The Pinstripe Alley Top Moments Tournament continues with the 2000-present bracket. Vote for the moment that deserves to move on in the poll below.
(#3) Derek Jeter's flip play
On October 13, 2001, the Yankees squared off with the Oakland Athletics facing elimination in Game Three of the ALDS with Mike Mussina on the mound. Holding onto a narrow 1-0 lead provided by a Jorge Posada home run (GIF), Mussina and A's pitcher Barry Zito were entrenched in a tense pitcher's duel in which Mussina had only allowed two hits in the game. Jeremy Giambi singled with two outs in the seventh inning before Terrence Long roped a ball past Tino Martinez to right field. Shane Spencer fielded the ball before launching it over the heads of both cutoff men, Alfonso Soriano and Tino Martinez, as Giambi was waved around third.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Derek Jeter sprinted to the first base line from the pitcher's mound to field Spencer's long throw with his momentum carrying him away from the field. In an instant, Jeter manages to flip the ball out of his glove right to Posada, who is waiting by home plate to make the tag. Giambi doesn't slide and Posada is able to tag him on the foot to preserve the Yankees' narrow lead. Many people have gone on to speculate whether or not Jeter was in his proper position when making the flip play, to which Jeter, of course, says that he was right where he has practiced being.
The Yankees would go on to win the series, advance to the ALCS, and eventually play in the World Series. Talk about one moment turning around a series, the flip play did just that.
(#6) Mariano Rivera's farewell
The greatest closer of them all announced before the 2013 season began that the season would be his last. Rivera had just returned from missing most of the 2012 season with a torn ACL, but he was ready to give it one last go around. Teams around baseball honored Rivera with gifts throughout the season. He received a touching ovation at the All-Star Game at Citi Field and met with various groups of people as he visited each stadium for the last time. Rivera's number was retired in a special ceremony at Yankee Stadium, adding another #42 to the monuments in center field.
Rivera's farewell tour was complete on September 26th in a game against the Rays that would be his last appearance as a Yankee. The Yankees were down 4-0 to the Rays but Rivera came in to work the ninth inning anyway. It was obvious that Rivera would come out of the game before the inning was complete to receive a proper send off from the Yankee Stadium crowd, but no one could have predicted exactly how his final exit would go.
Fellow Core Four teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte walked out to the mound together instead of manager Joe Girardi to remove Rivera from the game. Jeter and Pettitte joked with Mo that it was time for him to go before Rivera broke down in tears on Pettitte's shoulders in an embrace. No one could be blamed for allowing a little liquid to escape from their eyes as they watched the scene unfold. Three of the biggest Yankees of this generation, all at or approaching retirement, allowing the emotion of it all to sneak through in a very human moment will not soon be forgotten.