Free Preview Of Premium Content">
Free Preview Of Premium Content">

How Big Of A Loss Was This?

The Yankees are different from every other team in sports, because when they lose the World Series, they don't look at it as "Hey, we just made it to the World Series!" they look at it as "I can't believe we haven't won in three years." And it just might be that that attitude is the reason they haven't won in three years, and the reason they didn't win here in 2003.<br><br><i>Free Preview Of Premium Content</i>

Personally, I was stunned. I didn't see Florida coming and I didn't give them the respect that they apparently deserved. When the Marlins traded Adrian Gonzalez and two other prospects midseason for Ugueth Urbina – who wasn't even going to close for them – I scoffed.

"Why are they trading their best prospect for a middle reliever? They're not going anywhere, they won't get past Philadelphia," said I.

Man was I wrong.

The Marlins knew what they were doing and they knew what they were capable of. They're an insanely dangerous team in any series, short or long.

So when the Marlins made it to the playoffs as the Wild Card team, I figured that Philly choked hard enough for the Fish to sneak in, and that the Giants would handle them.

Wrong again.

Then they were matched up against the Cubs, a team that I love – I've got a soft spot for Mark Prior – and think very highly of, and again I thought that the Marlins were done.

Three times, and apparently I'm out.

So by the time the Marlins were facing the Yankees in the World Series, I was becoming concerned. People around the media started comparing these Marlins to the 2002 Angels, a team that manhandled the Yankees. And while that comparison held true to a good degree, I actually saw a little bit of the 1996 Yankees in this Marlins team.

Their ability to play clean, smart baseball reminded me of the 1996 team. Their resiliency when they were down reminded me of the 1996 team. But most of all, their heart and the way they played as a team reminded me of the 1996 Yankees. Nobody on the Florida Marlins this year was more important than anyone else.

Josh Beckett was amazing, but so were the rest of their starting pitchers. Braden Looper came through in the clutch in game five, but Urbina racked up saves. Miguel Cabrera was an RBI machine, but Alex Gonzalez nailed the walk-off homerun in game four.

The sad thing is that the 2003 Yankees looked like a distant shadow of their 1996 counterparts, and that doesn't bode well.

Back in '96, the Yankees were the underdogs. They were the "pesky" team that nobody really wanted to face but everyone thought they could handle. But most of all, when the Yankees came back from being down two games to none against the Braves to win the Championship, there was a feeling of elation.

This time, despite winning 101 games during the regular season, advancing to a storybook ALCS against Boston and winning in extremely dramatic fashion, and falling just short in the World Series to a team that just seemed to want it more, there is no elation. There's only something startlingly like depression.

The Yankees' success in recent years has come back to destroy them. Their owner, George Steinbrenner in case you hadn't heard, is a man obsessed with winning. And, while that's a good characteristic of an owner some of the time, when his feelings toward winning end up dragging the team down under the weight of heavy expectations, then there's a problem.

The Yankees just aren't having fun anymore. It was obvious when they beat the Twins to advance to the next round of the playoffs. They just smiled a little and shook hands. "Good game, let's keep moving," was the look on their faces.

I won't accuse them of not wanting it anymore, because clearly everyone wants it. But when you think you need it more than you want it, well, you just won't get it.

Subscribe to today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass, and all premium content on, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.

Sample the Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 5 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.

Subscribe to

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories