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The Yankees Win Their 27th!


There is always so much to say about political matters, social issues, who's up, who's down, the drift of the nation, the economy, health care, or the latest effort by Democrats to disembowel their country, but for the moment, why not enjoy the event, no, the phenomenon of the New York Yankees, the 2009 World Series Champs.

Many among the faithful were beginning to wonder when, if ever, the Yankees would triumph again, after another long sojourn in the wilderness, an eight year dry spell between World Series victories, the last one against the Mets in 2000.  They came close in 2001, against the Diamondbacks, but Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson were too much that year, and so the Yankees fell in game seven.  It was a year in which, coming so soon after 9/11, they Yankees were actually sympathetic favorites around the nation, even crusty, lifelong Yankee-haters, finding it in themselves to root for the Bombers. And it was a great series, too, with Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius providing ninth inning theatrics with two out homeruns leading to two come-from-behind Yankee victories.

But that was the end of the run for that generation's Yankee dynasty, the team of Jeter, Rivera, Petit, Williams, Wells, Cone, Posada, O'Neil, Martinez, et al, who had won four World Series Championships and five American League pennants between 1996 and 2001, arguably the best, most balanced Yankee team in its storied history (particularly 1998, with 114 regular season wins and Major League record 125 combined regular/post season wins), and oddly enough, not a Ruth or Mantle among them, just selfless and consistent ball players, well versed in the fundamentals, executing flawlessly.

Then came the famine years, another interlude of sack cloth and ashes, although not nearly as traumatic as others, for they, at least, remained competitive.  Probably the worst period was between 1964 and 1976. Twelve long years before the Yankees would even make the World Series let along triumph. And what humiliation!  The mighty Yankees finished in sixth place in 1965, after five consecutive World Series' appearances (1960-1964), and then tenth place or last in 1966! Mantle was but a shadow of his former self and Yankee fans had to console themselves with the likes of Bobby Murcer, Roy White, and Mel Stottlemyre, decent performers, but a very distant cry from the days of glory.  

Was it the decision of new Yankee owners, Del Webb and Dan Topping, in 1960, to retire then General Manager George Weiss, the man who built the Yankee farm system and who presciently predicted that the Yankees would collapse in five years without his careful guidance in acquiring new talent?  Probably so.  And that would not change until a second George took over the Yankees, George Steinbrenner, who would return the Yankees to prominence in the seventies (and since).  The most bitter season of all during those dreadful years was 1969 when the hated and heretofore hapless crosstown rivals, the Mets (or, as Casey Stengel referred to them, the "Amazins," based on their record setting ineptitude), would win it all against the highly vaunted Orioles, in one of the surprise upsets of history.  It was more than adding insult to injury, it was abject shame and mortification.

This last dry spell between 2000 and 2009 was characterized mainly by a team loaded with talent and salary but uneven and uninspired; they lacked chemistry and timely, clutch play, particularly in the post-season; this unhappy era included baseball's ultimate collapse, the 2004 debacle in the pennant playoff with the previously accursed Red Sox, their fierce rivals from Boston.  No team in history ever lost a series up 3-0, but the Yankees did, and to a team it had always managed to vanquish. Indeed, no Red Sox team had won a World Series since 1918, after selling the fabled Babe Ruth in 1919 to the Yankees, the curse of the "Bambino" in effect all those years - until 2004 when they humbled the Yankees and then swept the Cardinals in the World Series.  

Indeed, one began to wonder, with their recent dismal play, whether the curse had been mysteriously transmitted to the Yankees, for despite the All-Star line up, and Yankee allure and dollars enticing the premier players of the game, they could not produce a championship.  But this year, and particularly after the  acquisitions of CC Sabbathia, AJ Reynolds, and Mark Teixeira, the Yankees proved to be relentless and pursued their prize with cool, workman-like efficiency.  

They dispatched the Twins and Angels handily in the first two rounds of divisional play, and roughed up a resilient and hard-hitting team in the Phillies in the Series, the defending champs.  Petit was awesome, the aging hero, one of the "core" Yankees, along with Jeter, Posada, and Rivera, linked to the championship Yankee teams of the nineties; he clinched the final games at each level including game six of the Series.  Alex Rodriguez ("A-rod") finally shed his penchant for choking in post season with incredible numbers and clutch hits, a key run producer and lynch pin of the Yankee attack.  Rivera was Rivera, which is to say, the greatest relief pitcher in history.  Jeter, Damon, and, of course, World Series MVP, Matsui, were excellent.  

