Poll: The Best Moment of the First Half

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The woman over Andruw’s right shoulder. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The Yankees are in first place and as always, the first half featured a ton of memorable moments. Some were good were some were bad, but that’s the way it works baseball. With some help from my cohorts, we picked out five of most memorable moments of the last three moments and want you to decide which one was the best. Or the most memorable, whatever. The criteria isn’t strict, go off your personal preference. Here are those five moments in chronological order.

April 21st: The Comeback at Fenway Park (box score) (video)
When you’re down 7-0 after three innings and 9-0 after five innings, you just accept defeat. The Yankees are going to lose that day, so whatever. Shake it off and come back tomorrow. The Yankees didn’t accept defeat on this Saturday afternoon in Fenway Park, however. They rallied for eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings thanks to a pair of Mark Teixeira homers (solo shot and a three-run job) and a grand slam from Nick Swisher, a rally that most of America didn’t get to see because FOX cut away to show the end of Phil Humber’s perfect game. Swisher tied the game and gave the Yankees the lead with one swing, a two-run double to dead center off Al Aceves in the eight. Teixeira followed with a two-run double later in the inning and the rout was on. The Bombers scored 15 (!) unanswered runs in the span of three innings to turn a blowout loss into a blowout win.

May 13th: The Return of Andy Pettitte (box score) (video)
I remember doing a double take when I first heard the news. Andy was coming back, really? It seemed too good to be true. Sure enough, Pettitte signed a minor league deal with the Yankees in Spring Training, worked his way back through the minors, and then returned to the big league team against the Mariners in mid-May. His retirement was over. Andy didn’t pitch particularly well in his return — four runs on a pair of two-run homers with more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) in 6.1 innings — but that really didn’t matter. He was back and everyone was thrilled. That he went on to have a dominant two months before suffering a fluke injury was just icing on the cake.

May 22nd: Dewayne Wise turns the season around (box score) (.gif)
It’s subtle, but it happened. The Yankees were struggling to score runs thanks to a never-ending stretch of RISPFAIL and they were down 2-1 to the Royals on this particular Tuesday night. Teixeira started a fifth inning rally with a weak ground ball single but hustled to second when Jeff Francoeur took his sweet time fielding the ball. Russell Martin took a pitch to the ribs to put men on first and second with no outs, and everyone was waiting to see how the Yankees would blow it. Wise took matters into his own hands, laying down a perfect bunt (in a 2-0 count!) for a hit to load the bases with no outs. Derek Jeter singled in the tying run and Curtis Granderson plated the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run with a ground ball. The win sent the Yankees on a five-game winning streak and they’ve since gone 31-12 to claim the best record in baseball. Wise’s bunt turned the season around, people.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

June 10th: Russell Martin walks off against the Mets (box score) (video)
There’s always something a little extra special about beating the Mets. Maybe it’s just me because I grew up in a family of Mets fans and the bragging rights are a big deal here, but taking a game — nevermind the season series — from that team in Flushing is always appreciated. The Yankees were down three-zip in the second inning on this Sunday afternoon after taking the first two games of the series, but they fought back to tie thanks to Martin’s two-run homer off the top of the walk and Teixeira’s single to center. Alex Rodriguez gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead with a bloop single in the eighth, but Rafael Soriano needed just seven pitches to give up two doubles and blow the lead in the top of the ninth. Thankfully, the game did not go on much longer. Jon Rauch hung a 3-2 slider to Martin leading off the bottom half of the inning, which the Yankees catcher whacked out to left field for a walk-off solo homer. It is their only walk-off hit of the season so far.

June 12th: A-Rod ties it up against Jonny Venters (box score) (video)
We don’t get a glimpse of the old A-Rod very often these days, but when we do, man is it glorious. The Yankees were getting completely manhandled by Mike Minor just two days after Martin’s walk-off, and they carried a 4-0 deficit into the eighth inning. Minor got a quick out but was lifted for setup man extraordinaire Jonny Venters after Jeter singled. Venters allowed a single to Granderson before walking Teixeira on five pitches to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate with one out. Alex took three straight balls and it seemed inevitable that he would draw a walk to force in a run, but he took a called strike before fouling off two more pitches. Venters’ seventh pitch of the at-bat was a slider that didn’t slide, and A-Rod hit a line drive just over the left field fence for a game-tying grand slam. Swisher gave the Yankees the lead two batters later with a two-run homer, but that grand slam is what we’ll all remember about this win.

