This week on George’s Box (Bronx Pinstripes has a 2nd and funnier podcast), I posed this question to my co-host Keith. Would you trade winning the 2009 World Series to win the 2004 ALCS?
A few things to consider:
Winning the 2004 World Series is not promised
The Yankees still could go on to win the 2009 World Series and every other year
The Red Sox may still win their other championships
Essentially, would you take the risk to cause a butterfly effect, that could go either way for the future of the Yankees, to know that we didn’t blow a 3-0 lead in 2004 to the Boston Red Sox?
Personally, I would in a heartbeat. I’m 34 years old and spent my first 18 years of life pretty much never leaving the Bronx. I was in 6th grade for the 1996 World Series and just coming into my own of really understanding the game of baseball. Winning 3 more championships as I got into my high school years was amazing and losing in 2001 was complete heartbreak. So heartbreaking that I ended things with the first girl to do mouth stuff to me because she said, “There is always next year.”
In 2004 I had just gotten to Drexel University, in Philadelphia, and the guys in the dorm room next to me were Red Sox fans. This was the first time I had ever seen one in real life and unlike my experiences with the girl in the last paragraph, this interaction left ME with a bad taste in my mouth. Much like when I talk to a Met fan today, I just couldn’t understand why they would cheer for such a failure of a team. Add in that I was making my rounds of rushing fraternities (best friends a guy could buy) and being very vocal about my fandom as the Yankees took a 3-0 lead. That perfect storm of the people I was surrounded by and my shitty personality, made it the perfect storm to be the worst thing to ever happen to me.
Combine all of that with the fact that I’m a bit of a gambler, and I trade 2009 for 2004 in a heartbeat. The Yankees would have likely run through the Cardinals to claim their 27th championship a bit earlier and not felt the needs to try and fill holes with more and more aging stars over the next few years before backing up the Brinks truck to buy the 2009 title.
As we all know, my opinion is usually the right opinion, but I decided to ask some of the other writers what they would do if presented the same option. The below are in no particular order other than Scott and Andrew being at the bottom because you probably want to know their opinions and will keep reading to get there.
I was a junior in high school during the 2009 world series in the Philly suburbs. I was pretty much the only Yankee fan in my entire school, so winning that World Series was a must. The Phillies and their fans were very confident going into that series as they were the defending champs at the time. All of my friends were talking a ton of trash, and I knew I was going to get absolutely shredded if the Yanks lost. I didn’t know many Red Sox fans growing up, so winning that world series and shutting up the bandwagon Phillies fans that surrounded me was the number one priority.
JJ’s Note: Nick spelled his own Twitter handle wrong when he sent it to me. Just to give you an idea of how the Philly school system is going.
Three words: flags. fly. forever. It’s that simple. I’m not old enough to remember the late 90s dynasty, so the 2009 WS win is the only one that I felt I was a part of. I also had mono during the ’09 series, and the WS win was a huge pick me up while I felt like I was slowly dying. You also don’t give up a sure thing World Series for just a chance at another one. As John Sterling keeps telling us, you can’t predict baseball and there’s no way I’m risking the 2009 title just for the chance of the 2004 one. Flags fly forever, another AL title doesn’t.
JJ’s Note: Way to slide in that you got mono, which makes everyone think you were making out. I got mono in college, but it was from a guy, playing beer pong. Maybe I didn’t buy all the best friends?
A championship is a championship. 2004 stung for sure, but there were no guarantees we would’ve won it all anyway. Plus, personally, I was only eight years old and had a quick memory. Even though I was alive for ’96, ’98, ’99, and 2000, the ’09 championship was the only one I have been able to truly enjoy. My cousin is from Boston and is a big Red Sox fan and I was finally able to rub it in. Sure, they can do the same thing with ’04, but I finally had a counterpunch.
JJ’s Note: I don’t know how much Red Sox fans actually care that we won in 2009.
Man, what a tough question. As a Yankee fan growing up and still living in New England, I think I’d take that trade. It would’ve changed the dynamic of that decade between those two teams. If the Red Sox had been smothered in ’04 I think there’s a decent chance that group of guys wouldn’t have ever won a series. Yanks might have gone on to win a few more. You just never know how the butterfly effect will unfold. I loved the ’09 world series team and Matsui getting WS MVP was awesome, but I’d roll the dice on this one. Just like as a Giants fan, I can always laugh at the Patriots, I feel like Red Sox fans will always have ’04 up their sleeve to make fun of us with. My tune might change if we don’t win a world series in the next couple years though.
JJ’s Note: John don’t worry about the next few years, worry about getting down for the parade in a couple months.
I wouldn’t trade a ring for an ALCS win. This would be like asking Stone Cold Steve Austin to trade in one of his Wrestlemania main events where he won the WWF Title because he didn’t get to win the 2002 Royal Rumble. (I’m sure he would’ve liked the title and not take on a drunk and older Razor Ramon but whatever) That 2009 World Series was important — although it feels like a century ago — because it christened the new building with a championship. If you take that away the last time the Yankees had a title is 2000. Their last World Series appearance is against the Marlins. That just seems like misery. All that matters are rings. Doesn’t matter how you get them, what you did or what players fit the bill as a “true Yankee.” You get the title because winning is the only true Yankee way. If we don’t win then we are Fenway Park’s true identity — losers.
JJ’s Note: Although I disagree, the wrestling talk really pulled me in here.
