Volume 95, Issue 26

Thursday, October 18, 2001
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First football, not basketball

The days of the our baseball lives

The days of the our baseball lives

Standing O
Ryan Dixon
Sports Editor

This is what a heavyweight battle should be.

In the blue corner, weighing in with a remarkable, record-tying 116 wins are the new kid contenders – the Seattle Mariners.

In the pin-striped corner, tipping the scales with a remarkable 26 World Series triumphs including the last three world titles, the undisputed kings of baseball – the New York Yankees.

Let's get it on.

What did we, the baseball fan, do to deserve this? I guess the answer to that is sit through 162 mind-numbingly boring games before getting to this point. Damn, it was worth it.

The drama is truly rich. Last year's American League Championship Series rematch, east versus west, Lou Pinella pitted against his old pinstripes, Friends versus Frasier – gripping.

Above and beyond all of that, this series is a rite of passage.

If the Seattle Mariners are to truly supplant the Yankees as World Champions, it is only fitting that their path lead right through the heart of the Bronx.

Don't kid yourself – if the A's knocked out the Yanks, then Seattle went on to sock Oakland and capture the World Series, the victory would have been somewhat marred by the fact they didn't dethrone the kings.

The fact huge regular season success almost never translates into post-season glory gives this series another intriguing element – the last baseball team to capture the regular season title and parlay it into a World Series win were the very same Yankees in 1998.

However, just ask the Atlanta Braves how easy it is to win games in June instead of October. Precious few teams waltz through their schedule without hitting a wall in the post-season.

This is Seattle's chance to shine. With the notable exception of World Trade Organization protests, the national camera is rarely on this rainy city. They want the attention and in order to get it, they've got to steal it from the perennial spotlight hogs of the East.

Most will tell you the advent of free agency in baseball represented a monumental shift in the game. While the Yankees should be given more credit for the job they've done developing homegrown talent, nobody can deny they're buyers on the open player market.

The Mariners on the other hand, have waved good-bye to three franchise players in recent years. Alex Rodriguez? See ya. Ken Griffey Jr.? Choking on the air in Cincinnati. Randy Johnson? Perhaps next series.

Seattle has done a remarkable job not only staying competitive, but actually thriving with the loss of each ego.

When you consider all the angles of this series, it really comes down to this: to the Seattle Mariners, playing the Yankees is like seeing an ex at the bar. It sucks at first because there's a lot on the line, but if you end up looking better than they do, nothing could be more rewarding.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001