- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2001

"I can feel it!" a delighted Arizona Diamondbacks fan named Mark Flores said as he spun his wheelchair in manic circles around Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix Sunday night. "We've got New York on their heels. We're playing the Yankees, and we're beating them." Flores had plenty of reason to be excited: the Diamondbacks' third baseman Matt Williams had just hit a tremendous three-run homer deep into the left-field bleachers to give the Diamondbacks what would prove to be an insurmountable 4-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Diamondbacks went on to win the game, taking a 2-0 lead in the World Series. In only their fourth year in the league, the D-Backs are just two games away from ending the Yankees' current reign of World Series triumphs at three. With the unstoppable "Big Unit," 6-foot-10-inch left-hander Randy Johnson, on the mound, the vaunted Yankee offense didn't have a chance.
If the Diamondbacks win the series, it will be a true Cinderella story. The Arizona team has basically three bona fide superstars: Johnson; right-handed starter Curt Schilling, who the Orioles traded away nearly a decade ago; and slugging outfielder Luis Gonzalez, who hit 57 home runs this year. Aside from this trio, the Diamondbacks are largely a group of journeymen and ex-superstars working feverishly to regain their old magic, like third baseman Williams, who has battled debilitating injuries in recent years; outfielder Reggie Sanders (once a budding superstar for the Reds); Tony Womack, an infield castoff from the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates; and second baseman Craig Counsell, a veteran utilityman who starred in Arizona's championship series victory over Atlanta. Perhaps the most fascinating story is that of 42-year-old reliever Mike Morgan: After 21 years in the major leagues (playing for a dozen or so teams), he is now in his first World Series.
But anyone who counts the Yankees out is making a serious mistake. Just ask the Braves, who, five years ago, went up 2-0 before the Yanks came back to win the next four games, beginning a string of four World Series victories in five years. Or better yet, ask the torrid Oakland As, who won the first two games at Yankee Stadium this year, before losing the final three and the series. They could also ask the Seattle Mariners, winners of a record 116 games this year, who were dispatched by the Yanks in five. It is not at all difficult to imagine that, in this season of travail and sorrow, a Yankees team which doubtless lost hundreds of fans in last month's terror attacks, might prove to be this year's Cinderella story after all.

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