In today’s release of Revenge of the Sith, the evil Empire comes to rule that far, far away galaxy. And in the galaxy of baseball, the Empire that is the New York Yankees is indeed having its revenge, having run off 10 straight wins.
You can just hear the Empire’s theme playing in the background after every win, can’t you?
This streak is most sweet for emperor/owner George Steinbrenner, who can now relax and chuckle at the plethora of columns, broadcasts and radio rants that left the Yankees for dead. The team that “got old fast” is alive and well and will be in first place by July.
The Yankees are finally playing like the $200 million payroll suggests they should. After a horrific start to this season — they were, at one point, in a last-place battle with the Devil Rays — the Yankees have busted out the red lightsabers and are now just five games back of first-place Baltimore.
Granted, the wins have come against two teams tied for last place, but 10 in a row is 10 in a row, and the Yankees are proving they’re not dead. We can remove the fork for now.
Fueled by the reemergence of their stars, the Yankees have outscored their opponents 77-33 during the streak and lead the league in runs scored.
The major characters are back and are shining in their lead roles.
Alex Rodriguez is having an MVP-caliber season, batting .297 and leading the league in home runs (13) and RBI (38).
Derek Jeter is back to his old self, his batting average rising 14 points to .317 during the winning streak.
Fan favorite Tino Martinez, brought in to back up Jason “Chewbacca-turned-Jar-Jar” Giambi, has 12 home runs.
Yankee pitchers are pitching better too. Free agent pickups Randy “Wookie” Johnson and Carl Pavano are becoming the pitchers Steinbrenner wanted when he signed them. Mainstay Mike Mussina, after losing his first three decisions, has won three straight, allowing only four earned runs. Obviously, the Force is with him.
Just like Anakin’s dip into the dark side, the rise of the Yankees is inevitable and predictable. And just as we know how the movie ends, we know how this season will end: with the Yankees deep in the playoffs. It’s their destiny.
The march to first place and the playoffs has officially begun.