As everyone knows, the 2009 New York Yankees have won the World Series. Now that they finally have 27 World Titles, here are 27 things I have learned and will remember and take with me from this past season.
27— It was cool to call Nick Swisher “Nick at Nite” when he hit a home run during a night game. Just one of the many nicknames I have come up with for the Bombers this year. Yeah, I know. It’s corny
25— No matter how much every critic of Derek Jeter wants to say his range has gone down...it hasn’t. He is still a monster on defense.
24— May 15, 2009: Brett Gardner hit an inside-the-park home run. Best part about it—I was there to see it. Many people at Yankee Stadium probably still think I belong in a mental hospital for how I reacted to the homer that night. Yankees won, 5-4.
23— Not only was I there for an inside-the-park homer on May 15, I was there to watch Alex Rodriguez’s first at-bat in the new Stadium, as that was his first home game coming off his return from the DL.
He drew a walk in his first at-bat, but hit a walk-off homer the very next day.
22— Apr. 22, 2009: My first game at the new Stadium. Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera hit the first back-to-back home runs in the new house.
Cabrera later hit the first walk-off home run in the bottom of the 14th inning. Oh, and Jeter homered that day, too!
21— Pies in the face after a walk-off win became a tradition. We did it 15 times this year. Ask A.J. Burnett, who was inconsistent and at the receiving end of a lot of criticism this season.
I saw him pitch at the Stadium twice this year and both times he was awesome. I defended Burnett to his critics all year. And, I’m proud I did.
After all, I had to honor our initials.
20— Pitcher’s duels are FUN! Case in point—Aug. 7. A.J. Burnett vs. Josh Beckett at Yankee Stadium. How did it end? A-Rod wins the game with a two-run home run at almost one o'clock in the morning. A long night’s journey into day complete with a 2-0 Yankee win.
19— It takes more than 25 guys to win the World Series. There were players on the team that were not on the playoff rosters, but they still did many things, big and small, to help get the Yankees to where they are now.
18— As much as I should not pick on the Mets anymore than I have, it was fun to go 5-1 against our cross-town rivals.
It was especially fun the day before my birthday (on June 14) when the Yankees beat the Mets 15-0. That...was awesome. So was Luis Castillo dropping that pop-up two days before. Now that was hilarious!
17— Some of our pitchers nearly tossed no-nos and perfectos. Sergio Mitre nearly perfect on Aug. 29 vs. Chicago, Andy Pettitte nearly perfect at Baltimore two days later on Sept. 1, and CC Sabathia took no-hitters into the middle innings twice against Boston at home.
16— Even though he was not good (at all) in 2009, I’m sure we can all safely say that we appreciate what Chien-Ming Wang has done.
If he had been healthy, we would have had a good No. 4 starter. But they still managed to win it all with three starting pitchers. That’s impressive!
15— Moving Phil Hughes to the bullpen was good. I guess we’ll leave him there.
14— Moving Joba Chamberlain to the rotation was bad, so we’ll rewrite the “Joba Rules.” That was the right thing to do, right?
12— Did Mike Mussina make the right choice retiring at the end of ’08? “Mr. Almost” missed the title by one year. Way to “Tiki Barber” that one, Moose. It’s OK. We still love you.
11— Mariano Rivera got his 500th career save on June 28, Derek Jeter became the all-time Yankee hits leader on Sept. 11, and Melky Cabrera hit for the cycle on Aug. 2.
I was fortunate enough to be there at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 29 when the team honored all three players for their accomplishments and presented them with many different and unique gifts; they gave Cabrera a ring for the cycle, Rivera the bench from the old bullpen, and Jeter the seats he dove into on July 1, 2004!
Former players like Tino Martinez, Dave Winfield, Bernie Williams, Reggie Jackson, and Yogi Berra were all on hand for the ceremony. A truly classy night, and I am so proud I was there to see it.
10— Mariano Rivera is still as dominant as he was 10...15 years ago. He only blew two saves all year, one to Boston and the other to Seattle. Rivera is still the Sandman.
9— Erasing the 2005, ’06, and ’07 playoff failures, the Yankees finally got by the first round of the playoffs by sweeping the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. Yes, they really can do it! I was beginning to think they would never make it over the first hump again.
8 —Umpires are humans, too. Humans that make a lot of mistakes when it matters in the postseason. Some of the bad calls went the Yankees’ way, but most of them were just absurd. Should instant replay be expanded in 2010?
7— There is magic at the new Yankee Stadium. I think the ghosts have relocated.
6— The Yankees can in fact beat the Angels. It has now been proven that it can be done.
5— Blogging on Yankee Yapping has become a new thing for me and there are some extremely passionate Yankee fans out there. God bless all the TRUE Yankee fans I have met and connected with this year.
4— Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui were forces in the Yankee lineup and both guys deserve new contracts for what they did this year. If they don’t come back due to circumstances beyond our control...thank you, both. You will be missed by the Yankee faithful!
3— The Yankees duplicated the cracking of the Liberty Bell in the World Series. It made for an exciting fall classic, especially since Jimmy Rollins predicted the Phillies would win it in five games.
Way to call that one, Nostradamus.
2— Alex Rodriguez is a winner, not a choker.
He can never be called non-clutch again for what he did in the playoffs. With all his dramatic game-tying homers and RBI, he was probably the best player on the team throughout this whole postseason.
So every A-Rod hater can LAY OFF! He’s a World Champ now!!!
1— The Yankees won their 27th World Championship because they had the right team chemistry and it all clicked the right way.
Money had nothing to do with it. The Yankees signed Randy Johnson in 2005 for a lot of money, how’d that work out? Jason Giambi? Kevin Brown?
Exactly. Sure they had a lot of money to spend, but they spent it on the right players who impacted the team the correct way.
Not to mention after the World Series and celebration ended, Joe Girardi stopped on his way home to aid a distressed motorist. So not only do we have a new title, we have a Good Samaritan for a manager.
Whatever anyone says, nothing is bringing me down off this high. Thank you, 2009 Yankees, for a season of a lifetime.