Your New York Yankees: AL East Champs Since 1996

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It would have been nice to do it with a victory at home, but reality doesn’t always provide a storybook ending. No matter. The Yanks clinched their division title for the ninth consecutive year this evening courtesy of a Boston loss to the Twins at Fenway. That’s cause for celebration, even if the result had been a foregone conclusion since the Second Boston Massacre. Certainly there were times, and not too long ago, when we thought such a result would be nary impossible to achieve. The injuries piled up. Matsui. Sheff. Cano. It seemed like everyone on the team, save Jeter, spent time on the DL, and if not on it, close to it. At the All-Star break, the pundits all but handed the division to the Sox. Well. That’s why they play the games. Thanks to superb management from the skipper, an MVP performance from Jeter, terrific fill-in work from Melky Cabrera, savvy personnel moves from Cash, heck, we could go on forever (Damon, Moose, Abreu, Wang, Alex, Jason, Mo….), this team rallied, and now looks to be the class of the American League, if not baseball. Anything can happen in the playoffs, of course, but we look forward to their arrival with optimisim. For right now, though, it’s nice to see the Yanks hang another division banner.

42 comments… add one
  • See you next year.

    Devine September 20, 2006, 10:28 pm
  • C O U N T T E H R I N G Z B I T C H E S !

    That guy again September 20, 2006, 10:41 pm
  • Congrats YFs.
    To “That guy again”. Umm. No ring was won tonight. Not sure if you knew that.

    Quo September 20, 2006, 10:48 pm
  • YES’s Play of the Game was Hunter’s home run that put the Twins ahead for good. LOL!
    Congrats Yankees!

    yankeemonkey September 20, 2006, 10:53 pm
  • Basking in it baby!

    walein September 20, 2006, 10:58 pm
  • Another October collapse in waiting for the Bronx Boys. GO A’s!!!!

    TJ September 20, 2006, 11:28 pm
  • this season has been the most fun (until the sox collapse) to watch in recent memory. at first it seemed like this was going to be the year the yanks didn’t make it. major injuries, shoddy bullpen, shawn chacon…but the “terrible” yankee farm system provided melky cabrera, wang, cano(and to a lesser extent), phillips, nick green. some good trades…plus old man bernie (my personal favorite) stepped up big time. this team looks the most playoff ready since..2001 maybe. who knows if they make it past the first round, but right now, it feels good. and it felt good to watch melky and robbie dancing up and down in the clubhouse.

    m.g. yanks fan September 20, 2006, 11:29 pm
  • …it’s no less satisfying just because it came as the result of a sox loss…that’s just part of the game…certainly the yanks will win another game and the point will be moot…let’s keep the celebration short and subdued….we’ve got bigger, tougher business to attend to…

    dc September 20, 2006, 11:31 pm
  • Congratulations, YF!
    I’m still hoping to see you in the playoffs, but realistically that probably means next year’s playoffs.
    AF

    Ivan X (AngelsFan) September 21, 2006, 12:01 am
  • Joe Torre has won at least 90 games as the Yankee skipper 11 years in a row. That is remarkable.

    attackgerbil September 21, 2006, 1:32 am
  • I honestly doubted this would be the situation after Cano went on the DL. WELL SUPRISE! SUPRISE! (If any of you could see me at the moment I’m swilling an AL East victory toast of Jameson)

    bloodyank78 September 21, 2006, 2:50 am
  • Hey, I thought the concession speech came first! On the other hand, I was in bed at 930, so I grant you YFs your concession-less celebration.
    No matter what, congrats to the Yankees and (at least some of) their fans: there’s no question they were the class of the AL East this year. Now it is time to go forth and get eliminated in the first round!

    SF September 21, 2006, 6:13 am
  • I’m rooting for the Twinkies to win the Central. That way we can whup the Tigers and let the Twins and A’s beat each other up.
    Me no likey Johann in a 5 game series.

    Sam September 21, 2006, 9:51 am
  • Couldn’t agree more, Sam. Johan is murder, and the Twins bullpen is tough as well. Playing in Minnesota sucks, and they’ve given the Yanks trouble this year. The lineup, with Mauer and Mourneau, has pop. To me, they look like the second-best team going into the playoffs. Much better off facing Detroit in round one.

    YF September 21, 2006, 10:14 am
  • quo and sf….enjoyed sparring with you these past few days, and hope there’s no hard feelings…we all love our teams, and that what makes being a fan so much fun…it’s easy to get carried away…the sox are always a formidable opponent, and i don’t expect that to change any time soon…not sure how the yanks will fare in the playoffs…it’s a much different dynamic that the regular season…much less room for error…

    dc September 21, 2006, 11:35 am
  • The guy YFs should be watching for is Cuddyer. Has gotten NO press this year, and I believe is up to 100 or 101 RBIs at this point with nearly 30 HRs. Not a crazy big slugger, but an underrated guy you’ve gotta watch out for, kind of like Crede on the White Sox…

    Quo September 21, 2006, 11:47 am
  • Of course, that being said, I hope the Yankee pitchers opt to pitch around Mauer and Morneau to get to him and that he makes them pay…but who knows what will happen.

