Category Archives: Baseball

7 Moments in 7 Days: #1 Tino Ties It Up

*In the week until the Yankees open the 2015 season I’ll be counting down, one a day, my personal Top 7 Yankees Moments of all time.*

I bet I can hear what some of you are thinking right now:

“The Yankees have won 5 World Series Championships in his lifetime, and he picks a moment from one they lost? And it wasn’t even the biggest Home Run in the series. What about Jeter’s Mr. November shot or Brosius in Game 5?”

To answer the first, I’ll go back to what I said way back in the first entry on this countdown, I love the 2001 Yankees, especially their Playoff run. I’m sure being 13 at the time and trying to comprehend 9/11 helps that, as the team stands out as the only normal thing about that fall. Moving beyond that, October 2001 is the last time the Yankees felt invincible. I talked in the Boone entry about how the 2003 ALCS/Pennant was in retrospect the end of the Yankees Dynasty, but even by then the 2002 ALDS and Game 7 of the 2001 World Series had happened and losing felt like a real possibility. Sure the Yankees had lost the 97 ALDS to Sandy Alomar and the Indians, but the 96/97 Torre teams were viewed differently, even then. The 1998-2001 simply never lost. Going into the aforementioned Game 7 of the 01 World Series (I game that still makes me queasy to even think about) the Yankees had won 11 straight Playoff series, and amassed a 43-14 PO record since 1998, and the Tino Home Run is an ultimate symbol of the way those teams found a way to ALWAYS pull victory of of thin air. As for the second point, I’m going to give you so more words of baseball wisdom from my late father: “Without Tino, the other two don’t happen.” It’s simple and common sense, but true. There is no Jeter Walk-off or Brosius second night in a row without Tino tying up Game 4. Now as we sit on the eve of the 2015 Yankees season, I can only hope this year (however unlikely it looks) produces a moment that can crack this list. That said, I’ll be there for every step of the journey either way.

Post Script: The Tino Home Run also gave me a life-long love affair with Tubthumping by Chumbawumba. So if any of my karaoke partners are reading this, you can blame Tino Martinez.


7 Moments in 7 Days: #2 Aaron goes Boone.

*In the week until the Yankees open the 2015 season I’ll be counting down, one a day, my personal Top 7 Yankees Moments of all time.*

October 16, 2003 (My Dad’s 53rd Birthday):

“Rivera’s out after three innings, they have to score now or the game’s over.” – My Dad.

“Agreed.” – Me.

“Who leads off?” – My Dad.

“Boone.” – Me

“Just put an out on the board already.” – My Dad.

“Hey, he could hit a home run as a birthday gift to you.” – Me.

“That’s about as likely as me driving to the Bronx and hitting one.” – My Dad.

Yes, the above conversation actually did happen in my living during the commercial break between the top and bottom of the eleventh inning of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. Now, I’m not saying I “predicted” Aaron Boone’s Walk-Off Home Run, because frankly my comment was a sarcastic joke brought on by the hours of insanity that was that game. I’ve never sat through a more stressful sporting event than that Game 7 (the only thing close is Super Bowl 42, and that didn’t end well). Between the Yankees having lost the chance to clinch in Game 6, the early deficit, the despair of being shut down by Pedro, the euphoria of the Jeter/Bernie/Matsui/Posada eighth inning rally, and the stomach twisting dread of extra innings I was practically physically ill when Aaron Boone launched a Tim Wakefield knuckleball into the left field seats and gave the Yankees their 40th Pennant. In retrospect, it’s also the last moment of the Late 90’s/Early 00’s Yankees Dynasty.It capped their 6th American League Pennant in 8 seasons, the last of the Joe Torre era, and the end of a true golden era in New York baseball history. Things have been mostly good, sometimes great since, but never the same.

