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Archive for Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Yankees on verge of collapse

October 20, 2004

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— Time to panic in pinstripe city.

On the brink of the biggest collapse in postseason history, the New York Yankees have one more chance to pull themselves together and finally finish off Boston.

Otherwise, this storied team with 26 World Series titles will also be remembered for the choke of all-time in October.

Against its bitter rival, no less.

Talk about a painful winter of wondering what if. Talk about an angry George Steinbrenner.

"We can't worry about history here," Alex Rodriguez said. "If we win tomorrow, it won't be embarrassing."

Curt Schilling shut down the Yankees on a gimpy right ankle Tuesday night, and the Red Sox saved their season for the third day in a row with a 4-2 victory in Game 6 of the AL championship series.

Boston became the first team in baseball history to pull even after trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven series. Only twice in North American major professional sports has a club come back to win such a series after dropping the first three games, both times in hockey: the New York Islanders against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarterfinals of the 1975 NHL playoffs and the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1942 Stanley Cup finals.

The Yankees desperately don't want to be added to the wrong side of that short list.

"Their team has responded. We're going to find out about our team tomorrow night," captain Derek Jeter said. "We haven't been in this situation. Not this team."

After blowing late leads at Fenway Park the previous two days, the Yankees thought coming home would give them a boost.

Instead, the momentum stayed with Boston.

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