Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Yankee-killer, where are you? (ALCS version)
The Minnesota Twins weren't exactly inspired by my previous Yankee-Killer post. In fact, I don't think even one of them read the thing. How are we going to wipe this great pinstriped evil off the face of the earth if you players won't even read the hand-written call to arms that I mail to each and every one of the Yankees' opponents?
OK, I don't really do that. I'm almost too lazy to write this post, let alone letters to every player.
Anyway, the Twins exhibited the typical "Toto-I-don't-think-we're-in-Kansas-anymore" behavior against the Yankees that I've seen WAY too many times in the postseason. They were pathetic. I'm counting on the Rangers to not be pathetic. I'm counting on them to ignore all the bullying and boorish tactics that the Yankees and their many obnoxious fans* have used over the years, and be professional and ignore it. Just kick ass. That's all I ask.
In yet another bid to inspire, I've posted a card of another Yankee-killer, perhaps the biggest one of them all.
On this very date 50 years ago, Bill Mazeroski hit the first walk-off, World Series-clinching home run in baseball history. A bottom-of-the-ninth blast in Game 7. What a crushing blow for the opposition. And it came against the Yankees.
God, I wish I was alive in 1960.
Mazeroski is a hero to Yankee haters everywhere. For me, he's particularly important because his home run showed that the Pirates did not wither away in the face of Yankee adversity in Game 7 of that World Series.
Hal Smith of the Pirates had hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning of that game, which capped a five-run inning for Pittsburgh. The Pirates had turned a 7-4 deficit into a 9-7 lead entering the final inning.
But the Yankees tied the game in the top of the ninth on three singles and a groundout by Yogi Berra. It's at that point that some teams (*ahem* Twins) would step aside for Yankee "greatness." But not the 1960 Pirates.
Mazeroski was the first player up to bat in the 9th inning, and on the first pitch by Ralph Terry, he delivered the winning home run. A Yankee-killer was born.
If the Yankees are going to get to the World Series -- and I pray feverishly every minute that they don't -- I hope this is the fate that awaits them.
Time is getting desperate, so here are few other Yankee killers as suggested by commenters:
David Ortiz: Ortiz's success rate against the Yankees is quite impressive, although a smidge overblown, probably by whining Yankees fans who forget their team has won 27 World Championships. Ortiz has hit .321 against the Yankees with nine home runs in 221 at-bats. That's nice, but he's also grounded into eight double plays.
Still, there was that monster 2004 ALCS against New York. I enjoyed that very much. What a great year '04 was.
Luis Gonzalez: I always forget about him because in 2001 I was (*choke, gag*) rooting for the Yankees that Series. Just despicable, I know. Where was my head? Today, with a much clearer mind, when I see highlights of Gonzalez's very Jeterish bloop over the infield off of Mariano Rivera, I am most pleased.
For the record, Gonzalez is 20-for-78 against the Yankees all-time.
Sandy Alomar Jr.: Back in the late 1990s, when the wrong teams kept winning all the time (history is starting to repeat itself), and I was growing more and more disinterested in baseball, there was a glimmer of hope for one solitary year. That year was 1997. The Yankees were trying to repeat as champions. They were playing the Indians in the first round of the playoffs.
The Indians eliminated the Yankees in five games. One of the biggest moments was Alomar's winning home run in the eighth inning of Game 4 against Rivera. Woo-hoo!
Cliff Lee: OK, Lee isn't really a Yankee-killer, unless you're going only by last year's World Series. But some folks probably want to know how he's done against the Yankees overall.
The answer is: so-so. He did win those two games for the Phillies in the 2009 Series, but the Yankees know how to hit him. He performs the best against Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and Marcus Thames. He performs the worst against Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson. Here is the breakdown.
There's a lot of talk about the Yankees acquiring Lee after the season is over. The New York media sure loves to throw the team's money around doesn't it? But if it happens (and it didn't happen with Halladay), I hope Lee turns into Carl Pavano.
For now, I hope Lee turns into Bill Mazeroski, a guy who doesn't care what insults the fans in the stands are hurling at him (yes, I'm aware Maz's HR was not in N.Y.), or care a whit about who he's facing.
He just goes out and kills the Yankees.
*The usual disclaimer: I live in New York. So, I know many non-obnoxious Yankee fans, too. They just do a really poor job of telling their less-pleasant fellow rooters to shut the hell up.