Poll: Favorite moment of the first half

First Half Review: 7 who fell short
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As Yankee fans, we’re privy to many exciting and memorable moments. We have Aaron Boone taking Tim Wakefield deep, Derek Jeter diving into the stands, David Cone throwing a perfect game on the same day Don Larsen threw out the first pitch, Jim Leyritz turning a World Series around with one swing of the bat … I could go on and on, but we only have so much bandwidth to spare. The first half of the 2010 season was no different, as the Yanks again supplied plenty of memorable moments.

Today we’re going to vote for which first half moment was our favorite. After some consultation with Ben, Joe, and a few others, I picked out six of the best moments of the season’s first three months and present them below, not that you’ll need the refresher course. Once you relive the magic, vote in the poll at the bottom of the post.

April 7th: Granderson takes Papelbon deep (video)
The season was just two games old at this point, but new centerfielder Curtis Granderson had already made his mark in pinstripes by homering in his very first plate appearance of the year. After splitting the first two games of the series, the Yanks and Boston headed into extra innings tied at one in the third game. Jonathan Papelbon was on the bump for the Red Sox in the 10th inning, having already thrown a perfect 9th on just ten pitches. The first batter of extra innings was Granderson, who fouled off a first pitch fastball before connecting with a chest-high heater on pitch number two. The ball landed several rows deep in the right field seats, giving the Yanks a lead they would protect for the win. It takes quite a bit to win over Yankee fans, but hitting a pair of homers against the Sox in the first three games of the season is a good start.

April 21st: Hughes flirts with a no-hitter (video)
I wouldn’t call it controversial, but the team’s decision to go with Phil Hughes as the fifth starter in 2010 certainly wasn’t unanimously agreed with by the fans. It took Phil all of two starts to prove the Yanks right. After a solid outing against the Angels first time out, Hughes took the mound in front of his parents in Oakland and simply dominated the A’s. He started the game by striking out Cliff Pennington before walking Daric Barton on four pitches, but that was all the A’s would get for a while. Hughes retired the next 20 batters he faced, and there he was in the 8th inning just six outs away from a no-hitter with a very manageable pitch count of 85. Unfortunately, long-time Athletic Eric Chavez singled on a first pitch fastball off Hughes (literally) to start the 8th, Oakland’s first base hit of the game. Phil faced three more batters before giving way to the bullpen, and even though he didn’t finish off the no-no or even the game, he showed everyone why the Yanks were right to make him the fifth starter.

May 8th: Tex goes deep, again and again and again (video)
Mark Teixeira‘s early season slumps have become a rite of spring, and things seemed to be turning the corner in early May, just like last season. The Yanks were back in Boston with Tex sporting a .181/.328/.295 batting line, though he got the scoring started with a 3rd inning run scoring single. That was his least productive hit of the day. Two innings later he took Clay Buchholz deep to right for a solo shot, and then two innings after that he did the exact same thing to Ramon Ramirez. Two homers from Tex were a godsend given his performance to that point (he had two homers total coming into the game), but he tacked on a two run shot in the 9th off outfielder turned mop-up man Jonathan Van Every for his third homer of the game. Teixeira raised his season OPS from .623 to .740 in this one game, simultaneously becoming the first Yankee to have a three homer game in Fenway since some dude named Lou Gehrig.

May 14th: A-Rod slams the Twins (video)
Much like Teixeira, the 2010 season started off a little slowly for Alex Rodriguez. He went into the May 14th game against Minnesota with just one homer in his previous 89 plate appearances, and unsurprisingly the team had lost four of their last five games. Down 4-3 in the 7th, the Yanks started to scratch out a rally when Derek Jeter singled and Frankie Cervelli doubled, though their struggles with runners in scoring position seemed to kick in again when Brett Gardner popped up to shallow left. Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire pulled a page out of the 2008 playbook, intentionally walking Tex to load the bases for the unclutch A-Rod. New pitcher Matt Guerrier needed all of two pitches to turn a 4-3 lead into a 7-4 deficit, surrendering a grand slam that carried just far enough to left-center. Alex had lifted the offensive burden off everyone’s shoulders, giving the team a much needed lead and win.

