(4): The 2001 World Series

Even though the Yankees didn’t come out on top in the 2001 season, this was by far the most exciting World Series I have ever seen. Now in New York, this was a special Series, given the fact that 9/11 was only a little under months before the 2001 playoffs. To this city, the Yankees were the one thing that brought people back to a state of normalcy. Paranoia still filled the streets of New York during the time of the World Series and New Yorkers needed something to cheer about.

The beginning of the Yankees postseason magic began in the 2001 Division Series against the Oakland Athletics. Down 2-0 in the series and on the verge of elimination, the Yanks pulled through in Oakland. Up 1-0 in the 5th inning, Derek Jeter made one of the greatest plays I have ever seen. With Jeremy Giambi on first, Oakland outfielder Terrance Long roped the ball down the right field line past a diving Tino Martinez. Giambi was waved around third and headed home. Spencer’s throw from the outfield sailed over Tino’s head and was headed in between home and first. Clearly, the ball wasn’t going to make it in time to get Giambi out. Then out of nowhere, Jeter came sprinting in from shortstop and was able to backhand the ball and shuffle the ball to Posada to get Giambi out in time. The play gave the Yanks momentum throughout the Division Series and right into the ALCS against the favored Seattle Mariners.

In the ALCS, the Yankees showed the Seattle Mariners that the regular season was in the past. (Seattle won an American League record 116 wins)  The Yanks took the first two games of the series at Safeco. With game 3 won by Seattle, the Yanks bounced back in the 4th game with an Alfonso Soriano walk-off home run. In Game 5, the Yanks cruised to an easy victory to seal their fourth straight American League title.

In the first two games of the World Series, it couldn’t have gone worse for the Yankees.  With Diamondback aces Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson pitching two absolute gems, the Yanks quickly fell behind 2-0 in the series. The series then headed to the Bronx. Before Game 3, it was said that President Bush was going to throw out the first pitch. Given the circumstances and the lingering paranoia still around the city, it took almost an hour to get into the stadium. Security was having every fan go through a metal detector. I was in the middle of this absolute madness before Game 3, but I gotta tell you, it was worth it. As soon as I walked into the stadium, I could feel the aura of the ballpark. This was different than any other Yankee game I had ever been to, including game 4 of the ’99 World Series. It seemed that everyone in the park was pulling together as one unit. When President Bush came out to throw the first pitch, the stadium erupted. When he threw a strike, the stadium got even louder. This set the stage for an ultimate Yankee series comeback. With phenomenal pitching by Roger Clemens, the Yanks were back in the series.

On a cold and clear Halloween night, the Yanks were looking to tie the series at two games apiece. Yankee starter, El Duque, had some trouble in the first, but was able to battle out of the inning with no damage done. Curt Schilling answered all his critics by absolutely shoving on three days rest. With the exception of a Shane Spencer home run in the third, Schillng was unhittable. The Diamondbacks managed to get three run off the Yankee pitchers and had a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning. In that inning, Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly had a decision to make- let Schilling pitch the 8th or bring in their closer, Byung-Hyun Kim to get a six out save. Brenly chose Kim. The D’backs closer struck out the side in the 8th, but in the 9th Kim got in a little trouble. O’Neill manage to hit a one-out bloop single and forced the tying run to come up the plate. However, Kim managed to strike out Bernie Williams. Arizona was one out away from going ahead 3-1 in the series. But up came Tino Martinez…

The game was sent to extra innings. In the 11th inning, the clock struck 12 midnight, meaning that this was the first World Series game ever to be played in November. This first batter of the new month…Derek Jeter. With a 2-2 count, Jeter drove the pitch to opposite way and cleared the right field wall for a walk-off home run. The series was tied and baseball had a “Mr. November.”

After Game 4, it was hard to ask for another historic ballgame. Little did we know it was going to be even better. Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina had a strong outing with the exception of two solo shots by Arizona. D’backs starter Miguel Bautista was magnificent going 7 2/3 giving up no runs. But in the 9th inning, Bob Brenly called on Kim once again. Jorge Posada led the inning off with a double. After a fly out and a strike out, the stage was set for Scott Brosius to come through with 2 outs. Down 0-2 in the count, Brosius knocked Kim’s hanging slider out of the park. It had happened again…

Down 2 runs in the 9th with 2 outs, the Yanks were able to bounce back. In the 12th, the miracle was complete after Soriano’s walk off single. The Yankees would lose the next two games in Arizona and lose the series, but no one will ever forget the magical three games at Yankee Stadium during the 2001 World Series.

2 Responses to “(4): The 2001 World Series”

  1. VanillaICE Says:

    Based on the length of this little blog I would say you absolutely get off to this…

  2. bellarmine Says:

    Everything was great in this World Series until………we lost – I have to admit, it puts a shadow over the whole series – losing can do that.

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