by Dakota Sagnelli
As Mark Texieira caught the ball on first base, he had to look down into his glove to make sure the ball was still there before he realized what had just happened; that the Yankees had won their 27th World Series against the 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies team. After an eight-year drought without a World Series title, this championship was that much sweeter for the team and their fans.
“I can’t be happier than I am right now with this special team that we have,” Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera said, “We worked hard for this one. It’s a beautiful thing.”
The New York Yankees won the series 4-2, but entering the sixth game, sports analysts figured that they would lose, forcing a seventh game in the series. However, with Andy Pettite on the hill, there was no beating the Bronx Bombers.
Only two days after the elusive 27th championship victory, the Yankees held their ticker-tape parade in the “Canyon of Heroes” in Manhattan, New York.
Before the season began, the New York Yankees dished out $423.5 million dollars to acquire the league’s top three free agents: A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Mark Texieira, in hope that they could lead the team to their 27th title. Also, second-year Yankee manager, Joe Girardi was on the brink of being fired since the Yankee team did not even qualify for the playoffs last year. Baseball’s best team had a lot riding on its 2009 season, as the Philadelphia Phillies swore to do everything in their power to stop the Yankees from winning the series.
As Game One of the series began, Phillies’ ace Cliff Lee faced off against the Yankee star CC Sabathia. Although the Yankees played the first game in their home stadium, Cliff Lee proved untouchable against the powerful Yankee lineup. Lee held the Yankees to only one run the entire game, as the Phillies went on to win the first game 6-1, taking the series lead 1-0.
Anxiety began to build within Yankee Stadium after the Yankees lost this first game, but the next day A.J. Burnett took the ball against old time foe, Pedro Martinez. Both pitchers had control of the game for six innings each, but in the end the Yankees won the game 3-1, evening the series up at 1-1.
In Game Three, veteran Andy Pettitte made his first start of the World Series against 2009 World Series hero, Phillies’ Cole Hamels. Neither pitcher showed dominance as Cliff Lee or A.J. Burnett did in the early part of the series. This was truly the first game where the bats came alive, with a total of thirteen runs tallied. The Yankees had the upper-edge after nine innings, claiming victory 8-5.
Game Four seemed to be nearly identical to Game Three, as both teams continued to flash some power. For the second game in a row over ten runs were scored, but the Yankees snuck by winning 7-4, with middle-reliever Joba Chamberlain getting the win.
After three straight wins by the Yankees since losing the first game of the series, the Phillies showed signs of life once again, coming out on top 8-6 in the fifth game.
But then, the Yankees wasted their opportunity to wrap up the series in Game Five. However, in the sixth game they had a chance to win the series once again. For Game Six, nearly forty-year-old Andy Pettitte returned once again to pitch on a short three day’s rest. Pedro Martinez matched up against Pettitte for he was a “Yankee killer” in the past **. Even though he did not have the velocity he once had, Pedro still was able to pinpoint his spots perfectly. However, Pedro continued to have trouble keeping the Yankee lineup down. The Yankees pulled ahead early, with Hideki Matsui bombing his third of the World Series. Following his lead, the Bombers scored six more, for a final score of 7-3.
With this 7-3 win, the Yankees claimed the title of 2009 World Series Champions four games to two. Despite the team effort, the championship could not have been possible without Matsui who hit .615 in the series, the third-highest in World Series history.
Since Matsui had the highest average amongst any player on either team, he received the honor of being named the 2009 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP). With that award, Matsui made two records: he became the first Japanese- born player to be named the World Series MVP, as well as being the first full-time designated hitter to win the award.
“My first and foremost goal when I joined the Yankees was to win the World Championship,” Matsui said, “Certainly, it’s been a long road and a very difficult journey. I’m just happy that after all these years, we were able to win and reach the goal that I had come here for.”
Fans everywhere were happy for the success not only of their beloved Yankees, but also for Matsui’s personal achievements. “Ever since I was a little kid Hideki Matsui was always my favorite, I’ve watched him play for such a long time, and it’s great to watch him win the World Series MVP,” RFH student, Sarah Delaney stated.
**After this championship, the Yankees now have to start preparing for next year, since back-to-back championships would be satisfying after an eight-year drought.
Looking ahead to next season, Yankees fan Mark Piersall said, “There’s no reason why we can’t win again next year, who’s to stop us?”
** Pedro is known as a “Yankee Killer” because every time he took the pitched in the past while he was with the Boston Red Sox, it seemed as if the Yankees would fall to opposing team
By: Dakota Sagnelli