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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. philswinin5 - Oct 29, 2009 at 3:59 PM

    As they say in Austrailia — Or atleast on the morning radio show here in Philly.
    “A championship team will always beat a team of champions.”
    Go Phillies

  2. Joe - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    Maybe it wasn’t exactly a nerve, Ladyfan. Please, keep your hands away from his loin cloth.

  3. Mike Z - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    “I know. Their rotation isn’t as good as the 96 Braves’ was.”
    Gotta agree with you there. Dont see many 24 game winning aces out there anymore. And to have 2 15 game winners behind him makes for a tough rotation to beat.
    On the offensive side I think these Phils got the edge on the ’96 Braves. 4 players hitting 30+ HR’s and 90+ RBI’s on a team does not come along very often.

  4. Felix - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:04 PM

    Everyone just needs to chill. As a yanke fan I hate that they loose any game, but really Cliff Lee was just a STUD! So tip your hat to him. Philly fans just like NY fans all think their team will win and no one listens to any reasonable rationale. I see it and have seen it as the series starts really in game 2. I say that due largely in part of Pedro being 38 and not the pedro of 32. Pedro pitching in 50 degree weather and not 93 degree weather. Yes hes 5-1, or 5-2 this year but he is not Cliff Lee and what Lee did last night was attack the hitters constantly getting 0-2 counts. Todays pedro is a nibbler trying to get hitters to get themselves out by swinging at bad balls. I say by the 3rd inning we will know how this game is going to go. Not that AJ is any better, to me hes a mental midget. But if he is anything of what he can be, his stuff is much better than a 38 year old Pedro who occasionaly reaches 92 MPH in warm weather. But then again what the you know what do I know, this is all conjecture…..

  5. Joe - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    But, Felix, don’t you want the Yanks “loose” for any game? Or did you mean to write ‘lose.?’ And, was Lee “constantly” or ‘consistently’ getting batters into an 0/2 count?

  6. Ladyfan - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    LOL! as IF Joe, as IF!

  7. Joe - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:11 PM

    Good sense of humor, Ladyfan; appreciate that you took it in the fun spirit in which it was written.

  8. Richie - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    Hey Joe, this is a sports blog not a book report. Stop correcting peoples mistakes, or is that all you Philly fans have left to comment on. Yes it is “Funny” talking about Pedro you freak, and if you think Pedro is going to out pitch Burnett you must be smokin something. Can i have some?

  9. mick-7-1961 - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:15 PM

    No need to worry…NY will turn it around tonight. I don’t like the fact that they lost home-field advantage, but I don’t see another ‘Cliff Lee’ like game moment in this series.
    Kudos to Chase Utley but, Chase? You’re not getting anymore right down the middle, two-strike pitches.

  10. Richie - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    Yes only two runs for your fightin Phillies!

  11. Ladyfan - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:21 PM

    Thank goodness for someone else with a sense of humor, this was getting WAY too serious! Good luck tonight Joe . . . .it’s going to be a great game to watch!

  12. Joe - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:22 PM

    Whoa, Rich. If I were, yes you could, but I’m not, so your SOL. BTW, I’m not a Philly fan (in fact I root for a small market AL team), but, yes, I’d like to see the Phils win. But, I’m not exactly sweating bullets about it.
    BTW, the Yanks have had problems this year with junk ballers. Witness last night; the Yank batters had problems with Lee’s curveball and the location of his FB. If Pedro’s location is on tonight, it’ll be a closer game than is expected by you Yankee imperialists.
    Sorry, Richie, but being on a sports blog is no excuse to write as though you learned English as a second language. Hey, you’re a Yank fan, so you should strive to achieve excellence in all of your endeavors.

  13. Joe - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:25 PM

    You’re right, Mick-7-1961; tonight, Chase will gett’em down the middle with one strike.

  14. comeonman - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:26 PM

    Whose your daddy is pitchin, the fans will be electric, this will energize the yankee bats,last night the guy’s looked really flat.
    Pedro is not pitching in LA TONIGHT can he deal with the temp, he is older and this will be a problem.Tex,Cano,Swish, A-Rod have to show up and AJ HAS TO HAVE A LIGHTS OUT PERFORMANCE.

