MARINE: Yankees championship all but inevitable

Corey Marine

The Yankees are going to the World Series. For the first time since 2003, the Bronx Bombers are headed to the Fall Classic. This Mets fan nightmare matchup has the other New York fans excited at the chance of having another tickertape parade go down the Canyon of Heroes in Manhattan.

The timing of it all seems perfect. They have a new stadium, new superstars and, most importantly, a new team personality. Unlike the teams from 2003 to 2008, this Yankees team is playing for each other and the city instead of for individual statistics and accolades.

Gone are the days of Roger Clemens receiving permission to leave the team at will to be with family on off days. Carl Pavano is finally off of the payroll. The revolving door at first base finally has a permanent resident. Players from the Yankees minor league teams are contributing, rising to the Major League level instead of having overpaid journeyman veterans who were once superstars coming to the team as a temporary solution. They are a legitimate team.

Alex Rodriguez has managed to stay on the sports pages and out of the tabloids. Robinson Cano showed flashes of greatness with the glove, as well as displaying his offensive talent. His picturesque swings at the plate and the way he glides around the field on defense show he has the potential to be one of the great second basemen in the history of the game.

The new players have been as good as advertised as well. The Yankees are constantly looked at as a no-frills organization with strict facial hair rules, but this team looks like one of the most light-hearted and carefree groups in the Majors. Nick Swisher has brought an energy and excitement to the clubhouse that was not there in years past. He looks at home in right field, and the bleacher creatures love his zany, borderline Manny Ramirez-esque antics on the field as well (which did cost the Yanks a few runs during the regular season). A.J. Burnett is now as well known for toweling his teammates with shaving cream after walk-off wins as he is for his 12-6 curveball and pitch control when he takes the mound.

Mark Teixeira already has a soft spot in Yankee fans’ hearts. He declined offers from the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox to play in Yankees Pinstripes, which is enough to make most fans happy. He was still embraced with open arms despite battling through one of his notoriously slow starts in April, and Yankee fans are happy to have him despite a slight postseason skid this October. Playing Gold Glove-caliber defense keeps people on his side, especially since the Yankees had the stiff Jason Giambi donning the No. 25, taking up space on the first base bag last season.

At the heart of the 2009 New York Yankees are the players Joe Torre called “The Old Guard” in his book “The Yankee Years:” Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. All four of them were integral parts of the championship teams of the 90s and personify all that is good with the Yankees organization. The Captain has proven he is still one of the premier shortstops in the game and still ranks among the best contact hitters in the game. Mariano is the greatest closer ever. All of baseball knows what pitch he’s going to throw, and although he has lost some the velocity on his pitches, he is still virtually unhittable. Posada is one of the better offensive hitters in the game, and he does not shy away from critical at-bats during the playoffs. Pettitte is a big game pitcher, and he proved it breaking a tie for most postseason victories with John Smoltz.

Despite Joe Girardi’s suspect ability to manage in big games, Yankee fans have plenty to be excited about. The Bronx Bombers have the pieces in place to win a championship and bring the World Series trophy to 161st Street and River Avenue. The Phillies are a great team, and many sports analysts consider the Yanks to be the underdog. However, the ghosts of the old stadium moved across the street to the new stadium. As the saying goes, “Pride, power, pinstripes, New York Yankees.”

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Corey Marine is a senior communication major from New York, N.Y. He can be reached at [email protected]