Results tagged ‘ World Series ’
“He was really my first…you know,’ warrior’ guy.”–George Steinbrenner on Paul O’Neill.
Right field is a sacred position in Yankee history. Reggie Jackson, Roger Maris, and even the immortal Babe Ruth have all played the glorious corner outfield position. It’s one of the most beloved positions ever.
Growing up a Yankee fan during the late 1990s, I was brought up with one right fielder. A man who hated to lose. A man who worked probably harder than 90 percent of the players in the league. A man who defined the word “game.”
I am of course speaking about Paul O’Neill.
There’s no doubt that in my lifetime, O’Neill was the absolute best right fielder the Yankees have had. His love of winning and powerful clubhouse presence helped propel the Yankees to four World Championships and five pennants in the nine years he played in pinstripes.
It’s almost as if O’Neill needed to win.
Buster Olney, beat writer for The New York Times in the ’90s and author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty,” basically described O’Neill as a “lifetime must-winner;” even when he was a child he hated to lose.
For example, he would play basketball games against his brother Robert as a young man, the first to 25 points wins the game. O’Neill would reach 23 points, victory in his sights. Then Robert would sink bucket after bucket until he reached 25, a tactic used to demoralize O’Neill.
Siblings can be so cruel, can’t they?
O’Neill would call his mother at work and claim that Robert cheated. And after a loss, he wanted more. He would goad his brother to give him a return match. “What’s the matter cheater,” he would antagonize. “You’re not getting lucky again!”
He hated to lose, but even when he won, the past defeats clung to him.
For instance, if he went 4-for-5 in a game, he would sit by his locker and think about the one hit he missed out on. He would not focus on the four hits, but the one he missed and he tried to think about what to do differently the next time up.
I would say O’Neill was a little hard on himself; it’s difficult to get a major league hit, let alone multiple hits in a single game. But really any poor at-bat he saw as a failure, and it affected his psyche.
Another interesting point Olney made in his book about O’Neill (that really struck me) was how his attitude rubbed off on his own children. His kids saw how he behaved while playing baseball and mimicked it in a way when they played organized sports.
His son Andy played in an eight-year old basketball league. During a game, he missed a shot and began to cry as he made his way back down the court. O’Neill and his wife Nevalee were in the bleachers watching the game. Nevalee tapped her husband on the shoulder.
She could only say one thing to her husband as she watched her son cry:”It’s all your fault.”
It’s obvious that although O’Neill had that warrior-like mentality and gamesmanship, it went the other way sometimes and had negative effects on those around him.
He also drew criticism from it; when he was extremely upset with a call from an umpire or a failed at-bat, he would toss his helmet, throw his bat, argue, smash the bat rack and Gatorade coolers, and/or throw his batting gloves.
He used to fume when things didn’t go his way and his teammates drew fascination and amusement from it. His opponents thought he was acting like a child. Basically his antics were amusing to his friends but not his enemies.
Me–I thought he was awesome. It was never something I incorporated into my own routine as a Little Leaguer; I always tried to be as respectful as possible (and still do). But watching O’Neill was great. He just never gave up and never wanted to lose.
My favorite memory of O’Neil came in 1997; I was in fourth grade and at Yankee Stadium on a class field trip and it was the first regular season Subway Series. In the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 2-2 and O’Neill standing on third base, Tino Martinez hit a long fly ball to center, a sac fly that allowed O’Neill to score the winning run.
Yankees beat the Mets, 3-2. It was one of my more special games attended and one of my favorite sports moments ever.
I was also happy to see O’Neill play in the Old Timer’s game in 2007; I went to the game with my family and it felt like the old days, watching O’Neill and all the former players put on their cleats for one more day. That was also a great memory I had of him and the Yankees in general.
After the 2001 season, O’Neill called it a career. It was heartwarming in Game Four of the World Series that year; the Yankee faithful serenaded the beloved Yankee, chanting, “Paul O-Ne-ill” for almost an entire half inning. You could just tell how emotional it was for him by his body language; I think it nearly brought him to tears.
Even though the Yanks lost the World Series in ’01 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, O’Neill finished his career on a high note; Five World Series titles (including the Championship he won in 1990 with the Cincinnati Reds) Five All-Star selections, 281 home runs, a .288 lifetime batting average, 1,269 RBIs.
He certainly left a lifetime of memories for us fans.
Since he retired, I don’t think there has been a right fielder who has made as much of an impact as O’Neill. Even after he retired (in 2002, to be exact) then-Yankee manager Joe Torre reached out to O’Neill asking him to come out of retirement because he was in dire need of a right fielder.
A year after he retired, they wanted him back because nobody was as good as him.
O’Neill maintained his retirement and turned Torre down, which prompted Torre and the Yankees’ front office to make a trade for Raul Mondesi, who played right field for about a year in pinstripes before he was traded away.
They say true heroes live on in those who continue their legacy. And there have been many players who have taken over right field, yet none of them staying as long as O’Neill.
Mondesi lasted until 2003 and after Karim Garcia ruined right field for me, it was Gary Sheffield, who could hit but also ran his mouth too much. Sheffield publicly stated that he should have been the team captain.
