It’s been a while since I have posted an article on Bleacher Report, and as the Yankees Community Leader and Featured Columnist, I do sincerely apologize.

Working a full time job almost six or seven days a week while trying to save for a wedding can take its toll on a person.

But that was then, this is now. I am back! Now, onto the defending champions.

So, the Yankees have been struggling of late.

And not just a minor struggle, it’s gotten ugly for the Yankees at times.

Not only are they 11-14 right now in the month of September, they also surrendered their American League East lead to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Despite the September woes, the Yankees are just one win, or one Red Sox loss, away from another trip to the postseason and are still just a half-game behind Tampa Bay for first in the division. All hope is not completely lost on the Yankees here.

Just like in the 2000 season.

The then two-time defending champions started out September at 75-56 and finished 87-74, winning just enough to win the American League East over Boston by two games. But the Yankees stumbled to the finish line, going 12-18.

The Yankees that year, despite being the defending champions, did not even have the best record. The White Sox (95-67), Oakland A’s (91-71), and Seattle Mariners (91-71) all had better records. The Cleveland Indians (90-72) had a better record and they didn’t even make the postseason.

Yet, the Yankees somehow fended off the A’s in the division round, torched the Mariners in the ALCS and crushed the Mets in the World Series en route to their 26th championship.

Fast-forward 10 years later. The Yankees are at 93-64 and possibly looking at starting the postseason playing the Minnesota Twins on the road as the A.L. Wild Card if the September stumbling continues.

Here’s the big question: Can the Yankees dig themselves out of this mess and find the magic from just one season ago that won them their 27th championship?

A lot of nay-sayers think the Yankees are done for. Right now, even I’d say the Yankees aren’t looking that great.

But when the calendar turns to October, never, ever count the Yankees out of a playoff series.

Granted, A.J. Burnett is 10-15 with an ERA over 5 and can’t figure out if he wants to be dominant or get shelled. Javier Vazquez has all but pitched himself out of New York and lost Joe Girardi’s trust, and Ivan Nova is a 23-year old rookie who has only made seven starts for the Yankees.

But this is also the same Yankee team with Alex Rodriguez, who carried the Yankees on his back last year with clutch home run after clutch home run, with CC Sabathia, who is capable of pitching on three days rest and is the 2009 ALCS MVP, with Andy Pettitte, who went 4-0 in the playoffs and is the all-time winning pitcher in the postseason, and with Derek Jeter, who seems to hit over .300 every October.

Oh, and this is also the team with Mariano Rivera, who is still the greatest closer of all time. OK, yes, he did blow the save against Boston on Sunday. It happens. But if the game is 3-2 in the ninth inning, I am still giving the ball to Mo EVERY time to get the save.

This is still a Yankees team with a deep lineup that can score anywhere from 5-10 runs in a given night and a lineup filled with experienced postseason veterans who aren’t scared of the big stage.

The experience factor is what can help get the Yankees through the next couple weeks and potentially out of this mess.

So now, as we continue the final week of the season and get ready for October baseball, the fate of the Yankees will soon be determined. Can they muster enough to win another A.L. East title, or will they settle for the A.L. Wild Card and possibly head to a red-hot Minnesota team?

I’m sure people counted out the 2000 Yankees, and they turned it on in October and won the World Series.

Don’t count out the 2010 Yankees just yet. There’s a lot of baseball left still to be played.

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