x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Yankee magic

Other baseball teams may beat the New York Yankees, but the club's history gives it a swagger none can match.

Even supporters of other baseball teams will admit, grudgingly, that there is something special about the New York Yankees.

Indeed, around the world people who don't know second base from a catcher's mitt know of the Yankees, thanks to their exploits and to coverage by New York's media. From Babe Ruth to Mickey Mantle to Mariano Rivera, elite players have put the Yankees into 40 of the 107 World Series championships. They've won 27; the runners-up have won just 11. No wonder everyone who puts on the pinstriped uniform begins to swagger.

This year is no exception: after winning a tight three-way race in their division, the Yankees advanced in the playoffs, along the way winning a game in which manager Joe Girardi boldly replaced Alex Rodriguez, who possesses a record $275 million (Dh1 billion) 10-year contract. The gamble paid off, and substitute Raul Ibanez hit two home runs.

On Saturday, facing Detroit in the semifinals, good fortune struck again, and the Yanks made up a 4-0 deficit in the ninth inning, forcing extended play. This time, however, lightning wasn't enough: Detroit finally won 6-4 after Yankee infielder Derek Jeter, 38, left the game with a fractured ankle. Jeter will certainly join the Yankee pantheon whenever he retires, but as for this season, remember the words of another Yankee immortal, Yogi Berra: "It ain't over 'til it's over."