* * *

Obvious there are other memorable moments — Wise’s non-catch, the ten-game winning streak — but these five really stood out. Vote in our poll below and if you think something else stood out in the first half, let us know in the comments.

What was the most memorable moment of the first half?
Total Votes: 1873 Started: July 11, 2012 Back to Vote Screen
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  • Jim Is Bored

    Didn’t even need to read the remaining options after the fenway comeback.

    Such a ridiculous game.

  • VinRae

    Voted for the The Comeback, but being a Hughes fan, my favorite moment of the season so far would be the complete game by Hughes.

  • 28 this year

    The Comeback no doubt. I mean, the other things are memorable but a 9-0 comeback is something else entirely.

  • dkidd

    for me, it’s andy schooling bryce harper

    • gc

      Good one! :)

    • Ethan

      That was very enjoyable

    • Jersey Joe

      Totally agree with you. Loved having Andy back for one thing and showing Harper who’s boss made his return even better.

      Plus does anyone know why Harper is emerging as the “clear” NL ROY…I mean on sportsnation, he’s at 78% for NL ROY. I just don’t get the hype. I mean .282/.354 and 8 HR in 277 PA just doesn’t strike me as amazing. I mean I understand that it’s his first year and has room for improvement, but I think I need to see more from him than this, especially to warrant an All Star appearance.

      • 28 this year

        Well I dont know the state of NL Rookies but I dont think there are any that can beat a .282/.354 line. Thats quite good, well above average which is a ROY in my mind. I dont know enough about NL Rookies so I can’t be certain but based on that line, I would imagine he is definitely a big time contender.

      • V

        He’s in the top 3 I think.

        I agree he got to the AS game on hype alone, but he really is something special to be putting up those numbers as a 19 year old.

        Looks like Todd Frazier (.278/.345/.556) and Matt Carpenter (.291/.364/.500) are his top competition.

        • Brian S.

          Wade Miley.

      • zs190

        http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/b...../league/nl

        Because there aren’t that many rookies? there are only 4 hitters that qualify for batting title and he blows everyone away. The only other comparable RoY candidate in NL is Wade Miley but position players are generally ahead.

        .826 OPS for a rookie playing CF is pretty darn amazing though, I think you are underselling him a bit.

        • Jersey Joe

          I know he is the best out of the rookies in the NL, and that he is likely to win ROY, and I have no problem with that, I just don’t understand how he is far and away the top candidate. Miley has been pretty good, Frazier has done well filling in for Rolen, and Rosario hasn’t been bad. I think the race should be closer than it is now.

          Now Mike Trout is completely different and I think he will have a slightly better career than Harper. Not to mention he’s from Jersey which makes him my favorite non-Yankee.

      • JonS

        Because he’s having a better season than Arod.

        -Stuart

      • Brian S.

        He’s as old as Dante Bichette Jr. and Cito Culver.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I picked the Fenway comeback, but I think both Hughes’s and Pettitte’s amazing starts belonged in the conversation, as they’d be #’s 2 and 3 for me.

  • zs190

    No doubt about it for me, definitely that comeback, was so much fun and it was against the Red Sox too.

  • Yanks Fan In Sox Land

    The Comeback in Fenway…People in my office swore off baseball and tried to take solace in the Bruins…who soon got bounced. It was beautiful. And the cutaways to Booby V in the highlights only make it more glorious.

  • jjyank

    Gotta be the Fenway comeback for me. Like beating the Mets is extra special for Mike because of his surroundings, being the Sox is even more special than usualy because all the Red Sox fans I’m friends with. I am not normally one to give up on a game, but I was probably one inning away from turning it off and going to go do something else. Man am I glad I didn’t.

    • jjyank

      That said, I’d take the Braves game as a distant second. Hell, all of interleague play for that matter, that was an awesome run through the “senior” league.

  • Kev

    That comeback would be pretty damn sweet in any setting – but if it were against any other team I’d have picked Andy’s return as my most memorable moment. Against the Sox – in their house no less – I have to go with the comeback.

  • gc

    Three things about that video link in the Comeback tell me that the footage must have been altered:

    1) There’s no way Teixeira could have hit an opposite field homer as a lefty. That’s clearly altered footage. Surely he must have hit a ground ball into the shift or a weak pop-up because that’s what he always does.

