SAN DIEGO – The Rays’ trolling of the Yankees was getting down to business in its second hour. A dozen players in shorts and t-shirts were clustered near the first base dugout, break-dancing on the turf, smoking cigars, chugging something that looked stronger than Gatorade.
Just to drive home the point, the Rays toasted themselves as they blasted “New York, New York” and “Empire State of Mind.”
The Yankees may or may not have heard the commotion in their clubhouse. No matter: they were already traumatized, unable to do more than mumble through their Zoom interviews. Another October had ended too soon. Season over, time for the annual post mortem. The scene has become all too familiar.
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So what is it with this franchise? It’s been four years of disappointment with no end in sight. The ALDS Game 5 loss to the Rays wouldn’t have been so devastating except that it happened in 2019 against the Astros, in 2018 against the Red Sox and 2017 against the Astros. Once again, the Bombers were eliminated on one swing – Mike Brosseau’s HR off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning, sealing the 2-1 defeat.
Maybe it was karma stomping on Chapman, who’d buzzed that 101-mph fastball at Brosseau’s head last month. To say the Rays hated the Yankees’ closer for weaponizing his four-seamer is putting it mildly. Nothing did more to fuel that post-game party than the stupefied expression on Chapman’s face as Brosseau circled the bases.
It took nearly a half hour for the Yankees to face the media afterwards. Aaron Boone needed the time to hold an emotional team meeting. Several players wept. And by the looks of it the manager