May 17th: Walking off against Papelbon (video and video)
I guess mid-May was a lot busier than I remember. Ben and I were in attendance for this one, and things started off very much in the Yanks’ favor. They hung a five spot on Daisuke Matsuzaka in the 1st inning, but slowly gave that lead away and then some over the next seven innings. The Red Sox carried a 9-7 lead in the 9th inning, and went to Papelbon to nail things down. Gardner made things interesting immediately, doubling to left to bring the tying run to the plate. Tex flew out deep to right, sending Gardner to third, but those extra 90 feet proved to be moot. A-Rod sent the first pitch of his at-bat into the visitor’s bullpen, tying the game at nine and giving the Yanks’ new life. Frankie Cervelli reached base on a hit by pitch after Robbie Cano made the second out of inning, and much like A-Rod three batters earlier, Marcus Thames jumped all over Papelbon’s first pitch for a two run walk-off homer. He became the second new Yankee of the season to take the Red Sox closer deep for a game winning homer.

June 27th: Comeback against the Dodgers (video, video, and video)
The calling card of the 2009 Yankees was their ability to come from behind and win, but up until this game they hadn’t really shown the same flair for the dramatic. The Dodgers headed into the 9th nursing a four run lead, and went for the kill by bringing in All-World closer Jonathan Broxton. What happened next? Tex struck out, A-Rod singled, Cano doubled in A-Rod, Posada singled and sent Cano to third, then Granderson walked. That loaded the bases with one run already in, but the rather punchless bottom of the order was due up. Boy, did they come through.

Chad Huffman singled to right to drive in two, sending Grandy to third. Colin Curtis, six days into his big league career, fouled off pitch after pitch in a ten pitch at-bat before grounding out to first, driving in Granderson to tie the game at six. One inning later, Cano muscled a ball over the left-centerfield fence for a two run homer, giving the Yanks a two run lead and grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.

* * *

These aren’t necessarily the biggest moments in terms of WPA swings or anything like that, they’re just memorable occasions that stick with us, regardless of how important they were in the grand scheme of things. Heck, some of these aren’t even individual moments, but rather a series of moments. Vote below to pick your favorite, and if one of these wasn’t your favorite moment of the first half, then tell us what you think it is in the comments. Thanks in advance.

What was your favorite moment of the first half of the season?
Total Votes: 1220 Started: July 15, 2010 Back to Vote Screen
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First Half Review: 7 who fell short
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  • Bill in Boston

    The Granderson HR because I was there :)

  • Tom Zig

    I voted walking off against Papelbon. Even though we shouldn’t have been in that position to begin with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

    Dodger comeback for me. With Torre sitting in the opponents dugout and watching.

    I like the Papelbon mess ups, but that is becoming too easy these days. Not even that unexpected.

  • Rose

    May 17th: Walking off against Papelbon

    Specifically because I was there…and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had at a Yankees game ever. And I haven’t been to nearly as many as most of you guys (I live over 2 1/2 hours away – although the train that directly goes to YSIII from New Haven now will help quite a bit) but I’ve seen quite a few great ones the past few years. Arod’s 500th, Melky Cabrera robbing Manny Ramirez, Roger Clemens’ final appearance (2007 ALDS), etc.

    This one was still one of the most exciting ones ever. My girlfriend took me to the game for my birthday (Birthday was Christmas Eve but it was part of my present)…and the game was exciting from the start with the Yankees scoring 5 runs almost immediately. Then the Red Sox started coming back and eventually took the lead. I felt real bad because my girlfriend wanted me to see the Yankees win for my birthday present and she seemed a little somber…so when they tied it up and eventually walked off…it was like the best of everything. Excitement out of the gate…a lot of offense…a dramatic game tying HR and an equally dramatic game winning walk off.

    Can’t ask for much more than that.

    • CS Yankee

      …sounds like a double walked off

      • B-Rando

        Its starting to look like a triple walked off….

        • Rose

          This joke went over my head. Explain! haha

          • Marcus

            WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?!?

            (inappropriate moaning)

    • A.D.

