Although the Yankees were in the midst of a dynasty and not far removed from their dominant 114-win 1998 season, the 2000 season was their weakest performance since 1995. They won just 87 games in the regular season and lost 15 of their last 18 games, closing 2000 with a seven-game losing streak. Many players who were great in 1998 (Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, Chuck Knoblauch, and David Cone, had below-average seasons in 2000.
Nonetheless, strong seasons by Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera were enough to secure the AL East by 2.5 games. In the post-season, they defeated the Oakland Athletics in the AL Division Series 3-2 and the Seattle Mariners in the AL Championship Series 4-2 to reach the World Series. At the time, they were just the fourth team since 1960 to make the World Series after winning fewer than 90 games in the regular season.
Highlighted by MVP-caliber seasons from Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza as well as strong pitching performances from Al Leiter and Mike Hampton, the New York Mets won 94 games in the regular season to capture the Wild Card by 8 games (though they lost the NL East to the Atlanta Braves by 1 game). By winning the 1999 and 2000 Wild Card, the Mets achieved their first back-to-back post-season appearances in franchise history, a feat they would match in 2015 and 2016.
The Mets would beat the 97-game winning San Francisco Giants in the NL Division Series, 3–1, and the 95-game winning St. Louis Cardinals, 4–1, in the NL Championship Series. The 2000 World Series was the first World Series appearance for the Mets since their championship in 1986 and their second post-season appearance since 1988.
AL New York Yankees (4) vs. NL New York Mets (1)
The opener fell on two anniversaries. Twenty-five years prior, Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk ended Game 6 of the 1975 World Series with his famous home run off the left field foul pole in Fenway Park in Boston to beat the Cincinnati Reds and force a Game 7. Twenty years prior the Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series title, defeating the Kansas City Royals in six games.
Game 1 was a match-up between postseason veterans Al Leiter and Andy Pettitte. Both starters pitched scoreless until the sixth inning when David Justice's two-run double put the Yankees on top. In the top half of the seventh, Pettitte would quickly lose the lead on a barrage of hits, the last by Edgardo Alfonzo to put the Mets on top. However, the Yankees would rally to tie the game on Chuck Knoblauch's sacrifice fly against Mets closer Armando Benítez. José Vizcaíno would drive in Tino Martinez in the twelfth inning with his fourth hit of the game to win it for the Yankees.
In Game 2 Roger Clemens started for the Yankees. Earlier in the year during regular season Interleague play, Clemens had hit Mets catcher Mike Piazza in the head with a fastball that resulted in Piazza getting a concussion and going on the disabled list. Game 2 still saw its share of controversy with Clemens and Piazza. Early in the game during Piazza's first at bat, Clemens pitch had shattered Piazza's bat. The ball went foul, but a sharp edge of the bat came towards Clemens. Clemens came off the mound and threw the bat towards the baseline, almost hitting the running Piazza. Piazza was baffled by Clemens' actions and many lambasted Clemens for them. Clemens, after the game, explained himself saying he did not see Piazza running and threw the bat because he was pumped up with nervous energy and initially charged the incoming broken bat, believing it to be the ball at first. Piazza hit a home run off reliever Jeff Nelson later in the game, but in the end the Yankees came away with a 6–5 win.
The Yankees' Game 2 win tied the longest AL winning streak in the World Series at ten games (the AL had previously won ten straight 1927–29 and again 1937–40).
The Mets broke open a 2–2 tie in the eighth inning to go ahead and eventually win the game. This ended the Yankees' fourteen-game winning streak in World Series play dating back to the 1996 World Series.
Yankee hurler Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez earned the loss, snapping his previous undefeated postseason record of 6–0.
After snapping the Yankees' 14-game winning streak in the World Series against postseason veteran Orlando Hernandez in Game 3, some analysts predicted that the tide had changed, that the Mets (down 2–1 in the Series) were now geared with enough momentum to make a comeback. Those fancies ceased literally after the first pitch, which Jeter hit far into the left field bleachers to put the Yankees on top. It was the sixteenth lead-off homer in World Series history, and incidentally marked a thirteen-game hitting streak in the World Series for Jeter. The Yankees never relinquished their lead following this home run. They secured a dominant 3–1 lead in the Series, with elite pitchers Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens poised for Games 5 and 6 (if necessary). With this win, the Yankees had effectively killed all hope for the Mets.
A now-iconic moment in Yankees lore, footage of Jeter's lead off home run, currently serves as the background for the title screen of YES Network's Yankeeography series.
Looking to clinch, the Yankees scored first on a Bernie Williams solo home run in the second inning. However, the Mets responded with two unearned runs off Andy Pettitte in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the sixth, Derek Jeter homered to tie the game at 2–2.
The Series effectively ended in the top of the ninth. Mets ace Al Leiter had a pitch count that was approaching 140, but manager Bobby Valentine insisted that he would live or die with Leiter. Yankee infielder Luis Sojo hit a two-out single off Leiter, and the throw from center field hit baserunner Jorge Posada as he was sliding into home plate. The ball went into the Yankees' dugout, allowing Scott Brosius to score, as well, and Luis Sojo to take third base, putting the Yankees on top 4–2.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets' best hitter Mike Piazza dramatically faced the Yankees' closer Mariano Rivera as the tying run with two outs. Piazza hit a deep fly ball, but it was caught in the deepest part of the ballpark by Bernie Williams to end the game at exactly midnight to give the Yankees their third straight world title and fourth in five years.
