Let the video sink in. If things don’t go well tonight, we’re going to be watching a bunch of middle of the country nobodies celebrate knocking the Yankees out of the playoffs, just like in 1997.
The Yankees played the Indians in 1997, just one year after winning their first World Series in 18 years. For anyone around my age (32) the joy of the 1996 season gave us a taste of greatness and with our team even better in 1997, we were never going to lose again. We won the Wild Card with 96 wins and were set to matchup with the Indians who had only won 86 games, so we were set to blow by them and take on the Red Sox in the ALCS. The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the series with Doc Gooden and Andy Pettitte scheduled as our game 4 and 5 starters, so this was a lock.
Instead the Indians came back against our bullpen in Game 4 and never trailed in Game 5. They beat Pettitte, who had won 18 games that season after a 21 win 1996, and it felt like the world was ending. As a Yankee fan at that time, you had heard about all the winning of the past, but now that we had tasted it again, anything less felt terrible. At 12 years old and knowing nothing about the world, I knew Cleveland was a shit city and losing to them stunk.
Now let’s fast forward to 2007…
The Yankees haven’t won the World Series since 2000. In 2001 we lose the World Series to the Diamondbacks after 9/11. In 2003 we lose the World Series again to the fucking Marlins and Josh Beckett. Something happened in 2004, that I don’t remember and it had been too long since we won a championship.
For 2007, we came into the season STACKED. Our rotation had Andy Pettitte back and with injuries to Mussina, Pavano and Wang, Roger Clemens was lured back to the Bronx. 94 wins later we were facing off with the 96 win Indians, but after going 6-0 against Cleveland in the regular season, this was a lock.
In game 1, a young CC was lights out for Cleveland while Chien-Ming Wang got tagged for 8 runs in 4.2 innings. Losing 12-3, we called it a fluke and got ready for game 2. The Yankees put up and early run and were cruising along as they brought in rookie Joba Chamberlain for the 8th inning. Joba had set the world on fire with a 0.38 era in 24 IP that season, so all Yankee fans were getting ready for Mariano to close things out. And then it happened…
The midges came and swarmed the mound, causing Joba to blow the lead and the Yankees would never recover. Joe Torres should have taken the players off the field until the bugs were gone, but he didn’t want to throw off his pitchers rhythm by sitting him for an extended period. Sound familiar?
So here we are 10 years later. Tonight with CC on the mound, the Yankees can do the improbable and send home the 102 win Indians. They can make up for losing a game 5 and cancel out Joe Girardi’s latest blunder to save “rhythm”. The Indians have under the radar been a thorn in Yankee fan’s sides, but tonight that changes. Tonight the Yankees need to put their foot on Cleveland’s throat for me, you and themselves, because tonight is about revenge.