    2) There’s no way the FOX broadcasters could sound legitimately excited as the Yankees got to within one run and then took the lead. Whoever the voice actors were that they got to imitate Buck and McCarver’s voices did a great job, because we all know how anti-Yankees they always are.

    3) There’s no way it was Nick Swisher who got the big hit to put the Yankees ahead. It has to be a CGI shot, I mean, come on. He’s the most un-clutch player on the team! At least TRY to fool us with that CGI stuff.

    ;)

    • 28 this year

      The Fox broadcasters were not excited. They sounded more enthusiastic on Gonzalez’s double earlier in the game than Swisher’s go ahead double.

      • gc

        Damn voice actors! Making me believe they were excited….what assholes!

  • 28 this year

    BTW, the comeback is even better on the weekend of Fenway Park’s Anniversary. Thats just rubbing salt in the wound. There’s nothing more fun that that.

    • jjyank

      Good call, I totally forgot about that!

  • uyf1950

    What made the comeback at Fenway even better was that it came on the day the Red Sox were celebrating Fenway’s 100th Anniversary.

  • 28 this year

    Bobby Valentine’s expressions are priceless. He just says “WOW” and i laugh.

  • jjyank

    Thinking about it more, I think the Hughes complete game should be on here. Considering his former prospect shine, it was a pretty cool moment to see him put it all together for one night.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Yup, this start and Pettitte’s first magnificent start (not his FIRST start) should absolutely be there. Both are almost as on equal footing with the Boston comeback for me.

      • jjyank

        I’d still take the Boston comeback, but either of those two are way cooler moments for me than Wise’s bunt.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          What I loved about this comeback wasn’t as much that they came back. It was that they came back and took a giant emphatic dump on them.

          • jjyank

            Heh totally. It would have been cool to win 10-9 on the comeback, but they just kept going. 15 unanswered runs is pretty insane. AND it was the Fenway anniversary weekend, as others have noted.

      • Jim Is Bored

        But Pettitte and Hughes are capable of those starts more than a few times a year.

        9 run comebacks in the later innings happen maybe once a year.

        • jjyank

          They’re capable, yes, but considering Hughes’ roller coast career and Andy coming out of retirement, it made it cooler. I do agree with you that the comeback takes the cake though.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          When those starts happened, I’d wager to say there was some level of doubt as to seeing both those guys perform at that level. Pettitte was a couple of starts into his comeback, and Hughes, while certainly well into starting to show signs of life, was testing the patience and belief of even his biggest fans and supporters. They were both special moments which let us know both those guys can still be who we think they are.

          • Jim Is Bored

            Yeah I mean they were definitely special.

            But personally I ranked the moments as:

            9 run comeback
            (medium sized gap)
            Pettitte’s start
            write in: Hughes’ start
            (huge gap)
            everything else.

  • gc

    Love the caption on the top photo. HAHA!

  • http://www.decandido.net Keith R.A. DeCandido

    I went with Martin’s walkoff, only because I was there for that game, which made it a lot more memorable. The late innings were such a roller-coaster of emotions in the Stadium, from taking the lead to Sori blowing it to Martin redeeming the whole thing with one swing.

    Fenway’s a close second, though, and I’ll be stunned if it doesn’t win.

  • Eddard

    The comeback was great but it has to be Andy’s return. When Andy returned the pitching staff stabilized and that’s what turned the season around. Andy mentored Phil. Freddy was pushed into the pen and has flourished ever since. For us that grew up in the mid-late 90s Andy is one of our favorites so his return was the highlight of the season thus far.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Somehow, I think the “worst moment of the first half” question will be easier to answer.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    To me “The Comeback” was the best moment of the first half. Why did I pick this event because it was a team effort, it was in Fenway Park against our rival, it showed the spirit of a team of professionals and I watched all 15 runs. It was beautiful.

    I know this team will not give up when they are down.

  • Michaels’ Pineda

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....rades.html

    Does this mean we can get Montero back into our loving arms again?

    • jjyank

      No idea why the Mariners would trade Montero while his value is down.

