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World Series 2001
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10/23/2001 02:53 PM ET
Media Beat: A Dynasty of destiny
By Robert Falkoff
''There is a reason Sele is 0-6 in the postseason and it has nothing to do with a lack of run support," wrote Steve Kelley. ''He's a nice pitcher to have in July. He's a disaster in a must-win game in October.''
What happens when dynasty and destiny are rolled into one? From all indications, you get the 2001 New York Yankees.

That was the media's drift as the resourceful and relentless Yankees wrapped up the American League Pennant Monday night. Some chose to talk about the championship experience that propels this team to another level in late October. Others discussed the team's motivation to win for a city that was so tragically affected by the terrorist acts of Sept. 11.

Dynasty and destiny against Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. That's what we appear to have for a World Series matchup beginning Saturday night in the desert. Schilling and Johnson have the great stuff, but what has driven the Yankees from the brink of first-round elimination to the Fall Classic is great stuff, too.

"After the worst September the city has ever known, the Yankees had made a much better October, at least in baseball, at least at the Stadium, which has been as loud over the past week as it has ever been," wrote New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica. "Maybe because people wanted this Series so much, as much as any that has ever been played here.

"Once, the Yankees making the World Series was a formality in New York City, part of the routine of the city, almost something to be taken for granted. Not anymore. Not with this team, as much as it has won. Not in this New York. For six weeks, we have been told to get on with things. Last night, (Manager Joe) Torre's Yankees did that the only way they know how."

There were a couple of queasy first-inning moments for the Yankees in their Pennant clincher. Scott Brosius lost Mike Cameron's smash down the third-base line because of some bunting in the background, as was quickly noted by Fox analyst Tim McCarver. With Cameron at second, Edgar Martinez made a bid to give Seattle the early lead, but left fielder Chuck Knoblauch made a shoestring catch of a Martinez sinking liner. And that's the way it would go for Seattle all evening. Whenever New York needed something good to happen, it did.

"Nothing was going to stop these Yankees," wrote Jon Heyman of Newsday. "Not Lou Piniella's gutsy guarantee. Not the Mariners' nonexistent 'Sodo Mojo' ... nothing was going to stop these Yankees, who know not to quit until the last out is made in the World Series by whatever unfortunate National League team that qualifies. This year, it is Arizona, whose first World Series experience likely will be a short one."

Much like the Yankees, Fox Sports turned it up a notch in Game 5. The cameras caught several interesting developments, such as Andy Pettitte's unusual display of emotion in the dugout (he wasn't happy with his control) and Piniella's angry reaction to a check swing call that didn't go Seattle's way. Play-by-play man Joe Buck kept the anecdotes coming, including one about why Piniella almost didn't move Ichiro Suzuki from right field to left field. According to Buck, Piniella didn't want to get into an explanation session with the Japanese media.

Piniella wound up making the Ichiro move anyway, but it made no difference. Buck also got back to the Piniella guarantee that the series would return to Seattle. The Mariners were five outs away from making their manager a prophet in Game 4, but after Bret Boone had homered to give Seattle a 1-0 lead, Bernie Williams followed with a homer of his own that changed everything.

"(Piniella) said when Boone hit that home run, (the Mariners) were somewhere over Detroit, heading toward Seattle," Buck related to his viewers. "They were immediately brought back to the Bronx when Bernie Williams tied the game ..."

While the feel-good story continues in New York, the feel-bad story is just beginning to grip Seattle, which had a record-setting regular season with 116 wins.

"History will mock these Mariners," wrote Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley. "History is made in October. This is when baseball's memory is indelible. These are the games that matter. The Mariners went meekly into the offseason last night ... they played like Tampa Bay, and it was sad to see. It was such an ignominious way to end such a glorious season."

Kelley questioned why Piniella started Aaron Sele in Game 5 instead of bringing Freddy Garcia back on three days' rest.

"Call me old school, but I want somebody with some fire in his gut pitching a game this important," wrote Kelley. "Sele makes too many bad pitches to good hitters in big games. Bad pitches, like the hanging curveball David Justice hooked into the right-field corner for an RBI double in the third. Bad pitches, like the over-the-plate special he served to Bernie Williams that left the park and effectively ended this series in the bottom of the third. There is a reason Sele is 0-6 in the postseason and it has nothing to do with a lack of run support. He's a nice pitcher to have in July. He's a disaster in a must-win game in October."

By the late innings, all that was left was the American League coronation party. When Shane Spencer hauled in the final out and "New York, New York" began to blare, Buck summed it up nicely: "This city needed to hear (Frank) Sinatra sing that song after this series."

Fox handled the postgame celebration scene well, splicing in a Torre toast to his team in which Torre said the Yankees have "heart as big as this city."

Some dwelled on the dynasty angle. Others dwelled on the destiny angle. Either way, there was plenty of great stuff for the media to talk about as this Yankee joy ride kicked into overdrive.

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for