Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baseball's Team of the Decade --- New York Yankees

The 2009 Major League Baseball season has come to a close and a decade has been completed. Sixty division titles have been won, 10 wild card teams decided, and 10 World Series champions have been crowned. It's been a decade that has been marred by accusations and congressional hearings about rampant steroid use, ungodly free agent signings, and umpires blowing calls at an alarming rate this past season. But we have also had some monumental feats in baseball too --- The Boston Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series for the first time since 1918, the Chicago White Sox winning the World Title in 2005 after decades of frustration, and the New York Yankees winning 2 championships in the bookend years of 2000 and 2009.

We have also had amazing player accomplishments such as the emergence of players like Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki, major milestones with Barry Bonds becoming the Major League home run king, Ken Griffey, Jr. reaching 600 homers, and Alex Rodriguez doing what Alex Rodriguez always does. We saw the retirements of Cal Ripken Jr. and Greg Maddux as well, two of the greatest players at their respective positions.

This post will focus on the one team that dominated the decade of 2000-2009. In my opinion, no other team can match what this team has done as far as overall accomplishments are concerned. Without further delay, the team of the decade is:

The New York Yankees

This decade Yankee teams has had an amazing group of players come through the hallowed halls of old Yankee Stadium and the new Yankee Stadium --- Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Roger Clemens, Bernie Williams, Alex Rodriguez, and more recent additions Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and Robinson Cano. They have had a core group of four players this decade --- Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte whom has defined the Yankee way by showing class and respect for baseball.

They have had one great manager in Joe Torre and I believe a good one in Joe Girardi. Both led teams quietly and let the players play. Torre was considered a push button manger that could do little wrong with the teams he had, while Girardi may have micro-managed at times, but with the shaky bullpen of this past season, I feel he had no choice.

Now let's look at the hard numbers to validate dominance of these Yankees:

*Easily Major League Baseball's best record in the decade
*9 time playoff participant
*8 American League East Division Titles
*4 World Series appearances (2000, 2001, 2003, and 2009)
*2 World Series Titles --- in 2000 (defeated the New York Mets 4 games to 1) and 2009 (defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4 games to 2).

While Yankee starting was good and the bullpen was spotty at times (2009), there were two constants that were always outstanding:

*The “Bronx Bombers” hit like no other team could, especially with power and patience.
*The Yanks had baseball's best closer in Mariano Rivera.

What other teams come close to such dominance? I'll examine three teams in comparison.

Boston Red Sox

While Boston equaled New York's 2 World Championships (2004 and 2007), they can only lay claim to 1 AL East title (2007), and 6 playoff appearances. Pretty good by most standards but pales the Yankees in every way except World Titles.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels do have a World Series title under their belts (2002), 5 American League West Division titles and 6 total playoff seasons. That may be better than Boston, but is far short of what the Yankees have done.

St. Louis Cardinals

The World Champions of 2006, the Cards can boast 6 National League Central Division pennants and a wild card appearance for a total of 7 seasons in the playoffs. Better than both Boston and the Angels but again short of the Yankees.

I believe I have proven without a doubt that the New York Yankees are by far and away the best team this decade. The numbers prove it and I defy anyone who can argue otherwise. Love 'em or hate 'em, let's give the Yanks all the accolades they deserve.


Send email to dlafrance2@207me.com

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1 comment:

  1. Even though I would agree the Yankees are the team of the decade, I don't think they were a true team of the decade. Yes they dominated the AL East and had two titles, but they were separated by 9 years, and other teams come close to the Yankees in the dominance of the 2000's. So while they were the best, it's not as if they were truly dominant. The were like the Steve Nash of the MLB. Consistently very good, but only occasionally amazing.