It felt somehow both wistful and hopeful in the visitor corner at Minute Maid Park, late on the night of Oct. 21, 2017. The Yankees' magical ride through the playoffs had crashed into a wall and ended up in the hands of The Mighty Astros, but still a man, had this group of baby bombers fuel their long-spoiled fan base by setting a 6-0 post-season record at Yankee Stadium and scaring the definitive Houston favorites.
Just a few minutes after Greg Bird flew to George Springer to seal game 7 of the American League Championship Series, a Yankees manager smiled and offered a lawsuit:
"We don't have any home games right now."
These words exploded with age, didn't they? On Monday, Commissioner Rob Manfred handed the one-year suspension to Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch, general manager and manager of the Astros Club in 2017, for the team's illegal theft of electronic signs – including an investigation into Major League baseball confirmed this postseason. Then Houston owner Jim Crane, who received a $ 5 million fine, quadrupled the sentence by firing both men. Luhnow's successor will continue in the next two seasons without draft picks for the first and second round.
The 17 ALCS consisted of four competitions in Houston due to the Astros' superior record and three in the Bronx. So if the Yankees and their customers give up on lifting this Astros title, with this impressive core still ring-free, they have the right to be amazed because civilized societies don't jump into rabbits to change the past. What could have been can.
"The behavior described here has prompted fans, players, executives of other MLB clubs, and media representatives to ask questions about the integrity of the games in which the Astros participated," said the Manfred report.
Look: Maybe the Yankees ran a similar program in their place and just covered it better. Nobody in the tri-state region should climb too high or too powerful here. This ruling also brought tons of good news for the Yankees:
1. The Astros, already weakened by co-ass Gerrit Cole's decision to accept Hal Steinbrenner’s $ 324 million offer, have just shed their two main baseball operations workers.
2. Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who is heavily accused in this report of his activities as an Astros bank trainer 17, looks like a dead man walking. A severe penalty is imposed after MLB has completed the investigation into allegations that the 2018 Red Sox, who also eliminated the Yankees in the playoffs to win the Classic case, stole signs electronically.
3. New Mets manager Carlos Beltran was not disciplined for what he did as a designated batsman at the 2017 Astros, but his good name was the only player mentioned in the report to be confused. Contrary to his rejection of the Post in November, Beltran participated in unethical espionage, an undesirable development for the rivals of the Yankees' Crosstown Interleague.
None of this news currently fits Aaron Judge and his company. And while the Yankees with Cole more than ever resemble the clear favorites for overall victory in 2020, they are going on this mission without beloved contributors like Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius and Austin Romine, who all signed elsewhere.
Do you remember how damn popular this 17 Yankees team became and how quickly? They could have taken on their 1996 ancestors, and the club's catcher, Joe Girardi, managed them 21 years later as one of the most popular champions of all time. Instead, they ran out of home games.
If they are more experienced and less admired now (looking at you, Gary Sanchez), they still have a lot of talent and their window is far from closed. They can create great memories and minimize the sad ones.
Until that actually happens? Consider alternative realities and outcomes. In all respects, the Commissioner has legitimized grief in the Yankees universe.