And That Happened: World Series

Yankees 7, Phillies 3: Champs. You saw it, so no need for me to describe it. I’ll just offer some observations:

  • Andy Pettitte was gutsy and successful.
  • Pedro, while unsuccessful, was just as gutsy. He certainly knew before anyone — and probably well before the game started — that he had nothing last night. He’s Pedro, though, and he did his best to figure out a way to work around it. It’s weird: for a Hall of Fame pitcher, I’ve always thought that Pedro’s character as a pitcher was better defined by his losses than his wins. In the 2003 ALCS, last night, and many other times, I’ve come away strangely more impressed by him when he leaves a game in defeat, and I’m not sure why that is.
  • Matsui. What can you really say? For a guy who often looks like he’s in pain when he’s hitting, he made it look rather easy last night. He was as good an MVP choice as anyone else.
  • Factoid I found on ESPN: “Wednesday’s clincher marked the sixth time New York has defeated the defending champ in the World Series.” I’m not going to look it up, but I’ll say the Phillies last night, the Braves in 1996, the Braves in 1958, the Dodgers in 1956, Cardinals in 1943, and I have no idea before that. Anyone?
  • Nine years ago is when Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte last won it all. I know that beyond them there has been massive roster turnover since 1996, but I’m struggling to come up with an example of a team with at least a handful of core players winning World Series outside the context of a continuing dynasty. This would be like Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford hanging around to win one with the 1971 Yankees, or Chipper, Maddux and Smoltz doing it in 2004. I suppose this is mostly a function of them being so young when they were winning them back in the 90s, but it is kind of odd to think about it.
  • I suppose I could go on all day. And really, there won’t be much other news happening, so I probably will. For now, congratulations to the 2009 New York Yankees, champions of baseball.

    151 days until Opening Day.

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    Comments

    1. Total said...

      “When you spend that much money, you’re bound to win a championship eventually”

      A good chunk of the enjoyment of the championship is watching the disgruntled whine.  Ah, how sports brings out the best in all of us…(yes, I’m including myself).

    2. Dennis in Littleton said...

      Congratulations to the Yankees, although I’m a native Philadelphian who now pulls for the Rockies.  What’s all the hype about the “unprecedented 27th World Series vicory?”  Besides the Yankees, does any team even have 26? Or even 20?  Or even 10?

    3. Steve Stein said...

      I am proud to say that my prediction (Phillies in 6, Pedro wins games 2 and 6) was 100% wrong, but also 100% consistent.

    4. Aaron Whitehead said...

      Although I can’t really root for the Yankees, there are a few guys on the team that I can root for.

      And the other team of defending champs the Yanks beat was the ‘23 Giants, after losing to them in ‘21 and ‘22.

    5. Aarcraft said...

      Dennis, the Cardinals are second with 10. So no, this isn’t more unprecedented than any other.  Maybe they just passed some hockey team, but I would have to look that up.

    6. YankeesfanLen said...

      What a fantastic win! And to inaugurate a new Stadium as well.Wasn’t it 86 years for the Red Sox before that year we won’t mention?  It’s 86 between stadiums with 26 in between for us. Matsui and Damon will be back, just like Bernie Williams was for a couple of extra years, and we have sentimental reasons after a few years service.  So will Andy (fiddly-fart) Pettitte but that goes without saying. The parade should start at Times Square and go south to Chambers, that part of Manhatten is impossible to navigate even on foot.
      Thanks everyone for leaving ARod alone, I think he’s got the hang of it now.
      Editors note: I’m writing like Mike Lupica’s Sunday column for no apparent reason (Or is it Larry King?)

    7. MooseinOhio said...

      While I am not a Yankee fan I can appreciate them winning the WS when many of the key players are guys you can feel good about winning a championship.  Rivera is a touch of class, Pettitte has always done well in the moment, including his PEDs outing, and Jeter is Jeter.  It also nice to see a player like Melky handle almost being traded but not letting it affect his performance and commitment to the team and anytime a Molina get a ring is a good thing. 