Of Piazza's fly ball, many thought it was a home run. Yankees manager Joe Torre said:
"It was probably the most scared I've been when Mike hit that ball ... I screamed, 'No!' Because any time he hits a ball in the air, it's a home run in my mind. I saw Bernie trotting over for that. I said, 'Wow! I guess I misread that one.' "
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada similarly said, years later:
“I remember it was a loud sound ... It was a pitch that got too much of the plate. It was supposed to be inside. I remember the swing, I remember Mo’s reaction. And then I looked at the ball and I see Bernie running after it, and then he stopped. And I’m like, O.K., we’re good.”
However, Bernie Williams, after the game, with champagne pouring over him, said, "I knew right away ... I knew he didn't hit it." Likewise, Mariano Rivera in his last season (2013) was asked if he thought Piazza had hit a home run and answered, "No ... He didn't hit it with the sweet spot."
Game 5 was the final World Series game at Shea Stadium (1969, 1973, 1986 and 2000). This would also be the only time that visiting teams won a World Series at Shea Stadium (the Mets lost in 1973 in Oakland). This World Series provided some measure of revenge for Roger Clemens. He won the World Series in the same stadium he lost it at in 1986 while with the Yankees' fierce rival, the Boston Red Sox. Incidentally, members of the 1986 Mets World Series team threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.
2000 World Series (4–1): New York Yankees (A.L.) over New York Mets (N.L.)
2000 would be the last World Series title the Yankees would win for nine years, though they would remain competitive each year. They lost the 2001 World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games and the 2003 World Series to the Florida Marlins in six games.
The 2000 World Series was the last hurrah for this Mets core that consisted of Piazza, Leiter, Franco, Alfonzo, Ventura, and manager Bobby Valentine. After four consecutive seasons of competitive baseball, the Mets would average just 74 wins in the next four seasons, including a 95-loss season in 2003 and two last-place finishes in the NL East (2002 and 2003). After 2002, Bobby Valentine and nearly all of the coaching staff were fired, and by 2005, Mike Piazza was the only remnant from the 2000 team; he would leave the Mets after that season.
The Mets have made three postseason appearances since then. The first occurred in 2006, when they lost the NLCS to the eventual champions, the St. Louis Cardinals; the second came in 2015, as NL East champions, when they made a return trip to the World Series and lost to the Kansas City Royals (also in five games); the third took place in 2016 when they lost to the San Francisco Giants in the National League Wild Card game.
This was the final World Series the New York Yankees won while playing at the old Yankee Stadium (as previously mentioned, they lost in 2001 and again in 2003) and the final World Series played at Shea Stadium. Both stadiums closed at the end of the 2008 Major League Baseball season. The first season at the new Yankee Stadium (2009) ended with the Yankees winning their 27th; meanwhile, the 2015 New York Mets hosted their first-ever World Series at Citi Field, where they lost to the Kansas City Royals in five games.
Derek Jeter was the last active player involved in the 2000 World Series. He retired following the 2014 season. Some players, like Robin Ventura and Joe McEwing, currently work as coaches.The 1998–2000 New York Yankees established a record of ten consecutive games won in consecutive World Series. The previous record was nine by the 1937–1939 Yankees. Overall, the Yankees had won fourteen straight World Series games (starting with Game 3 of the 1996 World Series) breaking the mark of twelve straight by the 1927, 1928 and 1932 Yankees.
Mariano Rivera became the first and, to date, only pitcher to record the final out in three straight World Series. In 1998, he retired the Padres' Mark Sweeney to clinch the championship; in 1999, he retired the Braves' Keith Lockhart; and in 2000, he retired the Mets' Mike Piazza.
The World Series telecast on Fox was the first year of their exclusive coverage of the Fall Classic (although the new contract would technically begin the next year). As in previous World Series televised by the network, Joe Buck provided the play-by-play with Bob Brenly and Tim McCarver (himself a Yankees broadcaster and a former Mets broadcaster) as color commentators. Game 5 of the series was Brenly's last broadcast for Fox, as he left to become manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks and, incidentally, go on to defeat the Yankees in the World Series the following year. Brenly returned to broadcasting in 2005 as part of the Chicago Cubs broadcasts on CSN Chicago and WGN, and also has called postseason games for TBS.
ESPN Radio's coverage was without Joe Morgan for a second consecutive year for reasons that remain unclear. Instead, Jon Miller shared the booth with Dave Campbell, ESPN Radio's Sunday Night Baseball color man. In 1999, Morgan was absent from ESPN Radio's World Series coverage because he was working the television broadcasts with Bob Costas on NBC. During Game 3, Miller was forced to leave the booth after the top of the first inning due to an upper respiratory infection. Charley Steiner, serving as a field reporter for the network, filled in on play-by-play for the rest of the game; Miller resumed his duties in Game 4 of the Series.
The World Series drew an average of 12.4 national rating and a 21% share of the audience, down 22.5% from the previous year. The Series drew well in the New York metropolitan area, but nationally, it was, at the time, the lowest-rated World Series in history by a solid margin. Many contemporary analysts argued that the ratings slide was due to lack of interest outside of New York City. Others thought the ratings slide was related to the television viewing audience becoming more fragmented in the wake of cable television. Online streaming media services were in their infancy and were a non-factor in 2000.
Three of the next four World Series (2001, 2003 and 2004) were all rated higher than the 2000 World Series. Following the Boston Red Sox' 86-year championship drought ending with a victory in the 2004 World Series, the event has seen a decline in ratings; every World Series from 2005 to 2013 has drawn lower ratings (sometimes substantially lower) than the 2000 Series.
On October 11, 2005, A&E Home Video released The New York Yankees Fall Classic Collectors Edition (1996–2001) DVD set. Game 5 of the 2000 World Series is included in the set. The entire series was released in October 2013 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment