It’s Win or Go Home

This is the sixth entry reliving the 2001 World Series run of the Arizona Diamondbacks that started with the Five Short Years Ago entry posted on the fifth anniversary of game 1 of that World Series. After a travel day on November 2, the Arizona Diamondbacks are back home at Bank One Ballpark. When the team left they were up 2 games to 0 and it looked as if they might actually sweep the New York Yankees. But after three heart breaking games at Yankee Stadium, the Diamondbacks arrive to find themselves on the brink of elimination. Manager Bob Brenly would send ace Randy Johnson to the mound to face Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees. I had attended each of the first two World Series games at Bank One Ballpark. For game 1 I had taken Trina while Mallorie had attended game 2. There was one person at our house who had secretly prayed for the Yankees to win at least two games in New York to force a game 6. That was Tiffany. She was scheduled to attend this game with me and as my most devoted baseball fan she deserved to go.

We went downtown arriving early to experience everything that was going on. Jackson Street had been blocked and turned into a giant block party as people without tickets came to enjoy themselves content with just being a part of the surroundings even if they could not get into the gates. There were inflatable toys and games for the kids, vendors set up selling all kinds of World Series merchandise and of course massive amounts of food and beer. It was a carnival atmosphere and the energy was amazing. As we walked towards the stadium with our seat cushions and tickets it became louder and more exciting. Having been to all the games so far I had become accustomed to people offering to sell me tickets but today I began having people asking if I had tickets to sell. I’m not sure why anyone would give up their game tickets but I guess there must be someone out there. What struck me though were the prices being bantered about. The first person offered me $1,000 for my tickets for the game which I declined. A second and third inquiry was also declined but now the price was $1,500 being offered. The fourth person to ask seemed very interested in my tickets especially where they were located along the left field line in the lower deck 16 rows up. He offered me $2,500 for my tickets to today’s game. That would be enough to nearly pay for my season tickets next season and made me stop to contemplate the value of these seats. But as I looked down at Tiffany and saw her innocent eyes peering at me and her smile at the thoughts of attending her first World Series game with her father; I knew there was no money in the world that I would accept. Instead Tiffany and I proudly marched to the front gates and my 11 year old daughter handed her ticket to the usher to gain access to the game. It was an experience I will never forget nor will she. Baseball bridged a generation and brought us closer than ever before.

It was clear from the outset of the game that the Diamondbacks had no intention of going quietly in their first World Series. Randy Johnson pitched masterfully allowing only 2 runs on 6 hits striking out 7 in 7 innings of work. Two runs may seem like a lot but this day it was nothing as the Diamondbacks got to Pettitte early and often forcing him out of the game after 2 innings where he allowed 6 runs on 7 hits. The Yankees pitching staff walked into a buzz saw as the Diamondbacks hitters set a new World Series record getting 22 hits and accounted for 15 runs in a 15-2 destruction of the Yankees. Perhaps even sadder than the score was that New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had brought some of the families from the September 11 tragedy to Phoenix to see the Yankees clinch their world championship. Instead they witnessed one of the most lopsided victories in World Series history.

The scoring began in the bottom of the first when Tony Womack doubled to begin the game. Danny Bautista singled to center to score Womack giving the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead. In the second inning Matt Williams singled to right to lead off. Reggie Sanders doubled to center moving Williams to third. After Jay Bell grounded out to third Damian Miller was intentionally walked. Randy Johnson forced out Williams at home for the second out. Womack singled to center allowing Sanders and Miller to score moving Johnson to second. Bautista singled scoring Johnson and moving Womack to third. Luis Gonzalez struck out to end the inning with the Diamondbacks now up 4-0.

In the third inning the wheels completely came off for the Yankees. Greg Colbrunn walked to lead off then Matt Williams hit a double to right moving Colbrunn to third. Reggie Sanders singled to left scoring Colbrunn and moving Williams to third. Jay Bell singled to left scoring Williams and moving Sanders to second. Damian Miller singled to left moving Sanders to third and Bell to second. Randy Johnson singled to right scoring Sanders and moving Bell to third and Miller to second. Tony Womack struck to record the first out. Danny Bautista singled to center scoring Bell and Miller and moving Johnson to second. Luis Gonzalez doubled to left scoring Johnson. Bautista was thrown out trying to score from first for the second out. Colbrunn singled to center scoring Gonzalez. Matt Williams doubled for the second time this inning scorling Colbrunn. Reggie Sanders struck out ending the inning and giving the Diamondbacks a 12-0 lead.

In the fourth inning the Diamondbacks scored another 3 runs. Jay Bell began the inning striking out but reached first on a wild pitch. Damian Miller doubled to center scoring Bell. Randy Johnson struck out before Tony Womack singled to left moving Miller to third. Danny Bautista reached on an error by second baseman Alfonzo Soriano allowing Miller to score. Luis Gonzalez singled to left scoring Womack. The inning ended with Greg Colbrunn flying out to second and Mat Williams grounding out to third but the score was now 15-0 in favor of the home team.

The Yankees scored their 2 runs in the sixth inning on a single by Shane Spencer and a single by Luis Sojo. What this victory set up was a deciding game 7 to be played with Roger Clemens facing Curt Schilling in a winner takes all contest. This World Series was quickly become one of the best of all time. Little did we know we had not seen anything yet.

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