Yeah…sure, Sheff. You were in pinstripes for a cup of coffee; Derek Jeter played his whole career in pinstripes with an enormous amount of success. You, not Jeter, should be captain. Dream on, buddy.
Sheffield played 2004, 2005, and was injured for the majority of the 2006 season, which yet again forced the Yankees to make a trade for a right fielder.
In ’06 the Yankees acquired Bobby Abreu, who I think without a shadow of a doubt, was the best right fielder since O’Neill. His calm personality and humble demeanor was a stark contrast to O’Neill’s, but he could hit for average, power, and maintained control of right field the way O’Neill would have wanted.
Abreu was and still is a very special player and even though he is an Angel right now, I still like him, respect him, and wish he was still with the Yankees.
In 2009, the Yankees called on Nick Swisher to play right field, due to the season-ending elbow injury of Xavier Nady. Swisher was not too shabby, what with his goofy personality and funny antics.
But no matter who plays right field in the years to come, O’Neill will always hold a special place in Yankee lore and certainly in my heart.
Now the real question is, will they retire his number 21? I was so happy to see his giant banner in the Great Hall at the New Yankee Stadium this year and when you think about it, no one has really worn the number 21 since he retired. The Yanks have sort of taken it out of circulation.
LaTroy Hawkins tried out the number in 2008, only to get booed by the Yankee fans. Hawkins asked Jeter why the fans were booing him, and Jeter told him that his number was “close to the fans.”
Hawkins then changed his number from 21 to 22.
Whatever happens with his number, O’Neill will forever be immortal. No Yankee fan like me, who grew up with the Yankee Dynasty of the late ’90s, will forget him. He was just an everyday guy who everyday went out and played his guts out.
He was a warrior. And I don’t think we will ever see another Yankee quite like him.
“Paul O’Neill’s daily fight for success became our fight.“–David Cone
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Yankee Stadium.”
These are words we have heard from the legendary Bob Sheppard for the better part of 56 years. After a long career behind the microphone as the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium, the 99 year-old Sheppard has officially retired as of yesterday.
Sheppard had missed time during the 2007 and 2008 seasons battling sickness, and has now given up his spot behind the microphone in the Bronx. It is a sad day, but I am so thankful that we had Bob for so long.
His first day on the job was April 17, 1951, a Yankees/Red Sox game. How fitting! Among the future Hall of Fame players in the Red Sox lineup that day were Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, and Lou Boudreau.
The future Yankee Hall of Famers in the starting lineup included Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, and Johnny Mize.
Sheppard knows so much about how proper language should be spoken. In fact, he was a speech teacher at John Adams High School and at the college he graduated from, St. John’s University.
He felt his teaching career was more important than his job as an announcer.
Sports have always been in Sheppard’s blood. At St. John’s he earned seven varsity letters as the baseball squad’s starting first baseman and the football team’s starting quarterback.
Talk about being an outstanding athlete!
As an announcer, Sheppard pronounced everything the way it was supposed to be pronounced. He once said in a documentary, “My job as an address announcer is to inform the people that the next hitter is De-rek Je-ter–clear, concise, correct, there’s nothing wrong with it.
It’s not DEEERRREEEEKKK JEEEETEEERRRR!!!!!!!”
I have to agree with him; nobody wants to hear the announcer scream the names of the players so that we cannot understand what they are saying. We always knew what Sheppard was saying.
He also owned a unique way of announcing the players; for instance, he would say, “Now batting, third baseman, number 13, Alex Rodriguez. Number 13.” He would give you the player’s position, uniform number, name, and then uniform number again.
He had his own style. That is the trademark of someone who his great at what they do.
In the same documentary, Sheppard noted that Mantle was his favorite player to announce. The Mick once told him, “Every time Bob Sheppard announces my name, I got shivers up and down my spine.”
Sheppard responded, “So do I.”
To announce the winningest franchise in all of sports had to wonderful for Sheppard, yet to be a part of that winning for so long was probably even better for him.
When the Yankees won, so did he. Sheppard has been awarded with the World Series Championship rings for his role as the Yankees’ announcer. He was also given a well-deserved monument in the park at Yankee Stadium, dedicated by the Yanks on May 7, 2000.
His microphone has also been encased in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Yet baseball was not the only sport Sheppard was involved in.
He also served as the announcer for the New York Football Giants from 1956 through the end of the 2005 campaign. Just like he received World Series rings from the Yankees, Sheppard was honored with Super Bowl rings when the G-Men won Super Bowl XXI in 1987 and Super Bowl XXV in 1991.
The Giants played their home games at Yankee Stadium beginning in 1956, and the ever-loyal Sheppard stayed with them through their move into Giants Stadium in 1976.
Sheppard also announced football games for St. John’s before he made his debut as the Yankees’ public address announcer.
Sheppard is a man who has seen it all; American League Pennants, World Series Championships, Super Bowls, some of the greatest games ever played. And now his announcing career is at an end.
