Rich get richer: Yankees win title
The New York Yankees celebrated their latest championship long and loud, dancing and giggling into the wee hours of this morning.
This is the championship the rest of America curses, the title the Yankees bought last winter, not that they really care what anyone else thinks.
“You can call us anything you want,” General Manager Brian Cashman said. “You’re going to have to call us world champions.”
The Yankees, desperate to end their 0-for-this-millennium rut without a ring, committed $423.5 million last winter to buy CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett.
Well worth it, if you ask Teixeira, who wore goggles and a goofy wide grin on his face and a newly printed World Series champion T-shirt over his uniform.
“To the rich go the spoils,” Teixeira said. “George Steinbrenner built an empire. He really did. He deserves to build a great stadium. He deserves to have the best team money can buy.”
The grand opening year for the $1.5-billion Yankee Stadium concluded in grand fashion, with Hideki Matsui tying a World Series record by driving in six runs in a 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Yankees won the World Series in six games, just as they did in the inaugural season of the old Yankee Stadium, in 1923.
Babe Ruth hit three home runs in that World Series. Matsui hit three home runs in this one. He batted .615 too, earning most-valuable-player honors.
Alex Rodriguez hit .365 in the Yankees’ postseason run, as the team with baseball’s highest-paid player won the World Series for the first time since 1986.
“We’re going to party,” Rodriguez told the crowd, holding the World Series trophy aloft. When he got his hands on the trophy again, he hoisted it in front of the fans behind the Yankees’ dugout.
No longer need Rodriguez be reminded of his postseason failures, Cashman said.
“For the rest of his career, he can rewrite history,” Cashman said.
The Yankees won their first World Series championship in nine years and their 27th overall.
The St. Louis Cardinals rank second, with 10 titles.
Ruth led the Yankees to their first four titles, but he never drove in six runs in a World Series game. Matsui tied the World Series record, set by Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson in 1960.
Matsui hit a two-run home run in the second inning, a two-run single in the third inning and a two-run double in the fifth inning, single-handedly transforming the Yankees’ clincher from a nailbiter into a countdown to victory.
Mariano Rivera, the Yankees’ incomparable closer, threw the final pitch of the season. Rivera joined Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte as five-time champions in New York.
Pettitte earned his 18th postseason victory, an ongoing major league record. He became the first pitcher to start and win the clinching game in the division series, league championship series and World Series.
Neither Pettitte nor Pedro Martinez, the Phillies’ starter, showed dominating stuff. Pettitte did not throw a pitch harder than 91 mph, did not throw a 1-2-3 inning, walked five and threw a wild pitch. He gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings, working on short rest.
When Manager Joe Girardi removed him, Pettitte practically charged off the mound, jogging toward the dugout and wearing a wide smile.
Martinez, unwanted by any team four months ago, staged a terrific comeback with the Phillies, starting with three appearances in the minor leagues and ending with two appearances in the World Series.
He turned 38 last month, and perhaps his two strong playoff starts -- against the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series and against the Yankees in Game 2 -- will persuade a team to give him a job next spring.
If not, the career of the future Hall of Fame member and three-time Cy Young Award winner ended on a sour note.
Martinez had next to nothing. He did not throw a pitch above 86 mph in the first inning, did not throw a pitch above 90 mph all game and retired four of 10 batters in a decisive stretch of the second and third innings. He gave up four runs in four innings, although he did strike out five.
The Phillies concluded their season as back-to-back NL champions, and Manager Charlie Manuel set a third consecutive World Series trip as the 2010 mission.
“Our goal is to come back and play again,” Manuel said, “and hopefully we play the Yankees again.”
BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX
Yankees win series, 4-2
Most World Series titles
1. New York Yankees
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Phila./K.C./Oak. Athletics
4. Boston Red Sox
5. Brooklyn/L.A. Dodgers
1. New York Yankees
2. Brooklyn/L.A. Dodgers
3. St. Louis Cardinals
3. New York/S.F. Giants
5. Phila./K.C./Oak. Athletics
END OF STORY
Players with the most RBIs in the final game of a World Series:
* Hideki Matsui, Yankees
Nov. 4, 2009, vs. Philadelphia
* Hector Lopez, Yankees
Oct. 9, 1961, vs. Cincinnati
* Johnny Bench, Cincinnati
Oct. 21, 1976, vs. Yankees
* Reggie Jackson, Yankees
Oct. 18, 1977, vs. Dodgers
* Pedro Guerrero, Dodgers
Oct. 28, 1981, vs. Yankees
* Kirk Gibson, Detroit,
Oct. 14, 1984, vs. San Diego
-- Associated Press