 2012, Jeter passed Willy Mays on the all-time hits list, moving him to sole possession of number 10 with 3,304 career hits. In an interview with ESPN, Jeter reflected on his accomplishment with a simple statement, “It’s pretty special.” Classic Jeter.
Another player that deserves to be recognized for his contribution to the 2012 season is Raul Ibanez. Before the Yankees and Orioles began their dramatic pennant race, many around the country would have said, “Ibanez, who?” Ibanez became the Yankees’ most valuable pinch hitter during their playoff stint. Ibanez became a guy who literally walked off the bench, and two swings later, blasted home runs, sending Yankee Stadium into hysterics.
On October 2, 2012, during the pennant race, Ibanez hit a two run home run in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox, tying the game. Three innings later, he would provide heroics once again by delivering the game-winning RBI single.
Yankee fans were appreciative, but didn’t necessarily expect Ibanez to be the hero again.
On October 10, 2012, Ibanez pinch hit for the struggling Alex Rodriguez, and blasted a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 3 of the ALDS. After an impressive battle of pitching and strong defense in extra innings, Ibanez found himself the hero yet again, and led off the 12th inning with a walk-off home run.
Yankee fans were amazed. But wait, there’s more.
On October 13, 2012, during Game 1 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, Ibanez once again found himself in the position to be a hero. Ibanez hit a two-run shot in the ninth inning, tying the ballgame, and forcing extra innings. Although the Yankees lost the game, Ibanez became the first player in Major League history to hit three home runs in the ninth inning or later in a single postseason.
And after all of this, Ibanez won’t return in pinstripes in 2013; Ibanez and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a one-year contract Saturday.
2) The Bad: the injuries that plagued the Yankees:
As the 2012 season got underway, the Yankees were off to a slow start. To make matters worse, the first of many devastating injuries to affect the team began with the Sandman himself, Mariano Rivera. On May 3, 2012, Rivera tore his ACL while shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice. Whether the closer would return or retire was uncertain for most of the season, but Rivera and the Yankees are confident he will ready to go in Tampa in 2013.
The next injury that plagued the Yankees was to veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte, who fractured his left ankle in June, landing himself on the 60 day DL. The Yankees and Pettitte agreed to a one year deal on November 27, 2012, Andy Pettitte is motivated to help the Yankees to another World Series.
Perhaps the most devastating injury of all was losing the captain, Derek Jeter, in Game 1 of the ALCS. In the 12th inning, Jeter fractured his left ankle after fielding a routine ground ball, and was forced to miss the remainder of the postseason. It was a painful sight; the heart of the Yankees was on the ground in agony. Ultimately, the loss of Jeter was something the Yankees couldn’t overcome.
3) The Ugly: fans turn on struggling Yankees during the ALCS
The Yankees offense was carried by Jeter, Ibanez, Mark Teixeria and Ichiro Suzuki. The rest of the Yankees appeared to be sleeping at the plate. Robinson Cano set a new postseason record going 0-for-26. Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez were the target of jeers from frustrated Yankee fans. Swisher went 4-for-26 in the postseason, while Rodriguez went 2-for-25 and was frequently scratched from the lineup in the later innings.
Well, that’s the 2012 season in a nutshell. If that’s not a soap opera of a season, then I don’t know what is. Stay tuned for the 2013, because with the Yankees, there is always drama.