      • DM

        I don’t think that means they’re shopping him; he’s just not untouchable. They just drafted a real catcher with the 3rd pick — which says something about their belief in Montero in that position long-term. And if he’s simply a DH/3rd catcher type, why wouldn’t he be available? With the ongoing questions about his focus and ability to adjust, I could see him bouncing around rather than being someone you build around. The bat potential will be compelling for a long time, but the rest of his game will allow his current team to consider moving him. He lost the “untouchable” tag long ago — half way thru his minor league career.

        • Ted Nelson

          While I agree he’s not untouchable at the moment (and honestly I don’t think any player is ever untouchable, but based on the definition being used here), but if he becomes a hitter in the Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, David Ortiz mold he’ll be “untouchable” as a DH. DH is a position and a spot where a team can get a lot of value, no matter how much you’d like to ignore reality.

          • DM

            I don’t think anyone is truly untouchable either — but I’m referring to the context in which it was used in the rumor. It speaks volumes that after trading valuable assets for Montero and Smoak (who are both young) are not listed as part of an “untouchable” core of young players. If this rumor is true, it’s even worse in Montero’s context. To spend only 1/2 season at age 22 — with a team that wanted you for the last 2 years — with this elite hitting prospect status — but be left off the list of core Mariners that they won’t move?? Even Smoak got a longer grace period than that. And they draft and sign the anti-Montero (on defense) as well? What changed so quickly?

            And still with the Edgar and Frank bit, huh? The only reality being ignored (intentionally on your part, like with the Yankee DHs) is that those two became f/t DHs later in their career. They weren’t reared and developed for the “DH position”. And Montero shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as Thomas. Thomas stepped on the field and hit and hit and hit and walked and slugged — establishing himself as a big time offensive force almost instantly. Montero’s been more Mike Napoli than Mike Piazza — so I wonder if no position, brain fart plays and swinging at everything (and missing far too much — considering that swing has “no holes in it” according to your personal scouting report) has left him off Seattle’s “off limits in trades” list.

        • jjyank

          I don’t think they’re shopping him either. But I highly doubt he gets dealt where his value is right now. His value is almost entirely tied to his bat, he doesn’t have a good defensive reputation to fall back on. Plus he’s a rookie. I’m sure he’s available at the right price, but I don’t see anyone ponying up to that price at the moment.

      • Ted Nelson

        They might just be shopping him to see what his value is at this point.

        Also, if you don’t think he ever recovers, then you don’t think his value is ever going up. (I don’t agree with that, but I’m also not in the M’s front office.)

        • Ted Nelson

          I shouldn’t really say shopping… more like willing to listen based on the rumor…

      • BK2ATL

        Well, same could be said for Smoak and Ackley too. Yet, they’re “untouchable.”

        • jjyank

          Smoak has a significantly longer track record of failure than Montero, and Ackley has had some success at the MLB level. Not really comparable.

          • BK2ATL

            They were pondering sending both Ackley and Smoak down very recently. That’s how bad Seattle thought they were.

            • jjyank

              I’m just saying, Ackley plays a premium position and was a ROY candidate last year. He has more trade value.

              Smoak has been terrible for a much longer period than Montero. And the article does not mention Smoak as untouchable, so I’m not sure where you’re getting that.

              I don’t think their cases are at all similar.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I think the best moment of the season for some fans is when they get to type the name “Montero.”

    That being said, if he was available, I’d look into it. You’d have to think being in this lineup would help his development a hell of a lot more than being in Seattle’s.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Meant to be a reply to jjyank. My replyfail is reaching stuart-like levels as of late. I blame A-Rod.

      • jjyank

        Haha, no worries. It’s kind of a crazy thought, but I kinda wonder what he’d cost.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Would you give up a healed Banuelos and a single-A guy for him?

          • jjyank

            Yeah probably. Banuelos hasn’t proved anything at the MLB level like Pineda had, and single A guys, while exciting, are still mostly lottery tickets. Depends on the single A guy though.

            You have to think a guy that young would significantly improve in this lineup and this ballpark.

            Like I said, I highly doubt the Mariners trade him, especially back to the Yankees. But I would support it.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              I’m sure my trade proposal sucks, but he’s still a pretty unproven MLB commodity, so giving them one guy who probably could step into that crap rotation (if healthy) and a solid lottery ticket seems fair to me.

              Of course, none of this is happening, and I’m sure his name was accidentally left out or something, but we get about 50 Coal Hammmmels trade ideas a day. Why not this?