    Quo September 21, 2006, 11:48 am
  • The Twins are definitely the team that worries me the most. I think they’re the 2nd best team in the AL, with a legit case for #1, given their pitching… which includes some people the Yanks have never seen, right?
    Have the Yankees faced Boof Bonser? And… some guy (the names escape me)? Carlos Silva should get pounded, but other than that I fear Johan + guys the Yanks have never seen and therefore cannot hit = trouble.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) September 21, 2006, 12:37 pm
  • “The guy YFs should be watching for is Cuddyer.”
    Agreed. He’s on my fantasy team and, despite the numbers you mentioned, he’s STILL flying under the radar. And he’s a utility guy on top of it all.

    lp September 21, 2006, 12:45 pm
  • “I fear Johan + guys the Yanks have never seen and therefore cannot hit = trouble.”
    And we’ll see Santana twice. I hope the Yanks can carry the patience Abreu & Giambi have brought to the lineup over into the playoffs. If we can grind, I like our chances against any staff. But if the Yanks try to go for the 3-run bombs, then we’re in trouble.

    lp September 21, 2006, 12:50 pm
  • …agree lp….it seems that in the past few playoffs, the yanks tend to abandon what got them there…everyone tries to hit homers instead of as you say, “grind” it out…that’s troubling, especially against good pitching…

    dc September 21, 2006, 1:13 pm
  • Congrats to the YFs here on the win … seriously. You’re good people, so I’m glad you’re happy.
    That said, may the Yankees suffer a swift and humiliating first-round defeat.

    Paul SF September 21, 2006, 3:25 pm
  • I understand that the Twins are a balanced ballclub, with the best ace in baseball, and a good bullpen, but that said, I’m getting kind of tired of everyone hyping them up so much. The Yanks beat Johan in 2004, with a more inferior lineup than what they have now. Either way, that’s my $.02.
    One more thing, people on this site, on Deadspin today, and a lot of other blogs are counting on another early Yankee exit from October. There’s going to be a lot of bitter MF’ers this fall if the Yanks take it all. Then all we’ll hear about is payroll, and how King Georgie bought another World Title. Well, for all you haters and doubters out there here’s a big F you.( That wasn’t directed to anyone personally, it was just the culmination of a days worth of bitter, jealous, haters talking shit on how the Yanks will fail again.)

    bloodyank78 September 21, 2006, 3:55 pm
  • You shouldn’t take it personally, BY, especially the stuff on this site. I understand how frustrating it can get when talking heads and national media seem to run like lemmings for a foregone (negative) conclusion about your team, but here of course, we’re Sox fans — we’re gonna be as negative about the Yanks as we possibly can while still maintaining our intellectual honesty. That’s just the rules of the game :-)

    Paul SF September 21, 2006, 4:18 pm
  • Good point Paul. I think I might avoid the blogs once postseason play begins. I get kinda nutty during the playoffs, and that includes being way more thin skinned than usual. That said, I fully expect all the SF’s that frequent this site to be wearing their virtual Twins/A’s/Tigers caps in the oncoming weeks.

    bloodyank78 September 21, 2006, 4:43 pm
  • BY, minor-medium quibble. The Yankees did not beat Johan in 2004. He was 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA over the two games he pitched. The Yankees beat the Twins in 2004.
    Both teams appear better now than they were then.

    Quo September 21, 2006, 4:47 pm
  • Yanks also hit Johan earlier this season if I recall. Though it should be mentioned at that point of the season I think some was out acting as Johan. He was not himself for those games to start the season.

    Seth September 21, 2006, 5:03 pm
  • In the first game in the ’04 ALDS,Yanks got plenty of hits off Johan, but hit into a record number of DPs (like 7 or 8, I believe). In the other Johan game, they made him throw a lot of pitches and knocked him out of the game early, allowing for Ruben Sierra’s heroics. So, while they didn’t exactly “beat” Santana, he wasn’t very dominant either. We shall see what happens this year!

    yankeemonkey September 21, 2006, 5:24 pm
  • In the Yanks one game against Santana this year the Venezuelan hurler had the following line; 6.1 IP/ 8 H/ 4 R/ 4ER/ 5.63 ERA. That’s probably not the Santana the Yanks will see in the playoffs. But if the following lineup is clicking full cylinders when Santana is pitching:
    Damon CF
    Jeter SS
    Abreu RF
    Arod 3B
    Sheff 1B
    Giambi DH
    Matsui LF
    Posada C
    Cano 2B
    I’ll take our chances that they can put up 3 or 4 runs plus a few more against their bullpen. This just goes to show that the Yankee pitchers have to allow less. Pitching is key to postseason success but a high octane offense helps alleviate some of the pressure on the pitching staff.

    bloodyank78 September 21, 2006, 5:32 pm
  • Before any of the “how do you know if Sheff is going to even hit?” comments come, let me just say it’s a educated guess. I have been a Sheff fan since his early Dodger days and have watched him a lot over that time period. He is one of the most pure “see the ball, hit the ball” types that there is. He is an amazingly talented hitter whom I believe will be tuned up by the time October arrives.

