Monday, October 26, 2009

Yankees Advance to World Series

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra. Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford. Reggie Jackson and Ron Guidry. Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, and Tino Martinez. Now Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez. The tradition goes on for the Yankees, and with it, the tradition of winning American League pennants and playing in The World Series.

The Yankees clinched the AL Championship Series with a 5-2 victory over the Angels in Game 6 on Sunday in their first year of the new Yankee Stadium, marking their 40th pennant -- a Major League Baseball record by far -- and the first since 2003 for the sport's most fabled franchise. Six years isn't a long time, you say? Well, these are the Bronx Bombers we're talking about: That six-year drought represented the fourth-longest stretch without a pennant in franchise history.

The Yankees didn't win a pennant until their 21st season in 1921, while also experiencing spans of 12 years (1964-76) and 15 years (1981-96) between AL titles. The Yankees have been to the World Series seven times since '96, five more times than any other team during that period.

The Yankees' 40 pennants have come over the past 89 seasons -- at a pace of almost one every other year. The Bombers own nearly twice as many pennants as any other team; the Dodgers have won the National League pennant 21 times. New York, in fact, has more pennants itself than the next three teams in the AL, with Oakland (14), Boston (12) and Detroit (10) combining for 36 pennants.

The Yankees' next opponent, the Phillies, will play in the World Series for just the seventh time, even though they were founded in 1883 -- 18 years before the Bombers. The second of those seven trips, in 1950, ended in a four-game sweep at the hands of New York.

The Yankees, however, have lost their past two World Series -- to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 and to the Florida Marlins in 2003. That means they're still looking for that elusive second championship this decade; New York has won at least two World Series in all but one decade (the 1980s) since its first title in 1923.

It has long been a fact of life in America that the Yankees will win the pennant or at least will not wait long for their next one.

The wait for their next one is over.

The Fall Classic is coming back to the Bronx. This time, it comes to a new ballpark, but one with the same tradition. Now the question is whether a 27th World Series championship can be far behind.

-Tim Britton /

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