Archive for Thursday, October 21, 2004

Yankees’ collapse complete

October 21, 2004


— Hard to believe this could happen.

Hard to believe the fabled New York Yankees could come apart in such an epic collapse.

Right here, at their hallowed home, in the shadow of all that history, all the monuments, all the championship banners.

"I'm embarrassed right now," Alex Rodriguez said.

After 86 years of domination in baseball's most bitter rivalry, the Yankees finally folded against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, losing 10-3 in Game 7 of the AL championship series.

This was much more than a season-ending defeat -- it was an unprecedented choke job. Just three outs from a sweep on Sunday, the Yankees dropped four games in a row, becoming the first team in postseason baseball history to blow a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.

"I wish my eyes were closed and I could open them now," reliever Tom Gordon said. "It could have been over in four. It's a tough one to bite. ... Just have to get past this."

It's never happened in the NBA. It's happened only twice in the NHL.

And now the New York Yankees, the most storied team in all of sports, are right at the top of an embarrassing list.

"I could care less about that," captain Derek Jeter said. "I don't know how you can rank failure. You win or you lose."

It will be a painful piece of infamy for everyone in pinstripes. And it will certainly bring the wrath of owner George Steinbrenner this winter -- probably sooner.

When pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra grounded to second for the final out, the Red Sox rushed to the mound and celebrated their trip to the World Series in the middle of Yankee Stadium. Boston fans chanted and cheered behind the third-base dugout.

It was a sight many New York fans thought they'd never have to witness. The Yankees are the team that pulls off improbable comebacks -- especially against Boston.

Not this time.

"It makes it worse. But we've been on the success side of this thing, not just against them. Now I'm getting my share of the losing end," general manager Brian Cashman said.

Jeter missed the party on purpose.

"I don't really want to watch another team celebrate," he said.

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