The Sweep

October 27, 1999
Yankees 4, Braves 1 (World’s Series Game 4)

After graduating college, it took me nine months to find a job doing what I wanted to do.  I spent from May through December of ’99 sending out tapes and resumes to with TV stations around the country, snagging an occasional interview and little interest.  To keep myself busy, I worked a few meaningless jobs and helped coach my former speech team.  

I’d travel to Seton Hall at least once a week, mostly on Tuesday nights and coach for a few hours.  Tuesday October 26 was game 3, so I did my few hours of coaching then hung out with my friend Jon (the convert) to watch the game.  It was an exciting game with the Braves coming out to an early lead, followed by the Yankees coming back and finally winning it as Chad Curtis took center stage at the plate and on the mic.  

Jon and I were Chad fans from a game a few years earlier (I have yet to get to in this segment) where he started in left field and acknowledged our cheers.  Having the game end in extra innings on a walk-off home run was exciting.  As I left and headed for home, I said something to the effect that there’s little that can happen the next day in game four to top game three.

Had I known I’d be going to game four, I might have not said something so stupid.  Sometime early that Wednesday, a friend of my father’s gave him tickets to game four.  For some reason, King Classic couldn’t go.  So I called up Jon, who bowed out of a LCS game the year prior due to school newspaper commitments, and Setonian be damned, he was in.  

I picked Jon up at Seton Hall and we drove my old car (an ’87 Buick Century Limited I held on to until aught-three) to the stadium, encountering little traffic on the way in.  Our tickets weren’t that bad. We were field level on the first base side, but in the very last row.  The only drawback to the last row is there’s about three fewer inches of legroom in the row, but that wasn’t a problem, because we stood for most of the game anyway.  On our way into the stadium, some fans were passing out photocopied signs that read ‘Ban Jim Grey.’  I snagged one and actually think I still have the collector’s item somewhere in my possession.  

Roger Clemens, who never seemed to fit in during his first year as a Yankee started the game and held the Braves scoreless through seven, before allowing two runners in the eighth, one of whom eventually scored off Jeff Nelson.  The Yankees had scored three runs in the third off a pair of singles by Tino Martinez and [Hip-Hip] Jorge Posada.  So between the third and eighth, all we were doing was hoping the Yankees could hold the Braves to as little damage as possible.

Thankfully, the Braves only scored one in the eighth.  There was a big debate this point among some fans to the right of us whether the Braves should bring in controversial reliever and grade-A jackass john Rocker to keep the game close.  Braves manager Bobby Cox didn’t do that, instead throwing out lefthander Terry Mulholland who was utterly ineffective in one season as a Yankees starter in ’94.  Jim Leyritz was brought in to pinch hit for Darryl Strawberry and bolstered my confidence in the ineptitude of Mulholland with a home run off the lefthander.

The Yankees didn’t need any more offense, as Mariano Rivera threw a scoreless inning and a third to close out the game, with the World Series ending as Keith Lockhart’s pop fly landed in Chad Curtis’ glove.

Other than Roger Clemens dancing on the dugout, the team didn’t celebrate much as Right Fielder Paul O’Neill’s father died the night before.  The fans weren’t so subdued, as Jon and I hung around for a while, before heading back to Jersey.  

Of course, I realized early on that day that it would be much, much better than the day before.

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