A week ago tonight, the Yankees beat the Phillies 7-3 to win their 27th World Series Championship and their first since beating the Mets four games to one back in 2000. For fans of most teams, a nine year gap between championships would not be seen as too big a deal. But, as a Yankee fan who came of age around the turn of the century, I’ve been quite spoiled and nine years did seem like a long time.
Back in October 2000, when the Yankees beat the Mets, I was only an eighth grader. I knew I liked baseball and I knew I liked the Yankees; I had since my first trip to the Stadium in 1995 when the Yankees played the Toronto Blue Jays. At the time, I was not yet eight years old. The next year, Derek Jeter came into the league and that’s when my true love for the Yankees began. From 1996-2000, all I knew was Yankee championships. Obviously, as a young boy, I did not follow the Yankees as much as I do now. I probably went to one or two games a year, with family and friends, and I can’t recall watching many games on television–save for the playoffs.
Despite those early years of my Yankee fan-hood being doused in championship champagne, I find myself realizing that they didn’t mean a whole lot to me. I remember being happy that my team won the World Series, but I never quite felt the connection to the team that I feel now.
My high school years, 2001-2005, represent a mixed bag of Yankee success–all those years yielded division titles, but no World Series wins (two losses), and a crushing defeat in the 2004 ALCS. I followed the team a little more closely, watched more games, and got more into things. Even then, I wasn’t as into the game as I could be.
Perhaps the turning point of my Yankee-life was in September of 2005. That was my first semester at college, Hofstra University, and my roommate Jon was also a Yankee fan. In late 2005 and in spring of 2006, he and I watched just about every inning of every Yankee game. That’s when my love for this team really took off. Since that time, I’ve followed probably 95% of all Yankee games in some way–attendance at the Stadiums, watching on TV, listening on the radio, following online, etc.
When I transferred to the University of Connecticut in fall 2006, I was at a bit of a loss for the Yankees. UConn’s cable package didn’t carry the YES Network, so I was stuck watching on either MLB.TV or Gameday. Still, I kept up with the team every single day and night. 2006’s and 2007’s playoff exits were just as hard for me to take as 2004’s because I followed the team that much more closely and felt a stronger bond with it.
2008 brought something I’d never felt before as a Yankee fan: an October with no playoffs. What the hell? While I still watched the playoffs, it felt so strange. At the end of the proverbial day, though, it was a good thing. Not only did it possibly wake the front office up, but it also gave us Yankee fans a shaking up that we needed. We needed to stop taking things for granted. Hopefully, we have.
Finally, this brings me to 2009. This was just an incredible season all around. Not only did I follow the team more closely than I ever have, but it was also the first season during which I was writing for the entire time. Breaking from the article, I once again want to thank Rob for picking me up to write for this site. Being able to write about the team I love aids my following of it more than I could ever imagine. Writing about the Yankees every week has given me great perspective on this team and I think Rob for giving me that opportunity.
At the beginning of the season, I think we all felt that this team could be something special. It has been truly great to root for this team in 2009. They were a near perfect combination of talent, teamwork, and effort. They gave us something to look forward to every night. We may have gotten frustrated with them at times during the season, but at the end of it all, they came no where near disappointing us. This team was a championship team in every sense of the word. Thank you, 2009 New York Yankees. Thank you for making 2009 the greatest baseball year of my 22 on this planet. It will truly be a hard year to top.