I don’t even know where to begin.
On the 25th of October, Yankees clinched their World Series spot with a 5-2 win. Their 110th of the season, making their playoff record 7-2, as they head into the final hurdle to ring #27.
My head is still spinning, and I don’t know what time I got home last night from Yankee Stadium. I don’t know when the game ended, or when my night wrapped up, because in the last 10 hours all I’ve seen running in a loop in my head is the AL Champions celebrating their World Series berth.
We’re going to the World Series.
We’re GOING TO THE @*#&@# WORLD SERIES!!!
Before I started to make my way up to the Bronx, I made a quick stop at Duane Reade to pick up some necessities. Just in case. I have a weak stomach when it comes to baseball, and even without drinking, a close game has a tendencies to set my anxiety off.
Turns out I wouldn’t need it.
Because Andy Pettitte, the postseason pitching god, make quick work of the embarrassingly stale Angel bats. He let up 7 hits over 6.1 IP, walking 1 and striking out 6, with only 1 L.A. player ever crossing home.
In the top of the third, Bobby Abreu singled to score Jeff Mathis from 2nd, giving the Angels a 1-0 early lead. It was the last time they’d see a lead until 2010.
In the bottom of the 4th, the Yanks played small ball, exchanging their power bats for the get-on-base ones.
Johnny Damon singled with bases loaded to score Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher, and when A-Rod drew a walk 2 batters later, it forced in Derek Jeter to give the Yanks a 3-1 lead.
Joe Girardi–who I just learned wears #27 in honor of the Yankees’ 27th ring pursuit–kept it simple. No overmanaging. No fancy “lefty specialist” bullshit. Just the simple formula that got us here in the first place.
(Except instead of Phil Hughes as the Bridge to Mo, it was Joba Chamberlain. This series has been a real eye-opener.)
Joba works a perfect 7th in relief of Pettitte, and Mo comes in the 8th (I LOVE when they bring in Mo for 2 innings. He’s a warrior, he can pitch 6 outs. I hate when everyone acts like putting in a closer before the 9th is on par with genocide.)
Vlad Guerrerro managed to knock in a run to chip away at the Yanks lead, but it was too late. The Angels weren’t going anywhere, and as if to underscore this damning fate, the Yankees scored 2 more in the bottom of the 8th off Scott Kazmir (who heard a mouthful from the left field bleachers. Welcome to the Bronx visiting bullpen, buddy.)
When Mo whiffed Gary Matthews, Jr. for the final out of the game, the stadium erupted. They did it. The Yankees were going to the World Series.
CC Sabathia was the series MVP, but Tubbo best be giving A-Rod joint custody of that baby. “The whole year for me was about trusting my teammates and being one of the guys,” said A-Rod, which is either the most endearing or ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
I can’t decide if it’s more Little Man Tate or American Psycho, but either way, I don’t really give a damn, because he has shut up hoards upon hoards of critics who kept tsk-ing “Yeah, but what about him in the playoffs?”
Then it was, “Pshh, anyone can hit in the playoffs when it doesn’t mean anything, let’s see him hit when– oh, ok. Well, then.”
Then: “Pshh, A-Rod always tees off in the ALDS, let’s see that same production in the ALCS.”
Then: “Yeah, ok, well he was on fire for the first 4 games of the ALCS in 2004, so big deal. It’s not like he can do that the whole series.”
And say what you will about us being spoiled fans, or that we bought our team, etc etc. But last night we all felt something we hadn’t felt in what seems like forever.
Maybe last year’s dark October was what Yankee fans needed to remember what the playoffs meant, and maybe we DID in some sense feel a bit of entitlement.
But last night, with New York, New York reverberating through the brand new stadium, the only thing we all felt was sublime pride and unequivocal rapture.
(Which might have been best captured in my mom’s email to me and my 2 sisters this morning:)
To: kris, laur, amanda
Date: Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 9:09 AM
Subject: Fwd: News Alert: Yankees Beat Angels and Advance to World Series
THE YANKEE PUMPKINS TURNED INTO PRINCES AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT!!!
From: NYTimes.com News Alert <email@example.com>
Sent: Mon, Oct 26, 2009 12:02 am
Subject: News Alert: Yankees Beat Angels and Advance to World Series
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Mon, October 26, 2009 — 12:01 AM ET
So there you have it. On Wednesday, the Pumpkin/Princes take on the Phillies in da Bronx for Game 1 of the World Series. Bring it on, Philly. You have no idea what you’re up against.
Read 2009 Baseball Throwdown coverage for the New York Yankees.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 26, 2009