It's that time of year, I'm ready to hear the crack of the bat, the sound that signals warmth and the return of the never-ending child's game. Spring Training is underway for the New York Yankees and, they will begin their 2021 campaign at home on April 1, hosting the Toronto Blue Jays.

I have high hopes for my beloved New York Yankees, as I do every year but whenever this time of year comes, I think back to the era of Yankee baseball that I view as the "good old days."

I was lucky enough to watch the Yankees play their best ball, in my lifetime, when I was a young adult. The 2001 team fell one game short of the ultimate Yankee goal but I'd take this team back in a second if it were possible.

April 2, 2001, the Bronx Bombers  opened the season at home, against the Kansas City Royals and won 7-3. This was the New York Yankee Opening Day lineup 20 years ago.

2001 New York Yankees Opening Day Lineup

The Yanks lost the World Series in 7 Games to the Arizona Diamondbacks after an uncharacteristic relief failure by Mariano Rivera but they rallied the City of New York and the country behind them for a few weeks in the fall.

The tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, brought the country to a screeching halt and delayed the post-season. When baseball returned it had a healing effect and signaled some semblance of normalcy.

Although this team fell short of the goal, this Yankee team was balanced, intelligent and tough as nails. The Yankee team that they now call "The Baby Bombers" has a lot to learn about what it means to be a Yankee and they should be made to study the teams of the late 90's and early 2000's.

Items of note from 2001: 

  • Roger Clemens was indeed a "juice-head" but he was our "juice-head."
  • 2001 was Paul O'Neill's final year in Major League Baseball.
  • Chuck Knoblauch was a disaster in the field at this point in his career. He was an efficient infielder for most of his career in the majors but he got the "yips" with the Yankees and could not make routine throws which is likely why he started 2001 in Left field.
  • It was during the 2001 postseason that Derek Jeter earned the nickname "Mr. November." Due to the delay, baseball experienced from the 9/11 attacks, the "Fall Classic" extended into November for the first time in Major League history. Game 4 started on October 31 (Halloween) but extended past midnight and into November 1. Derek Jeter hit a walk-off Home Run over the right field wall and the New York tabloids dubbed him "Mr. November" the same day.
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