Best Yankee Moments from the 2000’s

As Derek Jeter plays his last few months for the Yankees, it makes me think of the glory days. When it was an exciting time to be a New York fan. When the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry actually meant something. When the question at the beginning of the season wasn’t if the Yankees were going to make the playoffs, it was who they were going to beat in the World Series. So this is my list for the top ten Yankee moments from the 2000’s decade.
10. Subway Series: A lot of you might argue that this is too far down on the list, but the 2000 Yankees team was perhaps better lucky than good. If the most remembered moment of that series involves Roger Clemens throwing the barrel of a bat at Mike Piazza, then, well, it’s probably not a very good World Series.
9: Jeter Flies into Stands: This one moment perhaps sums up what Derek Jeter means to the Yankees. During a regular season game in 2004, Derek Jeter attempted to catch a foul ball, and in doing so ended up diving into the stands along the third base line. He emerged bruised and bloody but never the worse for wear; the Yankees went on to win the game in extra innings.
8: Brawls With Boston: The first brawl with Boston was in game 3 of the 2003 ALCS. Pitcher Pedro Martinez triggered fireworks when he drilled New York outfielder Karim Garcia. Shortly thereafter, Yankees starter Roger Clemens tossed a fastball that soared around Manny Ramirez’s head. At that point, Ramirez started walking towards Clemens pointing his bat right at the Rocket. The antics sparked a big brawl between the two storied franchises. What people think of the most about that brawl is when 72 year old Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer charged Pedro Martinez who subsequently tossed him onto the ground. The second brawl happened the next season in the summer of 2004. Newest Yankee Alex Rodriguez, who was hated by the entire New England region, for turning down the Sox for the Yankees in the offseason, was hit by the pitch by Bronson Arroyo. Rodriguez who was jawing off to Arroyo, then was met by Jason Varitek, and the two players started a bench clearing fight. It’s moments like these that the fans miss. This is when these two teams were probably the best two organizations in the MLB, and every game felt like a playoff game.
7:Clemens 300th win: On June 13th, 2003, Roger Clemens Roger Clemens pulled off perhaps the rarest dual-milestone game in baseball history: Win No. 300 and strikeout No. 4,000 — on the same day. Up to that point, Clemens was the first pitcher in 13 years to win his 300th game. Most people look down on Clemens due to all the scandals nowadays, however, in my opinion, I think he’s the greatest pitcher who ever lived.
6: The Flip: When people think of Jeter, they usually think of three plays. This is one of them. Down two games to nothing in the 2001 ALDS against the Athletics, and facing elimination, Jeter made one of the most spectacular plays in baseball history. Two outs, bottom of the seventh, Mike Mussina protecting a 1-0 lead, Jeremy Giambi, the potential tying run on first, and Terrence Long at the plate. Long rips a pitch down the right field line, third base coach telling Giambi to keep going all the way home. Right fielder Shane Spencer grabs the ball, whirls, and fires the ball toward home plate. As Giambi rumbles home, the throw misses the cut off man. Suddenly, out of nowhere appears Jeter, running towards toward the first base line. Jeter scoops up the ball on a bounce with two hands, flips it to catcher Jorge Posada who tags out Giambi just in time. The play saved the lead, and ultimately the Yankees season, as they would rally to win that series, and the ALCS, advancing to their 4th consecutive world series.
5: 2001 World Series Game 4: Just weeks after the series with Oakland, the Yankees found themselves in game 4 of the world series, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. What made the situation so special, was the timing. The Yankees were playing in a city still reeling from the attacks of 9/11. Down two games to one, and down to their last out, Tino Martinez came to the plate with a runner on base. Martinez then smacked a game tying home run to center field, sending Yankee Stadium into a frenzy. Several innings later, the clock struck midnight, sending baseball into November for the first time in history. That’s when Jeter stepped to the plate and drilled a game winning home run into right field, tying the series at two games apiece.
4: Game 5: What could possibly top that dramatic game 4? By the exact same situation repeating itself the next night. For the second straight night the Yankees were down to their last out and hit a home run to tie the game. This time it was Scott Brosius who sent Yankee Stadium into a complete frenzy and Byung-Hyun Kim to therapy after giving up all three home runs to the Yankees. The Yankees went on to win the game in extra innings on a base hit by Alfonso Soriano.
3: Goodbye to the Stadium: In 2008, the Yankees and their fans waved goodbye to Yankee Stadium, their home since 1923. The House That Ruth Built, saw the Yankees go to the world series 39 times, and be crowned champions 26 times.
2: #27: The Yankees won two World Series titles in the decade, and they actually won more games when they missed the playoffs in 2008 than they won in the 2000 season. In 2009 the Yankees were the best team in baseball, played like it, and had a postseason to remember. Whether it was Alex Rodriguez carrying the line up on his back through the ALDS and ALCS, Matsui’s rampage in the clincher or Mariano Rivera simply playing G-d, the 2009 World Series may very well be the most satisfying World Series for Yankees fans since the 1996 team upset the defending Atlanta Braves.
1: 2003 ALCS Game 7: Why is this moment number one and not a word series championship: Because it was against the Red Sox, in old Yankee Stadium, Roger Clemens against Pedro Martinez, for the American League pennant. Bottom of the eighth, Sox up 5-2, Pedro is dealing, and the Yankees are five outs away from being eliminated. That’s when the ghosts arrived. Jeter doubled to right field. Bernie Williams drove him home with a single, 5-3. Red Sox manager Grady Little sticks with Martinez. Next batter is Hideki Matsui, who hits a liner to right field, going into the stands. With Matsui on second, and Williams on third, and down two outs, Jorge Posada stepped to plate. Posada hit a bloop single into centerfield, scoring both runners and tying the game. Three scoreless innings later, Aaron Boone came up in the bottom of the eleventh. One swing of the bat, sent the Yankees to another world series, and sent the Red Sox home.


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