The 2001 World Series was so much more than just a series of baseball games for the city of New York.
Just months after the worst disaster to ever hit the United States occurred on 9/11, the city was still absolutely reeling. The New York Yankees were providing some comfort and an opportunity for people to get their minds away from it for a few hours a night, as they made their fourth consecutive World Series. The Yankees just weren't playing for themselves, but for the entire city of New York.
The Yankees were down 2-1 in the series to the Arizona Diamondbacks after being dominated in the first two games in Arizona and winning Game 3 behind a strong pitching performance from Roger Clemens.
Even after the win in Game 3, things looked bleak going up against Curt Schilling after he dominated the Yankees in Game 1. He owned them again in Game 4, as Schilling only allowed one run and three hits over seven innings.
El Duque matched him pitch for pitch to keep the Yankees in the game. However, Mike Stanton allowed two runs in the eighth inning and the Yankees' hopes in the game and the World Series looked just about done. They could not afford to go down 3-1 to Arizona still having to face Randy Johnson and Schilling again.
The Yankees had to comeback against Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim, who had a great year in 2001 with a 2.94 ERA, and had a crazy submarine delivery that was hard to pick up without much familiarity.
Kim shut down the Yankees in the bottom of the eighth and the Yankees were up to their final out of the game in the ninth with Tino Martinez at the plate and Paul O'Neill on first. Martinez drilled a fastball deep to right-center for a two-run homer to tie the game up at 3-3. Yankee Stadium absolutely shook, and the people who had been so down by a horrible tragedy had a reason to celebrate.
Mariano Rivera shut down the Diamondbacks in the top of the 10th to give the Yankees a chance to even the series. Kim was still in the game, and when Derek Jeter stepped into the box the clock struck midnight to make it Nov. 1. It was the first time MLB baseball had ever been played in November, which ridiculously seems like a regular occurrence these days.
Jeter was having a terrible World Series up until that point, but as you could probably imagine that did not faze him one bit. He got behind in the count 0-2 against a pitcher who was death to righty hitters. Jeter eventually worked the count back to 3-2 and on the ninth pitch of the at-bat he hit a home run that just cleared the short porch in right field to give the Yankees the 4-3 victory.
The very next night the Yankees were down to their last outs and down two runs again against Kim and Scott Brosius hit the home run to tie the game and the Yankees won it in the 12th inning. This was when the Yankee mystique was at its highest. They had just come back from the absolute dead twice to take a 3-2 series lead. The 2001 World Series seemed like the Yankees' destiny, but unfortunately we know it wasn't.
Even though the Yankees didn't win the 2001 World Series, they were definitely a team New York could be proud of during an unbelievably bad time. The Yankees showed the city no matter how bad you may have it right now that you can never ever give up.