7 Moments In 7 Days: #4 Bernie and Mo Clinch the Subway Series

*In the week until the Yankees open the 2015 season I’ll be counting down, one a day, my personal Top 7 Yankees Moments of all time.*

I’ve never been (and will probably never be) more nervous for a Yankees Playoff series than I was for the 2000 World Series against the Mets. Even with the Yankees having won 2 World Series in a row, and three out the previous four, the concept of losing to the Mets was something I could never have lived down. Every moment of the 5 game series was an absolute nail-biter for me, and even with the Yankees up 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth in Game 5 (thanks to Luis Sojo) and Mariano Rivera on the mound I just wanted it to be over. After sandwiching a bloop single between 2 quick outs, Mariano got Mike Piazza (because of course Piazza had to come up as the potential tying run) to hit a deep fly ball to center. My heart was in my throat when the ball left the bat, but I’ve never had dread turn to relief as fast as when the ball settled into Bernie Williams’ (my bar-none favorite player of all time) glove. At the time, the win felt monumental, beating the Mets to win a fourth Championship in five years made it feel like the good times would roll on forever in Yankee-land. In retrospect, the win actually seems even larger. It’s the final title of the Torre era, and quite possibly the only Subway I’ll ever see.

7 Moments In 7 Days: #5 Hideki Matsui’s 2009 World Series Home Run

*In the week until the Yankees open the 2015 season I’ll be counting down, one a day, my personal Top 7 Yankees Moments of all time.*

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I’m not a confident sports fan. Even with all the success my sports teams have had in my lifetime (9 combined titles, 14 combined World Series/Super Bowl appearances) I’m very rarely anything but super-nervous and convinced that the sky is falling. The 2009 Yankees season was, for the most part, no different. Even though the Yankees had been baseball’s best team during the regular season, I was nervous going into the Playoffs. Even after the Yankees swept the Twins, I was nervous about the ALCS. Even after the Yankees eliminated the Angels relatively handily in the ALCS, I was nervous going into the World Series. Even with the Yankees up 3-2 in the series, I was incredibly nervous going into Game 6 vs the Phillies at Yankee Stadium. All that makes what happened in the second inning all the more strange for. As soon as Hideki Matsui’s 2-run home run off of Pedro Martinez landed in the right field seats I knew the Yankees were winning the World Series that night. Even when the Phiiles cut the lead in half the following inning, my weird confidence never faltered.

7 Moments In 7 Days: #6. Derek Jeter’s Final Home Game Walk-Off.

*In the week until the Yankees open the 2015 season I’ll be counting down, one a day, my personal Top 7 Yankees Moments of all time.*

Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium was an emotional time for me. From the obvious baseball standpoint I was watching the great Yankee of my generation, probably the greatest Yankee I’ll ever see, play his final home game. On top of that, the game was just over a month removed from my father’s death. Like many baseball fans, my dad was the driving force in my fandom from an early age and it was from him that developed my love of the game and the Yankees. Suffice to say, I  emotionally cried throughout the game’s first 8 innings. I was so drained that I barely got upset when David Robertson blew the save in the ninth inning, however (like every other twitter user in the world) I quickly put together that Jeter was coming up third in the bottom of the ninth and the idea of a walk-off popped into my brain. By the time Derek came up with a runner on second, there’s was no doubt in my mind that the game was about to end. When it did, I screamed “Of COURSE he did!” and proceeded to leap around my living room.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the countdown’s first dose of October Home Run heroics.

7 Moments In 7 Days: #7. Yankees Clinch 2001 American League Division Series

*In the week until the Yankees open the 2015 season I’ll be counting down, one a day, my personal Top 7 Yankees Moments of all time.*

The 2001 New York Yankees are a special team to me, and clinching the 2001 American League Division Series is one of my favorite moments from their Playoff run. After losing the first two games at home to the 102 win Oakland A’s, the Yankees took 2 games in Oakland (highlighted by Derek Jeter’s famous flip play in in Game 3) to come home with the series tied. Behind the bat of David Justice and Jeter’s glove once again, they came from behind and handed Mariano Rivera a 2 run lead in the ninth inning, and the he locked down the series with a strikeout. Mo’s 360 pivot in celebration is one of my all-time favorite images from the 96-01 Yankees Dynasty, and John Sterling’s post-game monologue is perfection for those of us who enjoy his theatrics.

Stay tuned tomorrow for one of the two regular season moments on this list.