*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.