      This post is incredibly informative about the personal life of Rose.

      • Rose

        Isn’t that why everybody comes to this site?

        lol

      • Cecala

        That she has the same birthday as Jesus?

        • Pete

          coincidence? I think not

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        See, men, we often misunderstand women a lot. We undermine their feelings. And feelings are very important to women. They are all-important to women. I’m just learning that. Everything is based on how they “feel”. You can hear it when they tell stories.

        You ever hear a man tell a story, it’ll be just facts: who, what, when, where, why. “It was me and Bob, we was at Safeway. Then that n#$%a Bob said this, then I punched that n@#$a, then I broke out.” That’s the story. That’s the story.

        Woman tells a story, it’s all these feelings in it– “Well, you have to understand, I was on my period, and I had just talked to my mother, so I was feeling very–” GOD, DAMN, SO MANY FEELINGS!! What the f#$@ happened? Get to it, get to it!

        http://business.blogandinfo.co.....-feelings/

        • Rose

          Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

          But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more.

          -RIP George Carlin

          • Kiko Jones

            And this relates to baseball and/or the Yankees, how, exactly? We don’t want to start discussions about religion on here, do we?

    • Loturn

      Like yourself, my girlfriend took me to this game as part of a birthday present. This was the second time she got me tickets and both times we made spectacular comebacks in the late innings – the first time being against the Rays last year.

      This game was absolutely electrifying as soon as it started. I was glad when we took a 5-0 lead and I figured with Hughes on the mound we’d see a pretty quick win. After the Red Sox battled back within a few and the Yankees brought in Chan Ho Park, I was beginning to get both antsy and annoyed. The Youkilis homer served to anger me because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s seeing the Yankees squander a large lead. My girlfriend was partially upset at the prospect of the Yankees losing my “birthday game” so as the 9th came rolling, we made our way down the ramps.

      We got to the ground floor just in time to see the bottom of the 9th. I told her we she stay and we ended up doing just that. We watched from field level as both Arod and Thames took Papelbon deep and it was simply exhilarating. The stadium was rocking and jumping up and down and we were high fiving everyone within a 10 foot radius of ourselves. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I hope my girlfriend always pick out good games to bring us to.

  • CS Yankee

    Granderson’s HR off of Pap-smear…

    It gave the new Yankee a frre pass from MSM for 90 days (in which he has taken full advantage of BTW). I’m expecting a rebound and still think that the trade will prove be be quite sound in the long run.

    Most didn’t trust Grit in taking over an OF position so there was no way they would of plugged Ajax & Grit as everyday guys…reminds me a little like the Joba, Hughes, Kennedy all hitting the rotation to start the season. One kid a chance…yes, but two has too much fail potential for the Yankees.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    It’s all about Papelbon.

    A comeback against the Twins or Dodgers is great.

    A comeback against the Red Sox, even if less ridiculous, is better (especially considering the standings swing).

    A walkoff against Papelbon (by Thames of all people) is the best.

    • Yankeegirl49

      THIS

    • mark park

      You missed a level:
      A walkoff against Papelbon by another team
      Where does that rank?

  • http://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I was at A-Rod’s slam against the Twins, but I think I liked walking off on Pap better

    • Pete

      we’ll all get high and walk off
      into the country, ridiculous country
      where the blue sky will smother us
      believe me believe me believe me
      the blue sky will smother us

      5 gold stars if you know what that’s from

  • JGS in sunburn-inducing Jerusalem

    The Thames walk-off game was awesome, but, having scored five runs in the first, they should never have been in that position in the first place. Even then they needed two runs to tie the game off a top closer. Not an easy task, but hardly unthinkable (particularly with Brett Gardner leading off with his career 1.000/1.000/1.250/2.250 line against Papelbon. I know it’s only 6 PAs, but that is still one of my very favorite stats.)

    In LA, they needed four in the frame just to stay alive and snatching a series win from Joe Torre with Joe simultaneously proving, through his inspired bullpen management, exactly why the Yankees are better off without him was just amazing. I vote the Dodger series.

