by Matthew Taylor
After 13 straight seasons in the playoffs, the New York Yankees will likely find themselves on the outside looking in for the 2008 postseason, a fact that delights many baseball fans and gives added relevance to Buster Olney’s “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty,” which pinpoints the 2001 World Series as the start of the team's downfall.
The O's have shared many memorable moments with the Yankees during New York's run of playoff appearances. Here are 10 that stand out:
-1996: Jeffrey Maier.Have another memorable moment in mind? Share it in the comments section.
-1997: David Wells to New York, Jimmy Key comes to Baltimore, both as free agents. The Birds seem to get the better end of the off-season signings; however, Key fades down the stretch after a brilliant start to the ’97 season and retires due to injury following the 1998 season while Wells wins a World Series and tosses a perfect game.
-1997: The O’s hold off a late-season Yankee run (New York won 8 of its last 10 and 15 of its last 20) to win the AL East title by two games and complete their Wire-to-Wire regular season run.
-1998: Armando Benitez plunks Tino Martinez between the numbers following a Bernie Williams home run and touches off an extended brawl at Yankee Stadium. Alan Mills becomes a fan favorite in Baltimore after he coldcocks Daryl Strawberry in the Yankee Stadium dugout.
-1998: Cal Ripken ends his consecutive games streak at 2,632 in a game played at Camden Yards against the Yankees.
-2000: After 10 years in Baltimore, Mike Mussina signs with the Yankees as a free agent. Twenty-win seasons and World Series rings seem to be sure things for the former O's ace; he achieves neither to date.
-2005: After a feel-good story to end the 2004 season - "The Evil Empire is Vanquished!" - O’s fans soon discover that they now have a second Evil Empire fit with obnoxious fans to cheer against: the Boston Red Sox.
-2006: The O’s consider drafting Jeffrey Maier. Says Peter Angelos: "To forgive is divine."
-1998- 2006: The Yankees win the season series against the O's for nine straight seasons. The Birds earn a season split (9-9) with the Yankees in 2007 to halt if not altogether end the streak; it is the first non-losing season for the Birds against the Yankees since 1997's Wire-to-Wire run, during which they won eight games and lost only four against New York.
-2007: Joe Girardi turns down an offer to manage the O's.
“I was flattered that the Orioles called me,” said Girardi at the time. “It's a great city, a great organization. I have the utmost respect for Andy. As a coach or a player, I always loved going there [to Baltimore]. I am not going to get into a whole lot, but it just wasn't the right time for my family. I was impressed. But timing-wise, it just wasn't right.”
After the season the timing is right, and Girardi accepts an offer to manage the Yankees; however, the results aren’t what he expected.
[Image source: The Online Wire. Click photo for original.]