Normally this would sound like a thrown-down gauntlet because, normally, this would be a thrown-down gauntlet. In this time, in this place, in this city, it is something else entirely. For the Yankees it ought to be a welcome challenge, and for the people who care about the Yankees it ought to be something even better: a splendid adventure.

\So here goes. Bold-face this if you like. Underline it. Italicize it:Now, look, we understand perfectly well that the best team doesn’t always win a championship. We fully subscribe to what Billy Beane has often said about the baseball postseason, that it’s a crapshoot.

You can run into a hot pitcher (and we should borrow from hockey here, talk about a hot pitcher “standing on his head.”) You can get a bad hop. A couple of bats can go cold. It happens.

But that’s thinking responsibly. That’s thinking rationally. And if you are a sports fan in this time, in this place, in this city, and you happen to root for a team like the Yankees that starts the season’s second half on a 105-win pace, the last thing you should be doing is thinking rationally and responsibly.

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