      As a displaced Mainer I am also glad to be further away from the whining I know is coming out of Boston right now as I’m sure Gerry Callahan is screaming about cats and dogs raining down from the sky as I the Yankees exploited the system to win a tainted WS.  While Boston has not spent the same amount of money as the Yankees they have certainly exploited as many financing loopholes (e.g. Fenway group) and ignored Selig’s attempts to control/slot draft compensation and have significantly outspendt most clubs at the minor league level in a quest to produce a controllable talent stream. 

      I am looking forward to the day when we can all celebrate a World Series champ that won in a system that is fairer and a better competitive balance than exists today.  What that system may look like I am not exactly sure but the current system is flawed. Winning a championship against only half the field may feel as great to those connected to the winners, I certainly celebrated 2004&7,  but must ring somewhat hollow to baseball fans who teams are on the outside looking in.

      On a side note – can anyone imagine any of the four horsemen of the Yankees (Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, Posada) retiring on a winning note this offseason?  I can see Pettitte walking away content and wouldn’t be shocked to see Rivera ride off into the sunset victorious.

    8. Ron said...

      TC, don’t know where your thinking comes from, but it’s way off base.

      Being a Kansas City fan sucks right now, but I would still much rather be a fan of the Royals than the Phillies.

      There are many reasons to be a fan of any particular team, but just because they won a pennant doesn’t rank anywhere near the top. That’s just another example of a bandwagon fan.

      Sure, the Phillies won two pennants in a row. They are alos the losing francise in professional sports history. Two years doesn’t define fandom.

      And just like the Royals stink up the joint, at one team, they were the prevailing model of a successful franchise, particularly an expansion one.

      People who are fans of a team just becasue they win something aren’t really fans of that team. They’re just fans of winning. And will abandon that particular team as soon as the winning stopss.

    9. DGL said...

      Pedro, even more than Maddux, has become the archetypical “crafty right-hander”.  After a couple batters, I commented that “he’s throwing junk up there.”  But he’s gotten good enough at the craft of pitching that he can almost get away with throwing junk.

      Best example I can give of a team with a handful of core players winning two WS not as part of a long-term dynasty is the ‘71 and ‘79 Pirates.  Stargell and Kison were both starters on both teams; Sanguillen was a starter in ‘71 and a backup (mostly a PH) in ‘79, and Stennett was a backup in ‘71 (started 33 games, but I can’t tell if he was on the WS roster) and a part-time starter in ‘79.  But that’s really only two players who were “core” players with both teams—and in ‘79, Kison started the first game, gave up four runs while getting only one out in the bottom of the first, and didn’t touch the ball again…

    10. Adam said...

      I think the only comparison to these four is the core from the ‘53 Yankees of Berra, Mantle and Ford that had the run through ‘62.

      As a Yankee fan, the best thing about this team is rooting for players you like.  It’s been tough to pull for Gary Sheffield, Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown.

    11. Aarcraft said...

      As a Yankee hater, the toughest part has been rooting against players you like. It’s been tough to root against CC Sabathia, Tex and Rivera.

    12. BD said...

      So much hypocrisy!  During the Yankees’ “dry spell,” fans of other teams used to ridicule them incessantly for their supposedly misguided attempts to “buy a chamionship.”  That was fun while it lasted; but now that the Yankees have won the WS again, IT’S ALL SO UNFAIR!

    13. MJ said...

      As a Yankee hater, the toughest part has been rooting against players you like. It’s been tough to root against CC Sabathia, Tex and Rivera.

      There’s a simple fix for that, come to the Dark Side, we have cookies smile

    14. YankeesfanLen said...

      MJ is right. No applications needed, no credit check, just join the Universe! You’ll feel better about yourself, even without Dr. Phil and Oprah. Oh, and DROZ.

