Open thread: Looking back at April 18, 2005

The 2005 Yankees - Courtesy of the NYT

The 2005 Yankees – Courtesy of the NYT

As some of you know, I like to look for games from previous years to write about. Sometimes they’re significant like playoff games and sometimes they’re just your average, run of the mill, regular season games. But when I looked up April 18 and went back to 2005, I was actually giddy at what I saw because the Yankees completed a feat so amazing in that particular game that when it was happening live, I kept saying to myself, “Is this actually happening?” And even more amazing is that they would actually repeat that same exact feat just over two months later against the same team.

Okay, enough with the suspense.

Going into the game on the evening of April 18, 2005, the New York Yankees found themselves in fourth place with a 5-8 record. Right behind them were their opponents for the night, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who were 4-9.…

Read more

IIATMS Top Moment #7: Derek Jeter’s 3000th Hit

Corutesy: Rober Deutsch USA Today

Corutesy: Rober Deutsch USA Today

It’s no secret that Derek Jeter had a certain flare for the dramatic during his Yankees career (it feels so weird to write about Jeter in past tense now). So why would his much hyped 3,000th hit be any different?

Jeter needed two hits going into the July 9, 2011 game against the Rays to get his 3,000th hit. Jeter was struggling throughout much of the 2011 season and was hitting under .270. It was really the first time he actually started to look like his age.

David Price was the Rays’ pitcher that day and even though he’s a lefty it was hard to see Jeter doing much against his 97 MPH fastball at his age. Logic would dictate that if Jeter would have success against Price it would be with his patented inside out swing with singles to right field.

After getting a single to left in the first inning to put him one away, Jeter faced Price again in the third inning and worked the count to 3-2.…

Read more

IIATMS Top Moment #8: The Jeffrey Maier Home Run

Jeffrey Mair HR 1996

Screenshot courtesy of MLB.com

October 9, 1996.  Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.  New York Yankees versus Baltimore Orioles.  Every dynasty has to start somewhere.  The infamous play in the bottom of the 8th inning of this game may have been the moment that started the last great Yankee dynasty.

The game was a close one, with the Yankees trailing 4-3 heading into the bottom of the 8th.  They had gotten off to a quick lead with 1 run in each of the first 2 innings, but the Orioles scored runs in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th to take a 2-run lead into the final third of the game.  The Yankees chipped away with a run in the 7th and had baby-faced Rookie of the Year Derek Jeter leading off the bottom of the 8th against fireballer Armando Benitez.

Benitez, in what would become his calling card fashion, hurled a first-pitch fastball right down the middle of the plate to start the at-bat.  …

Read more

IIATMS Top Moments #9: The Tino Martinez Grand Slam

By the start of the 1998 World Series, the animus of New York Yankee fans to Tino Martinez for replacing Don Mattingly was long gone. A title in 1996 and Martinez’s second place finish for the AL MVP in 1997 had pretty much taken care of those things. The only real problem remaining for Yankee fans was that Tino Martinez had not come through in the post season. And he was hearing about it.

It did not help that he had just come off of a tough two for nineteen 1998 ALCS against the Indians with a 30% strikeout rate. That dismal series for the Yankee first baseman brought his accumulative triple slash line of .188/.292/.291 to his Yankee post season resume. The .291 slugging percentage was particularly galling considering the 97 homers Martinez had hit for the Yankees during the last three regular seasons.

A lot of great hitters have bad post season performances. Mike Trout is the latest. People often forget the randomness of post season numbers on top of the fact that nearly all teams make it to the post season because they have great pitching.…

Read more

IIATMS Top Moment #10: Mo’s Final Appearance

Mo YS3 Goodbye

The G.O.A.T. says his goodbyes. Courtesy of the AP

The 2013 season was a forgettable one for the Yankees and their fans.  Terrible injury luck, age-related regression across the older core, and an incredibly flawed payroll management/roster construction plan combined to keep the Yanks hovering at or just above mediocrity as they rolled out a line of replacement-level garbage to fill in for the lost regulars.

