I wrote this when I finally got out of bed circa 2:30 in the afternoon.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.
Ball game over. World Series over. Baseball season over.
Listening to asinine hating anti-fans drop the "who's won more in this century" over.
Having to hear people say they "can't wait til the Yankees choke" over.
First year at new stadium over.
Nine years without a ring over.
Ball game over. The Yankees win.
What a night. The hours and day(s) leading up to last night were saturated with critics attacking Girardi for pitching AJ Burnett in Game 5 because it meant not only would Andy Pettitte have to go on short rest for Game 6, but CC Sabathia would have to pitch his 2nd short-rested game in a row, should a Game 7 be needed.
Funny, though, how these naysayers were oddly silent up until the point AJ started getting shelled. THEN it was a fatal flaw. THEN Girardi was a moron. And all I heard about for all of Monday night through 8pm last night was how that move will change the face of the series, and there's no way Andy will be able to go on 3 days rest, and Girardi should be fired, etc.
The consensus was that if the Yankees win the World Series, it was be in spite of Girardi, not because of him. I really couldn't disagree more on this one. And this is coming from someone who spend many a game banging her head against the computer, screaming to no one in particular that Girardi is an idiot for not using [fill in name of bullpen reliever who wouldn't have let up runs, in my estimation].
My dad even said, "Kris, I could have won a championship with that team. Look at them."
True. But how much different are they from any other one of their teams in the last 5 years? What about when they got Randy Johnson? And Carl Pavano? A-Rod? Those were big name guys, and they never brought us to a title.
Something was different this year. There was no Torre doing ungodly things to his pitching staff's arms. There a case study in "Eff you, critics" performance from A-Rod. A relatively steadfast batting order that wasn't seemingly determined by picking names out of a batting helmet. Patience at the plate (cough...Cano...cough).
I don't think it's easy to manage a club no matter how good they are. And the fact that Girardi took this team through the World Series is not something that should be trivialized. He didn't always do thing we agreed with, but his strategy of a quilted motley crew of relievers to support precarious starter situations, worked out beautifully.
The Yankees were able to ride a 3-man rotation through the entire playoffs, all 3 of them going on short rest at some point (some faring better than others). And it worked out. It %@E worked out. The New York Yankees are Kings of the World once again.
And my God, it feels good.
The Phillies were good, and put up a good fight, so much so that there was even talk of Chase Utley getting World Series MVP even if the Phils didn't win. (Of course, you can't really make that argument when a guy on the winning team somehow manages to knock in 6 ribbies in one game to tie the World Series record. Thank you, Hideki.)
Ryan Howard was abysmal all series, save one long ball he knocked off Petitte last night to bring the score to 7-3. It was too little too late though, and the Phils weren't able to overcome that kind of damage in a rocking stadium filled to the rafters with fans salivating for, in the words of Cole Hamels, "it all to be over with."
Pedro Martinez was no one where near as sharp as he was when he dueled with AJ Burnett in Game 2. (And of course, now the scapegoat blame gets applied to Charlie Manuel for not taking Pedro out when Hideki came to the plate with bases loaded in the 3rd, with the lead only 4-1.)
The Phils scored on a sac fly by Shane Victorino, who I was half hoping would enter the game with a bloody batting glove and give the Fox announcers something to distract themselves away from hating on the Yankees for 2 seconds.
But the Yankees were doing what they do best, which was knocking the ball all over the park. Even the foul balls were long shots, even the outs were well hit liners. This is to be expected, perhaps, when Pedro is throwing 87 mph fastballs.
When Hideki's 2-strike, 2-out, single put the score at 4-1, I was a little more relaxed, but I never stopped compulsively flicking at my hat brim and pacing and grinding my teeth, until he hit a 2-run double in the bottom of the 5th to make it 7-1, following Mark Teixeira's base hit that had scored Jeter.
A 6-run lead isn't any guarantee, but it was comfortable. And that was when we all started to let it prematurely sink in. The Yankees were going to be World Champions soon.
I think this implosion from good old Petey should be indicative of how short rest or normal rest, an erratic pitcher in his 30s isn't going to always be lights out. I don't think AJ was knocked around on Monday because he wasn't well rested. I think he was beat up because he's AJ Burnett, and that's what he does. He surprises us with either Good AJ or Bad AJ, and let's be honest, we all knew this when we bought him, so let's not act so surprised when he gets chased early.
Pedro gave a mirror image performance of that, but it was a little more untimely than AJ's crap outing. If I were a Phillies fan, I'd point fingers directly at the decision to pitch Pedro in Yankee Stadium for Game 2, when they should have pitched him at home.
And more significantly, the decision to pitch Pedro in Yankee Stadium for an elimination game!! I guess they didn't have much choice in the matter, but if Cliff Lee had pitched instead of Joe Blanton on Sunday, they wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place.
(Eh, whatever. Like I care about what the Phillies do with the pitchers.The Yankees just won the World Series. I got all day today to read every last word written about the game, and then all day tomorrow to get lost in the masses of people tumbling into the Canyon of Heroes.)
With 2 outs in the top of the 9th, the bar packed wall to wall, the stadium deafening with every pitch Mariano Rivera threw that made the title that much closer...it started to feel like New Year's Eve. Well, if the year lasted 9 years.
All of us expectantly waiting for the ball to drop, so to speak. All of us exploding in raucous, bleary eyed, delirious, euphoric celebration when it did.
"New York, New York" blared through the streets. Then "We are the Champions." "Empire State of Mind." The text message congratulations. The shots. The dancing. The screaming. The hugging. It was heaven. It still is.
I've kept my mouth shut about retaliating against all the shit-talkers that tried their damnedest to curse the Yankees, who tried to rain on our playoff parade. I've limited my jabs to half-kidding trash talking towards our opponents.
But I wrote in Game 5 postmortem:
If someone makes a point to go out of his or her way to poke the bear, unprovoked, then there's the exception to the rule. Because if the Yankees should end up winning the World Series this year, I will make a pit stop before riding off into the sunset, to dole out heaps of karma three-fold.
Instead of just letting us enjoy the fact our team was playing in the World Series, and that we were really happy and excited about it, NYC was teeming with assholes that wanted us to be as miserable as them. They were unrelenting in their banal insults, their pathetic and predictable Yankee shots.
Maybe we couldn't be bothered, or maybe a part of us was secretly scared that if we responded in kind, that we'd be putting ourselves in grave danger should the Yankees happen to choke it away.
Whatever the reason, it's immaterial now. BECAUSE WE WON.
Everyone out there with your "I can't wait to see them blow it the ALDS" and the "I can't wait til they choke against the Angels" or "I can't wait to see Pettitte get lit up on short rest" etc etc etc... HOPE YOU ENJOY THE NEXT FEW DAYS OF SEEING NOTHING BUT YANKEE COVERAGE.
And I hope your commute to work is significantly screwed up because of the ticker tape parade.
And until the 2010 World Series, the Yankees are the World Champions. So every time you see a fan walking down the street with a Yankee hat on, and your knee jerk reaction is to say something negative, just remember: The Yankees won. And you're out of material.
The Yankees did it. They won their 27th championship, the most of any team in any sport. In the first year in their new stadium, they christened their home with champagne and victory...just as they did to their last stadium, when they won the World Series in its inaugural season in 1923.
Congratulations, Yankees. Thank for you bringing the trophy back to where it belongs.
Thank you for everything that you've given your fans this season.
Thank you for #27.