Photo:Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013
Ten Years ago, the New York Yankees saw Alfonso Soriano club 38 home runs and steal 35 bases while playing second base. Shortstop Derek Jeter hit .324 to finish a mere two points away from winning the batting title. Mariano Rivera saved 40 games with a 1.66 ERA. And Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui joined the team and proceeded to drive in a hundred runs. The Yankees had won four titles in the previous seven years, and once again had baseballs's best regular season record. Pretty good, but in hindsight we know that it was the end of an era, as the team lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series, four games to three, and Soriano was traded to the Texas Rangers in a deal that brought Alex Rodriguez to New York. Oof.
Still, you could have been forgiven for feeling a sense nostalgia while watching yesterday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Matsui signed a minor league contract with the team so he could retire as a Yankee. Derek Jeter returned from the DL to hit a home run on the first pitch he saw. The ageless Mariano Rivera got the win. And the recently returned Alfonso Soriano went four for five, and hit the walk-off RBI to end the game. As Yogi Berra would say, it was like deja vu all over again.
Of course, one victory doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. The Yankees sit in fourth place in the AL East, despite a respectable 55-50 record. Their DL this year has looked like an All-Star team from 2009, with Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Kevin Youkilis, and Travis Hafner all missing significant chunks of the season. And that's before we even get to A-Rod, who has yet to play this year, and could conceivably be suspended for the rest of the season. Maybe all of next season too. And maybe, just maybe, for life.
But for one day, at least, it seemed like old times.
Also check out Falcons Superstar Tony Gonzalez Laces 'Em Up One More Time and New England Sports Show Devolves Into Screaming Cat Fight.