Deportes americanos

jueves, 21 de octubre de 2010

THE RANGERS ARE A VICTORY FROM A WORLD SERIES


Infielders Young and Ian Kinsler have chafed for days at the idea that the Rangers would be frightened of the moment, unable to regain their composure after the bitter Game 1 loss, and now having won three straight games feel validated that the Yankee mystique did not wilt their resolve. Derek Holland, who pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, admitted to the nerves of playing on the legendary stage. Bengie Molina hits the game-winning homer after beleaguered manager Joe Girardi walks David Murphy to face him. The Rangers' knees are not knocking in the Bronx. They are embarrassing the defending champions.

"Nobody cares about us," Molina said. "We're supposed to lose."

Surging toward the pennant, Chuck Greenberg reveals that he wanted to play the Yankees all along."I wanted to play the Yankees for completely separate reasons," Greenberg said. "I thought we had a compelling story to tell and I wanted to do it on the biggest stage. In hindsight, there's no question that Wash was correct, that to gradually prepare us for this environment was the proper course -- but being here and winning here was the only way people would ever recognize just what this organization has done."

The Yankees are stunned at the star turn they are witnessing, from the transcendent Hamilton (two more home runs), to the consistent, redeemed Young (a bases-loaded snare of a Lance Berkman hotshot that ended a Yankee threat in the eighth).

In the middle of it all there is Washington, who does not feel he is respected for his managing ability by the national press. He seeks peace in the results but suffers from the same complex as his ball club historically.

He is redeemed for his transgressions of last year -- he tested positive for cocaine -- and at times cannot help but wonder if his contract will not be renewed because of lingering hard feelings.

"I'm at peace. I really am. I understand if there are some people who cannot forgive. It was my fault. I did it," Washington said. "All I asked of Jon [Daniels] was that he gave me a chance to save my reputation, and he did. For that, I will always consider him a friend. I told him if there's a problem with me, not for him to get in the middle of it on my behalf. He's done enough and I'm grateful to him."

In victory, Greenberg says the organization is in agreement that Washington is valued and that when the Rangers -- Daniels and Ryan, especially -- supported the decision to retain the manager in 2009, the matter was closed.

Should the Rangers advance, Washington will not join Yogi Berra, Chuck Dressen and Dusty Baker as part of the select group of managers who took their clubs to the World Series only to be out of a job after the season.

Greenberg says Washington's contract is "done," just with final details being worked out.

"The ultimate hypocrisy would've been to make a decision you thought was right when no one knew about it and then reverse it when everyone found out," Greenberg said. "That would've been wrong. That would've been weak."

Wednesday, Oct. 20: Yankees 7, Rangers 2

A DAY EARLIER, Keith Olbermann, the television host for the MSNBC program "Hardball," shook Ron Washington's hand and the two had a friendly conversation. Olbermann reminded Washington that the Yankees, being the Yankees, can often only be defeated by the paranormal. "They're like vampires over there," he told Washington, the implication being championship teams unless properly vanquished find a way to rise and revive; the Rangers must not give the Yankees any form of momentum that will give them hope.

The energy at the Stadium is odd, uneven. This is an elimination game. The Yankees' season could end in a few hours. Joe Girardi says he sees in his players' eyes a certain determination that was lacking over the previous three consecutive losses. Chuck Greenberg is surrounded in a pregame scrum, conducting interviews that remind the veterans with the longest memories that the closer to the World Series a team gets the more the ground seems to give way.

Elvis Andrus
William Perlman/The Star Ledger/US PresswireThe magic of Games 3 and 4 didn't carry over to Game 5 for Elvis Andrus and the Rangers.

If Ryan two days earlier suggested that the Yankees would dictate the Cliff Lee free-agent market, Greenberg, emboldened by four triumphant days in New York, is unwilling to cede his assets easily.

"Well, we aren't going into negotiations with a pea shooter," he said.

The only way to beat the Yankees, Olbermann told Washington, was to drive a stake through their hearts. Washington, of course, knows this, having been the third-base coach on the 2001 Oakland A's club that won the first two games of the Division Series at Yankee Stadium only to lose three in a row.

In what could have been the final game of New York baseball in 2010, the Rangers for the first time at the Stadium are short, and the Yankees remind them what a championship pedigree actually looks like. CC Sabathia, the Yankees' ace, Tiant-style, surrenders 11 hits in just six innings. The Rangers record a hit in eight of nine innings, and are buried 7-2. The Yankees hit three home runs, C.J. Wilson gets buried early and the Yankees remain alive.

Sabathia pitched like an ace -- imperfect but resolute, determined that the season would not end on his watch.

"That's what you play for, to have the chance to win a championship," Sabathia said. "Our backs were up against the wall today and I just wanted to fight, no matter what the situation was, no matter how many runners were on base in any given inning."

The Rangers packed and left New York, having passed the midterm of proving they belonged in New York, in October, with the final exam -- winning one of the next two games -- awaiting them in Texas.

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