Orioles, Yankees rekindle memories of 1996 playoff matchup
BY DAVID GINSBURG Associated Press
Sunday, October 07, 2012
10/07/12 at 5:57 AM
BALTIMORE - Orioles rookie third baseman Manny Machado was a 4-year-old when Baltimore and the New York Yankees last met in the postseason.
In case the kid needs a quick history lesson, left-hander David Wells won a game for Baltimore, Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry homered for the Yankees, and a youngster named Jeffrey Maier stuck his glove in the middle of the whole thing.
The 1996 AL championship series was a lifetime ago for many Orioles fans and a rather meaningless event in the development of Machado, now 20 and a key player in Baltimore's improbable, magnificent 2012 season.
Sixteen years after the Yankees ousted the Orioles from the playoffs and advanced to the World Series, the teams resume their rivalry Sunday night in Game 1 of the AL division series. It will be Baltimore's first home postseason game since 1997.
The Orioles spent much of the season chasing New York in the AL East, and now they have an opportunity to get the better of the Yankees in a far more significant scenario. After New York swept a three-game set in Baltimore in April, the Orioles rebounded to forge a split of the 18-game season series.
"We've played those guys a lot this year. We know what they've got, they know what we've got," Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds said.
Or, the outcome could be influenced by a fan in pursuit of a souvenir. In the eighth inning of Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, Maier stuck his glove over the right-field wall and appeared to rob Tony Tarasco of the chance to catch a deep fly hit by Derek Jeter. Umpire Rich Garcia called it a home run, and the Yankees won in extra innings en route to capturing the series 4-1.
Jeter and Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, who won the decisive fifth game of that series, have been to many playoff series since. In this one, they enter as part of a team that went 14-4 down the stretch to finish with the AL's best record.
And yet, the Yankees open the series on the road.
"That's the topic of discussion right now but, you know, this is a one year thing and we're going to have to win some games on the road most likely anyway if we make it to the promised land," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said.
Original Print Headline: Orioles, Yanks rekindle playoff memories
ALDS: Yankees vs. Orioles
A look at the best-of-five American League division series between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles:
First playoff meeting between these AL East foes since 1996, when the Yankees won the ALCS 4-1. ... After building a 10-game cushion in the AL East by July 18 this season, it appeared the $200 million Yankees would cruise on home to their second consecutive division title and third in four years. Instead, Alex Rodriguez was sidelined by a broken hand and the pesky Orioles charged hard, catching New York on Sept. 4. ... After dropping three in a row at home in April to New York by a collective 29-8 score, the Orioles came back to win all three series at Yankee Stadium. It's the first time since 2007 the Yankees didn't win the season series.
Missing Mo: This marks the Yankees' 17th playoff appearance in 18 years - but the first one during that stretch without Mariano Rivera in the bullpen. The career saves leader and postseason stalwart tore a knee ligament while shagging flies in early May.
Closing Time: If the Orioles have a lead in the late innings, they're awfully tough to beat. They were 74-0 when leading after seven innings, the best mark in the majors. Jim Johnson hasn't blown a save opportunity since July 27.