But no matter where he goes and how he goes, he will never, and I repeat NEVER be forgotten by his fans. He will always be a part of the Yankees’ family and…well, he is immortal. His legacy will always be one of dignity, class, and grace.
Reggie Jackson once called him “The Voice of God.” And he really is. Sheppard’s booming, jovial voice will always be a part of the Yankees.
On behalf of every Yankee fan in the World, THANK YOU, BOB SHEPPARD! YOU ARE TRULY A LEGEND!
“Thank you all. Please drive home safely.”
We did it…I…I really don’t even know what to say. I am truly speechless.
The Yankees defeated the Phillies 7-3 in Game Six of the World Series to capture their 27th World Championship. A wonderful, strong, winning season capped off with a World Title in the first year in our new ballpark.
What a wonderful, wonderful feeling. A feeling we all haven’t had since 2000.
I had been saying from the beginning of the fall classic that the Yankees were probably going to win in six games. Now, I don’t usually like to make predictions, as I have said before, but that was my best guess: Yankees in six.
But let me tell you all a true, almost scary story before Game Six.
I am a senior in College at this point in my life, obviously studying journalism. I attended my sports reporting class last night, mostly discussing the World Series with my fellow students and my professor. Well, after an interesting discussion, class ended.
I got in my car and made my way home to watch the World Series. As I’m driving on the highway, I notice a school bus in front of me. As most of you may or may not remember, all school buses are numbered, all numbers on the back of the bus.
Of all the numbers that there could’ve been, what number was the bus? 27. I am not lying and I am dead serious. 27, right in front of me for quite a few miles up the Taconic State Parkway in New York.
Coincidence? I didn’t think so. This eerie feeling came over me as I was driving; chills went up and down my spine. One thought popped into my mind: “The Yankees are going to do it. I know it. There’s a reason that bus was in front of me.”
When I got home, I just smiled and laughed. The game hadn’t even started yet, but I knew what was going to happen; maybe not the score, maybe not every specific detail, but I swear to God I KNEW the Yankees were NOT losing this game!!!
So eventually the game began and…well…I guess the only way to describe it was the “Hideki Matsui Hitting Show.”
Godzilla knocked in six RBIs in game six, two of which came on a two-run homer in the bottom of the second off the Yankees’ favorite son Pedro Martinez. It was Matsui’s third home run in the World Series and second that came off Martinez.
But Matsui was just getting warmed up.
In the next inning, Godzilla singled to knock in Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon and in the fifth he doubled to score Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. No one could get Matsui out, it seemed.
And for his efforts in this entire World Series, Matsui was named Most Valuable Player. He deserved it. Three Homers, a .747 batting average, and six RBIs in the clinching game. Yes, I’d say that’s MVP worthy. Domo Arigato, Mr. Matsui!
Congrats Godzilla! (Remember, he also won another prestigious award–the Yankee Yapping Comeback Player of the Year Award!)
Teixeira was responsible for the only other RBI not registered by Matsui, as he singled in the fifth to score Jeter.
And who else was on the mound to close it out but Andy Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history. Everyone was concerned because Pettitte was pitching on three days rest for this first time since 2006, but those concerns were not well-founded. To be honest, I couldn’t even tell the difference.
The veteran lefty pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits. He walked five and struck out three. His line may not have indicated an overly impressive start, but I think he did great and gave the Bronx Bombers a good chance to win.
And they did, like they usually always do when he pitches. I mean, Pettitte was the winning pitcher when they’ve clinched the ALDS and ALCS this year…what’s one more?
The Phillies scored two of their three runs on an opposite-field homer run by Ryan Howard in the top of the sixth, his first home run in the World Series.
Sorry to say, but too little, too late, Howard.
Jimmy Rollins, who erroneously predicted the Phillies to win the fall classic in five games (and is probably eating his words right now) knocked in the Phillies’ first run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third.
Well, thanks to some solid bullpen help from Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte, the Yankees bridged the gap to Mariano Rivera, who came in to get five outs.
Did he get all five of them? Of course he did! And the Yankees are Champs again!!!
The team dog pile on the infield, a victory lap around the field proudly waving the 2009 Championship flag, and hoisting the Championship Trophy. Doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
I laughed. I cried. I jumped up and down. My heart overjoyed, my fists pumping in the air. I got that feeling; the feeling that comes over a man when he gets exactly what he desires. My phone was blowing up; calls, texts, people clicking the like button on my Facebook status, which read:
A.J. Martelli is in tears of joy :’) THE YANKEES ARE KINGS OF BASEBALL!!!! 27!!!!! “WEEEEEE AREE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIEND! WE’LL KEEP ON FIGHTIN’ TILL THE END! NO TIME FOR LOSERS, ‘CAUSE WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS…OF THE WORLD!!!” 2009 was the Year of the Pinstripes. In a perfect world we’d ALL be Yankees! I am so proud of my team. SO proud. It was destiNYY.
Stephen, an old friend of mine from grade school, posted as his status:
“Time for every person in New York to jump on the Yankee bandwagon and say ‘my boys did it.’ I think the only person who has any right to say anything about it is A.J. Martelli. He posts about every game because he lives in blue and white. I hope he gets to see this.”
