Are the Yankees Cursed?

Or maybe we're jumping the gun here

By Bruce Beck
|  Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 4:45 PM EDT
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Photos: The Yankee's Champagne-Soaked Celebration

AP

Don't worry, Nick, it'll be OK ... maybe.

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The Yankees were only a Nick Swisher single away from knocking out the Angels in the ALCS -- but it was not to be.

And now they must wait until Saturday, in New York, to try and advance to their first World Series since 2003.

"If the first cut is the deepest," than the last step is the hardest. And that powerful, knockout blow has not been part of the Yankees' arsenal in six long years.

Maybe something changed forever that fateful night in Boston in 2004 when the Yankees dropped Game 4 of the ALCS to the Red Sox, only to eventually lose the series in 7. 

Did they lose more than a game that night at Fabled Fenway? Did they lose their mystique as well?

We know it's not the "Curse of the Bambino." That one was reserved for the Red Sox for almost 100 years. We know it's not the "Billy Goat Curse." That one is saved for the Cubs and runs straight through Wrigley Field.

So what is it? Is it the curse of capitalism?

The Yankees do have a $200 million payroll -- the largest in baseball. And they did spend a paltry $423 million on Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett during the off-season.

Is it the curse of the new stadium?

After all, there is something strange about the wind there; it turns a lazy fly ball to right field into a home run.

And here's a neat stat: only three teams have won the World Series in their first year in a new ballpark -- the 1912 Red Sox, the 1923 Yankees and the 2006 Cardinals.

Could it be the curse of A-Rod ?

That is one people love to talk about. But hasn't Alex Rodriguez already exorcised those playoff demons with five home runs in the 2009 playoffs?

Maybe we're jumping the gun here. The Yankees are still in command of the ALCS, leading 3 games to 2. They are heading back to their $1.5 billion ballpark, where they are 4-0 in the post-season and where they posted a 57-24 record during the regular season -- the best in the majors.

And there's more good news! The Yankees have Andy Pettitte on the hill in Game 6. His 15 playoff victories are tied for the most in Major League history. 

And then "if necessary," (those famous words) they send their "ace" C.C. Sabathia to the mound for Game 7 of the series. The warhorse already has two wins against Anaheim.

So let's put it in perspective. The Bronx Bombers need just one more win to put away the pesky Angels, capture their 40th American League Pennant and erase "the curse" - any curse, which still might be lingering from 2004.

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