103 wins. 17 walkoffs. 2009 was a special year and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Yes 2004 sucked bad, but I am grateful for #27. It was Jeter’s 5th World Series. CC’s First. AJ Burnett’s Game 2 World Series performance was something I’ll never forget. Johnny Damon’s steal of 2nd base, and then going to 3rd base because no one was covering! Arod’s game winning hit after the steal. Arod’s Game tying Homer off of the camera in RF. Lots of great moments. Wouldn’t trade that for anything.
JJ’s Note: Frank has lived pretty much his whole life in Nashville and thinks the best Italian Hero (he calls it a sub) is from Jersey Mike’s and he put mayo on it. Tough opinion to trust.
You NEVER give up a World Series title. Especially, one we waited 9 years for. Since we haven’t one any since, you just never know how long a drought can last. ’04 is dead and buried. As someone else mentioned, keep ’04 as is and have Mattingly win a title in ’94 or ’95!
JJ’s Note: Here’s a hot take, I feel nothing towards Don Mattingly. I watched him growing up and thought he was the best, but he never led the team to a championship, so I just don’t care. He’s basically the Yankee’s David Wright to me. I did meet Don though and he’s a nice guy.
I was in HS when this happened, and it was humiliating. I refused to go to school. I still think about that series and how it all went wrong. 2009 was SO amazing and it felt memorable because I was a full-fledged adult when it happened, not just HS, and it had been a long time since we won, and it’s so hard to say you’d give up a championship. Perhaps only a Yankee fan could make this decision because we are such a successful franchise. But 2004 was something I wish never happened. I like to forget it happened. (And 2001, I’d take that over ’09 too, just saying). And maybe it keeps the Sox curse alive. Can’t guarantee we would have won the World Series that year, but I would have taken my chances. We were better than St. Louis that year. Stomp on Red Sox throat. Always! And anyone saying they’d keep 2009 because they can’t imagine not winning since 2004, how do we know we wouldn’t have won again after that? We can’t assume that if we won in 2004, we wouldn’t have won again after that. Perhaps it changes the trajectory of things and we do win more after that. Just like we can’t assume we would win the 2004 World Series after beating the Sox, we can’t assume we would never have won again after that, either.
Imagine this. Imagine the New York Yankees, with all their fabled pinstripes and bulging salaries, having not won a World Series championship since 2004. That’s not a fun story. Plus, don’t sleep on how joyous the 2009 postseason run was. Alex Rodriguez whipped up on Joe Nathan, Brian Fuentes and Carl Pavano; Mark Teixiera hit a walk-off blast; CC Sabathia cooked the Angels; and the Yankees, the best team in the league in 2009, won the title.
I wavered in both camps and while there’s no guarantees in life and championships are championships, I’d love to see this black mark erased from the Yankees, Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, etc. I’m assuming the Yankees would win more titles, maybe they close out the old yard and even open the new one with championships in this scenario. Even if the Red Sox eventually won, like in 2007, they wouldn’t have broken “The Curse of the Bambino” like this. Plus, every time you hear about a team blowing a 3-0 lead in sports, this comes up. Of course I’d trade both for 2001 or Don Mattingly getting a title in 1994 but that’s another story for another day.
JJ’s Note: Mike sent this in DRAMATICALLY late based on the timeline I gave everyone, but he agreed with me so I added it without reading it.
This is an easy decision — for the full explanation, download and subscribe to the Bronx Pisntripes Show — Andrew and I talked about this at the end of Thursdays show. — TLDR: I’m spoiled and lived the 90s Championships + I wanted to step on their throats and if they lose that series (especially get swept) …we’d still be chanting 1 9 1 8.
JJ’s Note: Can you believe the balls on Scott to just plug his podcast in my blog post? On top of that, he is super stingy when it comes to giving my BP shirts for free. I just don’t get what his deal is, but I’m going on their show this weekend to sort it all out.
I would trade ’09 for not blowing the ’04 ALCS in a heartbeat. I’d even consider including the 1999 WS as well, which was the least memorable of the 90s dynasty run. That’s how painful and embarrassing 2004 was. I was in high school and surrounded by Red Sox fans in Rhode Island, so losing to them was devastating. Winning in 2009 was fun, don’t get me wrong, but I have no emotional attachment to that team. It was bought and paid for. Maybe had that team (Jeter, ARod, Teixiera, Sabathia, etc.) won another championship, I’d remember that 2009 team more fondly, but they didn’t.
I believe if the Red Sox were swept in 2004 their tailspin into despair would have continued and they would still be without a championship. That makes the Yankees blowing a 3-0 lead in 2004 the single worst sports choke in history and it will never be topped. Ever. Screw you JJ for making me think about these awful memories.
JJ’s Note: First Scott plugs the podcast and now Andrew comes in with 2 paragraphs? These guys are something else. I don’t really have any issue here but want to point out that Andrew scheduled his wedding for the same day as Game 4 of the World Series this year and isn’t coming to Saturday’s BP event because of his bachelor party. Can’t wait for the “Where is Andrew?” chant we start.
Looking at all of the responses, I think this is just an age thing. A lot of our writers are too young to remember what it was like to be so totally dominant over Boston, that the idea of them winning was impossible. For people 30 and up, we crave that dominance again because 2004 took something out of our souls. Or maybe we just hate losing more than we like winning?
What would you do if given the option? Comment on Facebook or reply on Twitter if you saw the article in one of those places, or feel free to tweet at me directly. Unlike the names on Jersey’s argument, this one actually has two sides.