They were in the process of losing 15 of their last 18 games and doing everything under the sun to blow a big lead in their division. They lost six in a row, managed to win two in a row, then lost the last seven games of the regular season by these scores: 15-4, 2-1, 11-1, 11-3, 13-2, 9-1, 7-3. They were the 2000 New York Yankees, champions of the baseball world, and when they finally clinched the American League East, after another double-digit loss, this time to the Orioles, there was some question as to whether they would even bother to celebrate.
“Tell them to open the champagne,” Joe Torre, the manager, said that night. “They earned the right.”
I asked the man Derek Jeter always called “Mr. Torre” about that on Monday, about what his thinking was at the time, his feel for a team that had won three World Series in four years but then had inexplicably, at least after everything we’d seen from the Yanks, played the way they did in September 2000.
“Nobody tried harder or wanted it more, but they kept getting in their own way,” Torre said. “The players needed to let it out.”
I told him he needed to tell that to another one of his old teams, the Dodgers.
“When you’re winning every day in different ways,” the great Joe Torre said, “you think it’s never going to end. The old adage ‘winning is a habit’ reminds you that so is losing.”
It is worth pointing out that the 2000 Yankees, as tough…Read More