Decline and Fall of Yankees

Over the last 18 years, the Yankees were 1731-1163 with five World Series wins and 12 other postseason appearances. But that era of dominance ended in Detroit. (AP)
If you are of a certain age, maybe 35 or older, you almost certainly have a powerful memory of Mike Tyson fumbling for his mouthpiece at the end of his fight with Buster Douglas. It remains -- and always will, I suspect -- one of the most compelling things I have ever seen in sports.
The reason it was so compelling, I think, is because it was so FINAL. There was no going back after that moment. The past had been broken. The future was uncertain. Mike Tyson was the baddest man in the world before that fight. He wore no robe, he wore black, he unloaded lethal blows at unreasonable speeds. He was so terrifying that boxing champions and former champions and men nicknamed "Bonecrusher" entered the ring trembling.
And then, he fought a journeyman named Buster who, for various fascinating but at the time unknown reasons, had come into the ring that day inspired and without fear. Douglas pummeled Tyson all night. And when Tyson landed the inevitable knockout blow, Douglas got back up and returned to the pummeling. It was hypnotizing. Tyson simply losing to Buster Douglas would have been an upset for the ages.
But the end provided an unforgettable image. Douglas unloaded a savage uppercut that snapped Tyson's head back. Then, a glancing left, a glancing right, and a ferocious left as Tyson was falling, and Tyson was on the canvas. Mike Tyson, the baddest man on earth, groggily rolled to his side, saw his mouthpiece, reached for it, reached for it again, tried to put it into his mouth and was counted out … and watching that scene you knew, just knew, as you so rarely know anything in sports, that something had ended. Sure, we all knew, Tyson would fight again. He might win again. He might even be champion again. But Mike Tyson, after that, would never be the same again. Boxing would never be the same either.
This Detroit-New York series … yes, it was like watching that Tyson mouthpiece scene all over again for four games, like watching Buster Douglas pummel Mike Tyson all over again over six jaw-dropping days. It wasn't just the Tigers sweep -- those things happen. It wasn't just Detroit's dominance -- the Tigers are playing very well and with Verlander, Scherzer, Fister and the middle of that lineup they could sweep any team in baseball over four games. No, it's something bigger. The Yankees still have money, and they still have talent, and they still have history. Derek Jeter will come back, so will some other stars, and others will be found. I have little doubt that the Yankees can still win.
But they will never be the same. Rome has fallen.

Read the full story here.


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