Oh, I did see it. And it made me feel great, because it is true. Then I turned to my 26 Time World Series jacket, which is now obselete. “Guess I’ll need a new one,” I said with a laugh.
What a way to end this year!
Another thing I’d like to point out was the date. It was on Nov. 4, 2001 that the Yankees’ World Series magic vanished in the Arizona desert. The last night of the Yankee Dynasty of the late ’90s. Since that night, the Yanks had not won a World Title.
That is of course until Nov. 4, 2009. Perhaps the first night of the new Yankee Dynasty.
There was something strange about this night. Seeing that bus with 27 on it, watching Matsui practically single-handedly crush the Phillies’ dreams of repeating as Champions, and winning the title back on the same exact date we lost it nine years ago.
And even the fact that 2009 was the new Yankee Stadium’s first year, and when the original Stadium opened back in 1923, the Yankees won the World Series for the first time.
Not to mention, I checked the Yankee Yapping Facebook fan page to update the status…and at the time the Yankees won the Championship, there were precisely 400…and 27 fans.
Forces were at work, I believe that. This night happened for a reason. There ARE baseball gods and they were working tonight.
It has been a remarkable year; the year of the Yankees. 103 wins during the regular season, 114 overall…this was the only way to end it.
I would like to thank everyone who read my blog, there will be plenty more entries over the off-season, I promise you that. For right now, I would like everyone to ENJOY this!!! A World Series victory was the goal and our team reached it.
I’d also like to thank the 2009 Yankees for the season of a lifetime. I’m sure there will be many people (myself included) who will write about the ’09 Yankees. They are certainly a group of special players, and at one time (in June) I even described them as a “group of warriors that never quit.”
They are warriors and they never did quit. They took it all the way.
It’s been one hell of a ride, my friends. Thanks to all!
GO YANKEES!!! We made it to 27 and victory is ours!!!
That was almost awesome. Almost.
Showing signs of life and fighting back in the ninth inning, the Yankees lost 8-6 in what came to be a close game five of the World Series.
You would think when the Yankees jumped out to a quick, 1-0 lead in the top of the first that would give A.J. Burnett some courage and motivation to pitch well.
No such luck, whatsoever.
Burnett lasted only two-plus innings and was charged with six earned runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out two.
It is amazing how hot/cold Burnett can be; in game two he went out and absolutely puzzled the Phillies, giving up only one run on four hits over seven outstanding innings of work. In game five he got absolutely shellacked.
Well, maybe he can regroup and come back a little stronger in 2010, because that will be the next time we see him pitch, unless he comes on in relief in gave six or (if necessary) game seven of the World Series. I don’t see that happening, however.
Chase Utley, the peskiest thorn in the Yankees’ side right now, took Burnett deep in the bottom of the first for a three-run homer, putting the Phils up 3-1 after the Yankees took a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Alex Rodriguez in the top half of the inning.
Just like that our lead was gone. And it’s not like Utley was happy with one homer.
Later in the seventh, Utley went yard again, this time a solo shot off Phil Coke, pushing the Phillies even further ahead. It was Utley’s fifth home run of the World Series and he tied Reggie Jackson for most home runs in World Series play.
Raul Ibanez joined Utley with a solo shot of his own in the seventh, his first home run of the World Series. Those two solo homers in the inning proved to be the difference in the game, so I really wish Coke hadn’t served them up.
The Phillies scored three runs in the third inning, receiving RBIs from Jayson Werth, Ibanez, and Carlos Ruiz, who just plastered Burnett and the Yankee bullpen in the frame. The third inning was seemingly the nail in the Yankees’ coffin, but they did battle back.
With the tying run at the plate in the top of the ninth, Ryan Madson struck Mark Teixeira out swinging to end the game. A really, really tough loss because had the Yankees somehow rallied back and won the game (like they have done countless time in 2009) they’d be World Champs at this moment.
Down by six runs going into the top of the eighth, the Yankees scored three in the frame to make the game interesting. Rodriguez hit a two-run double and Robinson Cano knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly to make it 8-5, proving that even when they’re down a bunch, the Yankees can fight back and put pressure on the opposing team.
Think about it: the Yankees were down 6-2 at one point in this game. In the top of the fifth, Eric Hinske scored on a groundout by Johnny Damon and at this point, with the Yanks down by four and Cliff Lee still in the game, I thought we had no chance.
But they at least showed life and battled back instead of just giving up.
Jorge Posada scored in the ninth as Derek Jeter grounded into a double play that basically ended the Yankee rally and the game ended not long after that. How often does Jeter do that? Not often. So we can’t put a lot of blame on the captain for that.
We can however put a ton of blame on Burnett for this one. He gave the Yankees no chance to win with the way he pitched and even working with an early lead could not get the job done. He showed a lot of inconsistency, there’s no question.
There are excuses he could make up, like pitching on three days rest threw him off, but he didn’t make those types excuses after the game. And even if he did, no one would believe him. I have to say, Burnett was an enigma this year; almost like the 2007 version of Mike Mussina–you never knew if you were getting a good or bad start from him.
