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No time to panic, Yankees fans

Oct 29, 2009, 8:57 AM EDT

Here’s the situation: your team is unable to do anything against a Cy Young caliber pitcher.  Your ace gave up two home runs to the same guy on the other team.  Your bullpen was less than stellar. You’ve now lost the homefield advantage and you have an often erratic starter going in Game 2.  Time to panic?

Hardly, because that describes the exact scenario the Yankees faced in Game 2 of the 1996 World Series.

Because I’m an Atlanta Braves fan, I remember it well.  I was in law school then, and I remember the gloom and doom of my many, many New York Yankee fan classmates.  I even had a professor — himself a native New Yorker — who got bent out of shape when I wore my Braves cap in to class the day after Andruw Jones hit those two bombs.  Being young and relatively unschooled in the ways of the world, I gloated like crazy.  I was even worse about it following Game 2.

But we all know how that turned out.  The ace lefty acquitted himself quite nicely his next turn out. The Yankees’ deep bullpen asserted itself.  The Braves, after getting one lights out performance from Greg Maddux in Game 2, had no answer for the New York nine.  A dynasty was reborn that year, and that Game 1 has been rendered a mere footnote, notable for Andruw Jones’ coming out party and not much else.  That law school professor took a few minutes at the beginning of the first class following Game 6 to lecture me about premature jubilation.  It’s probably the only thing I remember from that class.

Will history repeat itself?  I have no idea. But I do know that Yankees fans would be well-advised to relax, and Phillies fans would be well advised to hold their “nobody believed in us” and “we told you so” rants until after Pedro Martinez and Cole Hamels pitch. 

For my part, I stand by my prediction: Yankees in six. Just like in 1996. 

  1. attacker - Oct 29, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Hats off to Cliff Lee. But if you think the Yankees are panicked you
    don’t know this team. Earlier in the year they got creamed by 10 runs and came back the next night and won 2 – 1. In baseball, momentum
    is your next starter. Tonight is a must win for the Yankees. They can’t go to Philadelphia down 0 – 2 because you have to face Hamels
    and Lee again in their house. If any team can do it the Yanks can but
    it looks like an up hill battle. I’m still predicting Yanks in 6. Tonight is the turning point one way or the other.

  2. Amie - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    Here’s what I know….This morning Fox 29 news showed a reporter throwing copies of the NY Post into the street so a steamroller could run over them. This is after 1 GAME. After winning a World Championship last year, you would think these actions (and those of the majority of Philies fans I’ve encountered) wouldn’t SCREAM insecurity. I understand it though…most acts of aggression are derived from FEAR..and FEAR you must, my children. Given the Yankees history, I think its fair to say, It’s not over until it’s over. Develop a little class, people. You’re starting to sound like Boston fans–putting more energy into TRASHING your opponent than you do rooting for your own team….sad. :( GO YANKS!

  3. jen - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:11 AM

    Fans on both teams are guilty of getting ahead of themselves with this series….I mean come on I have seen alot of NY fans saying their fair share of stuff too. I am a phillies fan, do I think we can win the WS – yes, do I think we will win the WS – yes. Do I think it will be easy – no. I know for a fact this is going to be a good series, but don’t just point the finger at the Phillies fans for being over confident, you guys are guilty too and have also trashed us. See you guys for game 2 tonight – GO PHILS!

  4. Jeremy - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:15 AM

    Agreed. It seemed like before game 1 a lot of Yanks fans were acting like it was in the bag, now with 1 game done a lot of Phillies fans seem like it’s in the bag. It’s not either way, it’s one game in a series where it takes 4 to win.

  5. Alex K - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    Ibanez isn’t a high priced free agent? $36 million for 3 years is cheap? Wow. Werth was a #1 draft pick or the O’s. He wasn’t a high priced free agent, but he wasn’t developed by the Phillies either. He had the talent, it just took him a little longer to put it together.

  6. long time fan - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    What many fans outside of the Philly area are unaware of is that this Phillies team is 5-6 years in the making. We know what we got. We got a team not a bunch of individuals. Look at our defense. Look at our line up (with and without the DH). Look what’s on the bench. Scary. Craig mentions starting rotation. Hmmm…that odds. So the Yanks are going to send up their ace right hander tonight. You know what the Phillies got 4 lefty hitters in a row. 5 if they move Werth down one spot. The first six hitters in the line give them an average of 30 homeruns per batter. Yanks in 6? I’m beginning to doubt Rollin’s Phillies in 5.

  7. jc102157 - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Arnie,
    Why do you Yankee fans always have to trash Boston fans or any other fans your beloved Yankees are playing? We in Boston love our team and obviously will root against their opponent, thats what fans do. The game is played on the field and no matter what fans say or do, it ultimately is settled on the field. It is not how you start it is how you finish, and they are not always the same, so let’s all just sit back and enjoy the games. As a Boston fan I am rooting for the Phils and I am sure if the Phils were palying the Red Sox you would be rooting for them too! We should all just enjoy the game of baseball for how it is played and may the best team win, but as fan that is impossible.

