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Derek Jeter
Hey! My name is Zachary and this is my site, Yankee Mania, where I explore the games, players, and transactions of the greatest team in baseball. Hated by some but loved by others, the New York Yankees have dominated the world of sports for over a century. This year I follow their noble quest to win yet another World Series Championship. Click here to send me an email!

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You are in the category : General

Monday October, 09 2006.
By mvyb, 15:38

The Question:
How can a 200 million dollar team ( with an All-Star at every position, home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and a month's worth of momentum ) crash, burn, and die so quickly in the Division Series? How can a small-market, no-name team like the Detroit Tigers dismantle the mighty New York Yankees so easily?
I'm sure I'm not the only Yankee fan who has spent the past two days (and nights) pondering those very questions. The regular season was so fun and exciting- for the first time in years, the Yankees actually played with energy and the will to win!
2006 Regular Season:
April 1st: Yanks mash Oakland, led by an Alex Rodriguez's grand slam and a Hideki Matsui 4-hit night
May 16th: The Yanks rally from a 9-run deficit and win in the ninth on a Posada walkoff 2-run homer.
May 20th: Down by 4 in the ninth, the Bombers beat up on Mets' star closer Billy Wagner and win the game in the tenth.
May 30th: Yanks score 5 in the 11th inning against the Detroit Tigers.
June 6th: Melky saves the game with an eye-popping grab, stealing a homer from Manny Ramirez.
June 16th: Bernie's hits a game-winning homer off of Chad Cordero in Washington.  Power outing here in NJ so I had to listen to this one on the radio in the dark.
June 28th: The one day Yankee fans supported Alex Rodriguez.
July 2nd: A-Rod hits 2 homers and drives in 7 against the Mets. ( Nick Green and Jorge Posada also homer.)
September 20th: Yanks clinch division. Yeehaw.
What happened to this magic??? What happened to the Yankees' will to win??? The games I mentioned above were some of the most important games the Yanks played all year ( Opening Day, 5-game series in Boston, Subway Series, etc...) And guess what? The Bombers stepped up and performed like they were an All Star team! Why couldn't they play this way against Detroit in the Divisional Series? New York had a nice 5-2 record against Detroit in the regular season, why couldn't they keep doing what they had been doing for 6 months?
The Answer:
The formula was changed.
A scientist has discovered the cure for the common cold. His medicine is tested and is highly effective. Later that day, another scientist tries to improve the formula by removing "chemical B" and replacing it with "chemical J". But what has happened? The formula no longer cures the common cold. It has been ruined by an ineffective chemical.
The Yankees had a winning formula. The had the key to beating good teams ( like Minnesota, Detroit, Boston, and the New York Mets). But when the season ended and the team charged into the playoffs, Joe Torre changed the formula:
- Alex Rodriguez bounced up and down the lineup.
- Sheffield played first base.
- Matsui played left, instead of DHing.
- Giambi didn't play in Game 4.
- Stolen bases and "hit-and-runs" were removed from the game plan. ( The Yankee didn't even ATTEMPT a stolen base or "hit-and-run" in the final three games of the series. )
One man made out the lineup cards. One man decided who played where and when. One man decided the order of batting. One man had the job of making decisions from the dug out. One man had the ability to send his runners, make them attempt to steal a base, or pull off a suicide-squeeze. Joe Torre.
Now, you have to give credit to the Detroit Tigers who played hard. Like good teams do, they took advantage of their opponents mistakes. And, the Yankee batters ( with the exclusion of Jeter and Posada) carry a lot of the blame for yet another postseason failure. 
But looking at the whole thing realistically, this one's pretty much on Joe. When he saw his team struggling to score, he did nothing. When he saw a pitcher losing control of his pitches, Torre did nothing. When one player ( like Rodriguez) was REALLY struggling, Torre left him in the lineup. You understand.
Now, I want you to know that I have a ton of respect for Joe Torre. During the '96-'99 Yankee dynasty, Torre was the best manager in baseball. I admired everything he did. He knew how to win.
But after this latest Yankee collapse, you wonder- has he lost his touch?
If Steinbrenner does fire Torre ( or Joe retires), I don't think I'll really be that upset. After getting beaten by underdog teams for 5 straight years, maybe it is time the Yankee organization and Joe Torre go their separate ways.

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