Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What Was Better: '01 or '04?

Been thinking about this recently, and I just wanted to throw a question out there:

Which was sweeter, the Junkees losing it in '01 or in '04?

Now, at first, '04 seems like a slam dunk, simply because the Red Sox were involved. But I'm looking at this not so much from a Red Sox fan's perspective (where, duh, '04 was the best year ever), but just from a Yankee-haters perspective (where the Red Sox beating the Yanks is sweeter than the D-Backs beating the Yankees, but not always).

Anyway, I'll play devil's advocate and throw in a bunch of reasons why '01 was better:

- when the Junkees won the first 3 games of the '04 ALCS, the wins were boring. No drama at all. Especially the 19-8 win. But in '01, Yankee fans went nuts when they got the game-tying home run with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th two nights in a row. I remember listening to Steve Somers after Game 5, saying there was no way the D-Backs were gonna come back from such devastating losses. He thought the Yanks had won it all, right there.

And, of course, thanks to Luis Gonzalez, that never happened. Gonzo proved that all that Yankee aura and mystique, which had seemed so pervasive earlier in the series, were nothing more than a couple of strippers.

And every time YES shows Game 4 or 5, I just have to laugh. It's like reading 400 pages of a horror novel, then closing the book right before the ending where everyone dies. Just plain silly.

- Also, the '01 series ended in a much more dramatic fashion than the '04 ALCS. After Soriano's homer, the D-Backs looked dead. After all, they were headed to the bottom of the 9th facing Rivera. A few minutes later, Schill and the Unit were co-MVPs of the World Series.

'04 had its share of drama, especially the Dave Roberts game. But for the Yankee fans, it was a slow, agonizing death. It was great watching Kevin Brown get his butt kicked in game 7, but it wasn't much of a thrilling game. The shock value sure wasn't there. Part of what made '01 so great was how it happened so fast.

- And let's not forget: '01 came after the Junkees won 3 straight World Series. The team seemed freakin' invincible. It looked like they would just win it year after year.

But after the D-Backs won, it was the end of an era. O'Neill and Brosius left, the Juice Man came to town, and the Yanks have never won since. And as sweet as '04 was, it wasn't the one that ended the dynasty, the one that made Junkee fans realize, "you can't win it all every year."

Right after last year's high, I easily would've said '04. But now I'm not so sure. Thoughts, anyone?


mouse said...

Tough call. Both defeats were pretty embarrassing for the Yankees (and pretty sweet for Yankee haters). I have '04 bias as a Sox fan, but it was in '01 where Rivera threw the freakin' ball away...priceless.

I also have fond memories of watching Josh Beckett dominate the Yankees in 2003 (even fonder now that he's pitching for Boston) and the way the Angels ran them over in '02 (and this year). Those weren't chokes, but they were great post-season losses that further reduced that "aura & mystique" crap.

Hmmm...I'm torn. There's just too many happy memories there to pick one favorite!

NFL Adam said...

Hold it! Having them lose to the Angels in 2002 (in the first round) was easily the best. But having both the Spanks and the Red Sox eliminated in the ALDS was equally satisfying this year.

Manny Ortiz said...

I think this year's loss to the Angels was sweeter than '02 for a number of reasons: the Big Unit getting hammered in game 3, A-Rod and Shemp not being able to buy a hit in the series, and most of all, the Angels pulling it out even though their ace got injured in game 5.

But '02 was fun in that it guaranteed the first non-Yankee ALCS since the Cecil Fielder era. Still, I've gotta give '05 the edge.