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SO BEGAN THE Great Torre Era. Except for one slip-up in 1997 (Rivera giving up a playoff home run), the Yankees won three more championships, setting a record for winning 13 World Series games in a row. The 1998 team was arguably one of the best of all time. The only thing anyone regrets is that the Mets somehow managed to win one game of the 2000 World Series.
Then came September 11th and the Yankee efforts became even more heroic. They struggled into the World Series of 2001 with a weakened team (O’Neill had retired) and carried the Diamondbacks into the ninth inning of the seventh game. (If only Torre hadn’t had to use Rivera for two outs in the eighth!)
After that, however, it was all downhill. Somehow the Yankees stopped developing their own players and started buying the franchise players of other small-market teams. Jason Giambi from Oakland, Alex Rodriguez from Texas, Bobby Abreu from the Phillies — every year it was someone new. All winter the sportswriters and talk-show call-ins would speculate on who we should buy next. It was as if the whole City of New York could splurge on George Steinbrenner’s money.
For me it all ended the night Jim Kaat, the Yankee’s announcer, was admiring the talents of Shawn Green, then a rising start with the Toronto Blue Jays. “You can’t help but ask yourself,” he said, “wouldn’t this guy look good in a Yankee uniform?” It wasn’t baseball anymore, it was shopping.
So it was nice to see it all come to an end Monday night. Once again, the Yankees’ big names and overpaid free agents were beaten by a hungry young team that could play fundamental baseball. It was only fitting that Alex Rodriguez, after leaving runners on base for the last three playoffs, should hit a meaningless solo homer in the seventh inning. It will look good in the statistics, but the game was long gone by then.
In five years, the Yankees will be probably trying to buy the talents of C. C. Sabathia and Grady Sizemore. But by that time they will have lost their fire and other young players will be challenging them.
Somehow there’s a lesson for everyone else in all this. You can’t live forever on past glory. At some point you have to forsake the past and start anew. And don’t expect it to happen quickly. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?