As a Japanophile and a deep admirer of that fascinating nation and culture, I was pleased to see Matsui win the MVP.  It was amusing to watch him respond to questions in his native Japanese tongue through a translater while recieving the award.  Does he not speak English after seven years with the Yanks?  No matter.  I'm sure they went crazy in Japan, where baseball is the revered National Past Time, with a far higher level of loyalty to the sport than in the US where many other attractions (NFL, NBA, NHL, etc.) compete for American affections.  "Godzilla," formerly of the Yomiuri Giants, the "Yankees" of Japan, is truly "God" in Japan, more so than other Japanese Major League greats including "Ichiro" (Suzuki).  Perhaps, for the Japanese public, they may justifiably feel they had "arrived" with this moment.

And, so, the World Series championship is back where it belongs in the Bronx, in the new Yankee ball park.  Worries about a "curse" are dissipated, the misery of observing the Yankees falter year after year are over.  The Bombers can now go about being what they have always been - the best.  

And, if I may touch on the political, and bring the significance of the Yankee phenomenon and this year's Yankee victory into perspective, I would say that not only is it good for baseball when the Yankees win but good for America.  For the Yankees represent everything that patriotic Americans believe in. 

The Yankees, of course, are stewards of a "tradition," the Yankee tradition.  Americans admire history and respect tradition.  We understand its significance and role in ordering society, in disseminating proper values, habits, and ideals that allow a society to function optimally.  The Yankee tradition of training, discipline, hard work, execution, and, of course, winning, represent values, patterns, and attitudes that Americans extol.  Americans admire success, do not demean or demonize or punish it.  We want to emulate it, foster those manners and practices that lead to it, teach them to our children, and encourage others to pursue them. 

Indeed, Yankee dominance and preeminence are metaphors for American greatness, of an America that we pray is not disappearing before our eyes, an America that has led the world with its dynamic, innovative, cutting-edge economy, its opportunities, prosperity, and standard of living, an America that attained the world summit through its private sector, through capitalism, free markets, the rule of law, freedom and liberty and by protecting the individual and his private property: by unleashing, in other words, the creative power of the individual, through a government that understood its bounds as determined by the Constitution, America was able to soar.  

We were a nation that rewarded success, did not penalize it, knowing that such a formula was precisely the mechanism, the unique and novel concept that had led to American exceptionalism and accomplishment, had allowed America to emerge as the great power it has become and that had served us and the world so well.  

In this era of government unlimited, of grotesque deficit spending, of take overs and bailouts, borrowing and mortgaging our future, of looming high taxes and inflation, of a weak dollar, of dependency and sloth and a deformed, infantilized culture, we find that foundational principles undergirding our nation are under seige, that failure and mediocrity are rewarded, that incompetence and dysfunction are advanced, not victory and achievement, hard work and responsibility, all of which stands the nation on its head with poor outcomes all but inevitable.  Indeed, success, seems very much to be in the cross-hairs today, something to sneer at and despise, a sure recipe for failure.

We can only hope that this year's Yankee victory, the return of the World Series' Championship to America's team, to that ultimate sports' symbol of American greatness, will also presage a nation that returns to its roots and scatters the leftist scolds and Jacobins who now inhabit the highest corridors of power, in the White House and Congress, discards a government intent on spending the nation into oblivion, and restores America's promise of prosperity and hope based on traditional principles of limited government, low taxes, and maximum ordered liberty; a nation that admires and respects success not rejects or abhors it.  It is in this way only that the nation can be continue its winning tradition.  

Is the Yankee victory a portent for a return to American values and fundamentals, and hence of American preeminence?  May it be so. 



  • Oscar Hoffman

    November 11, 2009

    Congrats to the Yankees on their win. May they have many more.

  • Harold Moss

    December 22, 2009

    as much as we think we deserve it every year, We have been a little spoiled lately but of course the Yankees are the best! Hopefully we can stay hungry next year!!

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