Tonight?s win was almost surreal. In the ninth inning, part of me just wanted to close my eyes and start praying, and part of me was like, ?Well, I gotta watch!? Joe got strike three, and right away I hugged Trot Nixon. We both were like, ?That just happened! Can you believe it?? To go out on the mound at Yankee Stadium and hug all these guys who have been through a lot together was just an awesome feeling.
During batting practice, they were showing a video of that ?96 Yankees team, and talking about how they pulled wins out of nowhere and had guys come out of nowhere to pull off victories. I was thinking, ?That sounds exactly like the 2007 Indians.? It?s nice to do this here at Yankee Stadium, because, obviously, they?ve had a dynasty the last 10 years or so. Maybe we can do the same thing now. We?ve got a lot of young guys and a lot of young players and young superstars like Grady and Travis and Vic. Going out on that mound and seeing these fans celebrating there was incredible. Who would have thought it? You look at their lineup and the names in that lineup, and it was definitely David and Goliath. It was a tall task.
I think it?s always more fun to be the underdog. But at the same time, when we sat down as 25 guys, we knew we had a better record, we played in a tougher division, we had a better pitching staff and we have a lot of great young players. You can?t buy into the name on the front of the uniform or the name on the back. You?ve got to go out and actually play the game. That?s the way I looked at this series. The reason we struggled so much with the Yankees during the season was it was the first time we faced guys like Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina. This time around, it was just like, ?Who cares?? They?re not any better than Johan Santana or Justin Verlander or Mark Buehrle and all those guys we played against all year.
Obviously, I wasn?t in the lineup tonight, because Kelly Shoppach caught Paul Byrd and Vic went to first base. All I thought about is that it?s cool that Eric had the courage to do what we?ve been doing all year and do what got us here to the playoffs. If you start C.C. on three days? rest, you don?t know what you?re going to get. If you catch Vic with Byrd, you don?t know what you?re going to get there, either. This is how we won our division and won games, and we went with it. I?ve had some of my best games of the year coming off the bench when Byrdie starts. Who cares? It?s all about getting wins now. I was ready to go if we needed to, and I was actually hoping I wouldn?t get in there tonight, because that would mean we won. And that?s how it turned out. We had a meeting when the playoffs started, and Eric said, ?Just be yourselves. Don?t do anything different.? If he started getting out of character and changing things, what message would that send to us?
We?ve been doing great things all year but haven?t been getting attention for it. There are probably people who never watched an Indians game. This series gave us a chance to show we have superstars like Victor and Grady? quiet, humble superstars that don?t get enough attention. Maybe they will now.
The coolest thing about these celebrations is that this is the best team I?ve ever played on where all the guys like each other and have fun together. It might look like we?re out of control when we?re celebrating, but it?s all genuine. It?s just been a lot of fun playing with these guys.
P.S. To all the Yankees fans who wrote in, thanks for your e-mails. See you next