Yankees' gallant quest ends
New York's season of perseverance makes manager proud
ANAHEIM -- They wouldn't go quietly. They didn't want to go at all, giving the Angels such a noble fight right down to the 27th out, and it came as a sobering shock when they finally did run out of lives.The battered heavyweight analogy can be beaten to death, but that is what the Yankees again were Monday night in the 45th inning of the American League Division Series. With the Angels clinging with bloody fingernails to a 5-3 lead in Game 5, the Yankees repeatedly peeled themselves off the canvas to deliver body blows. Derek Jeter, whose physical gifts are matched only by his heart, singles. Alex Rodriguez erases him on a double play. Jason Giambi singles. Gary Sheffield singles. Hideki Matsui rips an 0-2 pitch from Francisco Rodriguez into the hole, but there is no hole in the glove of first baseman Darin Erstad, who dives to his right for the ball and feeds it to the pitcher. And it's over, this gallant quest. "Just terribly disappointed," said Yankees manager Joe Torre. "I don't think I've ever been more disappointed in the final score. "I'm so proud of the way our ballclub came together and put all egos aside and just played their [tails] off and never quit right to the end." The effort won't get its proper due in New York, where seasons that end short of a World Series title are disappointing and those that end short of the World Series are catastrophic. Many other places, the Yankees' 2005 season would be hailed as a testament to perseverance. The pinstriped embodiment of "Refuse to Lose." At a minimum, something worthy of appreciation. San Diego comes to mind. The Padres received a PETCO Park standing ovation at the end of the Cardinals' very convincing Division Series broom. New York being unlike any other place, "nice try" will never cut it. Yet these 2005 Bombers overcame so many unforeseen obstacles, their season turned into the 162-game high hurdles. You remember the springtime anticipation. An All-Star -- nay, Hall of Fame -- lineup fronted by a legend-in-the-making starting rotation: Four Veteran Horsemen and the Apocalypse (Randy Johnson).
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.