It’s too bad that Burnett’s last start had to be so horrible. Not the best way to end his season, that’s for sure. If I had to give Burnett an overall grade for this year, it would be a C+. He struggled early on, but then hit a hot streak, then a cold streak, then a lukewarm streak.
Two of his five playoff starts were acceptable, one was mediocre, one was pure genius, and I think he wishes his final start last night never even happened. Hot and cold, just like I said.
When a pitcher goes out and tosses a quality start (which is defined as pitching at least six innings and giving up three runs or less) I generally tend not to put a lot of blame on the pitcher. A quality start means that the pitcher gave the team a chance to win the game, and even if the team loses, the pitcher still gave the team an opportunity to win and demonstrated good stuff.
For the most part, Burnett has given the Yankees quality this year, even though he did not win a lot of games, or at least as many games as CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. There were a few games Burnett could’ve won, but his offense did not give him run support or the bullpen did not hold it for him to register the win.
As far as last night goes, I think it was the second biggest start of Burnett’s career. The biggest had to be game two, because it was a must-win and the Yankees needed that game; if they had not won game two of the World Series and Burnett had not been as good as he was, they would have been in grave danger of losing it.
Going into Philly down 0-2…not a pretty picture.
The reason last night was the second biggest start of Burnett’s career…well, it’s obvious: the Yankees would be World Champs right now if he had executed the right way and pitched a good game. He didn’t and they lost, that’s the bottom line.
But for all the fans today who are saying things like, “Burnett is horrible,” or “he has no business on this team,” you all need to get a grip on reality. It is better that he had his bad start in game five rather than game two when they needed to win.
You have to look at the big picture and what Burnett did to help the team win all year; were his critics saying he stunk when he stood toe-to-toe with Josh Beckett and one-hit the Red Sox on Aug. 7? (The game the Yankees won in the 15th inning on a walk-off homer by A-Rod)
Did they say Burnett had no business on the team when he embarrassed the Mets by one-hitting them on June 27? Or what about just this past Thursday when he won game two of the World Series? Did he suck then?
No, he was brilliant. It’s funny how all Burnett’s critics have nothing to say when he performs well and lambaste him when he doesn’t do well. I am saying he did not do well in game five of the World Series and gave the Yankees no chance of winning.
But that doesn’t make him a bad pitcher. Burnett is still capable of winning games and out-dueling some of the best pitchers out there. So we can all layoff A.J. until 2010.
Also, I’d like to add to my defense of Burnett to his critics…how much better would you do? You think you could go out and pitch in front of over 50,000 people and millions watching at home in the World Series? Let’s see how you do. I’m sure you could do so much better (boatloads of sarcasm in that statement)
Hopefully he comes back next year a little stronger, and he got his first year in New York out of the way, which is sometimes what newcomers to the Yankees need; I mean before Chien-Ming Wang won 19 games two seasons in a row, he went 8-5 in his first year. So we’ll see how Burnett responds. I still believe in him and I think he will be fine.
At any rate, we lost a game and we go back home to the Bronx to play game six tomorrow night, no biggie. Being up three games allows a little more margin for error. And I guess you can say when in doubt, turn to the winningest pitcher in postseason history, Andy Pettitte.
He will take the mound against the Yankees’ favorite son and game two loser, Pedro Martinez.
Pettitte was on the mound when the Yankees won the pennant on Oct. 25 and has been in this spot before. He has won more series-clinching games than any other pitcher in Yankees’ history, so this is perfect for him. It seems like just yesterday I remember him taking the hill in game four of the 1998 World Series, a game he and the Yankees won to capture the World Title.
The only concern I have is that he will be throwing on three days rest. Hopefully it won’t make much of a difference. I know Pettitte is old school and works best on regular rest, but I think he can go out in front of Yankee Universe and do it the right way at the new house.
Plus, I just think it would make so much sense winning the whole thing vs. Pedro….
I know it was a rough loss last night, but remember Yankees fans, we are up 3-2 and the Phillies are still facing elimination. It’s not the other way around. The pressure is still on them and thank goodness we are not in their ballpark anymore. Not playing at home was beginning to annoy me.
Well, tomorrow night could very well be it. I’ll be back after game six with more highlights and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!
I am beginning to think the Yankees just cannot be beaten in a close, late-game situation.
The Yankees defeated the Phillies 7-4 in the ninth inning of game four of the World Series Sunday night with a miraculous, two-out rally.
The word of the 2009 postseason was once again used by me: “WOW.”
With the game knotted at four and two outs in the top half of the ninth, Johnny Damon worked a nine-pitch at-bat against Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge, ending in a two-out single by the Yankees’ left fielder. Damon promptly stole second base and with all his wits about him, took third.
With Mark Teixeira batting and the Phillies playing the infield over-shift, nobody was covering third base. After swiping second, Damon just got up and took third while he was at it.
Then Teixeira was hit with a pitch, bringing up the new “Mr. October,” Alex Rodriguez.
