Last night, I handed out the symbolic gold fan to the recipient of the first She-Fan Award, which recognizes a person or persons who contributed to the Yankees winning their 27th World Championship. Yankees players and coaches are ineligible, but beyond that? Anything goes. Congratulations once again to Dr. Marc Phillipon, the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Surgeon.
And now, I’d like to move on to the award for the member of an opposing playoff team who most helped the Yankees take home the championship trophy. This award spotlights a player from the Twins, Angels or Phillies who, through bad luck, nerves, a flu bug or just plain ineptitude, gave the Yanks an opportunity to win a playoff baseball game.
The nominees for Best Enemy are…
- Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
Nathan came in to relieve in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the ALDS and served up a tying homer to A-Rod to send the game into extras.
- Jose Mijares, Minnesota Twins
Mijares surrendered the walk-off homer to Tex in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the ALDS. The Yankees ended up winning that one 4-3 and took a 2-0 lead in the series.
- John Lackey, Los Angeles Angels
In Game 1 of the ALCS, Big John walked Melky twice. The second time he threw the ball away for an error on a botched pickoff move at first.
- Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels
Yes, it was cold at Yankee Stadium in Game 1 of the ALCS, and Aybar was wearing an Elmer Fudd cap with ear flaps. But he and Figgy let Matsui’s bloop “single” drop between them to put the Yanks up 2-0 in the game.
- Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels
In Game 2 of the ALCS, the Angels’ closer gave up a homer to A-Rod in the bottom of the 11th inning to tie the score at 3-3 and turn the game into an epic battle.
- Maicer Izturis, Los Angeles Angels
The above game ended in pie for the Yankees in the bottom of the 13th when Melky grounded to Izturis, who threw wildly to first and allowed Hairston to score the winning run from second base. The game took 5 hours and 10 minutes and was an instant classic.
- Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles Angels
The lefty not only surrendered four runs in four innings in his start in Game 4 of the ALCS, but while relieving in the eighth inning of Game 6 he committed a throwing error on Melky’s attempted sacrifice, allowing Cano to score and put the Yanks up 4-2.
- Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies
Lidge came in to relieve in the ninth inning of Game 4 with the score tied at 4-4. He lost a nine-pitch at bat when Damon singled and famously stole second and third. He hit Tex with a pitch, and allowed a double to A-Rod and a single to Posada. (No, he wasn’t as sharp as last year.) The Yanks held on to win 7-4.
- Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
Howard struck out 13 times in the series. Enough said.
- Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies
Pedro not only gave up a homer to Matsui in Game 2 of the World Series, but he served up another one to Godzilla in Game 6, as well as a two-RBI single. Matsui was definitely Pedro’s daddy.
(Note: I’m not including base-running blunders by Nick Punto, Carlos Gomez, Bobby Abreu, etc. I had to stop somewhere.)
So now, without further ado, the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Enemy goes to….
While Pedro Martinez was certainly the sentimental favorite and the duo of Figgins/Aybar sent a message that the Angels were mistake-prone, it was Lidge’s meltdown that allowed the Yanks to take a 3-1 World Series lead on the road and enabled them to close out the series at home in Game 6. Congratulations, Mr. Lidge. Enjoy your award.
P.S. Just wanted to pay my respects to Yankees legend Tommy Henrich. He passed away today at the age of 96. Rest in peace, “old reliable.”