Frequently, I find myself replaying memorable moments in Yankee baseball history through my head. Consequently, as I most often happen to be sitting in front of my computer while these memories come alive in my mind, I have bookmarked the link to the Yankees video archive on their website. It is a handy tool, allowing me to view plays and enjoy significant points over the last several years.
The video archives for all MLB team websites go as far back as April of 2005. I began watching baseball a season before, but being that it was my first year of watching in 2004, I can only remember so much: reading the newspaper on the morning of July 2 to see a picture of Jeter diving into the stands (a game which I saw over and over again for years to come), an Alex Rodriguez walk-off HR to beat Oakland in extra innings in August, and some fictional movie on the postseason of 2004 (I laugh at how they aired an ESPN 30 for 30 last week to recap a movie... can you believe that?). So the majority of the plays I remember remain available to view in the archives online. I look to share links below as the days go by, bringing back plays that are likely sitting in the back of many of your minds as well.
I have not planned out how I will organize the links. I will probably arrange them by months, putting each significant date alongside comments of my own, sharing what I remember from those moments. I hope you all share your thoughts on each of the plays as I put them up. Do let me know if I skip any dates that you wish for me to stick in the collection below.
I do not believe this post will bump back up every time I edit it, so if this does interest you, you may want to bookmark the link and check back every once in a while to see if I have added anything.
3: The Yankees opened up their season in 2005 against Boston with Randy Johnson making his debut, facing off against Boomer. Watching this game on YES, the network's scoreboard graphic still had the diamond, but the bases were green rather than red. Johnson put up a quality debut and Matsui made a leaping catch to rob Kevin Millar of a HR.
5: After a day off, a day game at Yankee Stadium was capped off with a Derek Jeter walk-off. Carl Pavano made his Yankee debut in the matinee and was solid, going into the seventh inning with just 2 ER.
14: Gary Sheffield, fielding a Varitek XBH in right field, got into an altercation with a fan.
18: Facing the Devil Rays, the Yankees set a Yankee Stadium record with 13 runs scored in one inning. The funny part is that this is the first of two times that the Yankees put up 13 in an inning against Tampa Bay in 2005. This team was also packed with youth, but you notice a huge difference when you watch its games from 2005 and 2008.
26: Hosting the Angels, Alex Rodriguez hit three HR's and drove in ten runs, connecting on three of Bartolo Colon's pitches for a three-run shot, two-run shot, and grand slam respectively. An RBI single followed later in the game. At the end of the night, he was 4-5 with 13 TB and three runs scored. This game plays on Yankees Classics every now and then.
7-15: During this stretch, Tino Martinez was probably the hottest hitter in the league. He hit eight home runs in eight games (though it was not eight straight games; he had one HR-less game in those eight games but made up for it with two shots a couple games later).
24: The Yankees sent six shots into the stands against Detroit with two HR's from A-Rod, two from Posada, and one apiece from Sheff and Cano.
8: The Yankees were visiting Miller Park in Interleague Play, and Alex Rodriguez hit home runs number 399 and 400. In a 12-3 win, A-Rod went 4-4 with a BB, 4 RBI, and 3 runs scored.
15: Hosting the Pirates, the Yankees rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the eighth inning to win 7-5 in ten frames, thanks to a Giambi upper deck blast. Giambi struck out earlier in the game in with runners on, leading to boos from the crowd. The Yankees tied the game in the ninth inning on a Posada double, and A-Rod tried to score from first on the same play to win it but was thrown at home after running through the stop sign. I had never seen that type of scenario before, so I was in great disappointment, thinking the tying run didn't count and that we had lost the game until the commentators said otherwise. This game was played many times on Yankees Classics.
18: Up to this point, Derek Jeter had yet to hit a grand slam in his career. Stepping up to the plate with the bases loaded against the Cubs, Jeter drove a pitch over the wall in left-center field for the first one in his career. I remember watching this live with "first career GS" in my mind. I remember Joe Buck's call when the ball landed: "It his is first grand slam." Jeter hit another homer later in the game off the railing in right-center field.
