Best Yankees teams of the oughts
As the decade nears a close, I thought I’d rank my favorite Yankees teams of the 2000s.
1. 2000 Yankees: 87-74; won the World Series, 4-1, against the Mets. It was the first title of the 2000’s and the last one for a long time for the Yanks. Plus, who could forget the whole Clemens/Piazza fiasco, Jeter’s All-Star game MVP and WS MVP, Jim Leyritz’ last season in the majors and many other highlights? But anytime I think of this team, all that comes to mind is Benny Agbayani’s quote prior to the Subway Series, “We’ll win it in five games.” Benny Agbayani: the original Jimmy Rollins.
2. 2009 Yankees: 103-59; won the World Series, 4-2, against the Phillies. In the first year at the new digs, this was the best team we’ve seen in the Bronx since the 1998 Yanks. They dominated for the majority of the season, had some clubhouse-chemistry guys, were fun to watch and seemed nothing like Yankees teams of the past few seasons…heck, A-Rod even seemed human. However, they did nothing to quash the talk about how the Yanks buy championships, as Steinbrenner and Co. spent half a billion dollars on CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira in the offseason prior. Regardless of “buying” titles, this one meant a lot to me personally as I live in Philly and had to hear it from the enemy everywhere I went. J-Roll’s infamous quote, “Of course we’re going to win. If we’re nice, we’ll let it go six. But I’m thinking five. Close it out at home,” only made the victory that much sweeter.
3. 2001 Yankees: 95-65; lost the World Series in 7 games to the D’Bags. Despite the outcome, the 2001 World Series was a classic by all accounts and arguably the greatest ever played. Not only did it trigger my hatred of Curt Schilling, but that series had everything: not one but two ninth-inning, game-tying homers; a walk-off homer; two blowouts; and a Game 7 for the ages. Wow. Plus, the 9/11 vibe made it more intense. Phenomenal series, horrendous outcome.
4. 2003 Yankees: 101-61; lost World Series, 4-2, to the Marlins. Aaron Boone pulled off one of the greatest homers in Yankees history in the ALCS, and if not for him A-Rod wouldn’t be a Yankee. On top of that you had Game 3 (Pedro/Don Zimmer) of the ALCS, and Clemens “retiring” after the season. No, the season didn’t end with a title but that ALCS was one for the ages.
5. 2002 Yankees: 103-58; lost 3-1 in the ALDS to the (eventual champion) Angels. Kind of a let down, no Paul O’Neill or Tino Martinez; and the dynasty was coming to a close. We fans were spoiled at this point in time, and things didn’t get any easier for another seven years.
6-8. 2005-2007 Yankees: averaged 95.3 wins in the regular season and 1.3 postseason wins; needless to say, three ALDS disapointments. Plagued by Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown and other clowns, nothing really distinguishes any of these three teams from the others of the era. I loved Shef, Giambi was a character and there were some liekable players, but these teams were victims of the Yanks’ depleted farm system (which was baron due to years of being sacrificed in deals for flashy free agents). As Joe Torre’s time as a Yankee was clearly winding down, and A-Rod was taking the brunt of the blame for the failure, we fans were growing anxious for another title after Boston produced its second WS win in four years after 07. Simply a terrible, confusing time to be a Yankees fan. Yuck.
9. 2008 Yankees: 89-73; failed to make the postseason. It was the final year of the old Yankee Stadium, Joe Girardi’s first year as manager and the team did not play with heart down the stretch. Moose finally won 20 games but it was the end of an era as the MLB playoffs were Yankee-less for the first time since 1993.
10. 2004 Yankees: 101-61; choked like no other team in the history of pro sports in the ALCS against the hated Red Sox. If there was a way for me to leave this team off the list I would’ve found it. Just thinking about this team gives me chills. The less I write the better.