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World Series 2001
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10/16/2001 03:20 AM ET
Damon: Yanks showed why they're champs
By Johnny Damon
MLB.com
Damon is congratulated by Eric Chavez after scoring in the first.
Oakland A's center fielder Johnny Damon, a playoff rookie, is providing for MLB.com an exclusive postseason diary. This is his entry from Monday night, after Game 5 of American League Division Series.

NEW YORK -- Obviously tonight was a huge disappointment. We felt like this team had what it takes to make it to the World Series, and we were proven wrong for the time being. I still feel like we have what it takes, but the Yankees showed in the past three games why they're the three-time world champs.

We hung Jermaine Dye's jersey in the dugout today, just to let him know that we're thinking about him. It's sad for all of us that he wasn't here tonight, and who knows what might have happened if he was here and had a big night for us? He was going to meet us in Seattle for the start of the American League Championship Series, but now I guess he's going to be meeting us back when we get home. He wanted us to win for him, and it's a shame we couldn't do that.

We felt like we were prepared for this game, and I don't think we backed down at all. This team isn't intimidated by anything, and we certainly weren't intimidated by Yankee Stadium or the fans. The fans are great here, but I don't think they affect what happens on the field. The Yankees do that.

We hung in there tough, but we made a few mistakes that cost us the game, and they did a great job of taking advantage of that. The Yankees are true professionals, and they showed it to the world -- again -- tonight.

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Looking back, we might have put some pressure on ourselves when we went home up 2-0. We felt like we had to sweep them. We didn't want to go into that Game 4 as a must-win, because we knew that if we didn't win, it's tough here in a clincher. Maybe some guys put too much pressure on themselves, but tonight we came out ready to play. Jason Giambi, especially. He had a big night and proved some critics wrong by showing up for the big game, but unfortunately, nobody else joined the party.

We know we had a great year. It's just disheartening to know that we were so close to advancing and didn't get it done. The playoffs are magical, but it doesn't always work out the way you want it to, and I'm sure this is going to hurt for a while.

It's time to get on with the offseason and find out if we're all going to back here next year. I'm a free agent, so we'll be starting up talks about myself and Jason and some other guys soon. I'd like to come back, but it's not all in my hands.

This is the first time I've ever made it to the playoffs, so I'll always cherish this experience. But right now I'm probably just going to go and see my kids tonight and give them a big hug. Now I get to head home and be a daddy a little earlier than I thought.

Damon's Diary appears as told to Mychael Urban, the site reporter for OaklandAthletics.com.