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From the Sidelines

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 26, 1998

In this baseball season of one memorable moment after another, is it not ironic that it would end with one of the least memorable World Series in recent history.

Four games, four New York wins. One game decided by fewer than threeruns. The most exciting moment probably came in Game Three Tuesdaynight when Scott Brosius hit a three-run home run to rally the Yankees from a 4-2 deficit to a 5-4 win. And even that occurred in the eighthinning.

For that matter, it was not the most exciting of postseasons, either. Noseries went the distance and there were three sweeps. Out of the 30postseason, only nine were decided by one run and five of those came in the Divisional Series. On the other hand, 18 were decided by three or moreruns. The most excitement generated was by Atlanta winning two gamesafter being down by three games to San Diego and the Padres’ unexpected run to the World Series.

But the lack of excitement should not detract from the season the Yankees had. Their 114 regular season wins were the most ever for a World Serieschampion. And their .714 winning percentage was the fourth best inhistory and the best since the 1927 Yankees.

This was a team that defined teamwork. Not one member was named astarter for the All-Star Game in 1998. Bernie Williams won the AmericanLeague batting title but otherwise there were no other dominant hitters.

No players received a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger Award.

The pitcher with the most wins on the team, David Wells, was known more before the season for wearing Babe Ruth’s cap on the mound than what he did pitching. At this point of their careers, no Yankee would make the Hallof Famer although shortstop Derek Jeter may someday be a candidate. ItsWorld Series heroes were guys by the name of Brosius and Ledee.

It would have been easy for this team to roll over and play dead after the regular season. They had dominated the regular season and basically hadthe American League East clinched by the All-Star break. But this teamrealized that it still had work to do and went out and did it.

Down two games to one against the Indians with two games left in Cleveland in the American League Champion-ship Series, the Yankees came back to win three straight. The Yankees then fell down 5-2 to the Padresin Game One of the Series before scoring seven runs in the seventh.

Remember, this was a team that struggled in the first week of the season and were predicted to finish behind Baltimore in the American League East. Yet, while the Orioles struggled to live up to expectations, theYankees exceeded them in every way imaginable.

Is this the greatest team of all time? That is debatable. There is no wayto measure how teams stack up over generations. They may not have put upthe best individual numbers but there is no arguing that for one season, there was no team better.

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