The World Series Trophy Will Return to Yankee Stadium
The New York Yankees have won 27 World Series and are going for another this year. Here are 28 reasons why they can do it—one reason each for every championship.
We will look at batters, pitchers and other intangibles that will result in World Series win No. 28 for the Yankees.
Raul makes this list on his appearance on October 1 alone. Down 3-1 to the Red Sox in the ninth inning, Ibanez smashed a two-run homer to take the game into extra innings, where he stepped up again to drive home the winning run.
But that’s not the only reason he makes the list—not by far. Raul hit .240 this year with 19 homers and 62 RBI in less than 400 at-bats over the season. To say the least about Raul, he is a dangerous player to have on the bench.
Ibanez has also never won a ring. His desire, for one, cannot be questioned.
He also wears the No. 27, somewhat symbolic to Yankee fans.
No longer Super, Nova will not be in the starting rotation in the playoffs. He went 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA this season, and that is not good enough to start for the Yankees in the playoffs.
But last season, he won 16 games and kept his ERA under four. He has the potential to be a Yankees starter, and all his untapped talent will be sitting in the bullpen. It is a good bet that Nova will eat innings in a relief role. He could even start, should disaster strike.
It is difficult to believe that Nova won’t relish the chance to regain his former good standing with the team and fans. If he gets another shot, he will once again become Super Nova.
David Phelps went .500 at 4-4. His ERA was 3.34, but he also tacked on two holds and threw 96 strikes in 99.2 innings with a WHIP of 1.19. Not bad for a rookie in his first season.
Young and hungry and looking to make a name, Phelps has developed a reputation for remaining cool under fire.
Phelps is not a long shot to get a playoff start. If a fifth starter becomes necessary he may get the nod. Should he be given this chance, expect him to excel.
Wily and smart, Lowe is a veteran more than capable of shutting down bats. In 17 games with the Yankees, Lowe racked up a win and a save. Although his ERA for the season is 5.11, with the Yankees it is 3.04.
Lowe is an effective and dangerous arm waiting in the Yankee bullpen as insurance. He can pitch long relief and could even pull off a spot start. These playoffs will, most likely, represent his last legitimate shot at a ring. He will answer the bell.
After a dismal season at the plate, one might be surprised to see Russell Martin included here. He averaged only .211 on the season.
But look again. Martin has still hit 21 homers, with 7 of those coming just since September 3. His slash line during this period is .277/.355/.578. Don’t forget that Martin is a former All Star who still hits for power.
And he is heating up at the right time.
Now Joba is righting the ship. He is an important cog for the Yankees' bullpen. Will he start any time soon? No. Can he pitch relief effectively? Definitely. Joba will get the Yankees some K’s. He struck out 22 in 20.2 innings this season.
The Baltimore Orioles are in the playoffs for the first time since 1997. They are 75-0 when leading after the seventh inning. Buck Showalter managed the Yankees as well as the O’s back in the day. The teams were 9-9 for their season series.
But Nick Markakis will be unavailable due to injury. So will pitcher Jason Hammel. Joe Saunders won against Texas and may be experienced in the playoffs, but he is still a big question mark. He was 0-1 in the postseason before that, with an ERA of 6.00.
Although the O’s have come on strong all season, they have to be considered the underdogs against the Yankees. But they are still a strong team, and they will be a test that sets the tone for the Yankees right away.
How the mighty have fallen. Once, he was, unquestionably, the rock star of baseball. But A-Rod became the Yankee fans’ whipping boy this season. Of course, an offseason for him still has him hitting .272 with 18 homers.
But lately, A-Rod has been making positive noise. If he recaptures the magic he had in October of 2009, Rodriguez will be capable of carrying the entire Yankee team on his back. This is the guy that hit six dingers and notched 18 RBIs in only 15 games.
Awaken this giant, and the Yankees will roll to victory.
Detroit or Oakland, New York can Beat Either
The Yankees will face either the Detroit Tigers or the Oakland A’s for the ALCs. As of this writing, the opponent is yet to be determined. Let’s look at how each matchup will go.
The Oakland A’s surprised everyone by making it this far. The addition of Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick and the rise of a young pitching core fast-tracked the Athletics from being a team on the rebuild to being in the postseason.
Not long ago, the A’s had the Yankees down by the throat. They unleashed three homers in the 13th inning. Most folks counted them out. Except the Yankees. They stormed back to win the game. They learned that they were capable of the nigh impossible. They carried that attitude into their last few games, again winning from behind against the Red Sox on October 1.
The Yankees have a bone to pick with the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers beat them in last year’s ALDS 3-2 in Game 5. The Yankees want that game back, and they will be anxious to gain revenge against Detroit.
The Tigers' big guns are Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. The Yankees see the Tigers with Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, and raise them Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Derek Jeter, and Ichiro Suzuki.
Once past either team, the Yankees will be primed to beat the NL Champions for the Series win.
Phil Hughes has weathered the storm for the most part. His struggles were widely publicized, and the pitcher himself was then widely criticized. But the Yankees stuck by Phil, and he seems to be settling into the rotation.
