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My Favorite Yankee Team: The 2009 Yankees




I'll take a break from arguing with people in the comments section* to talk about something fun for a bit.

So truthfully, this was not that hard of a choice for me. You see, despite being in my late twenties, I've only been a fan since 2007. You know who got me into the game?

Joba Chamberlain. I am dead serious. Seeing what Joba could do with a baseball on a nightly basis in 2007 convinced me to follow baseball for the first time. Weird, but there you go.

The 2008 team was of course a major disappointment (Moose's 20 win season notwithstanding). But then...

Really, the story of the 2009 Yankees started with the offseason, right? You got the signing of CC Sabathia, which was amazing but felt inevitable. The moment *I* really cherished was the signing of Mark Texeira, right before Christmas, snatching him from under the nose of the Red Sox. I know it's not popular to say nowadays since Tex wrecked his reputation a bit in later years, but Tex was awesome, and never more awesome than he was for the Yankees in 2009. A terrific defensive 1b who was almost as good offensively, it really did feel like Christmas came early.

A.J. Burnett was of course a great choice to shore up the rotation. He was inconsistent but you can afford that when your rotation is headed by CC Sabathia, one of baseball's few legitimate ace pitchers.

Oh yeah. And then a trade of some dudes I don't remember was made for a schmuck named Nick Swisher. He looked okay. More on him later.

2009 really did feel like *our* year, even before the season started. World Series or bust and anything less than a disappointment.

And you know what? It really, really was.

It wasn't all smooth sailing, of course. Famously the team got off to a slow-ish start, until...

One day in May. The Yankees are barely treading water. Alex Rodriguez is back after a ban for steroid use. The very first pitch of his first AB...

Home. Run.

That was the moment I knew. with one absolute certainty, there was some magic going on this year.

Walk-off weekend was special to me, because walk-off weekend was when I saw my first Yankee game live. I was in the stands at game three. And I remember being a little disappointed because the day before, A-Rod had hit a walk-off home run, and Mo had pitched his second game in a row. And what were the odds of three straight walk-off wins? Plus the odds were very low Mariano Rivera was going to pitch three games in a row.

Game three of walk-off weekend, though, might have been the best game of all. A two-run comeback to tie the game n the 7th inning, a diving stop by Mark Texeira to save the game with the bases loaded in the eighth, an (I grudgingly admit) incredible play by Joe Mauer to save Brett Gardner from scampering home in extras, ending with a dramatic Johnny Damon walk-off blast.

Oh, and Mariano Rivera pitched an inning too.

Let's talk about the best part of that team, the infield, because that was probably a top ten infield in baseball history. You had prime Robbie Cano, the smoothest fielding 2b I've ever seen with the sweetest swing I've ever seen, prime Mark Texeira, Derek Jeter in his last really great offensive season (and arguably his only good DEfensive season), A-Rod, who only joined the team in May and somehow STILL managed to hit 30 home runs, and Jorge Posada also having his last really good year. Everyone on that infield was elite . I've never seen an infield that good before or since.

And I didn't forget about Nick Swisher. The new starting right fielder not only turned out to be shockingly good in his own right, putting together a solid season both offensively and defensively, he also became my favorite player because of how much he loved the game, and after getting a walk-off hit gave me my username for years - after a reporter described his play in right field as "rocky road" he said he got some "rocky road redemption". Bam. Username. He was probably the most quotable player in baseball and a blast to watch.

There were other memorable moments - the Francisco Cervelli home run vs. Atlanta that helped turn around a brief cold stretch; Luis Castillo dropping the ball, leading to a dramatic win against the Mets; the 18 inning classic ended by an A-Rod blast to help the Yankees take nine straight and tie the series with the Red Sox; and the awesome playoff run to the World Series, complete with one great game each against the Twins and Angels and a solid six-game World Series victory against the Phillies .

Let's be honest, though. Those playoffs really did feel like the victory lap. That's not to say they weren't a blast; they absolutely were, and the Phillies and Angels played them hard (sorry, Twins). But they were the coronation ritual for what was unquestionably the best team in baseball from start to finish, and they got the job done in the end.

Since then there have been other teams I loved. The 2012 Yankees featured without exaggeration the most insane run of clutch hitting I have ever seen from a single player (Raul Ibanez!), followed by a classic and cathartic series vs. the Orioles. I have a weird respect for the 2013 and 2014 Yankees for managing to stay above .500. Everybody loves how the 2017 Yankees defied the odds and made the Yankees feel like they were legitimate competitors again. And the next man up 2019 Yankees managed to prove the doubters wrong over and over again as nobodies stepped up to salvage a hundred win season out of one of the most injured teams of all time.

But flags fly forever. I'll end my article with this:

The 2022 Yankees have a real shot at all-time greatness. If they can pull off 110+ wins and the World Series, will they usurp 2009 as my favorite team ever?

It's way too early to say, of course, but man, I think they have the potential.

But until/if they can pull it off there's going to be no replacing the 2009 Yankees in my heart. What a team!

*Sorry for being such a jerk, seriously

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