Yankees Back to Rightful Place In Yankee Stadium Clincher

Published on: 29th September, 2009

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*Sep 27 - 00:05*
Yankees Back to Rightful Place In Yankee Stadium Clincher

Joe Girardi is soaked by his palyers in the club house after the Yankees defeated the Red Sox 4-2 winning the American League East. New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Original Filename: 13.jpg  | read this item

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From the great Mike Lupica – New York Daily News

After 99 other victories this season, after all the comebacks on this side of 161st St., the Yankees were putting some official winning into the new place, about five minutes after 5 Sunday afternoon. They were winning the American League East with style, with one more comeback, this one against the Red Sox, and so of course it had to come down to Mariano Rivera over here, the way it always did over there.

The game had started late because of rain but now there was enough sun out in the top of the ninth that Brett Gardner even lost J.D. Drew‘s short fly ball to center. And the Red Sox had second and third with two out in a 4-2 game, which meant that a hit from Jacoby Ellsbury tied the game. Only Ellsbury wasn’t hitting Rivera, who was here to close out the division again, who was going to make this one more day of baseball when he was the greatest money pitcher in the history of the game.

“There is nothing he could do,” Derek Jeter said Sunday, “that you haven’t seen from him before.”

So Rivera broke Ellsbury’s bat with the first inside cutter he threw him and finally he got one in on the kid’s hands again and the ball rolled to Mo Rivera’s left and he picked up and underhanded it to Mark Teixeira at first and the Yankees had gotten to 100 and won the East and done that with their second sweep of the Red Sox in the last couple of months. Some day. Some season.

The game started Sunday with a clean single to left from Jeter in the bottom of the first and ended with the ball in Rivera’s right hand again. Andy Pettitte got the win Sunday. So much has been new this season, so much has changed. Just not everything. If everything goes the way the Yankees want it to, there will be another ending like this, to a much bigger game, the first week of November, the ball back in the great Rivera’s hands at the end of another World Series.

So now there have been two games to remember from this September, two ways the Yankees have properly christened the new place. There was the Friday night against the Orioles when Jeter broke Lou Gehrig‘s record for career hits by a Yankee. Now this. Now this sweep of the Red Sox on the last weekend of September, the Yankees coming all the way back from 0-8 early against Boston to even the series at 9-9 and give Boston plenty to think about if the two teams do it again in the American League Championship Series.

The Yankees, who have hit all year, really got to 100 Sunday with pitching, from Pettitte and Phil Coke and Brian Bruney and Rivera, who got his 44th save a couple of months short of his 40th birthday. Before the game Sunday Jeter was asked to talk about the season and he looked up and said, “We pitch.”

He didn’t talk about the season he had or the one Teixeira had or the one Alex Rodriguez had once he recovered from hip surgery. He didn’t talk about Cano, who had a big home run on Saturday or Hideki Matsui, who came back from a bad knee this season and knocked in the two runs that put the Yankees ahead Sunday.

“We pitch,” the captain of the team said.

Then he added this: “We can always hit. We’re always coming into a season and people are saying, ‘They’re going to score 1,000 runs.’ But when we won, we won with pitching.”

So Pettitte gave the Red Sox two early Sunday and then the bullpen, which gave the Red Sox so many games early in the season, gave them nothing after that, even though the Red Sox did end up with second and third in the ninth. Only then Rivera was picking up Ellsbury’s roller and the Yankees were celebrating something as a team on this side of the street and before long AL East T-shirts were being passed out on the field and the Yankees broke out champagne again for the first time in a couple of years. Only around here is that treated like a long and terribly dry spell.

This is the way Joe Girardi described the Yankees not making the playoffs last season:

“That bad taste from last year.”

They wiped that out with the regular season they have played, finally with champagne Sunday. They were still three games behind the Red Sox in the East at the All-Star break and seemed to make up 10 games in about 10 minutes after the break and really ran away with the thing. When it was over Sunday the Red Sox got ready to go to the bus, still with some work to do before clinching the wild card. The Yankees went and partied.

A lot of noise at the new place Sunday, behind Babe Ruth Plaza. There is just a shell across the street where the old Stadium was, what looks like this immense black netting around it really reminding you more of a shroud. And all these signs warning people against trespassing and one, right across 161st from Babe Ruth Plaza from Turner Construction on a blue wall that read this way:

“Building the Future of the Bronx.”

The past is behind that sign, that wall. So is all the winning the Yankees did inside the walls of the old Stadium, a million memories, all the noise, all the times when the ground would shake in big moments. The baseball future of the Bronx, whatever kind of future it is going to be, is in the new Stadium. They put some winning inside it Sunday. Never gets old.

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