23: Ortiz bunting his way to first base on the final day of the 2010 regular season isn't too different from Giambi's bunt single here.
26: In a Sunday night ESPN-broadcasted Subway Series game, Giambi hit his second walk-off in two weeks. With the bases loaded and no one out in the ninth inning, he drove a liner into the right-center field gap to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 victory. The Yanks avoided a sweep at home with the W.
Sheffield was thrown out of the game by C.B. Bucknor after being called out at first base. He threw his helmet and was tossed before screaming plenty in Bucknor's face.
I recall watching the game with the television muted, being the only one awake in my house.
14: Coming off the DL, Schilling returned in a reliever role against the Yankees at Fenway. I still remember Michael Kay saying, "no bloody sock this time." A-Rod greeted Schilling with a 2-run homer to center field that put the Yankees ahead 8-6, the score by which they won.
17: The Yankees had several injury troubles in 2005. At the end of the season, they had used 14 different starters. At a point when they had four starters on the DL, they acquired Al Leiter, who made his second Yankee debut in Boston. He went into the seventh inning, striking out eight.
30: Down 7-3 in the eighth inning, the Yankees rallied to beat the Angels 8-7 in walk-off fashion. Hideki Matsui drove the first pitch he saw against K-Rod into left-center field to bring in the tying and winning runs. I remember listening to this game on the radio while my dad was driving through the mall parking lot struggling to find an open parking spot. Through the whole search for somewhere to park, we were able to listen to the whole rally. John Sterling's "THEEEEEEEE YANKEES WIN!" call at the end of this game was one of the longest I ever heard.
Does anyone else miss this FOX scoreboard? I always found the sounds whenever a run scored or an out was made to be pretty cool.
31: There was plenty of action in the Yankees second straight comeback and second straight walkoff win against the Angels. Giambi, who seemed to constantly hit home runs in pairs in 2005, hit his 299th and 300th career blasts in this game. The Yankees found themselves down 6-2 in the eighth inning a day after being down 7-3 in the same frame. A rally led to the score being knotted up at 6. Both teams scored a run in the tenth before Tony Womack's slapped a single into left field in the eleventh inning for the 8-7 victory.
7: With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, Matsui caught a fly ball and mistakenly thought that he recorded the third out. As be began running toward the dugout, he was alerted that it was only the second out, and he fired to third base to nail Gregg Zaun tagging from second base. The Yankees were able to get a laugh out of it, as they had a comfortable late-game lead. I remember at the end of the game, when the Yankees lined up for high fives, Jeter and Matsui gestured "three outs" toward each other jokingly.
Matsui Forgets Number of Outs
13: The Yankees won the third game of a four-game series sweep of the Texas Rangers in an exciting 12-inning matinee. The Bombers launched three home runs, including back-to-back shots by Sheff and A-Rod. The A-Rod home run was a long home-run well into the left-field stands, estimated at 485 feet. The Yankees gave up a 5-1 lead in the final two innings, but Bernie Williams hit a walk-off two-run shot to win it in 12.
Tino: "That was ridiculous. I've never seen a ball hit that far."
23: Down 4-3 in the ninth inning, the Yankees rallied in the ninth inning against Toronto to win it 5-4. Matsui led off the inning with a game-tying solo shot. Then, Felix Escalona, in his 200th career at-bat, delivered a single with the bases loaded and two outs.
Standing at Felix Escalona's locker in the Yankees' clubhouse, there's something not quite right. His jersey is hanging in the correct place, his spikes are where they should be, even his glove sits neatly on the shelf.
But the name plate, it just isn't right. It reads: "ESCOLONA"
Spell it any way you want, the only letter that mattered to the utility infielder on Tuesday night was "W," as he lifted the Yankees to a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays with a bases-loaded walk-off single.