His ERA is going to hover around 4.00 and he is going to be counting on run support. But with the Yankees, this is not usually a problem.
Joe Girardi is still criticized by many for not having the last name of Torre. But this is unfair. Girardi has shown canny ability to see the field and very rarely loses his cool.
No, he is not Joe Torre. But Girardi does not have to be. He already has one World Series under his belt. He boasts a .591 winning percentage managing the Yankees. The next ring will silence all but his most unfair critics.
For anyone who says Yankee fans will not be a factor, just think of the name Jeffrey Maier. The Baltimore Orioles sure know who he is. So goes it for teams opposing the Yankees at home in the playoffs.
The Bleacher Creatures, led by Mayor “Bald” Vinny Milano, are the 10th-position players in Yankee Stadium. They were recently bestowed the honor of being baseball’s greatest fans by none other than a Justice of the Supreme Court. They are the Yankees' Warrior Class of fan, and they are acknowledged by all the players on the field every home game.
More than any others, Yankee fans contribute to their team’s on-field performance.
Boyish and exuberant, Swisher is incredibly popular with the fans. “Swish” is capable of going on extended hot streaks where he is able to carry the team. Unfortunately, he falls into slumps almost as often.
Lately, Nick’s bat has come alive again. He has worked on and improved his mechanics. Nick Swisher can carry a big bat for long periods of time. If he can stay hot in the postseason, he will be a lethal part of New York’s Murderers' Row.
Mark Teixeira is an elite power hitter. He just has yet to show it in the postseason. His average is just a shade over .200 in his playoff appearances. He hit only .167 against Detroit in the Yankees five-game ALDS loss last year.
Nobody is more aware of this than Teixeira himself. He has had to overcome much this season. A bizarre nerve problem in his vocal cord has caused him to suffer from a persistent and nagging cough. He has only just returned from the DL for his aggravated calf. Yet, he has still managed to hit 24 homers.
Mark is working on his timing lately. If he begins swinging the bat the way he is capable of swinging it, Tex will be a huge threat.
It sticks in Ichiro’s craw that Hideki Matsui has a World Series ring and Suzuki does not. The two ballplayers have quite a rivalry. Besides that, Ichiro possesses a strong desire to win before his career is over. Who wouldn’t?
Suzuki brings the hit-and-run approach the Yankees have been missing since the loss of Brett Gardner. Ichiro is a serious threat on the base paths and gives the Yankees greater diversity on offense.
Ichiro is one of several Yankees without a World Series ring after ten years in The Show. This desire to own one cannot be underestimated. Especially if an athlete's greatest personal rival already has one.
Andy Pettitte is one of two players that provide a direct link to the Yankees dynasty. He and Derek Jeter had a hand in raising the team to prominence in the '90s. They were also two of the “Core Four” in their 2009 win.
Pettitte came out of retirement to pitch for the Yankees again. He appeared in a rotation that was shaky at the time and helped to stabilize it. His ERA was 2.87, with a WHIP of 1.14. He struck out 69 in 75.1 innings.
Now the familiar sight of Andy looming on the mound and glowering over his glove at batters has returned to the playoffs. This will inspire the Yankees and their fans to no end.
Hiroki Kuroda won 16 games this season with an ERA of 3.32. That’s easily good enough to get him a spot in the rotation. This had to be vindicating for Kuroda, who has dealt with much criticism this season.
Kuroda has his sights set high now. Should he perform well in these playoffs, it will not only quiet his critics, but it will also establish him as a true Elite pitcher. It is hard to imagine he will not grab his chance to become one of the greats. And a break from the scrutiny he has been under would be nice, too.
The World Series Ring is a good motivation, as well.
The Yankees have hit the most homers—245 in their franchise history this season. They hit the seventh-most homers in a season by a team in Major League history. They hit four in their final game on October 3 alone.
This team is heating up once again with the long ball. That’s bad news for anyone not in pinstripes.
David Robertson is the Yankees’ essential set-up man. He showcased his skills this season with a 2.67 ERA, two wins, two saves and 30 holds. He is the first half of the Yankees' one-two punch from the bullpen in the late innings.
Yankee fans know that when D-Rob gets the ball in the eighth, it is pretty much the beginning of the end for the other team.
There are quality reinforcements waiting on the Yankee bench. The depth includes Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, and Andruw Jones. All three of these veterans have been in the big leagues for more than 10 years. All of them are capable of providing major pop.
None of these three has a World Series Ring. Desire and ability are waiting to back up New York’s drive to the Championship.
We're Done Here
When Mariano Rivera went down with a season-ending injury, Yankee fans despaired. The Sandman was the undisputed King of the Closers. He was money in the bank. When fans heard the first strains of Metallica, they knew their team was winning. His loss was great.
Out from the bullpen came Rafael Soriano. Nobody will ever replace Rivera, but Soriano toed his line. He racked up 42 saves, in and of itself an unintended nod to Mariano’s number. He also tacked on two wins to go along with a 2.26 ERA.
His habit of untucking his jersey after successful closes inspired fans as vernacular for “done deal.” Soriano picked up right where the Yankees left off with their tradition of a lights-out closer.
