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One of the Yes Network's most aired shows are their Yankee Classics.  Generally, during the regular season on off days and mornings before a game when there was none the day before, you can catch the Yankees Classics.  Then they fill up a lot of the schedule with them during the off-season.  As a Yankee fan, I think it's a great idea, although the ranking of some games as "Classics" can sometimes be questions.

Well, this is an attempt to log as many of the Yankee Classics that have been shown including some commentary and rankings on whether they really are classics or...not so much.

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Regular Season vs. Boston Red Sox
Pedro vs. Moose
Monday, July 7, 2003
Final Score: 2-1
Yankee Classic Rating (1 low to 10 high): 5
This game was notable not just for the tight pitching duel and strong performances by Mike Mussina and Pedro Martinez.  It was also not notable simply for the fact that it was another in the long line of the Yankee trademark wins over Pedro Martinez.  No, not even for the fact it was won on a walk-off error at second base.

Most people remember this game for Pedro Martinez at his dirtiest.  Perhaps frustrated by the fact that he would always pitch well yet still lose to the Yankees, he decided on a different method of neutralizing the Yankee lineup.  That decision led to him hitting not only Alfonso Soriano as he led off for the Yankees in the first inning, he followed that up by also hitting Derek Jeter knocking both of them out of the game.

Now Soriano finished his at-bat by striking out, but did not return to the field.   How did he get hit and also strikeout you ask?  One of the pitches actually hit him on the wrist (the ball was thrown at his head, very Pedro-like), but the umpire ruled that it was a foul ball instead.  After reviewing the replays, the YES announcers never admin the pitch hit Soriano.  Instead, they hesitatingly agree with the umpire.  That's the great thing about instant replay though...it speaks for itself.

Jeter was hit with a similar pitch, but a little lower, and was correctly granted first base.  Jeter would remain in the field for the top of the second, but had to come out after that. As it turned out, knocking Soriano out of the game worked against Martinez.  Soriano was replaced by Enrique Wilson who knocked two doubles and scored the only run off Pedro in the sixth inning.

Aside from Pedro employing his usual dirty game plan, Mike Mussina went about his game in businesslike fashion.  After the Red Sox scored on two hits in the first inning, they were shut down, managing only two more baserunners against him.  One on a hit, one on a walk and struck out nine Red Sox along the way.

The Yankees wouldn't fare much better, with only three baserunners after the first, but fortunately, they coupled a Wilson lead off double with a Jason Giambi RBI single in the sixth and Mussina and Mariano Rivera combined to shut down the Boston attack.

Eventually, Martinez reached his pitch quota and in came a sight for Yankee batter's eyes...Byung-Hyun Kim.  He escaped the 8th inning with little trouble, but in the ninth, Hideki Matsui and Karim Garcia started the inning with back-to-back singles.  Jorge Posada pinch hit and was hit by the pitch, loading the bases.  Robin Ventura struck out. Then, with the infield in, Curtis Pride grounded a ball to Todd Walker at second who tried to backhand the ball, only to have it slightly glance off his glove.  Walker quickly retrieved the ball, which hadn't rolled far, and fired home, but the throw was over the head of catcher Jason Varitek and Matsui crossed the plate with the game winner. Not the traditional dramatic game winner, but exciting and different.

I'm not one for pitcher's duels and if not for the Yankee rally in the sixth, there wouldn't be much to watch outside the first and last innings.  Mussina and Martinez mostly commanded this game from start to finish, but there's enough quirkiness in this game to still make it a fun watch.  Additionally, Jim Kaat and Michael Kay add a lot of interesting commentary to make it a fun, retorspective listen from a time when the rivalry was at it's highest.


 This was the first time in 2003 that Mike Mussina surrendered a first inning run.

• Because of the loss of Jeter and Soriano, the Yankees were forced to field a lineup already filled with bench players.  Enrique Wilson and Todd Zeile filled in for Jeter and Soriano. Bernie Williams was unavailable, so Matsui started in center.  Karim Garcia filled the hole in left and Curtis Pride was called on to start in rightfield.  Additionally, John Flaherty started at catcher because of Jorge Posada's past record of futility against Martinez.

• Robin Ventura was moved to second base after Jeter left the game and Todd Zeile moved in to third.  It was the first and only time Robin Ventura would play second base in his 16 year career.  He would field two ground balls successfully, recording two assists.  Zeile did not have a ball hit to him at third.
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