  • vin

    The reason the Yanks are in first place is because of their starters. The Hughes near no-no best best symbolizes this strength. This is the best rotation the Yanks have had since 2003. These guys will carry them to October.

  • Kiersten

    Come on, how can you vote for anything other than walking off against Papelbum?

  • http://bomberbanter.com/ BomberBanter.com

    I voted for ‘Comeback against the Dodgers,’ but ‘Walking off against Papelbon’ was pretty sweet. ‘Comeback’ seemed so improbable, it really made me feel like this 2010 team does have the gusto of the 2009 team. ‘Walking’ was awesome, though – anytime Papelbon has to switch from his intimidation face (which looks like the squid monster’s mouth from The Fellowship of the Ring movie) to his sad face, I’m happy.

    ‘A-Rod slams the Twins’ was just funny. I was heard to comment, “Gardenhire must be crazy! What is he thinking? Has he lost his mind? There it goes… gone. Ha! WTF? Ha!”

    ~jamie

  • Jose the Satirist

    I’m surprised there is only one vote for the 3 HRs by Tex. Think about how it was last done by Gehrig. His performance in that game will be more remembered than a walk-off against Papelbon.

    • Jose the Satirist

      Although I did vote for the Papelbon walk-off.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        I’m sure the fact that Tex is having a bad season helps keep him down, as well as that game being a blowout. Historically, when looking at a box score Tex’s achievement will stand the test of time, but everyone jumped out of their seat when Thames went deep. How many people did when Tex went deep for the 3rd time, off an OF, in a game that had long since been decided?

        • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

          John Henry did but not in the way you mean.

    • theyankeewarrior

      One was off of a position player

    • JGS in sunburn-inducing Jerusalem

      Eh. Any time you can do something that Lou Gehrig last did is cool, but this feat is limited only to road games against Boston. Three home runs in a game against anyone is rare enough that if you are narrowing it’s window for happening down to 10 or so games per year, then it isn’t surprising that it’s been a very long time since it last happened. Plus, he hit the third off a position player. Plus, it didn’t signal the end of his early season skid like we all hoped it would. It was a nice moment, but hardly the best moment of the first half.

      • Jose the Satirist

        I agree it wasn’t the most exciting or my favorite. But it will stand the test of time more than the walk-off. Also it isn’t limited to road games against Boston. Gehrig and Tex are the only two Yankees to ever hit 3 HRs in a game against Boston. At home or on the road.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Fun Fact:

    7 different members of the 2010 Boston Red Sox pitching staff have a current ERA against the Yankees of more than a run per inning.

    Clay Buchholz: 5.0 IP, 9.00 ERA
    Josh Beckett: 14.2 IP, 10.43 ERA
    Daisuke Matsuzaka: 4.2 IP, 13.50 ERA
    Jonathan Papelbon: 4.0 IP, 13.50 ERA
    Scott Schoeneweis: 3.1 IP, 13.50 ERA
    Jonathan Van Every: 1.0 IP, 18.00 ERA
    Ramon Ramirez: 1.1 IP, 20.25 ERA

    /SSS’d
    /JammyJammersBait’d

    • B-Rando

      nicely done sir.

    • theyankeewarrior

      Yes, it’s a SSS, but aren’t most of their career numbers pretty bad too?

      Since the Schilling and Perdo days, it seems like the Yankees have been able to handle Boston’s “Aces” fairly well.

      Beckett, Lester, (Lackey) Buchholz, DiceK & Pap all seem to get beat up by Yankee hitting.

      /eyeballed’

      • theyankeewarrior

        Career numbers vs. the Yankees**

      • A.D.

        Not really:
        ERA vs Yanks (Career ERA)

        Papelbon: 3.38 (2.02)
        Lester: 3.88 (3.50)
        Lackey: 4.66 (3.88)
        Buccholtz: 5.74 (4.11)
        Beckett: 5.33 (3.90)
        Dice-BB: 5.49 (4.08)

        So overall worse than career for all but not necessarily absolute bad.

    • A.D.

      Though Shoeneweis and Van Every are no longer with the team, and Van Every wasn’t really a member of the pitching staff.

