OK, let's keep this short and sweet. The Yankees are gone. Let's make this perfectly clear: they had no chance in this series. There were many intense moments, but the Indians, because of their pitching, are the superior team.
Nate's Most Valuable Player: this is a hard one (no I am not going to consider the game two bugs). There are so many names to choose from. Kenny Lofton gave us a veteran presence and led the hit parade in game one with 4 RBI. Fausto Carmona, except for one mistake pitch, was unhittable in game two. Rafael Perez gave up nothing (aside from a too-little, too-late Rodriguez homer in the seventh inning of game 4) out of the bullpen and Grady Sizemore had a .524 on-base percentage. Jhonny Peralta was an absolute monster at the plate. He hit NO home runs. He did hit .467 with a .579 OBP. Two runs, two RBI, three doubles and a stolen base. But he is edged out (barely) by Paul Byrd. No one wanted him to pitch. No one expected him to win. He did, and the Yankees are golfing.
Nate's Most Valuable Play: Perez, unlike all season, looked extremely hittable in game four. When he relieved Paul Byrd in the sixth inning, he immediately got himself into a two on, one out situation with Derek Jeter at the plate. This is perhaps the most unenviable situation that I could imagine for a major league relief pitcher. What happened? Rafael induced the Yankee Captain to ground into his third double play of the series.
As an Indians fan, there is no sweeter sight than the face of a Yankees fan, streaked with tears.
If there were any justice in the world, Rafael Betancourt, who delivered the Indians' only 1-2-3 inning in game four, would be a Cy Young candidate. Setup man: the most thankless job in baseball.
Kelly Shoppach deserves to be a starting catcher for someone. His arm is lethal and he can hit some. No doubt we have the best catching tandem in the bigs.
Asdrubal Cabrera showed some rookie tendencies at the plate: bad swings early in the count, most notably.
I loved Roger Clemens' little limp as he exited game 3. Amateur theatrics. Nice waste of 22 million, Yankees.
Jensen Lewis, rookie, showed no fear in this series. He brings nasty stuff to the plate and he trusts it. I am VERY impressed by this guy, who grew up an Indians fan.
Ryan Garko's comments about the bugs were classic and priceless. "I guess Fausto is just a little tougher." "The Yankees acted like there were bullets flying around their heads...I mean, this is the big leagues." Ryan Garko. Let's hope he's an Indian for a long, long time.
People love Derek Jeter. I HATE Derek Jeter. He played very poorly in this series. Way worse than Alex Rodriguez. (.176 BA for Jeter compared to .267 for Rodriguez).
Of course Joe Borowski made us sweat in the ninth inning of fame 4. Of course he got the save. The final out was a nasty breaking pitch to Jorge Posada, seconds after Posade hit a ball three miles down the first base line...foul.
Eric Wedge. Why do his players play hard for him, even in meager times? He respects them and the roles they play. His second guessers think C.C. Sabathia should have started game 4 on 3 day's rest. They believe that Kelly Shoppach should never have replaced Ryan Garko in the game 4 lineup. They think Rafael Betancourt should have pitched ninth inning of the series clincher. Wrong. Wedge has always been a player's coach. This year he has grown and proved he has the cerebral capacity to match his loyalty. The proof? We're playing for the pennant.
Listening to the network team of Chip Caray, Tony Gwynn and Bob Brenly was unbearable (Caray in particular is a hack. "AND HERE COME THE YANKEES!" he ejaculates after a leadoff single). Their desperation for the Yankees to score 100 runs in every game was so unprofessional and so typical. Case in point: try opening the MLB section of ESPN.com today. What is the headliner? No, it's not the Indians trouncing of the Yankees, it's the ever tiresome Joe Torre/ George Steinbrenner soap opera saga from hell. Way to be a tabloid, ESPN.
A post game celebration typically features fine champagne (Mumms) and bad beer (Bud Light).
The Yankees are INSANE if they part ways with Joe Torre, who has endless reserves of class and talent as a manager. That's the last Yankee compliment I will deliver here and maybe ever.
Here's hoping for a Indians-Rockies world series.