              • jjyank

                No harm in speculation on a baseball-less day. I do miss Montero though, it would be kind of cool if this was Cashman’s evil master plan.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  Me and the master plan could have done without shoulder surgery.

                  See? This is where the hidden Montero whiner in me comes out. I will now put him away for good.

                  • jjyank

                    Yeah, that would be the hitch. I think most of us were hidden Montero whiners, if not overt ones. He was our top prospect for some time, it’s hard not to miss him.

              • Ted Nelson

                Who knows, but their rotation might now be crap much longer. I am a big Banuelos fan, but he’s, what, their 3rd best P prospect? 2nd best lefty prospect? 4th highest P ceiling in their org. I would guess they’re looking for hitting more than pitching, not that I necessarily agree with that mentality.

                That said, if the Single A guy is Sanchez, Austin, or Mason I don’t think I trade him and Banuelos for Montero. I do think Montero will turn it around and I am a big fan, but two ~top 50 prospects is a whole lot to give up.

                • Ted Nelson

                  And then Paxton is maybe right behind a healthy Banuelos.

                • Ted Nelson

                  *not* might not be crap much longer

  • http://twitter.com/Above1BDugout Carl

    I’ve really been gone a while from here haven’t I? But I’m going with Russ’ walk-off in the Bronx. Russ has looked like crap at the plate all year, but at least it was good to see him start the comeback, then end it, at a point where I was just calling for the end of the walk-off HR drought. I don’t think there’d be a 10-game interleague winning streak without it after the top of the 9th.

  • Ted Nelson

    I’m with the majority here: that comeback was awesome

  • captain kiwi

    the comeback for sure, but a-rod’s slam against venters is a close second just because i was at that game. both games played out exactly the same: i was around respective fans of the opposing team, mumbling and grumbling the whole time because we were getting shut-out, and then BAM. late inning comeback! the sox comeback was awesome, but the braves one was just a touch sweeter since i got to laugh at an entire stadium :p

  • Get Phelps Up

    Well, since I was unable to see the comeback, (thanks Fox!) I have to go with Andy’s comeback. Also, another moment which was pretty awesome was the back to back to back homers against Johan Santana.

  • BK2ATL

    While I’m sure Pettitte’s return and the Boston massacre were probably bigger moments, I chose the A-Rod slam because I was in Turner Field when it happened. LOL!!!

    To witness the disappointment on the Braves’ fans and then watch the Yanks take the lead right after that, to me, priceless moments.

    • captain kiwi

      i have a friend who works at turner field and she came to sit with me around the time minor got pulled. she just kept ragging on me and started laughing whenever the bases were loaded and a-rod came up to the plate. 7 pitches later, i remember screaming my head off as she walked away in shame. lol. she actually had to interview the kid that caught the homerun ball. just everything about it all was delicious, haha

      • BK2ATL

        I was decked out in my Yankees’ garb. One of my good buddies was decked out in his Braves’ attire. He KNEW what was about to transpire. I was down in the 109 section. Hilarious stuff all around. Good-natured ribbing all throughout the game from both sides.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    I voted “Something Else”. Simply put, I can’t pin “most memorable moment” on anything in the first half. Lots of games that have somehow positioned the team where they are today. The Journey, not The Destination. Seems to be a compilation of accomplishment across a lot of players, contributions up and down the roster. Hope it continues…

  • Matt M

    Wises ‘catch’ in the crowd

  • mike_h

    wrecking the Fenway 100th anniversary game on 4/20 would have been my vote

    • LiterallyFigurative

      That’s actually a good one. Wearing the old school unis and having Ivan Nova shut em down was definitely a wonderful sight.

    • Paul VuvuZuvella

      4/20 is such a blur to me…all I remember is waking up on 4/21 with a couple of empty bags of Doritos.

  • Angela

    The Comeback. Best game of the season so far.

    If I may make a correction, the Yankees scored 1 run in the 6th, 7 runs in the 7th, and 7 runs in the 8th.

    :)

  • LiterallyFigurative

    The caption and the picture from the Boston Massacre say it all:

    Nick Swisher’s reaction…….and the woman over Andruw Jones’ right shoulder’s reaction. Priceless!!

  • FreeAgentSignee

    Pettitte gave us some much needed SP. Welcome back Andy! Glad you are back one more year. Get well!