Yanks Off the Mat

The 2021 Yankees season should have a surgeon’s general warning attached to it. It’s almost a guarantee every night that the Yankees will play a game that comes down to the wire.
I was shocked to find out that the Yankees are actually 19-12 in one-run games this season. After all, we’ve all watched the Yankees this season right?
I’ve legitimately lost count when it comes to the amount of excruciating and gut-wrenching defeats, especially at the hands of the bullpen, over the last two months.
In the Field of Dreams game on Thursday night, the Yankees suffered another back-breaking loss in the middle of a cornfield to the White Sox.
The dramatics of Giancarlo Stanton’s two-out, ninth-inning go-ahead home run were vanquished within ten minutes when White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson returned the favor in the bottom half of the inning.
After Thursday night, I legitimately wondered how many more of these losses the Yankees could withstand the rest of this season.
After all, they’ve had at least eight-to-ten losses this year when it was totally fair to wonder if the team and its players would be able to recover.
However, there’s one thing that shouldn’t be questioned when it comes to the 2021 Yankees: the team gets off the mat and responds.
Look at this weekend for instance.
The Yankees lost a heartbreaking game to one of the most talented teams in the American League. They had every reason to whine, allow it to linger in the Windy City, and lead to an extended funk, but the team did the exact opposite.
The Yankees survived a bullpen meltdown on Saturday and a near meltdown on Sunday, but won the series against Chicago.
A Yankees team dealing with a ton of injuries and COVID has put together the best record in the AL in the second half of the season.
I have been very critical of Yankees manager Aaron Boone throughout the season, but he deserves a ton of credit for keeping this team together.
I am officially done when it comes to counting the 2021 Yankees out after a bad loss. Despite their flaws, the team has shown a whole lot of resilience.
But can that resilience propel the Yankees into the month of October? The answer in the middle of August is drastically different from what it would have been one month ago. If you’re a Yankees fan, that is a good thing.
It’s time to finish the job.

You can listen to my podcast “New York, New York” on The Ringer Podcast Network every Sunday Night, Wednesday Early Morning & Friday Early Morning on Spotify & Apple Podcasts. 

New trees in store for Forest Hills, Rego Park

The Parks Department is putting the “forest” in Forest Hills and the “park” in Rego Park with its plans to plant trees in both communities over the next year.
“Our goal is to continue expanding the city’s tree canopy as much as possible,” said spokesperson Charisse Hill. “Our fall 2021 planting projections for the Forest Hills and Rego Park communities are 128 trees, whereas our spring and fall 2022 planting projections for both communities total 425 trees.”
Stretches of Queens Boulevard, 66th Road, 102nd Street, and 67th Avenue are anticipated to have an estimated 16 to 19 additional trees by spring 2022.
Empty tree pits being reforested, while sidewalks are being excavated to accommodate new pits.
Extreme weather in recent years decimated the neighborhoods’ trees, which motivated residents to preserve mature trees and plant new ones, including the Forest Hills Tree Giveaway, which was held in MacDonald Park from 2011 to 2015.
“Young street trees are four times more likely to grow and thrive through tree stewardship, and community engagement can help ensure young street trees grow strong and healthy,” said Hill.
To volunteer to be a tree steward, visit nycgovparks.org/reg/stewardship.
Trees provide a home to wildlife, reduce stormwater runoff, filter and cool the air. Some older trees can feel like an unofficial landmark.
“As the steward of New York City’s urban forest, we take tree planting seriously,” said Hill “We recommend constituents who wish to help accelerate the planting process to pursue tree planting through New York Tree Time. The cost of planting a tree through this program is currently $1,800.”
To participate, email TreeTime@parks.nyc.gov or call (718) 361-8101.
A resident does not have to be a homeowner to play a role in the planting and maintenance of city trees. Residents can make note of empty tree pits, dead trees, or request pruning and planting by calling 311.
Over the years, the Parks Department has worked to diversify the street tree canopy.
“Species diversity is essential to maintaining a resilient, robust urban forest,” said Hill. “Planting a wider range of tree species helps combat pests and climate change. Our planting program now incorporates over 200 tree species in its street tree planting palette.”

Half-Full or Empty?

Let’s get this out of the way right now, the Mets had a terrible weekend.
They lost two out of three games to a dismal Pirates team, and if not for a ninth inning comeback on Sunday, it would have been three straight.
The Mets played poorly, their closer Edwin Diaz can’t get anybody out, and the kicker? Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor landed on the injured list.
What a way to start the second half!
Right out of the gate, the resiliency that has been a hallmark of the 2021 squad is being put to the test.
I’ve wondered something about this team all year. Are the Mets simply a product of a mediocre division, or are the Mets a much more talented and better team than the record would indicate?
I think it’s a combination of both.
There is no question that the Mets have taken advantage of the mediocrity of the National League East. It’s a division that has been far worse than anyone could have possibly imagined going into the start of the season.
However, it doesn’t mean you apologize for being in first place.
On the flip side, I do believe that the Mets can reach a much higher level of play. Offensively, they’ve come nowhere close to realizing their peak potential.
I’ve been encouraged by the quality at-bats of Michael Conforto and Dom Smith, and expect both to have quality second halves.
I also expect this new ownership group to go the extra mile trying to improve the ball club at the July 31st trade deadline.
Will the Mets add a starter, a bat or both? That remains to be seen, however I would be very surprised if the team decided to stay idle.
The Mets depth will once again be tested in the absence of deGrom and Lindor, and they have allowed some of the other teams in the division to hang around, but there’s still some good news.
The hallmark of the 2021 Mets is resilience. After Saturday’s bullpen meltdown, the Mets rallied offensively in a big way on both Sunday and Monday.
The Mets have a lot of fight in them. It’s commendable, and they’ll need it throughout the second half.

You can listen to my podcast “New York, New York” on the Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify and Apple Podcasts every Sunday Night, Wednesday & Friday early mornings.

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