Now I have to admit, my heart was racing at this point. When I was watching, I thought I would need resuscitation after watching what was about to happen. A-Rod in another clutch situation…what was going to happen?
Rodriguez delivered, that’s what happened. The Yankee third baseman came up with a double to score Damon, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead.
Jorge Posada came up next with Teixeira on third and A-Rod on second, hitting a two-run single to give the Bronx Bombers their seven runs and pad the Yankee lead. Posada also had an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, which gave him a total of three RBIs in the game.
I have to give Damon all the credit in the world; to work the count and come up with a hit in that pressurized situation with the crowd rocking the way it was, and on top of that steal two bases at once and then score–that was such brilliance. He certainly took charge of the situation and showcased the mental facet of his game.
Not to mention he went 3-for-5 on the night with a double in the first and an RBI single in the top of the fifth. Damon came up and knocked in Melky Cabrera, which gave the Yanks a 4-2 lead.
Derek Jeter also knocked in a run with an RBI single in the fifth that broke the 2-2 tie coming into the frame.
CC Sabathia took the mound for the Yankees tonight, pitching on three days rest for the second time this postseason. The big man pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out six.
I have to give Sabathia credit; he tossed a quality start. But he has clearly seemed a bit shaken in the World Series. His body language and his demeanor (to me) indicate that he might have been a little shaken these past two starts on the stage of the World Series. His numbers are still good, but he looks a little off. It’s not physical (again, to me) it could be mental.
Maybe it’s just Chase Utley, who took Sabathia deep for a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh. That was Utley’s third World Series homer, and he has smacked all three of his homers off Sabathia.
Utley also doubled in the bottom of the first, a hit that scored Shane Victorino to put the Phillies on the board for the first time in the game.
It seems Utley has Sabathia’s number. That’s pretty much a fact at this point.
Pedro Feliz provided the rest of the offense for the Phils in game four. Not only did Feliz tie the game in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single to score Ryan Howard, he homered off Joba Chamberlain to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Well, I probably shouldn’t say Feliz knocked Howard in to tie the game in the fourth. Replay showed that Howard never even touched home plate, yet the umpire called him safe. I guess we’re just looking the other way on that one…
Utley and Feliz saw some meatballs and took advantage. But I guess it didn’t matter; the Yankees were more clutch and got the job done. Mariano Rivera came in and saved the day yet again, Yankees win.
It was another nail-biter, another ninth inning win. But I’ll take it; Yankees up, 3-1.
I also want to point out how ridiculous the Phillies have been pitching to A-Rod. In the first inning, Rodriguez was hit with a pitch, the third time in the last two games he’s been beaned. The benches were warned after the HBP, but nothing came of it.
They may have hit A-Rod in the first…but he hit back in the ninth.
Rodriguez now has 15 RBIs this postseason, which ties the Yankees’ single postseason record. A-Rod is knotted with Scott Brosius in 1998 and Bernie Williams in 1996. Remember that Rodriguez is also tied with Williams for most home runs in a single postseason with six.
Facing elimination, Cliff Lee will hope the keep the Phillies alive tonight. He was dominant in game one at Yankee Stadium, tossing all nine innings without allowing an earned run.
Lee will face A.J. Burnett, who was just as dominant in game two. Burnett tossed seven innings and gave up only one earned run on four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Burnett will be throwing on three days rest for the fifth time in his career. On three days rest, Burnett’s numbers are stellar. He is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA on short rest, so we’ll see how he responds following that amazing outing in game two.
Honestly, if Burnett can go out there and do anything close to what he did in game two and if he can capture the win in the clinching game…I hate to even make picks or even predict things (because I am usually wrong) but he would make a strong case for the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.
I have to say, at this moment it would be Rivera; if the Series ended tonight, I think Mo would be the MVP. But if Burnett can mimic what he did in game two, he certainly has a chance at the award. He won a pivotal game two–a game the Yankees said they needed to win after losing game one the way they did.
And if Burnett wins the final game…well, the work and evidence of an MVP is right there.
But like I said, I’m not calling it; I don’t make predictions. I can’t even predict the weather, much less which player may or may not win the MVP of the World Series!
Well guys, the Yankees are 27 outs away from their 27th World Series Title. It’s almost sad to see this season end, but we’re not done yet. ONE MORE WIN and we are World Champions!!!
I’ll be back after game five with some highlights, thoughts, and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!!!
The Yankees and Phillies turned game three of the World Series into the Home Run Derby, it seemed.
The World Series teams hit a combined six homers in the game, but it was the Yanks who out-slugged the Phils and won 8-5 in game three, taking a two-games-to-one lead in the fall classic.
Up 3-0 in the top of the fourth, Phillies starter Cole Hamels threw a pitch out over the plate to Alex Rodriguez, who crushed the ball to deep right field. Originally ruled a double, Rodriguez’s hit went under review by the umpires, who were forced to convene and use instant replay.
It turns out Rodriguez hit the camera behind the right field wall and had the camera not been in that exact spot, the ball would have undoubtedly left the yard. The ball was ruled a home run, it cut the lead to 3-2, and it got the Yankees back in the game.