  • steve s

    Here is a write-in vote for the group hug given Matsui.

    • SK

      +1

  • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

    The Papelon walk off was by far the singular moment inspiring the most ecstasy in this fan. I was in shock even as I started screaming and jumping up and down. So, yeah. The final game v. the Dodgers was also amazing but nothing can top the joy of walking off against the Red Sox’s biggest douche.

  • Cecala

    Personally my favorite moment of the season was the Gardner Grand Slam. I never got so excited over a single baseball moment. I was running around my basement screaming and yelling.

    • Johnny O

      “I was running around my basement screaming and yelling.”

      –where all RAB readers hide to avoid social interaction and study sabremetrics

  • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

    My favorite moment of the season was definitely the comeback versus the diamondbacks, even though it wasn’t listed on the choices. That was seriously the first time this season i screamed so loud that i woke up my parents since last year’s playoffs

  • http://www.newyorkstateofsports.com Adam

    I’ve only been to three games so far this year, but I’ve seen both walkoffs… Gotta go Thames to beta Papelbon. Can you name any other pitcher you would have it rather been off of than Pap?

    • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

      if it was possible, i’d have it done against dustin pedroia

      oh well…

  • Will

    How about that one time Joba held a lead in the 8th? Zing!

    Seriously, though, I found this poll a little depressing, since it made me realize how few games I’ve watched this year. When I read the Papelbon walkoff thing, I thought, “Really? I guess that sounds familiar”. Time for some self-flagellation in penance…

  • Kevin

    If I had to vote for one of these, I’d flip a coin between Papelbon and Broxton comebacks.

    But probably my favorite moment of this year was watching Mariano go 2 innings in Arizona, with the ghosts of 2001 hanging in the air, and get out of a bases-loaded none-out jam, to earn the win. It was a thrilling piece of pitching to watch.

  • Carlosologist

    My favorite was the Alex grand slam. But why no love for CC’s no-hitter? He was straight up dealing that day.

    • Carlosologist

      *shot at a no-hitter.

    • Carcillo

      I was there.

      Friggen Kelly Shoppach wrecked it.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      You know what I’ll always remember about that game?

      It was a totally awesome game, obviously. CC was dominant, the offense was super scoring happy, I think Tex seriously might have gotten his first hits of the season in the game, etc. It was all awesome, no bad.

      …and then in the Open Thread from that night, dalelama’s only comment was complaining about Nick Johnson not getting a hit. It was kind of amazing. I really won’t ever forget that.

  • GermanYankee

    the walk-off against Papelbon was my favorite moment of the first half but I won’t argue if people vote for Mark’s 3 homers in Boston. Damn, anything that results in runs against Boston is a favorite moment ;)

  • Klemy

    I went with the Dodger comeback, due to the improbability of it. You just don’t come back from that situation often. To do it against Torre, makes it a little sweeter.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    Contemplated voting for that comeback against the Dodgers, because I remember (unnecessary personal story time) I’d been in Pennsylvania that weekend and my train back had been delayed 3+ hours in a place with no air conditioning. And then the train itself was soooo heavily air-conditioned, it was uncomfortable.

    I came back, really grumpy from everything and the game had already started and it was maybe in the fifth or so? And I saw a montage of Andy throwing away those bunts and I swear I nearly cried. I seriously thought about not watching it, because I was in such a poor mood and Andy failure is just not the kind of thing I like to see. Then I saw A-Rod’s HR and figured I should keep watching because 5-2 is a lot different than 5-0.

    When Joba gave up that extra run, though, and Broxton came in, I figured it was over (I didn’t see the game the day before, so I had no idea he’d been used then as well). But I also figured I’d watched for long enough and you can never count the Yankees out.

    But in the end… despite this excessively long story… you gotta go with a walk-off against Papelbon. That game was just utterly insane and AWESOME.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

    As far as big hits a lot of these were awesome, but for me the best moments were either Colin Curtis’ first hit or Hideki Matsui coming back to the Bronx to get the ring.

  • kel

    I went with the Dodger comeback only because I was in the hospital and it was four days after my double lung transplant. I was barely awake but I saw it. lol