October 27, 2009
For the 40th time in their 107-year history, the New York Yankees have won the American League pennant, beating the Los Angeles Angels four games to two. In Game Six, the Angels took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, but the Yanks came back with three runs in the fourth, and held on for the rest of the game. Vladimir Guerrero batted in a run in the eighth inning, closing the gap to one run, but the Yanks responded by capitalizing on errors to score two more runs in the bottom of the inning, sealing the Angels' doom. (That's an odd juxtaposition.) Andy Pettitte went for six-plus innings, and Mariano Rivera pitched the final two. Full coverage is at MLB.com, indicating that attendance was 50,173, the biggest number recorded at the new Yankee Stadium.
Brian Vangor was lucky enough to be at that game, and captured the celebratory moments with his camera:
And so, Alex Rodriguez is finally going to the World Series, for the first time in his career. Since the last time the Yankees went to the Fall Classic (in 2003), the team roster has changed drastically. Of that team, only Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera still remain. It will also be the first such experience for star players Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia. Of course, Johnny Damon was one of the self-proclaimed "idiots" on the world champion Boston Red Sox team of 2004.
Of interest to ballpark aficionados is that fact that Yankee Stadium II has become the seventh stadium ever to host a World Series in its inaugural year. Here is the full list:
In spite of the Washington Nationals' awful performance, I thought Manny Acta showed promise as a manager from 2008 through the middle of this year. For a variety of reasons, however, (personality conflicts?) he could no longer be effective in that role. As I noted on July 13, "I'm sure he'll get another chance to be a big-league manager before long." Indeed, it happened even quicker than I expected, as he was just hired by the Cleveland Indians to manage their team for the next two seasons, with an optional third-year contract extension. Another candidate for the position was former Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who is also being considered by the Washington Nationals front office. See MLB.com. Acta knows baseball well enough, and his (rough) experience in Washington will serve him well in Cleveland. I hope he has better luck there than he did in D.C.
Like the agonizingly prolonged relocation of the former Montreal Expos to Washington, the efforts to get a pro football team back to the country's second biggest city is taking forever. Maybe, just maybe, they have crossed a critical point and the dream may actually come true. Lasts week Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that would facilitate construction of a football stadium in the city of Industry, about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The measure included an exemption from environmental regulatory hurdles that might otherwise prevent the investment project from going forward. Seven NFL teams are being courted, including all four that are currently residing in California, as well as the Bills, Vikings, and the Jaguars. The first six are "shopping around" for new stadiums, while the city of Jacksonville, Florida just isn't big enough to provide an adequate fan base for the Jaguars. See ESPN and/or Reuters; hat tips to (respectively) Virginia Delegate Chris Saxman and Mike Zurawski.