That home run was Rodriguez’s first career World Series hit and it was his sixth homer this postseason. With that he tied Bernie Williams for most home runs in a single postseason. A-Rod certainly has the chance to set a new record, and he will if he leaves the yard one more time.
To be honest, I think it was the right call. That camera should not have been there; if it wasn’t there the ball was going out anyway, so…finally, a good call from the umps.
Nick Swisher also put on a display of power, hitting a double and a solo homer on the night. Swisher had been struggling greatly in the series, going 0-for-3 in game one and even being benched in game two.
Swisher broke out of it tonight and hats off to him. I expect him to carry over his good hitting from tonight throughout the rest of the series. He seems a lot looser than he was previously, so I think Swisher will be fine. Nice hitting!
Hideki Matsui also went yard in game three, blasting a pinch-hit, solo home run in the top of the eighth inning. That was Matsui’s second homer in as many games and his third career World Series home run.
Andy Pettitte made the start for the Yankees tonight and did a lot more than just pitch. The veteran lefty tossed six innings and gave up four earned runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out seven.
Pettitte may have tossed a pretty solid game (albeit not a quality start) but he helped his own cause in the top of the fifth. After Rodriguez made it 3-2 in the fourth, Pettitte came up with an RBI single off Hamels to tie the game at three.
With his RBI, Pettitte became the first Yankee pitcher since Jim Bouton in 1964 to record an RBI in the World Series. However, Pettitte (I guess) is one to gloat after he gets a hit. According to Derek Jeter, Pettitte has bragged about some of his past fall classic hits, including a base knock off Kevin Brown in 1998 and one against Randy Johnson in 2001.
With his hit last night, Pettitte can add Hamels to that list of pitchers he has hit off in the World Series.
The Yankees scored twice more in the fifth with a two-run double off the bat of Johnny Damon, giving them a lead they would not give back. Jorge Posada also added a run with an RBI single in the seventh, capping the Yankee offense.
Despite Pettitte’s decent outing, he did allow two solo home runs to Jayson Werth. The first bomb of Werth’s came in the second inning and he took Pettitte deep for the second time in the sixth.
Pettitte also allowed a bases-loaded walk to Jimmy Rollins and an RBI to Shane Victorino in the third, which put the Yankees in the hole.
Carlos Ruiz had the last home run in the game and the third homer for the Phillies, taking Phil Hughes deep in the ninth inning to finish the scoring on the night.
The Yankees were able to come from behind (again) and win. I guess this shouldn’t surprise me; they’ve been doing this all year. I was (of course) annoyed when the Phillies took the early lead, but I shouldn’t get annoyed.
The Yankees have it in them; that fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude that gives them the strength to come back in games like this. They are never out of any game, that’s all there is to it.
Tonight, CC Sabathia will take the mound on three days rest in game four against Joe Blanton. Sabathia is 3-1 this postseason with a 2.11 ERA and has struck out 36 batters.
Blanton on the other hand has not had much lifetime success against the Yankees, posting a career record of 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in 22 innings pitched vs. the Bombers.
Cliff Lee, who dominated the Yankees in game one, was considered by Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel to pitch game four on short rest. Lee however has never pitched on three days rest in his career. I guess Manuel didn’t want to push him, which is understandable.
Looks like the odds are once again in favor of the Yankees. With the way Sabathia pitched on three days rest in game four of the ALCS vs. the Angels (eight innings, one run, five hits, two walks, five strikeouts) and the career numbers Blanton has against the Yankees…well, the numbers don’t lie.
Sabathia pitched great in that game on short rest and Blanton has struggled against the Yankees, so things are looking bright in Yankee Universe. When the numbers are in their favor, I generally tend not worry.
Plus, I think CC stands for “Confidence! Confidence!” Whenever he takes the hill, the team just knows they have a chance to win. Tomorrow we’ll see what the workhorse/Yankee ace can do; I expect nothing but the best.
It’s safe to say that if the Yankees take game four from the Phillies tonight, they’ll have a stranglehold on the World Series and things will be looking even better than they are now for them.
Well, game three was scary at first (I guess that’s to be expected…I mean, it was Halloween!) but our Yanks came through, like they’ve been doing all year.
See you after game four with more highlights and analysis. Until then…
Two more wins, guys…TWO more!
Well, I first want to say I didn’t get the chance to blog about Game 1 (circumstances were not allowing me to–science tests stink!)
I guess it wasn’t worth blogging about anyway because it was not an overly exciting game; it was just Cliff Lee mowing down the Bronx Bombers in a 6-1 Yankee loss.
But Game 2 was a different story.
On Thursday night, the Yankees sort of broke out a little bit and topped the Phillies 3-1 in the second game of the World Series, evening the Fall Classic up at one game apiece.
Coming into this game I had heard so much trash talk about A.J. Burnett. Some people were even going as far as saying, “Hey, I wonder what Mike Mussina is doing tonight,” implying that Burnett was going to have a poor outing.
Well, he certainly shut every one of his naysayers up.
