-The offense came alive in the nick of time, though that most certainly is not a Swisher pun. Although a loss, game 5 played out nicely in that the early blowout kept the top shelf Yankee relievers from being pressed into service, yet the Yanks built a rally late in the game that they seemed to carry into the clincher. Jumping on Pedro early, this game had the earliest evident outcome in the whole Yankee post-season.
-From game 6, all those fans hanging over the RF fence on Matsui’s double nearly cost the Yanks a run. Again… the wall should be thicker to create that slight buffer to discourage interference.
-Arod’s newfound patience paid off as Matsui drove him in twice. This was even the case in the regular season when, at times Arod’s stats did not look particularly gaudy; he maintained productivity all year long, getting on base a lot even when his average was low. His regular season OBP was .402 to Jeter’s .406. Plus, the avg, HRs and RBIs would eventually come.
-Marte’s performance in this series is reminiscent of the Yankee pen in ’96. Need that surprise hero to show up, and Marte played that role nicely. His accomplishment should get him work doing off-season signings where he can scribble “surprise WS unsung hero ’09” after his name.
-The overlooked storyline in the post-season this year was the Yankee defense. Going hand in hand with mostly superb pitching, they made only one error and played better D than each of the teams they faced. They also made fewer oddly spastic baserunning errors. Real head-scratchers, but the opposition made even weirder mistakes. Strange post-season, indeed.
-I’ve not generally been firmly on board with Pettitte-as-savior. I’ve always appreciated him, but did not see him as a #1 guy, nor as a hugely clutch performer that is often alleged. Well, at 37, he put in some great grind-it-out performances that this team absolutely needed to win. And I didn’t even realize using him on three days rest was an option. Suddenly I’m having the epiphany that was obvious to everyone else years ago: the Yanks win in 2004 if Pettitte hadn’t pettily skipped town. Turns out bringing him back was an exceptional move, as these last couple weeks have demonstrated.
-Mo must have no soul because he has clearly made a deal with the devil. His mph is down, he was heavily leaned upon for the entire post-season, the bar is so high that at times he appeared to struggle slightly, yet the whole thing ended with him giving up one earned run the entire post-season. He truly makes no sense. As a fan, no small reason to root for the Yanks this year is because one day he’ll wake up and the cutter won’t cut. I keep thinking that’s right around the corner, but there’s no real indication of that yet. This won’t last forever, but enjoy it while it does.
-Another big reason to relish this one is how well the rest of “the core” performed along with Rivera. Seeing so many newer Yanks struggle in this entire post-season, you can’t help but hope some of the new guys can learn the ways of the Jedi from Rivera, Jeter, Pettitte and Posada. Lost in an 11-4 post-season record was a collection of tight hitters who are new to this whole thing. If they didn’t pull this off, there would be blood on Teixeira’s and Burnett’s hands.
-Girardi outmanaged Manuel in this series (the latter’s glaring misdeeds: not setting up Cliff Lee for 1,4,7; going too long with Pedro Martinez in both his outings; and not being prepared for a what proved to be a devastating two base steal with 3rd base abandoned for the Teixeira overshift). But why was Girardi so maligned for going with Hairston over Swisher against Pedro in game two? Sure the Hairston-can-hit- Pedro stats were old, but the Swisher-can’t-hit-anyone stats were quite fresh. And Hairston had a huge hit in the rally that knocked out Martinez. All that said, Girardi went back to Swisher in game 6 against Pedro. This isn’t a no-brainer, but still: Why, Joe? OK, OK, no more nitpicking. I can relax now.
-It somehow seems like months since the Yanks clinched the pennant vs Angels. Is that a sign of withdrawal?
-If the Phils make it back to the WS next year, you think Charlie Manuel will run Cliff Lee out there three times?
Notes from the parade:
-For the parade through the Canyon of Heroes, did Reggie and Arod coordinate their outfits? If Arod wants to imitate Reggie, no one is going to stop him.
-Tough to do a very revealing interview during a parade or clubhouse celebration, but is there something they can ask besides “how cool is this?” (apparently it’s all “unbelievable”) and the condescending “do you have anything like this back in [insert hayseed town where you are from]?”
Kim Jones to Brett Gardner “Have you ever been on a float before?”
-I’m in the mode where I am thinking I will not ask the baseball gods for anything ever again. That’ll change probably about a month from now.
-My appetite has returned.
-Arod might just be sending a Christmas card to Selena Roberts this holiday season. The Aaaaa-bomb that she dropped on Aaaaa-rod seems to have set the wheels turning on an effort at a psychological makeover by the formerly beleaguered slugger. Seems that Rodriguez’s decision to not do what almost every other steroid cheat did – i.e., lie about what prompted the positive test – has paid dividends in some weird fashion. Perhaps we’ll enjoy an off-season of David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield and countless others changing their minds on the cock-n-bull excuses they used for being tied to steroids? Or maybe they’ll just start dating blonde starlets and see if that works.
-Lest I give the Yanks all the credit for winning the World Series, yours truly did have a small hand in it by not shaving during the post-season and changing my desktop wallpaper every time the Yankees lost. Note how they never lost two games in a row… You’re welcome. I can also claim responsibility for the 1996 game four victory when the Yanks were rallying from being down 6-0. As they started to put big innings together, then tied it, I refused to go to the bathroom until they won the game. I didn’t know it would go extra innings, but I think I made the right decision.
-For whatever negatives there are to the new Stadium (nice joint, but crazy ticket prices and thus more tranquil clientele), it sure had a good year. All the entertaining comeback and walk-off wins was iced perfectly with the WS victory and gives the joint a nice dallop of mojo.
-Farewell for now from LA, where you go to a ballgame, and the view is this: