Sorry, Padre fans and Yankee-haters. If you were trying desperately to put the World Series results behind you, you’re out of luck.
Baseball and its amazing champions certainly deserve one last hurrah, especially if there’s no NBA and no Chicago Bulls preparing to take away the spotlight.
Most people knew in their hearts what the outcome would be far before Tony Bennett launched into his three-hour rendition of the national anthem before Game One of the World Series.
Come on, admit it, you knew.
My Russian history professor interrupted her lecture on Ivan the Terrible two weeks ago to discuss those equally terrible, no-good Damn Yankees. That’s exactly when I was certain the San Diego Padres had no hope. The chances of them winning four games against the Yankees were as likely as me getting a 4.0 in any semester of my college career.
And it turned out they didn’t even win one.
What those in the pinstripes, the Bronx Bombers, the Sultans of Swat, the now 24-time World Champions had on their side was history and destiny.
Scott Brosius’ go-ahead three-run shot in the eighth inning of Game Three off Trevor Hoffman had to be the most magical moment. The feat is magnified when one realizes that Hoffman – who blew but one save during the regular season – is the most reliable closer in baseball yet fell victim in the most important outing of his career. Hoffman couldn’t stand in the way of fate.
Even the Padres’ Hall of Fame-bound veteran, Tony Gwynn, was merely a camera-in-the-hand first-time visitor to the House that Ruth Built. It was this stadium and its historic outfield monuments that so powerfully reminded us that the Babe, the Iron Horse, Yogi and Joltin’ Joe are always with us. Somehow, some way, their presence, their wizardry was felt.
If anything could comfort the Padre fans during the Series, at least San Diego didn’t have to play all of its games on the road. But the true problem that plagued the Padres was they play in a stadium called Qualcomm.
Yankee Stadium has hosted nothing but one Yankee dynasty after another, where every postseason game, in some majestic way, relived a great era gone by. The same could not be said for the other 1998 World Series host. Two Sundays ago, just two nights before it hosted one of its most important games ever, “Technology of the 21st Century” Stadium was getting torn apart during the NFL’s mighty contest between the not-so-good San Diego Chargers and the terrible, don’t-even-get-me-started Philadelphia Eagles.
One could certainly make a case that San Diego had a great season, impressively defeated Atlanta to win the National League pennant, and had a chance against New York. But you see, the Padres weren’t playing that other New York team – the Mets.
The 1998 season was baseball’s much-needed year of destiny. McGwire, Sosa, Ripken and the New York Yankees. McGwire hit 70 home runs, and Sosa led the Cubs to the playoffs in a season dedicated to Harry Caray. And what can be written about Ripken that hasn’t already been said?
So whether you liked it or not, those Damn Yankees have the history, the destiny and now, as expected – the 1998 World Series Championship.