One of the biggest storylines of the 2013 season was that it would be Mariano Rivera‘s farewell season.  After missing most of 2012 due to a freak knee injury, Mo came back in 2013 determined to go out on his terms.  He announced those terms before the start of the season, telling Yankee fans that it would be his last and setting the stage for what everyone knew would be a very emotional and memorable farewell moment.

Before that could happen, however, the Yankees had to slog through their disappointing season, the first one in which they did not make the playoffs in almost 20 years.  …

Read more

The IIATMS Top 20 Countdown Recap: Moments 20-14

If you’re any kind of regular reader of this site, I assume you’re a Yankee fan.  If you do consider yourself a Yankee fan, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be reading and following our ongoing IIATMS Top 20 Moments countdown.  The era covered is the most recent one, the Jeter years of 1996-2014, so the memories are fresher for all of us than they might be for moments from further back.  That said, I’ve picked up on some different things that I didn’t notice at the time in reading and writing these posts, because I was in my adolescent and early-to-mid teen years for most of the moments.  In that respect, the countdown has been a way for me to refresh and update my memories and that’s pretty cool.

Before we get back into the countdown tomorrow, I’d like to give everybody a chance to catch up on any and all of the first 7 moments that we’ve covered.  Here, in order, are moments 20-14:

20) Roger Clemens Throws a Bat at Mike Piazza in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series – Stacey

19) Jason Giambi’s Walk-Off Grand Slam vs.

Read more

IIATMS Top Moment #15: Luis Sojo’s Base Hit (And The Rest of The 9th Inning In Game 5 Of The Subway Series)

Sojo Hit Game 5

I can’t believe this is the best photo that exists of that play. Couresy of The Star-Ledger

What made moment #16 so great was how it was a major contribution by an unexpected source.  Moments like that in the World Series always stand the test of time, and William did a brilliant job rehashing everything that went into making that moment happen yesterday.  The next moment on the IIATMS Top 20 countdown is built on a similar framework- World Series, huge hit, unexpected player getting the hit, Yankees win in large part thanks to said hit.  But what makes moment #15 so great, for me at least, is how it’s not necessarily the one hit that stands out but the collection of little things that happened in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the 2000 World Series and how they happened.

Quick resetting of the stage.  It was a 2-2 game heading to the top of the 9th.  The Mets had scored 2 unearned runs off Andy Pettitte in the bottom of the 2nd to take a slim lead through most of the first two-thirds of the game.  …

Read more

IIATMS Top Moment #16: Joe Girardi’s Triple

Many who lived through and experienced the “Dynasty” and the “Core Four” consider 1996 the sweetest memory of them all. After all, it was the first World Series title after a long drought and it did not even seem possible after the first two games of the 1996 World Series. There were so many heroes of that World Series and during the course of these “Top Moments” posts, many of them will be recounted. This “moment” concerns the deciding Game Six of that Series and a dagger placed in the hearts of Atlanta Braves fans by catcher, Joe Girardi.

We hear a lot of the Core Four. To me, at least, it should have been a Core Five or Core Six to include Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill. But the term does include catcher, Jorge Posada. And the one misnomer about his inclusion (not to belittle his accomplishments) is that he was not really a part of the 1996 and 1997 story.…

Read more

IIATMS Top Moment #18: “Get your tokens ready!”

A lot of Yankee fans are guilty of looking back at the most recent dynasty years with pinstriped glasses on which means they tend to forget the bad and only remember the good. And I’ll admit, I’m guilty of this as well at times.

For instance, the 2000 Yankees, the final championship group of the aforementioned dynasty, actually lost 14 out of the last 18 games of the regular season and that stupor included an ugly seven-game losing streak to end the season. To say that some weren’t confident in their ability to snap out of it in time for the playoffs was an understatement. It was actually kind of scary to watch unfold in real time and during one particularly awful three game stretch – two against Tampa Bay and one against Baltimore – the Yankees lost 11-1, 11-3 and 13-2. And who started two of those games? Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens.

Why do I bring this up?…

Read more