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World Series 2001
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10/16/2001 03:35 PM ET
Media Watch: A new ''Prime Time''
By John Ralph
MLB.com
Art Howe said it best after his team inevitably fell to the relentless and resilient Yankees on Monday.

"It looks like they have a new 'Prime Time,' said the beleaguered skipper of the Oakland A's during the postgame press conference in the bowels of Yankee Stadium.

Howe was referring to New York shortstop Derek Jeter, who seemed to be playing on his own Broadway stage during the unbelievable five-game Division Series.

The 27-year-old superstar turned the series around with his now famous dash-and-dish in Game 3. And on Monday night, he provided the exclamation point on the improbable Yankee comeback with a miraculous, acrobatic, back flip of a catch on Terrence Long's foul pop in the eighth inning.

The catch was one of those plays that didn't look any easier in slow motion than it did in real time. Fox-TV made sure we saw it enough times to remember it forever. And who could blame them.

With all the excitement he has provided so far this October, Fox might want to consider giving the "new 'Prime Time'" his own prime time series. Of course, it would probably have to be an action series.

But then again, maybe a drama would work too. After all, his actions did bring stalwart owner George Steinbrenner to tears.

"I've never seen an athlete dominate any sport -- in baseball, in basketball, in football -- like he dominated this series," a sobbing Steinbrenner said after the game.

Game 5 Rewind: With the exception of Game 4's sloppy marathon, viewers and listeners alike were treated to one of the most exciting playoff battles in recent memory. Fox and ESPN Radio provided top-notch coverage throughout the series, and were careful not to get in the way of the drama.

Fox began the Game 5 broadcast with a slick MTV-like rock 'n' roll music video montage, and closed with the smooth, familiar sound of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York," as Joe Torre and Mayor Rudy Giuliani strolled arm-in-arm on the field.

From the outset Monday, Thom Brennaman and Steve Lyons, Fox's No. 2 team, were on top of their game.

Lyons was miffed at the A's "refusing to play small ball" early on, choosing not lay down bunts or shorten swings with runners at second base and no outs. Moments later Eric Chavez waved at high inside fastball from Roger Clemens and Lyons correctly surmised, "Swings like that have cost the A's in this series."

Brennaman proved it pays to do your homework, when in the bottom of the first, he had no sooner reminded us that Mark Mulder led the American League in double play ground balls that Bernie Williams bounced into one. And in the A's disastrous fourth inning, he insightfully forecasted, "The A's are kicking it and throwing it all over the field, and it might mean their elimination if they don't get their act together soon."

In the fifth, a picture was worth a thousand words, as Fox cameras caught Jason Giambi getting on Miguel Tejada for not getting to third base on Giambi's single to right field. As the inning ended, the cameras caught the two stars arguing face-to-face on the infield. Then, a half inning later, we saw them embracing in the dugout.

Shortly after Jeter's phenomenal catch in the seventh, Brennaman delivered a tongue-in-cheek poke at ABC's Monday Night Football game, between the winless Cowboys and Redskins.

"We'd like to welcome those who have been watching that titanic clash on Monday Night Football." (Dallas led Washington, 3-0, at halftime)

As Mariano Rivera was putting the final touches on another thrilling moment in Yankee history, Fox cameras zeroed in on Giuliani proudly applauding near his front row seat. The Mayor did not arrive at Yankee Stadium until the late innings because of another anthrax scare -- this time reaching an ABC News producer's infant son.

At that moment, the series had gone full circle. You could not help but recall Joe Buck's eloquent words in Game 1.

"We're all part New Yorkers now."

Talking Headlines: "Bring 'M' On!"-NY Post..."New York's Back!" -NY Daily News..."Yanks Come Back From Brink"-New York Times..."Little Town Blues"-San Francisco Chronicle..."Remarkable Rebound"-Chicago Tribune..."The Defiant Ones"-Boston Globe.

Around the Horn: "Will you ever doubt them again? Better yet, will you ever bet against them in your life? The smart answer is, 'no.'"-George King, NY Post.

"Judging from the first two innings of this ballgame, the 55,000 seats are not necessary. Nobody is using them."-Gary Cohen, ESPN Radio.

"Brosius did a pretty good acting job on that one. He may win an Emmy. He could still get one too, because they haven't had the show yet."-Harold Reynolds, ESPN Radio, on Scott Brosius's hit-by-pitch in the second inning.

"The knee-high, old-timey socks were the first hint that Roger Clemens was in vintage playoff mode. He looked remarkably like Babe Ruth as he strolled in from the bullpen after wiping his sweat off the monument that honors the Bambino."-Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe.

"The A's slide began when Jeremy Giambi failed to slide into home Saturday night in Oakland."-Skip Bayless, San Jose Mercury News.

"Derek Jeter will haunt the A's forever. They will see him flipping the ball to catcher Jorge Posada in their nursing-home nightmares."-Gwen Knapp, San Francisco Chronicle.

Who wants to sit next to a Millionaire? Regis Philbin does. He enjoyed Monday's game sitting side-by-side with Donald Trump in the first row behind home plate.

John Ralph is a reporter for MLB.com