The lanky right-hander went seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on just four hits. Burnett walked two batters, one of which was intentional, and struck out nine Phillies.
The only run Burnett surrendered was an RBI single off the bat of Matt Stairs in the top of the second. After that it was basically the “A.J. Burnett Show,” because he really gave the fans quite a pitching performance.
The turning point (I would say) was in the top of the fourth inning when Jayson Werth was picked off on a snap throw by catcher Jose Molina. Burnett’s numbers after the pickoff were somewhat better than what he was putting up before it.
I also have to give Burnett a lot of credit for getting ahead of the hitters. 22 of the 26 batters he faced saw first-pitch strikes. It’s obvious when Burnett gets ahead of the hitters early in the count, he has a lot more confidence in his pitches and he is able to command and locate a lot better.
Many folks were quick to write Burnett off in Game 2, some even saying he would not pitch well before the game began. But he came out dealing like he was playing blackjack in Vegas.
And after the game Burnett said it was the most fun he had ever had on a baseball diamond. Well, I guess when you pick up your first career postseason win and it comes in the World Series at Yankee Stadium…what could be more fun than that?
Keep in mind the Yankees did not buy Burnett to be good. For the amount of money they spent on him, they bought him to be really good. And that’s exactly what he was last night.
Burnett was opposed by “The Yankees’ son,” Pedro Martinez. The hated opposing hurler received boisterous chants of “Who’s your daddy” during warm-ups, long before he even toed the rubber.
But it’s not like Martinez was terrible. In fact, he was dealing, too.
The former three-time Cy Young Award winner pitched six innings and gave up three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out eight.
Martinez really only made two mistakes, a pitch he left down for Mark Teixeira to crush for a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth and a curve ball down and in that Hideki Matsui was able to get a hold of and hook for another solo homer in the bottom of the sixth.
The Yankees were able to scratch one more run against Martinez on an RBI single from Jorge Posada in the seventh, but looking at the big picture, Martinez did give the Phils a quality start, going at least six innings and allowing three runs or less.
Martinez gave his team a chance to win and that’s the truth. He pitched very well.
Both game two starters were just on last night and that was evidenced in what the cleanup hitters on both sides did. Both Burnett and Martinez were able to baffle the number four hitter in the lineup all night long.
Alex Rodriguez, who came into this series swinging a bat so hot it was probably on fire, was put away on strikes three times in game two. Martinez buckled his knees with probably the nastiest breaking ball he threw all night, striking A-Rod out looking in the bottom of the second.
And then there was Ryan Howard, who completed the “golden sombrero” with four strikeouts last night. Burnett was able to figure out Howard, who smacked 45 homers in the 2009 regular season.
Rodriguez is now 0-for-8 in the World Series while Howard is just 2-for-9. Both teams have (so far) done a masterful job of containing the cleanup hitters.
Martinez had a lot of fun with the press conference after the game, stating that if he played for the Yankees, he would probably “be a king over here.”
A king? Well, I don’t know about that, Pedro. Yes, if he had started his career with the Yankees, of course history would be a lot different. He would probably be looked at as a hero and a special player (like he is in Boston).
But it would also be different if Babe Ruth began his career on the Yankees and went to the Red Sox and won all the Championships for them instead of the Yanks. What’s your point, Pedro?
At any rate, I am glad my initials are A.J. right now; I’m very proud of Burnett, he represented our initials extremely well with his Game 2 dominance. (Even though he is Allen James and I am Anthony Joseph…well, we both use our initials, anyway!)
Game 3 will be played Saturday night in Philadelphia. Andy Pettitte will make the start for the Yankees against Cole Hamels.
Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history and the winner in game six of the ALCS for the Yankees, will look to put the Yankees ahead in the Fall Classic. The veteran lefty has given the Yankees quality in each of his three postseason starts and owns a record of 2-0 this October.
Hamels on the other hand has been struggling greatly, posting an ERA of 6.75 this postseason. He has surrendered five homers in the ’09 playoffs and opponents are batting .328 against the southpaw. Hamels has not even pitched past the fifth inning in any of his starts this postseason.
Looks like the odds are favoring the Yankees in Game 3, but I would not count Philly out. Game 3 could be the best game we have seen yet and I can only hope the Yankees pull through.
The Yankees could make it a very Happy Halloween for the fans on Saturday night, if they come away with a Game 3 win in Philly.
Before I wrap things up, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ performance of “Empire State of Mind” before game two last night. They both did great, but…where was Alicia Keys’s Yankee apparel? Jay-Z, all his background singers and his band had Yankee gear on. What gives, Alicia?
Not that she didn’t look very pretty (in fact beautiful) in that purple outfit, but come on! Show some pride in the Yankees!!! At least put on a Derek Jeter jersey…I mean…all the girls love Jeter!
Well say your prayers, Yankee fans. We’ll need them for the rest of this series. Three more wins until we reach “Baseball Heaven.”
“Our Father, who art in the Bronx, baseball be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, World Series won, as the Yankees did in ’77. May God be with the Yankees. Amen.”