  8. Tom J - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:38 AM

    Downsouth, I agree completely. Why is Joe playing Swisher? At this point ANYONE would be an upgrade. Lets see Gardner out there. Swisher and Matsui are killing us w/ men on!

  9. Mike Z - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    This is the 7th postseason series the Phils have been in the since the 2007 season. of those 7 series the Phils have been underdogs 7 times according to Vegas and the media. Of those series the Phils won 5 of them and took home field advantage in the WS last night. This is where the “we get no respect” (rest in peace Rodney) attitude comes from.
    Over the 2008-09 postseason the Phils have played 12 games at home in Citizens Bank Park. Of those 12 games their record is 11-1. The Rockies took game 2 of the NLDS this year in a 5-4 victory. So for the Yanks to take this series in 6 they really need to win tonight and steal 2 on the road. If they don’t pull out a win tonight and have to go to Philly down 2 they must win 2 out of 3 at Philly just to keep the series alive. Not an easy feat when looking at the Phils home postseason record. If the Yanks lose tonight they will have to win all 3 on the road to win it in 6, that includes facing Lee again. So Calcaterra, your Yanks in 6 prediction isnt looking very good at all.

  10. Kevin W - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:48 AM

    All I know is that the Yanks lost in game #1 and all is right with the world :-)

  11. Evan - Oct 29, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    The Mystique NEVER shows up in Game 1.
    The Yankees will get another opportunity to face Lee and they’ll make adjustments.
    Yankees in 7.

  12. ro - Oct 29, 2009 at 12:13 PM

    Well that’s a statement you can’t prove. The facts and the numbers can. Phillies, national league in a crappy division where they should have won 150 games. Struggled at times to wrap up the division and failed to secure best record (Dodgers. If they were a better team, they would have accomplished those things. Oh, the Yankees did just that against: division favorite Red Sox, AL Champ Rays, hard hitting Blue Jays, and always tough to beat despite their record O’s.
    I will give you one thing for sure that the Phillies have – Cliff Lee. After that, their rotation and position players (other than CF and RF) are not better in any way.
    The yanks have been the example of what a “team” is. They played as a team, won as a team, lost as a team. The next 6 games will tell the rest of this story. Until then, don’t make statements you can’t back up.
    This blog post is actually very true. After Cliff Lee, do you really think the Phillies SPs are better? Do you really think CC won’t be on top of his game next time? Let’s not forget, the guy gave up 2 runs (to the same guy) on two mistakes. Do you really think that’s going to be the case next time?
    Looks very much like Andy Pettite in 96. Tale of two pitchers in games 1 and game 5.

  13. jacko'lantern - Oct 29, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    Lifelong Yankee that I am, that was one helluva show Lee put on last night. If Pedro pitches just half as well, it could be — dare I even think it? — a Phillies sweep…

  14. downsouth - Oct 29, 2009 at 12:19 PM

    I think what bothers me the most are all these people who just hate the Yankees because they are the Yankees. You don’t have to like NY, but that doesn’t mean you have to subject us to pointless tantrums. Every time the Yankees lose a game, they all talk as if they have anything important to say. I’ve got one thing to say to them: 26 Championships – how many does your team have?
    Trump card, and there’s nothing you can do about it. end.
    That being said, TRUE Phillies fans – Great team, and good luck the rest of the series. Let’s see how it plays out.

  15. BillPhi - Oct 29, 2009 at 12:39 PM

    Press: Yankees will win. Phils just can’t hang with ‘em.
    Yankees Fan: Yeah! Yankees rule! Yankees will win!
    Phillies Fan: Um, whatever. BTW, we are the defending champs. A little respect, please?
    Yankees Fan: Stop playing the respect card!
    Phillies Fan: We’re just tired of being called underdogs.
    Yankees Fan: Why don’t you believe in yourselves?
    Phillies Fan: We do! Yankees will fall!
    Yankees Fan: Why don’t you cheer your own team instead of trashing the Yanks?
    Phillies Fan: Whatever.

  16. Shannon77 - Oct 29, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    Yankees fans began streaming out of the stadium in the 7th/8th inning…that lack of passion is gross for all the money the Yanks shell out to buy championships. The Phils may not be as showy, hey, we don’t have the clebrities cheesing for the camera, but we have one hell of a lineup. KimG…have you seen the stats on Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez? Cliff Lee pitched beautifully, we knew the Phils had Sabathia’s number.
    Great game…me likey!
    Phils in five.

