Since Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera joined the Yankees, there have been two dominant modes of existence for the team.
The first is winning, of course. The Yankees have done a ton of that over the years, something that's occasionally come as a surprise because it feels like the last 10-plus years have been a race to declare the end of this era of Yankee baseball.
And we're not even talking about the talk radio hysterics that accompany every bad start or losing streak. We're talking about moments where reasonable people thought it was time to heap dirt on the graves of the Jeter Dynasty.
It started in 2001 when the Yankees transitioned away from Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius. It cropped up again in 2003 with a young Marlins team winning the World Series over an aging Yankee monolith.
The next year brought the departures of Pettitte and Roger Clemens and the end of the Red Sox drought, with Theo Epstein hailed as the man that would forever tilt the scales of the American League. The Yankees would fire Joe Torre after another first-round flameout and then miss the playoffs under Joe Girardi in 2008, leading to the loudest cacophony of catcalls yet.
As you know, the Yankees won the World Series the next season and they've returned to the ALCS twice in the last three years. The reports have death have always been greatly exaggerated, which makes it hard to rush to the judgment that this season is finished before they've thrown a single pitch.
Oh, there's plenty of evidence of the Yankee shortcomings. The injuries to Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson have left the lineup short on production and the roster's been so mismanaged over the last few years that the team is going to have to cut players from the 40-man roster just to get 25 healthy and able bodies on the field come April 1.
Even the Yankees themselves are acting like disaster is coming as they've reversed course on StubHub selling tickets that buyers can print out (and generally treating the company like they were sacrificing puppies for a penny of profit) a week after suing to stop the company from opening a store near the Stadium to distribute hard copies of tickets.
It's not a move that speaks to booming ticket sales nearly as much as it is one that shouts about the Yankees needing to get bodies in the building to buy beer, t-shirts and so forth.
Looking at that list of premature eulogies gives some pause, as does a look at a very good pitching staff fronted by Rivera and CC Sabathia. Gloomy predictions are plenty justified, but its not like these are the Astros about to roll out in the Bronx.
It's been fun all offseason to laugh about the Yankees pinching pennies or the miserable state of their outfield, especially with the team providing several more punchlines this week by bringing Vernon Wells on board. The season's at hand, though, and the fate will be determined on the field instead of on paper.
Just like it has been every other year and, for the Yankees, that's a bolt of reassurance in what's been a dismal camp.