Can Yankees win the World Series

New York Yankees win: doping offender defeats Philadelphia

It is, of all people, the doping-confessed Alex Rodriguez who leads the New York Yankees to victory in the World Series. The most expensive team in the league prevails.

Alex Rodriguez celebrates beating Philadelphia. Image: ap

The grin on Alex Rodriguez's face was so wide that the chewing gum he was cracking almost fell out of his mouth. Rodriguez held the most coveted trophy in his sport after his New York Yankees beat Philadelphia 7-3 in the sixth game of the World Series. He had just won a championship for the first time in his career, but that wasn't all because of the deep satisfaction of the batsman the Yankees paid $ 275 million over 10 years. More important to him was that the 52,000 fans in the new Yankee Stadium gave him several minutes of roaring applause.

That was not always so. Half a year ago, A-Rod was a lonely, rich man in New York. After his doping confession, he was only called A-Fraud here - which means something like sham. He was whistled at every game and only tolerated grudgingly by his teammates. But now that he had made a significant contribution to bringing the championship to the East River for the 27th time after nine years with an outstanding performance in the play-offs, all that was forgotten. Only Rodriguez himself had to think of this time at the moment of triumph. "When a lot of people turned away from me, this club stuck to me," he thanked team owner Hal Steinbrenner, who at that time had already accepted the risk of damage to his image for the possible success with his expensive investment.

In general, on Wednesday in the Bronx, where in the unsuccessful years since 2000 there had been more than once audible rumbling and rumbling, everything was again peace, joy, pancakes. The team's second confessing doper, Andy Pettitte, was also cheered after he had effectively kept the offensive of the defending champions from Philadelphia in check as a pitcher in the play-off. The Yankees, who in the past few years had given a picture of shame out of scandals and quarrels, were again "a big family", as the unusually relaxed owner Steinbrenner emphasized when receiving the trophy.

Steinbrenner felt as if he had been freed from a curse. It was certainly not as bad a curse as the proverbial evil spell that had kept the Boston Red Sox from winning the title for 86 years prior to 2004. But it was bad enough. Year after year, the Yankees had bought more and more expensive players, and the sum of their salaries is now a league record of over 200 million dollars. And yet a return to the successful years from 1996 to 2000 simply did not succeed. A painful embarrassment. "We are finally back where we belong," said Derek Jeter, one of four players who are still from the old team, on Wednesday evening.

This year Steinbrenner's calculation finally worked out - the million dollar bet on the highly traded legionnaires was successful. On Wednesday evening, it was mainly Hideki Matsui, whom Steinbrenner had brought from Japan for 52 million four years ago, who paid off. The batsman from Kanazawa was responsible with three direct hits for six of the seven points the Yankees needed to win the series with four to two. Matsui, whose contract expires after this season, immediately returned his application to the Yankees. "I love New York," he said through a translator. In order to keep it, Patriarch Steinbrenner will have to shell out a few more dollars after this performance.

Rodriguez is tied to the Yankees and New York for another eight years. Eight years that he can look forward to again. Just a few months ago he feared it would be an ordeal, running the gauntlet every week in front of a mob who hates him. Everything is different now. Now New York has the championship. Doping was yesterday.

DEREK JETER, YANKEE