  17. Stew P - Oct 29, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    I terms of ‘premature jubilation’, regardless of what happens next, from the Phillies perspective, last night was a great game and the fans are right in being happy about it and are right to be optomistic about the expected outcome of the series. Just like life, each day is different than the next. Celebrate yesterday, enjoy today and be hopeful for tomorrow.

  18. Shannon77 - Oct 29, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    Yankees fans began streaming out of the stadium in the 7th/8th inning…that lack of passion is gross for all the money the Yanks shell out to buy championships. The Phils may not be as showy, hey, we don’t have the clebrities cheesing for the camera, but we have one hell of a lineup. KimG…have you seen the stats on Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez? Cliff Lee pitched beautifully, we knew the Phils had Sabathia’s number.
    Great game…me likey!
    Phils in five.

  19. WallaceN - Oct 29, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    Gotta love it. Smart money was always on Phillies.
    Yanks made it much too close against a terrible over-matched Minnesota team, struggled against a good Angels team that couldn’t hit, field, run the bases, pitch, or find a manager for 6 games. And now there up against a team that plays all aspects of the game well, plays as a team, and has lots of confidence from last year. Plus they’re underdogs. Motivation, confidence, last years champs, and they execute when opportunity presents itself. Trouble. I will salute with my Red Sox hat if the Yankees can win it all.
    And Yankee fans, A Rod coming back to form, 0-4 with 3 K’s. Priceless

  20. Jake - Oct 29, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    Of course it isnt 1996. Phillie fans better be happy its 2009. The team we came back on was the Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine Braves!!! You 2009 Phillies have Cliff Lee (who was just plain nasty last night)and thats it!! Pedro is a bum, Hamels is a bum, Happ has lost his luster , and Blanton is a fat bum. You guys have a great lineup- but so do we. Games 2,3, and 4 are gonna hurt a lot if those bums dont show up with something.Game 5 I will give back to the Phils with another Lee start, but again, who else do you have??? Please dont say Lidge because hes a bum as well!!!

  21. Josh in DC - Oct 29, 2009 at 1:21 PM

    What can I say? I don’t believe in the Phillies. I think the Yankees are a better baseball team.
    Why do you care what I think? How does this motivate you?
    – A Red Sox fan, who — I swear — isn’t rooting for the Yankees. Really.

  22. Phillies Guardian Angel - Oct 29, 2009 at 1:32 PM

    Um, no. If you’re trying to imply that the Phillies “bought” their team like the Yankees, that’s not a valid conclusion. Werth and Victorino were cast-offs from other teams that had given up on them or didn’t give them the chance. Ibanez is a veteran who was not overly expensive, as his pedigree was solid but not widely sought after. He WANTED to come to Philly, kind of like Pedro Feliz and Joe Blanton.
    The core of the team is farm-system all the way: Rollins, Utley, Howard, Ruiz, Hamels, Happ.
    The Yankees BUY A-Rod, Teixeira, Sabathia, Burnett, Damon etc., etc. But Jeter is Hall-of-Fame-bound and every bit the quality Yankee. Too bad they can’t get more of players like him from the farm system, they might have a shot again the cohesive WORLD CHAMPION Phillies.

  23. jonny5 - Oct 29, 2009 at 1:37 PM

    I love it!!!! Look at all the passion, look at all the angst!!! This is what it’s all about folks. The trash talk, the anxiety, the pressure. And this is just coming from the fans. LMAO!!!
    Phills in 6!!!!!
    GO Phillies!!!

  24. cfrnyc - Oct 29, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    I applaud the Phils for coming into the Stadium and showing us they mean business. Lee is a stellar pitcher and I think he woke the Yanks up to the real possibility that they could actually lose this series. The Yankees should come out blasting tonight, and if that happens, there will be no stopping the momentum.
    In any case, this is a great matchup and it will not be easy for either club.
    Yanks in 7.

  25. Mike Z - Oct 29, 2009 at 1:45 PM

    Really that it? They are all bums? How about we look at the numbers.
    Regular season:
    Martinez: 5-1 ERA: 3.63 (coming off injury)
    Hamels: 10-11 ERA: 4.32 (coming off a MVP season)
    Happ: 12-4 ERA: 2.93 (Rookie of the year honors)
    Blanton: 12-8 ERA: 4.05
    Lidge: 31 of 42 saves
    Yeah Lidge had a rough regular season that was marred by injury. But he has not blown a save since 2005. He recorded the last out of the 2008 season. And in the 2009 postseason he is 1-0 with 3 saves in as many opportunities with an ERA of 0.00 in the 5 games he has entered.
    So Jake who is the bum? Martinez, Happ and Blanton all have a better regular season ERA then Burnett, Pettitte and Chamberlain. And Hamels ERA is about .16 higher then Pettitte, .29 higher then Burnett.
    It looks like your the bum Jake. Get your facts straight before blogging nonsense.

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