    bloodyank78 September 21, 2006, 5:43 pm
  • …can’t blame the sox fans for wishing ill about the yanks chances…i’d be doing the same thing…i’ve watched a lot of post seasons, and the only predictable thing is that it’s unpredictable….santana may pitch a gem or 2, or he may stink up the place and not get out of the 1st inning…yanks may suddenly not hit, like in past post seasons…short series are dangerous…best team [over time] doesn’t always win…it’s the best team for the current week…it’s cool, i’m one yf who thinks the year was a success getting this far, considering that all the experts said we wouldn’t even make the playoffs…

    dc September 21, 2006, 6:03 pm
  • considering that all the experts said we wouldn’t even make the playoffs…
    If I remember correctly, most of ESPN’s “experts” (or whatever you want to call them), picked the Yankees to win the AL East. This line smacks of revisionism and a victimization complex.
    To wit:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/news/story?page=gamenightmlbpredictions
    and
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/news/story?page=mike_mike_mlb_predictions_2006
    and from Tom Verducci:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/tom_verducci/03/28/preseason.predictions/1.html
    So enough with the “everyone wrote us off” BS.

    SF September 21, 2006, 7:31 pm
  • The writing-off wasn’t during the preseason (although I seem to recall the Blue Jays being the trendy pick…). It was toward the midseason when the Yanks were slumping very badly and the talking heads said they’d be left on the outside looking in.

    yankeemonkey September 21, 2006, 7:41 pm
  • It was toward the midseason when the Yanks were slumping very badly and the talking heads said they’d be left on the outside looking in.
    I dunno…I’d love to see some backup on this. Personally, I think I might have been the only one here NOT writing them off: see the posts around the time the big injuries occurred. I don’t know who actually wrote them off, exactly, but questioning the team’s chances at the point of the injuries doesn’t seem unreasonable, either. Those are two different things, I think. Most people expected the Yankees to make moves to improve once they were hit with the injuries, as well, if I remember correctly.

    SF September 21, 2006, 7:44 pm
  • …backup’s not necessary sf…yankeemonkee’s right on with his recollection…i wasn’t talking about preseason predictions, but rather after the yanks hit the skids and had all those key injuries…especially since they were in 2nd place most of the year, and the popular speculation was that the wild card would not come out of the east…things looked bleak for the yanks indeed….and there are other sports outlets/commentators besides espn and si’s verducci [peter gammons, who i love and respect picked the yanks in the preseason too]…and by the way why are you so rough on me?…it’s a PERSECUTION complex i have, and based on your harsh treatment of me, my feelings are validated…

    dc September 21, 2006, 8:10 pm
  • no offense, dc – the clarification that you meant that people wrote them off in-season was important, but not in your original post. You are right that many more people questioned them at that point, but I don’t think a ton of people actually wrote them off. But that might be nitpicking to you and others at this point. I suppose I feel vindicated, unfortunately, since I had to do something of a job talking other YFs off a ledge when those injuries struck. Not that anyone would acknowledge that…

    SF September 21, 2006, 8:33 pm
  • sf:…no offense taken….my “persecution complex” crack was tongue in cheek…and i don’t think you’re nitpicking…my comment did incorrectly imply that “every expert” wrote off the yanks, even though that wasn’t the case, as you correctly pointed out…by the way, i was one of the folks on the ledge….i’m typically not a doubter, but for some reason this year felt different…would my yf colleagues accuse me of blasphemy if i admitted that i don’t have a good feeling about the post season, even though i saw the heads on ‘around the horn’ picking the yanks to go all the way?…ugh…i got a stomach ache…

    dc September 21, 2006, 8:46 pm
  • I also remember a ton of All-Star Break pundits writing off the Yanks and giving the Sox the division… This made me uneasy because at the beginning of the season, they’d written off the Sox (how many times did I hear people say they’d finish third? If nothing else, that’s a reason why the Sox should play their butts off these last 9 games, to make sure those idiots can’t say, “See, I told you so.”).
    Pundits write off Sox = 12-game winning streak, first place by four games.
    Pundits write off Yanks = Sox are screwed.
    It’s just nature.

    Paul SF September 21, 2006, 11:48 pm
  • …you’re right..i never thought of it that way….those bums ARE a bunch of jinxes…i seem to recall that the blue jays were picked second by some at the beginning of the year…can’t believe i’m saying this, but i’d like to see the sox finish strong too, just to prove those dopes wrong…as much as i jab the sox in my posts, they really do have a good team, and deserved a better fate this year…as much as the injuries hurt them, it just seemed at times that things just didn’t bounce their way or something…i can’t explain it…they have some decisions to make in the off season, but i don’t think it’s the major overhaul some folks are talking about…depends on if they can be patient with some of the young talent, what they to with loretta, etc…we’ll see i guess….

    dc September 22, 2006, 9:03 am
  • zocor September 26, 2006, 8:40 pm
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