It’s over.

Give me a minute while I dig out California Nick’s column from 10 days ago, predicting that the New York Yankees will overtake the Boston Red Sox for the American League East title in the final week of the regular season.


Oh, man. Coffee flying out your nose and misting all over your keyboard can’t be good for the desktop. Dude, I’m getting a new Dell.

You would think that Masuda and other authentic, officially-licensed jersey wearing, fantasy league lunch money wasting, blank verse writing, glory days clinging alpha males had actually watched a 162-game, modern Major League Baseball season before.

Presumably they would understand that there are peaks, valleys, tender backs, sore shoulders, bruised egos, cancer treatments and two-week road trips that allow has-been arena rock bands to use your stadium.

They wouldn’t get too giddy or too bent out of shape when one team is breaking even on the road against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by way of Irwindale presented by Upper Deck, and the other is sweeping the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at home.

They should comprehend that leading any marathon affords you the luxury of running your own race, the occasional fits and starts of your pursuers be damned.

And they might surmise that running a real, breathing franchise at the trade deadline is not as simple as playing with a slide rule, plucking a pen from their pocket protectors and bolstering their precious rotisserie team. There are – Gadzooks! – actual human qualities, such as personalities and team chemistry to be considered, as opposed to the raw sewage of statistics.

Here, for a change, is a bold protection buttressed by fact rather than opportunistic derision for a team that applies the Moneyball philosophy better than my own: Not only will the Yankees not come within a five-spot of winning the AL East, they won’t even make the playoffs.

Every team in baseball is flawed. That’s why nobody goes 162-0. That’s why every team has a fifth starter. That’s why some guys make a 20-year career out of pinch hitting.

The Yankees’ flaws are fatal.

Their pitching reeks.

Like the team leaving the vapor trail in front of them, the Bombers boast two superstars at the core of their batting order. But rather than feed off one another’s presence with toothy, what-me-worry grins on their faces like their Boston counterparts, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez mope around the yard as if they’re undergoing dental work, maintaining a business relationship at best.

Sorry, guys, but tolerance and leadership are not synonymous.

Worst of all for the Great Pretender in the wild card chase, its manager and his staff cannot keep their eyes focused through the windshield when they are constantly peering over their shoulder at the eccentric old coot whose name is rubber-stamped on their paychecks.

By the time the Yankees reach that allegedly fateful final week against the dregs of AL humanity, the Sox will be sending Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Julian Tavarez to the hill for giggles.

Their first division title since 1995 will be clinched and then some, not that it matters, and the Big Four will be playing long toss in the bullpen while getting ready for a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners.

And if you ever doubted that in the first place, you worry way too much about mythical garbage such as WHIP, while blissfully ignorant of those two, time-honored standbys. Wins and losses.

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