One for the ages

RAB Live Chat
Yanks add two to 40-man

Seven years ago, I was a freshman in college. The country was just seven weeks removed from the horrible events of Sept. 11, and the Yankees were battling it out against the Diamondbacks in the World Series as the city poured its heart and soul into the games.

The night before, I had been at Yankee Stadium. Of course, I had leaped at the chance to go to game three of the World Series. With the Yanks down 2-0 to the Diamondbacks, they needed a win and got a solid, steady performance. As I returned to suburban Philadelphia and settled in to watch the rest of the series from the couch in our lounge, little did I realize the excitement and utter heartbreak the next five days would bring.

Halloween in 2001 was a Wednesday, and this midweek game would pit Curt Schilling against Orlando Hernandez. Prior to the game, Schilling lambasted the Yankee Stadium mystique and aura. He said that mystique and aura sounded more like cheap strippers than anything related to baseball. Little did Curt realize who would show up in the 9th and 10th innings.

For seven innings, Schilling and El Duque put on a show. Curt struck out nine in seven innings and gave up just three hits. The only blemish on his record was a Shane Spencer home run in the third. El Duque allowed eight baserunners in 6.1 innings, but Mike Stanton got Tony Womack to hit into a double play. Through seven, the game was knotted at one.

In the top of the eighth, Arizona broke through and carried a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth. The Yanks were in trouble, and I and my fellow Yankee fans were slumping on the couches, dejected at the thought of a 3-1 Diamondbacks lead in the World Series. Byung-Hyun Kim was due to pitch, and he had been stellar that year with 113 strike outs in 98 innings.

Derek grounded out, but a Paul O’Neill single kept the inning alive. After Bernie Williams struck out, the Yanks’ fortunes rested on the bat of Tino Martinez. The Yanks’ first baseman wasted no time. On the first pitch — BAM! — tie game. Tino’s blast to nearly straight-away center field brought life back to the Yanks. It was his first hit of the series.

Kim would allow two more baserunners that inning, but it wouldn’t be until November that the Yanks would win this game. Shortly after the clock on the scoreboard hit midnight, Derek Jeter blasted a home run into the night as the Yanks drew even with the Diamondbacks.

I went to bed that night quite content. I wondered if I’d ever see anything as dramatic as that Yankee rally in the World Series again. Little did I realize what the next night would bring.

RAB Live Chat
Yanks add two to 40-man
  • Brett

    Great post, brings me right back there. I was in a Tier Box in left field and my dad had already left after the D-Backs plated their 2. If only Mo doesn’t throw the comebacker into CF. It would have been nice if the magic had led to a ring.

  • Jacob

    Man I miss Tino. One and only Yankees game I’ve ever been to, Tino pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth against the Indians (I think Chuck Finley started the game). First pitch he sees he cranks it about three feet foul. Second pitch he drillls it into the same spot, save three feet to the left for a homerun. That would end up being the game winner. One of the best memories of my life. I loved Tino.

  • Bill R

    Watching that clip brought a little mist to my eyes. Not as much as watching Aaron Boone’s HR against Boston over and over and over again does but still very emotional game. I miss the Bamtino!

  • Matt M.

    that series just breaks my heart

    if only life had hollywood endings.

  • Phil

    tonight on YES they are showing Game 4 and Game 5 back to back starting at 8

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I get chills anytime I watch those games–ESPECIALLY Game Five.

  • mike g.

    yea man. that game changed my life. tino is the man. pretty good fielder too. *ahem* jeter’s not bad either.

  • Chris

    i was a freshman in college too, after the yanks won that game we blastewd new york new york so loud from our dorm that it wpoke up the ra and she was pounding on our door, when we told her why we were so pumped she understood…

  • Count Zero

    The thing I remember best about that night was related to the Schilling comment. I remember watching the game on TV and after Tino banged the tying HR, the cameras focused on a clever Yankee fan who was holding up a sign that read:

    Aura and Mystique
    Appearing Nightly

    I was laughing so hard I almost hurt myself.

  • Mike Pop

    I miss the good ol days

  • Justin Niles

    I’ll never forget that night. I was 14 years old and I had a huge project to finish for school. I was down in my basement with my dad and a bunch of his friends, sitting at our bar and going crazy – it was kind of a tradition for all of us to hang out in the basement for every Yankee playoff game. While all of my friends went out to a Halloween party after trick-or-treating, I silently slipped away to go watch Yankee postseason baseball with “the guys”. When Tino hit that homer, all I remember is yelling and hugging everybody (and I distinctly remember the sound of about 5 or 6 glass bottles smashing simultaneously… haha).

    Needless to say, I didn’t finish my project that night.