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Worth the Wait: New York Yankees Win First World Series in Nine Years

Jordan Schwartz@jordanharrisonSenior Writer INovember 5, 2009

On the night of Nov. 1, 2001, I was sitting alone in the second-floor lounge of Shaw Hall on the campus of Syracuse University, having been banished there after cheering too loudly in the room of two Red Sox fans following Scott Brosius' game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.

After Alfonso Soriano singled home Chuck Knoblauch in the bottom of the 12th to win Game Five and take a 3-2 World Series lead on the Arizona Diamondbacks, I celebrated by obnoxiously banging on the door of the room from which I had been expelled.

The New York Yankees now had two chances to close out the Fall Classic and capture their fourth consecutive championship.

But Randy Johnson silenced the Bombers in Game Six and the next night, Luis Gonzalez singled off Mariano Rivera and over Joe Torre's drawn-in infield to break the hearts of all Yankee fans and millions of New Yorkers still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Over the following seven seasons, the Pinstripes' goal of reclaiming their perch atop baseball's mountain was thwarted by two Rally Monkeys, a historic collapse, overspending on washed-up talent, and a manager who had lost his touch.

That all changed Wednesday night, when at a new stadium with a new skipper and three key offseason acquisitions supported by a core group of Yankees that have been around since 1996, the Bronx Bombers captured their 27th World Series title.

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Here are the grades from the Yanks' 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Six.

Joe Girardi, Manager: (A) I disagreed with Girardi's decision to start A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte on short rest in Games Five and Six when the Yankees had a 3-1 Series lead, but while the right-hander floundered, the veteran southpaw gutted out five and two-thirds innings to pick up his second victory of this Fall Classic.

Pettitte wasn't great.  He gave up three runs and walked five, while throwing almost as many balls (44) as strikes (50); he was fortunate the offense put up seven runs in the first five innings and he left the shaky bullpen with 13 outs to record, but in the end, the left-hander did his job.

Derek Jeter, SS: (A+) The captain was 3-for-5 with a double and was the second most valuable player in the Series for New York, finishing with a .407 average.

Johnny Damon, LF: (B) Damon went 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored before exiting with a strained left calf that he suffered while running the bases in the third inning. 

I know he's getting old and has one of the weakest outfield arms in baseball, but he went .282/24/82 this year and hit .364 in the World Series, so I would try to re-sign the free agent this offseason.  Unless they get Matt Holliday.

Mark Teixeira, 1B: (A) Teixeira hit only .136 vs. the Phillies, but he walked and picked up an RBI single in the fifth.  The Yankees won four championships in the six years before Jason Giambi arrived in the Bronx; they didn't win a single ring during his seven-year tenure, and they won the first season the cancer was removed.  That is not a coincidence.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (A) A-Rod was 1-for-2 with a steal, two walks, and a pair of runs scored in the game that clinched him his first world title.  He hit .365 with six homers and a franchise record 18 RBI in the postseason, forever removing that ridiculous Mr. May tag.

Hideki Matsui, DH: (A++) In my two seasons of handing out grades after Yankees games, this is my first A++.  I said earlier this postseason that with opposing teams pitching around the red-hot Rodriguez, someone would have to step up out of the No. 5 hole, and that's exactly what Godzilla did in Game Six.

Credit Girardi for placing Matsui ahead of Jorge Posada, who entered the contest  11-for-60 (.183) with 33 strikeouts in his career against Pedro Martinez. 

All the Japanese native did was go 3-for-4 with a double, homer, and a record-tying six RBI, finishing the World Series hitting .615 with three jacks and eight runs batted in.  They should re-sign Matsui as well.

Jorge Posada, C: (C) Posada went hitless in three at-bats, had a passed ball, and went 0-for-1 gunning down base stealers, but he walked and generally handled the four pitchers well.

Robinson Cano, 2B: (F) Cano had a terrible 0-for-4, two strikeout game to conclude a dreadful Fall Classic, during which he hit only .136.

Nick Swisher, RF: (D+) Swisher was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.

Brett Gardner, CF: (F) Gardner was hitless in four at-bats, struck out twice, and couldn't get a bunt down to finish up an 0-for-9 World Series.

Jerry Hairston Jr., LF: (C) Taking over for the injured Damon, Hairston went 0-for-2 with a beautiful sac bunt.

Andy Petttitte, SP: (B) The Texan had some control issues, but managed to wiggle out of trouble until he surrendered a two-run homer to Ryan Howard in the sixth.  Pettitte threw a wild pitch and struck out five.

Joba Chamberlain, RP: (B-) Joba didn't give up a run in his inning of work, but he again ran into trouble, allowing a hit and a walk in the seventh.  I'm looking forward to seeing him pitch a full year as a starter.

Damaso Marte, RP: (A) I don't think anyone expected Marte, who had a 9.45 ERA during the regular season, to be this good in the playoffs, but kudos to Girardi for sticking with him.  The left-hander struck out Chase Utley and Howard in Game Six and yielded just two base runners over four scoreless postseason innings.

Mariano Rivera, RP: (A-) Mo did his job as he yielded only a hit and a walk while picking up the final five outs, but let me explain why I am so bothered by the credit heaped on Rivera. 

He was shaky in Game Two and then pitched with at least a three-run lead in his other three appearances, and yet some people were tweeting during the game that the closer deserved the MVP over Matsui. 

That's lunacy. 

Rivera is important, but there's no way he was more than the seventh most valuable player for the Yankees in this Series (Matsui, Jeter, Damon, A-Rod, CC Sabathia, Pettitte).

Yankees Overall Grade: (A+) The Yankees are world champions and I can't wait to go to that parade at 11 am on Friday.  Hope to see you all there.

Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report's New York Yankees Community Leader. His book "Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man" is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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