  15. comeonman - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    Whose your daddy is pitchin, the fans will be electric, this will energize the yankee bats,last night the guy’s looked really flat.
    Pedro is not pitching in LA TONIGHT can he deal with the temp, he is older and this will be a problem.Tex,Cano,Swish, A-Rod have to show up and AJ HAS TO HAVE A LIGHTS OUT PERFORMANCE.

  16. YankEm - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:30 PM


  17. jonny5 - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:31 PM

    The Phills will win again tonight because I’ll be wearing my Lucky Utley Jersey tonight. It still has beer stains from the 2008 play off run and WS. For real….. every time I wear it, the phillies win….
    I just have to say, Half of you seem mentally challenged. A quarter of you seem insane. And the other quarter seem well, both.

  18. Joe - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:32 PM

    It’s okay, comeonman, I know that you meant to write ‘who’s your daddy’, as in, who is your daddy. But, instead your wrote something that asks of whom is Pedro the daddy.
    Look, intellect (or common sense or financial fundamentals, for that matter) isn’t (and aren’t) an attribute (or attributes) often associated with Yankee Imperialist fans, so, don’t worry, be happy. Apparently, last night’s first WS game in the new stadium with Ms. Ocommie being part of the first pitch ceremony wasn’t enough to electrify the Yank fans.
    So, you Yank fans fall back on the return of Pedro being the catalyst for a Yank victory. Ummmm? What does this say about Yankee fans’ confidence in the Yanks?

  19. Felix - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    Joe, lose is what I meant. Thank you for the correction. And he was consistently getting 0-2 counts on the hitters. As you know once a hitter gets to 0-2 he has to expand his zone and swing at what he thinks might be close to a strike even if it is a pitch he doesnt like. Now I wil say that on some calls they were borderline and CC did not get those calls, especially on the first homerun at bat by Utley, but thats baseball. CC pitched good but was not consistently in the strike zone as Lee, so he didnt benefit from borderline calls.

  20. Jimmy2x - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    As a Phils fan, I certainly do not HATE the Yankees. Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and the Mick were certainly among the greatest to ever play the game – and I’m old enough to remember Mantle well. Fortunately, they are not on the Yankees we are facing now. The Series is a long way from over, but taking the 1st game certainly helps out.

  21. Joe - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    Well, that’s 100% of the bloggers on this site, jonny5. So, 100% would include you. Therefore, you place yourself in which quarter or half?

  22. John - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:42 PM


  23. Joe - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    You’re right, Felix. It’s one reason that umps should have a handheld for strikes/balls, so they immediately see what the fans see on the pitch location replays. I’m tired of hearing announcers say, ‘Well, that’s how he’s been calling ’em all game’ or some similar dribble to excuse poor strike/ball calling.
    While MLB is at it, it should require all players to wear the uniform, as, well, a uniform. All uniforms should be worn as ARod wears his; that is, stirrups pulled up to just below the knee and the pants and jersey form-fitting. Then, we’d see far fewer HBP when all that was hit was a flapping jersey or flapping pant leg. During the last series in Detroit between the Twins and Tiger (of course before the play-in game) the Twins announcer, Bert Blyleven showed a couple of re-plays of Inge’s oversized 3x jersey flapping into the strike zone as he swung at a pitch and that it hung almost even with the inside part of the plate before he even swung.

  24. jonny5 - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    Oh, i’m in the Insane quarter. I should have put that out front (I will have my lucky Jersey on tonight). I just had to say it. People are rationalizing why a team will win before it happens. I do it too, but I don’t become irate about it. Bringing up past teams that no longer exist is silly. Bringing up how many rings a team has pulled in… Silly too. It’s all about two great teams going head to head for the championship. Although I’m a Phillies fan, there is no other team I’d rather see beat my team than the Yankees. They are that good. And I think the Yankees would rather go down to the reigning world champs than any other NL team as well. This is the perfect match up. Win or lose. GO PHILLS!!!

  25. mick-7-1961 - Oct 29, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    I actually like last year and this year’s Philly’s team.
    Some interesting facts;
    They are the first professional sport’s team to lose 10,000 games (lost they’re 10,000th in 2007). Their owner was the first major league baseball player…they’re the oldest, continous one-name, one-city franchise team in all of pro sports and if they win the series, they’ll be the first NL team to repeat in over 30 years ( I believe it was the ’75-76 Reds).
    In any case and regardless:
    GO YANKEES!!!!

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