When I was growing up as a kid in Canarsie, most of my friends wanted to be big league ballplayers. They saw themselves hitting a homerun to win the World Series. My own dreams were a bit more modest. I wanted to WRITE about it!. My heroes were the Maddens, Starks and Gallos. And so today I am going to write my very first baseball column!
So what if it is my very first baseball column posted on a Comicbook site? Complain too much and I might frag ya with my adamantium Louisville Slugger…
Last night the New York Yankees christened their brand new billion dollar playground with their 27th World Championship. 27th…just roll that around your brains for a moment. Not only is it far and away the most championship in Major League Baseball, it is the most championships of ANY professional sport. It speaks to a tradition to excellence that goes back to the 1920’s and has continued pretty much unabated to this day. Here is something else to chew on…
This year the Yanks won their 40th AL pennant since 1923, which means that the Bombers have appeared in nearly HALF the World Series over that span.
I realize that a great many people will point to the Yankee pocketbook as the reason that they have been winners. To which I say BLEAH! To be sure money IS a great advantage and allows you to eat your mistakes. BUT money does not guarantee championships. All you need to do is look at the Yanks since 2000 and the Mets over in the NL in recent years. Your front office must spend the money wisely. They must put together a TEAM that is given an opportunity to succeed . And they have to be lucky enough to stay healthy and avoid the mine field that is the current two tiered playoff system.
The 2009 Yankees did all those things. They played tough. They played with heart, leading the Majors in come from behind wins. They pitched, and played their best defense in years. When confronted by the World Champion Phillies who were the very best team in the NL, the Bombers flat outplayed them.
We saw one player find vindication – A-Rod will never again hear the word “choke” as an addendum to his name. he showed us all why he is the best player of his generation and the most gifted Yankee since Mickey Mantle.
We saw another player show his value – Jorge Posada missed almost all of last season to injury and it was no coincidence that the Yanks failed to make the playoffs since 1995. Jeter is the Captain of the Yankees, Jorge is the heart.
We saw a Hall Of Famer showing us all why he is a winner – Derek Jeter hit .407 in the series, scoring five runs and playing great defense. Derek is described by his peers with the highest praise. They call him a “winner”
We saw how Baseball is truly an international game – Hideki Matsui, WS MVP!
We saw an old warhorse go to war again – The gutty, gritty Andy Petitte won all THREE clinching games in the post season and was not to be denied even on three days rest.
And finally…the incomparable Mariano Rivera who gave up ONE run in 16 innings this post season and NONE in the World Series. Want to know the difference between the Yankees and everyone else? It is MO. He was the only closer IN the Post season not to have at least one implosion that cost his team a game. Last night when the Yanks were up 7-3 in the 8th and the Phils saw Mariano they knew it was over.
Baseball has become a 12 month a year sport and the Hot Stove Season is poised to begin. In short order we are going to hear about all the “holes” the Yankees need to plug in order to repeat. But that is for tomorrow.
For today the Yanks are World Champions. There is a parade outside my office window tomorrow here on lower Broadway.
All is right with the world!