Dad: Okay, son, time for bed. What story would you like tonight?
Son: I don't want one from a book tonight, Daddy. Can you tell me a Yankee story instead?
Dad: Of course! What would you like?
Son: Tell me about . . . The Franchise.
Dad: Now, you know I'm not supposed to tell you horror stories at bedtime. They give you nightmares!
Son: Dad, please? They were so close then, and it's been 22 years and eleventy-billion dollars spent and still no championships. How much more scary could it be?
Dad: Well, that's fair enough. Well, back in the middle of the Aughts the Great Yankee Hype Machine start to crank up full steam over the impending arrival of can't-miss Hall of Famers Phil 'The Franchise' Hughes and Joba 'What do you mean, bend my brim?' Chamberlain.
Son: Why did they call him 'The Franchise?' Was he that good?
Dad: No, not really. See, the Yankees had pretty much the worst draft scouting ever, for years and years, and Brian Cashman -
Son: AHHH!!!!! (hides under covers)
Dad: It's okay, it's okay, Captain Spendalot isn't here.
Son: (muffled) But Daddy we live on a farm and he KILLS farms systems . .
Dad: Come out, he hasn't been working for years and years, not since he was hired by a team with an actual salary limit and, well, you know.
Son: (emerges) Okay, I guess.
Dad: Anyway, the Yankees just loved to tout every player of theirs that either hit above .240 in AA or had and ERA under 4.00 in AAA as THE NEXT BIG THING. Remember reading about, say, Ian Kennedy?
Son: (confused) No.
Dad: He was a AAAA player, but it you listened to Cashman he'd have you believing that EVERY pitcher wished they had an 88mph fastball. Anyway, The Franchise was Can't Miss. A sure number 1 starter. The pride of the Yankee Farm system.
Son: And what happened?
Dad: Meh, he missed. After one start during which he managed to hurt himself, he came back and pretty much proved he wasn't, uhm, so good. His fastball dropped in velocity when he was starting and was straighter than a Kansas highway. Then came the magical time!
Dad: Yes, Mariano taught him a cutter after Phil failed yet again as a starter, and suddenly he was THE GREATEST 8TH INNING PITCHER EVER!
Dad: No. Well, He was effective for half a season, and suddenly that meant he was incredible.
Son: Just like Joba the year before, right? Didn't they ever learn?
Dad: No, son, they didn't. But the Hype Machine wasn't supposed to learn. And then came the 2009 playoffs, and The Franchise wasn't so Franchise-y.
Son: Dad, i don't think I want to hear any more. It's getting scary.
Dad: Scary? that's not scary. The fact that the Joba Rules were for a grown man and not a nine-year old, that's scary. The right field wall at the New Stadium, that's scary. Being locked in a room with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, that's scary!
Son: (weeping) please stop!
Dad: What do you know from scary! YOU WANT TO BE SCARED? FINE, YOU'RE A RELIEF PITCHER FOR THE YANKEES AND JOE TORRE IS YOUR MANAGER!!!
SON: NOOOOOOOO! I DON'T WANT TO PLAY THE SCOTT PROCTOR GAM
That being said, it's only 1 game. But they denied CC, knocked around the overrated pen, and now have home field advantage. Let's hope AJ is already sweating bullets and Posada is already bitching about his bench seat.