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New York Yankees: Can the Bombers Win World Series Again?

Almost a year ago, September 13, Joe Girardi was a ticked off manager.  Even though the Yankees had the best record in the game (92-52) and a seven-game lead in the AL East over the Boston Red Sox, Girardi had been tossed out of a close game against the Orioles for arguing balls and strikes.  

The bases were loaded in the bottom of the fourth with A-Rod at the plate.  It was the third game of a three-game series against the O’s and the Yankees were on the verge of being swept at home, having lost the first two by a combined score of 17-7.  Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie was on the mound in a 4-4 game and struck out Rodriguez on a 2-2 pitch that did appear to be outside.

Girardi came out to argue and was thrown out of the game.  He got his money’s worth as he stood on the field and argued with umpire Marty Foster for quite a bit of time.  A-Rod was chirping from the bench and was ejected as well.  The fans applauded as Girardi gave the hand motion to eject Foster and the crew chief, Wally Bell, had to step in between them at one point.  

The Bronx Bombers would go on to score eight in the eighth and win the game 13-3.  Sure, Girardi had been thrown out, but at least the Yankees were able to avoid the sweep at the hands of the O’s.

The Yankees would finish the month of September with a 19-9 record (.679), which was their second-best record in a month behind their 21-7 August (.750).  The Yankees went 11-7 to close out the regular season.  They would go on to win their 27th Championship against the Phillies, with Hideki Matsui playing as if he was Babe Ruth reincarnated.  

Fast forward a year and it would be an understatement to say the Yankees are in trouble heading into the postseason.  A-Rod, Andy Pettitte, Nick Swisher, and countless other players have dealt with injury problems through different parts of the season, and recently their play has been downright ugly.  

They have scored significantly less runs (829-763) than last season and are underperforming in the second half, with a 31-25 record (.553), which is off their first half pace of 56-32 (.636).  They were a Nick Swisher home run from being swept at home by Buck Showalter’s O’s (who, by the way, has them playing very well), were swept by the Rangers, and lost the first game of a very important AL East series against the Tampa Bay Rays.  They have tied up the series with a win and must win it tomorrow in order to take a semi-comfortable lead in the AL East.  

There is no doubt that this is a very talented team and on paper the best in baseball.  However, they have to start playing like it or they will be kicked to the curb by the Rangers or even the Twins very early in the postseason.  

So, that brings me to the biggest question for Yankee fans and even the Yankee haters: Does this team have it in them to win it all again? 

Here are my top five reasons why and possibly why not, followed up by my answer at the end:

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Scott Brosius Interview: New York Yankees’ Blast from the Past

Scott Brosius, ’98 World Series MVP, has been out of baseball since 2001.  The three-time World Series winner now coaches baseball at his alma mater in Oregon, Linfield College, where he has put together an impressive resume.  

Over his first three seasons at the helm, Brosius compiled an outstanding 100-38 (.724) record.  The Wildcats have won two Northwest Conference Championships and two regional titles.  Linfield finished fifth in the NCAA championship tournament in 2008 and third last season.  

Brosius may have stepped away from the game nine years ago, but his big moments still remain high in Yankee lore.  On Friday (9/3/10), Scott came onto my sports radio show at Catholic University (Sports Talk with Justin and Pat) for an interview.  

Here are the top 10 quotes from that interview with the audio file at the end.  Enjoy! 

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Mariners Legend Calls It a Career: My Take On Ken Griffey Jr’s Retirement

I wrote this for my blog the day that The Kid retired.  I thought I’d bring it over here and see what you all thought of it. 


I wrote on May 13 that Ken Griffey, Jr should retire. His numbers were way down (.184 AVG, no HRs, and just seven RBIs), and he had accomplished everything he’d needed to over such a legendary career. 

The one thing missing from his resume was a trip to the World Series, but his time ran out on that goal. The Mariners are not headed there any time soon.

Well, less than a month since I wrote that post, Griffey has decided to call it quits. His manager, Don Wakamatsu, made the announcement today before the Mariners faced the Twins. 

Griffey released a statement, which said, “While I feel I am still able to make a contribution on the field and nobody in the Mariners front office has asked me to retire, I told the Mariners when I met with them prior to the 2009 season and was invited back that I will never allow myself to become a distraction.”

He continued by stating, “I feel that without enough occasional starts to be sharper coming off the bench, my continued presence as a player would be an unfair distraction to my teammates and their success as a team is what the ultimate goal should be.”

In his debut on April 3, 1989, the Kid went 1-3 and scored a run in a 3-2 loss to the Athletics. Dave Stewart was the winning pitcher, Mark Langston received the loss, and Dennis Eckersley pitched 1 1/3 innings for the save. The only person from that game still playing today is White Sox shortstop Omar Vizquel.

The first of Griffey’s 630 Home Runs came on April 10 against Chicago White Sox righthander Eric King.

His greatest season came in 1997, when Ken won the MVP by blasting 56 HRs, knocking in 147 RBIs, and producing a line of .304/.382/.646/1.028. 

I have never known baseball without Ken Griffey, Jr. He has been a class act throughout his career and will retire as one of the greatest to have ever played the game. 

A good thing to note: Of the top 10 Home Run hitters of all-time, four players have either admitted or been outed as steroid users (Bonds, Sosa, A-Rod, McGwire). The rest of the top 10 include Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Griffey, Robinson, and Killebrew.  

I will always remember Griffey as the man who refused to cheat.

While McGwire, Bonds, and Sosa were smashing Home Runs left and right, as well as breaking hallowed records and moving up the all-time Home Run list, Griffey mostly battled injuies. 

I cannot assure you that Griffey did not take steroids or PEDs, but with the low amount of games he played, it is unlikely.  From 1998 (the year of McGwire and Sosa) to 2009 (his final ‘full’ season), he played in an average of 119 games.

He could have taken steroids/PEDs and probably gotten back on the field quicker, but he was a better man than that. It is a shame that he ended at just 630 homers and fifth on the All-Time home run list. It would have been nice to see him at the top, instead of the Steroid Era ringleader, Barry Bonds. 

Even though he had single season home run totals of 56 (twice), 49, 48, 45, and 40 (twice), Griffey never led the league in home runs. McGwire led the league in homers in ’96, ’97, ’98, and ’99 (as well as in ’87), the same years when Griffey had his four highest home run totals. 

Thank you, Ken for playing the game the right way. 

You will be forever known as the best player of the Steroid Era. You, unlike many others of your generation, decided to play baseball the old fashioned way: The Right Way.

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