Hey baseball fans!
The MLB postseason has officially kicked off! I'm going to save my playoff predictions once we get to the Championship Series, but let's talk about one of the best Division Series moments of all time: Derek Jeter's flip in 2001 against the A's.
In the season following a half-decade of Yankees dominance that included four championships in five years, the Bronx Bombers continued to thrive, winning the 2001 AL East title with 95 wins, but were not favored to win it all. That distinction belonged to the Mariners, who broke the Yankees' three-year AL single-season wins record with 116 W's in '01. The Athletics made it in as a Wild Card with 102 wins, while the Indians snuck into the playoffs with 91 wins and first place in the AL Central. Because the Mariners and A's were in the same division, the Yanks had the honor of facing Billy Beane's squad in the ALDS, while the Tribe and Seattle squared off in the other series.
It looked like the A's would end the Yankees' reign of superiority, as they quickly went up two-games-to-none in the best-of-five series and were only losing 1-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning in Game Three in Oakland. Yankees ace and Hall of Famer Mike Mussina was in the midst of a gem, when Terrance Long came up to bat with two outs and Jeremy Giambi (yes, Jason's brother) on first base. Long smashed a grounder down the first base line that went all the way to the right field corner. Yankee outfielder Shane Spencer fielded the ball cleanly, but overthrew his cut-off men. Meanwhile, Giambi, as slow as he was, rumbled around the bases. It looked like he was going to score, which would've tied the game, until Derek Jeter came out of nowhere, streaking across the infield, fielding the ball on a hop, and flipping the ball effortlessly to catcher Jorge Posada. Giambi didn't bother to slide, making Posada's tag that much easier. The Yankee lead was preserved and the score would stay at 1-0 for the remainder of the game.
Had Jeter not made his spectacular play, the A's could've won Game Three and effectively the series. Instead, all of the momentum shifted to the Yankees, who came back from the 2-0 deficit and eventually made it all the way to the World Series. They would end up losing the seven-game Fall Classic to Arizona, but Jeter's flip has still remains as one of the most legendary fielding plays of the 21st century, thus far. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."