Every year, there are certain moments in the season that remind us just why baseball is the greatest game on Earth, and this year is no different. Sure, lots of us take this silly game far too seriously, but that’s only because we love it so much. We’re lucky to be fans of the greatest franchise in sports history, as the Yankees give us more great memories than we can handle at times.
RAB readers already voted Mariano Rivera’s bases loaded walk their favorite moment of the first half, and I figured now was a good time to see what everyone’s favorite moment of the second half was. Here’s a few of the highlights:
August 2nd: Melky Cabrera hits for the cycle (video)
With co-centerfield Brett Gardner out with a broken thumb, Melky was going to be a full-time player for the foreseeable future. He hit the first pitch he saw from Mark Buehrle and deposited into the bullpen for a three run homer, then doubled over the head of rightfielder Jermaine Dye two innings later. El Leche ended Buehrle’s outing the very next inning, dropping an RBI single into center to give the Yanks a two-run lead. With the Yanks maintaining that same lead in the 9th inning, Melky worked a full count off reliever Scott Linebrink before lifting a pitch into the right-centerfield gap. Dye misplayed the ball and it went all the way to wall, and the result was the first cycle by a Yankee since Tony Fernandez way back in 1995.
August 7th: A-Rod’s 15th inning walk-off vs. Boston (video)
In the second game of what would prove to be the biggest series of the season for both teams, AJ Burnett and Josh Beckett matched zeroes through 7+ innings before each bullpen chipped in another 7+ innings of scoreless ball. A loss would have brought the Red Sox to within 2.5 games of the AL East title, a win would have pushed the Yanks ahead with a commanding 4.5 game lead. Alex Rodriguez, 1-for-6 in the game up to that point, stepped to the plate with two outs and a runner on second against Junichi Tazawa, who was making his big league debut. After taking the first three pitches, A-Rod jumped all over a hanging curve and sent it into the visitor’s bullpen for a 15th inning walk-off win. If nothing else, watch the video just to listen to sound of the ball of the bat. B-e-a-utiful.
August 9th: Damon & Tex go back-to-back off Dan Bard (video and video)
With the first three games of the series already in the win column, pretty much everyone was content with taking three of four after Phil Coke served up a go-ahead, two run jack to Victor Martinez in the top of the 8th. Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira had different ideas. After two quick groundouts, Damon took a 1-0 pitch from the untouchable Dan Bard and sent it into the Yanks’ bullpen to tie the score. Two pitches later, Tex hit a curveball into orbit before it eventually settled into the second deck in right. It was only early August, but for all intents and purposes, the division race was over the instant Tex got the bat on the ball.
Sept. 11th: Derek Jeter becomes the Yankees all-time hit leader (video)
After a four week long assault on AL pitching that saw him pick up 44 hits in just 102 at-bats, Derek Jeter returned home to the Bronx on Sept. 7th just three hits shy of tying Lou Gehrig for the most hits in franchise history. After a quick 0-for-12 skid, Jeter tied the Iron Horse on a Wednesday night (with me in attendance), and came to the park Friday looking to pass him (Thursday was on off-day). O’s rookie Chris Tillman got Jeter swinging at strike three in the first, but Jeter returned to the plate to leadoff the third. Tillman’s first two pitches were outside the zone, and like any good hitter, Jeter took the 2-0 fastball and ripped it to right in typical Jeterian fashion for a single. With 2,722 hits and counting, Derek Jeter stood alone as the Yanks’ all-time hit king.
Those are just some of the highlights of the first half. Vote on your favorite below, but if you think another moment was the best of the second half – maybe the Sabathia-Verander duel, or clinching the division against Boston, or one of the various walk-off hits – use the “Add an Answer” button to write in your own favorite moment. And to the jerk that added the racist word to the poll last time, don’t do it again. I’ll just delete it, and I’m sure your bosses at Goldman Sachs in Jersey City wouldn’t appreciate you trolling blogs mid-day.
Update (3:22pm): The Castillo Dropped Ball happened in early June people. First half.