Soriano also has no Ring after ten years as a pro. It is hard to believe the desire will not match the ability.
No other team has won as much as the Yankees. Winning is bred into the team philosophy. The Yankees organization is all about winning Championships every year. Thus, they are a perennial threat to do so.
And it has worked. The Yankees have won Championships in the following years: 1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943,1947, 1949, 1950,1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009.
They will soon add the year 2012.
Success led to wealth. When a team wins 27 Championships, it naturally becomes rich. No other organization has been more successful at putting that wealth back into their team than the Yankees.
This is why the common complaint against the Yankees is that they buy Championships. Certainly, there have been cases in the past where this philosophy has backfired. But that has not been the case this year.
Consider the devastating injuries the Yankees have endured. They lost Michael Pineda before he even donned pinstripes. Mariano Rivera was lost for the season in May. Brett Gardner went down shortly thereafter. There have been DL stints for CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain, Ivan Nova, and David Robertson. At one point, they had three aces, a long relief man, the set up guy and the greatest closer who ever lived out at the same time.
Another team would be devastated by this spate of injuries. The Yankees simply filled in the holes. Ichiro knows.
People can complain about the Yankees’ wealth all they like. It is a major factor in why they win and why they will take home a Championship this year.
Curtis Granderson is officially an Elite player. He plays with passion at such a level as to make one think he has always wanted to be a Yankee. It did not take long for New York to claim him as a native son. Curtis boasted a slash line of .232/.319/.492 with 43 homers and 106 RBI, and he threw in 10 stolen bases to boot.
Grandy was so good this year that he was actually one homer away from tying Triple Crown winner and former teammate Miguel Cabrera. This immediately sparked many rumors that Grandy did it on purpose, just because Miguel is his friend.
That’s how highly New York thinks of Curtis.
Come the playoffs, Granderson will show everyone why.
The unquestioned Ace of the Yankees staff is CC Sabathia. CC took a trip or two to the DL this season, but still managed to win 15 games with an ERA of 3.38. In the postseason, CC is 7-4 with an ERA of 4.81. This is a number he surely plans to improve upon.
Sabathia is now well rested, and that makes him dangerous. CC is poised to lead the Yankees pitching staff on a charge to the Champonship.
Nobody will be bigger on the mound.
Just kidding. There can be no doubt about it; Derek Jeter embodies the Yankees. There are too many reasons to list. The Captain brings that intangible certain something to the team that nobody else can for any team. Former teammate Robin Ventura called Derek the greatest Yankee ever.
Greatest. Yankee. Ever.
Nobody expected him to do so well this season, not even his biggest supporters. Jeter went from being perceived as being past his prime to being at the top of his game. He ended the season leading the MLB with 216 hits, the second highest total of his career.
As Derek Jeter goes, so go the Yankees. He is their leader by example—their leader in body and soul. When The Captain is at the top of his game, the Yankees will win.
He is the heir apparent. Robinson Cano is the future of the Yankees. It is common sentiment in New York that when Derek decides to stop playing, he will pass on the title of Captain to Robby. Cano has proved his worthiness over and over.
Pulling up to the postseason, Cano put up staggering numbers. He got 24 hits in his past 39 at-bats to give him an incredible average of .615. He raised his batting average from .293 to .313. He strung together nine consecutive multi-hit games. “On fire” does not even come close to describing how hot Robby is right now. Some pundits are calling this championship his to lose.
Robinson Cano is the biggest bat in the Yankees' lineup. And he brought all of his friends with him. Opposing pitchers are dreading facing him. Period.
Jackie Robinson. Lou Gehrig. Mickey Mantle.
There is just something about the Yankees. A mystique. Love them or hate them, it makes no difference. They epitomize baseball. Ask anyone in the world to make a picture of a baseball player and they will probably draw a Yankee uniform. One sees the interlaced NY ball cap wherever one goes on the planet. People who do not know anything about baseball know who the Yankees are.
Joe DiMaggio. Roger Maris. Reggie Jackson.
They have been so good for so long. When one thinks of past Yankee players, they are like the Greek pantheon of gods. This writer did not understand the true meaning of the word “pilloried” until he walked into the main entrance of Yankee Stadium. Massive pillars curved gradually into the distance. It was a trick of the architecture of course, but they seemed to stretch out forever. From each pillar hung a huge banner for each of the Yankee Greats.
Whitey Ford. Thurman Munson. Yogi Berra.
The Yankees have been loved and hated for so long that they are interspersed throughout our popular entertainment. They have movies like The Pride of the Yankees, 1942, with Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig. Bang the Drum Slowly. For Love of the Game. Even Kevin Costner’s father in Field of Dreams wore a Yankee jersey. The classic Broadway musical Damn Yankees has been around for generations. It’s about a fan selling his soul for a chance to beat them. That’s what it seems to take.
Don Mattingly. Bernie Williams. Casey Stengel.
Love them or hate them, it does not matter. They always find a way to win. The New York Yankees are a team of destiny. They have mystique. They have "it." This will once again be their year.
Phil Rizzuto. Bill Dickey. Babe Ruth.