Monday, October 26, 2009

Confident New York Yankees Win ALCS, Head to World Series


The New York Yankees are American League Champions for the first time since 2003 because of their talent, their skills, their preparation and their confidence level. They were also aware of the danger of complacency despite leading 3 games to 1. They were keenly aware of the need to finish, to close out the Los Angeles Angels.

VISION OF A CHAMPIONSHIP

"We came in here with a goal in spring training of winning a championship and we're a step closer. It's really not a surprise that we're here. I hate to sound like that, but we're really a good team."

--C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees' pitcher and MVP of the American League Championship Series. Sabathia will probably start Game 1 of the World Series again the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

Sabathia pitched 16 innings in his two starts in the ALCS, giving up only two runs , one in each game, and nine hits. In his three postseason starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a five-year-old boy to play in the World Series, and it’s been a long time waiting. In order to the win the World Series, you have to get there first, and this is pretty incredible -- especially with all the stuff I’ve been through.”

--Alex Rodriguez, Yankees' thirdbaseman.

Through nine postseason games, Rodriguez is batting .438 (14-for-32) with a .548 on-base percentage to go with five home runs and 12 RBI. In the Division Series, A-Rod’s homered twice and tied the score each time, once in the Yankees’ final at-bat.

ANTICIPATION OF DANGER

"The danger against a team like that is they can just sort of let things go, as far as the pressure, and just go out there and actually start to play to their ability because they have nothing to lose. So the important thing is to make sure to close it out, to understand there could be that kind of danger. We have to make sure we're aware of that.

"We believe we're playing at a high level in all aspects of the game. I think it's important to have that attitude, and I truly believe that we are a team that is very capable."

--Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees outfielder, discussing their mindset against the Angels, even with a 3-1 lead in the series.

STICKING WITH THE GAME PLAN

Andy Pettitte was orginally scheduled to start Game 6. Then, it rained. Manager Joe Girardi decided to start Andy Pettitte for Game 6 even after Saturday's rainout rather than going with his hot pitcher, C.C. Sabathia. Girardi would then have fellow left-hander Sabathia ready for Games 1, 4 and 7 of the World Series.

"We stayed with our plan," Girardi said. "We were going to use CC in Game 7 if we needed it. We didn't need it. And now we have him for Game 1 [of the World Series], and that's good for us."

PREPARATION

"We worked hard, since spring training, for this and we are here. I can't be more proound of my teammates and the organization."

--Mariano Rivera, Yankees' relief pitcher.

EXPERIENCE AND LEARNING

"You go in there, you see Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada," Sabathia said. "Those guys have been through this situation a lot. You have to lean on those guys and talk to them in situations."

Excerpts from Yahoo.com, The New York Times, ESPN.com, The Hartford Courant, (October 26, 2009).

For more on mental conditioning, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.
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