The Yankees' 2009 season was filled victories, walk offs, shaving cream pies, baseball milestones, and ended with a World Series trophy and a 27th Championship Title...Today, they receive their rewards for last year's performance.
As is tradition, the Championship team from the previous season's World Series receive their rings at their Home Opener. It was fitting that their first home game was against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a team that now fields the former Designated Hitter for the Yankees, World Series MVP, and 2009 World Series Champion Yankee Hideki Matsui. Matsui spent 7 seasons with the Yankees, earning a Title and a ring in his last year with them. After receiving his ring from Yankee Manager Joe Girardi received an ovation from Yankee Stadium and was mauled by his former teammates of 2009 as they all shared a group hug to the sound of over 50,000 applause. Matsui would soon receive his real ring minutes later, as ring case initially housed a "dummy" ring, part of a prank masterminded by none other than Yankee Captain Derek Jeter.
Jerry Hairston Jr., now with another team, flew in for the Home Opener festivities as his current team did not play today, however Johnny Damon, another member of the 2009 Championship team who spent 4 years with the Yankees could not attend as his new team, the Detroit Tigers hosted the Kansas City Royals.
With the rings handed out, the Championship Banner hoisted, and the dual F-18 Hornet flyover complete, the 2009 Season for the Yankees that awarded them their 27th title was officially over.
New York dominated Anaheim for most of the game, earning their first run in the first inning off of a Nick Johnson homer to deep right field. The Yanks never stopped hitting after that, scoring six more runs over the next seven innings including another home run from Derek Jeter. The Angels had their fair share of hitting and opportunities but could not capitalize for the most part, failing to score their first run until the 8th inning. New York had a 7-1 lead opening the final inning, but three lazy singles and a grand slam closed the gap to 7-5. A score that would eventually become the Final. Though watching Robertson fail to record the final three outs and give up four runs was disheartening, it seemed fitting that the Yankees win their 12th Home Opener in 13 years behind the strength of a Derek Jeter home run, 6 scoreless innings from Pitcher Andy Pettitte, ideal pitch calling from Catcher Jorge Posada, and a Save from the renowned, "best Closer of all time", Mariano Rivera; a title/description that he refuses to say himself, but that everyone else in the sports world, players and analysts alike, continue to admit to.
These are the "Core Four", a cavalcade of athletes and friends who have played together in the Bigs since 1996, three of which (Jeter, Rivera, Posada) hold the record among professional North American sports (MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA) of playing both together and for the same team simultaneously for 16 consecutive seasons.
The 27-Time Championship New York Yankees are now 5 and 2 with five games remaining in their first home-stand. As far as the organization and their fans are concerned, the only numbers that matter are "1" and "28".