    15. BillyBeaneismyHero said...

      Total –

      Just for clarification, I didn’t mean that as a slight of the Yankees.  Under the current rules, they have every right to spend as much money as they want.  Let’s be honest, they (and a few other franchises) are subsidizing part of the league.  What I’m saying is that when invest heavily in your Major League personnel, you’re more likely to win a championship—particuarly if you spend it wisely.  The Yankees, recently, have spent it wisely, at least in the short term.  While you can’t assume they’re going to win every year (because they won’t), their resources are so vast, it’d take gross mismanagement to keep the Yankees from going through a Yankee drought, let alone capturing a championship at least once every decade.

    16. Will said...

      It was a fun season, and the Yankees really were the team to beat, my congratulations to them.

      Now I hope that next year the Rockies figure out how to win at the beginning of the season, rather than after they spend a month or two in the cellar.

    17. TC said...

      Ron-

      I wasn’t trying to make a point about franchise or fan quality. I, too, root in good times and bad. My point is only that it is more fun when your team falls just short rather than far, far short.

    18. Beanster said...

      Unsung hero: Damaso Marte.  Striking out Utley (on a questionable check swing) and Howard were enormous, and relieved some pressure on Mo. 

      As it was, Rivera needed 41 pitches to get the last 5 outs and was clearly not at his best.  Afterwards, he admitted he was completely spent and pitching with some type of rib injury.  Amazing performance and a reminder that it’s not as automatic as he makes it look.

    19. Carlos said...

      I don’t know about “great season”. Honestly I was bored mid way through, and hoped the playoffs would bring some magic to what was turning into a predictable season. Minus a couple of really great post season games, the playoffs shaped up pretty much how we all expected. I hate to sound like a pessimist but this kind of season does not get younger audiences interested in baseball, unless you live in new york. Last point, the final game being played in November is just too much. Most folks have moved on (i.e. football/basketball). Let’s tighten the playoffs up and finish them sooner than later.

      Just my two cents.

    20. browngoat said...

      The Giants in 1923 were defending champs and defeated by the Yankees. 

      And it will be interesting to see how the Yankees retool for next year.  My two cents = Damon and Matsui are gone, Holliday in left and Posada, Rodriguez and Jeter spend time at DH.

    21. TC said...

      Disappointed, but it’s always worthing noting: losing the WS beats being the Royal, the Pirates, the Mets, the….

    22. BillyBeaneismyHero said...

      While it’s hard to hide my general disgust for another Yankee championship, they won because they were the best team.  There will be a lot of Yankee fans out there gloating (as anyone would be if their team won) about how this is just the beginning of a dynasty.  Truth is though, it’s likely not.  The core Yankee players are over the age of 35 (Jeter and Posada, 35; Pettite, 37; and Rivera, 39), and several of the other key players are on the wrong side of 30 as well (Damon and Matsui, 35, A-Rod, 33, and Burnett, 32).  As we’ve learned in supposed post-steroid era, players don’t age nearly as well as they did 5-10 years ago.  This championship, much like the Red Sox in 2004, is a culmination of a bunch of veteran players putting together fantastic years at the same time.  One has to wonder when the inevitable decline will begin.

      The Yankees have spent somewhere between $1.5B-$2B over the last decade trying to win championship number 27.  When you spend that much money, you’re bound to win a championship eventually.  Regretably, I bid the Yankees congratulations on number 27.  I still hate them more than anything in the world (except perhaps clowns), but this year, they were the best team.

    23. BillyBeaneismyHero said...

      Watching Pedro for me is bittersweet.  It’s tough not to remember the old Pedro who, from 1999 until he got hurt in 2001, was the single most dominating pitcher at any given point in history.  Watching him over the last couple of years, you can still see shades of the Pedro every so often, but it’s not the same.

    24. Gerry said...

      The Tigers won the World Series in 1935, and then again in 1945. Both teams had Hank Greenberg, Tommy Bridges, and Hub Walker. OK, it’s not quite Jeter, Pettitte, Posada, Rivera, but it (and the 71 and 79 Pirates mentioned earlier) will have to do.

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