Yankees and the AL East: 25 years as baseball’s best division

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Feeling the Vibe

The Yankees started this series at home, where they promptly lost both games to the Braves. Atlanta was the reigning champion and hoped to be on their way to team of the decade. Were that true, I might be writing about their division as the most dominant.

But that was not to be. For George Steinbrenner had hired a new manager that year, Joe Torre. Joe had been an excellent player and knew the game well, but he had never won it all. He hadn’t even been to the WS before, without buying a ticket.

However, Mr. Torre proved himself the master of the moment. The Boss called him into his office after the first home loss and demanded answers. Joe’s response was both confirmed by more than one source and became part of World Series lore forever.

Joe knew his team; he could feel the vibe in the clubhouse. So he told the most impatient, demanding owner in sports that he did not think his team would win that night. They were not ready and instead would go down 2-0 in the World Series.

That was okay with Joe; didn’t bother him a bit.

And it Worked!

The Yankees were tight, he would go on to say but would relax in Joe’s old stomping grounds: Atlanta. Torre predicted, right there in George’s office after game one, that the Yankees would sweep the Braves on the road and finish them off at home, in six.

And that’s exactly what they did. When the last out of game six was finally recorded in Yankees foul territory, an exuberance followed from both players and fans that I doubt any of the other championship years could equal.

Although they didn’t know it at the time, the team did more than winning a World Series title; it had just launched a dynasty.