I have always been a believer in baseball’s relationship with life and destiny. I wasn’t born a Yankees fan, but there’s something about watching them always find a way to succeed that makes rooting for them quite meaningful. Having been fortunate enough to get my hands on an upper-deck ticket to game one of the World Series two Saturdays ago, I did my best to absorb all the history and baseball passion that Yankee Stadium had to offer. And wouldn’t you know this game turned out to be a thrilling 12-inning marathon that went down as the longest game ever played in World Series history. Talk about prolonging the inevitable.
Game one told the story of how the Series would turn out. It told of how important starting and then relief pitching really is. It also told of how some teams and some people just weren’t meant to lose. Todd Zeile hit what looked to be a line drive home run to left field. Somehow, the baseball gods at Yankee Stadium kept the ball low enough so it hit the tip-top of the wall. Moments later it wasn’t Zeile trotting to home, but rather Timo Perez being thrown out at the plate to end the inning. And it just so happened that less than a full day later, Zeile hit another moon shot that somehow made it over the left-center field wall only to land in Clay Bellinger’s glove.
Would the Mets have won game one had they not brought in Armando Benitez in the ninth inning? There will always be an argument about that one. Why not just stick with John Franco? Maybe Bobby Valentine would have never had to made that decision had the Mets capitalized on their second- and third-base opportunity in the top of the inning with only one out and Mariano Rivera pitching. Somehow, and someway, the Mets never scored. It was merely a 3-2 lead entering the bottom half and Benitez had to come in. You had to know what would happen next.
But the Yankees didn’t even go for the kill. They got a few singles with one out and eventually used a Chuck Knoblauch sacrifice fly to tie the game. Then in extra innings they teased the Mets, putting runners on in each inning including a no-out, bases loaded rally. The Yankees never scored in that inning and if the Mets had a chance in the Series, they needed offensive production right after that. It never happened for the New York Mets. Why? Because they were playing the Yankees in the House of Destiny. Destiny only belongs to one team. And with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, Jose Viscaino simply sealed the Mets’ fate for the game and the Series.
When the game ended I found myself looking around at all those screaming Yankees fans. I looked toward the monuments in the distance and the right-field wall where Jeffrey Maier broke Baltimore hearts. There was this feeling of destined greatness that could almost send chills down one’s spine. So, what’s destiny? Three straight titles, four in the last five years. And for the 26th time in their franchise’s amazing history, the Yankees win, the . Yankees win.