To make the World Series, the Yankees have two chances to win one game in Houston. The Astros jumped out to a 2-0 lead at home and are looking forward to returning to its home park and fans. “It will be great,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “There weren’t a lot rooting for us here.”
The Yankee Stadium crowds have been intense, drawing comparisons to the crowds of the late 90s despite the old stadium having a bigger capacity. And the players have been energized by it. “I think they feed off of it a lot,” Joe Girardi said. “And I think it definitely helps them. I’ve heard our players talk about it. It’s electric. It’s something that they haven’t seen. And you get it during the season sometimes, certain teams that we face. But this is up a whole other notch. It’s as good an atmosphere as I remember at this new ballpark.”
There has been a lot said and written about how this Yankees team is reminiscent of the 1996 team and the beginning of that dynasty. But there’s one way in which they are opposites.
This team is 6-0 at home in the postseason, after victories in the Wild Card game against the Twins, two ALDS wins against the Indians, and three ALCS wins against the Astros. They are only 1-4 on the road, although they won the one game they had to have, Game 5 in Cleveland.
The 1996 team was made up of road warriors who actually struggled at home in the postseason. They went 3-4 at Yankee Stadium but were a perfect 8-0 on the road. In the ALDS, Texas came in and took Game 1 and the Yankees needed 12 innings to win Game 2 after coming back from a 4-1 deficit. Then they took games three and four in Texas. The Yankees took Game 1 of the ALCS with help from Jeffrey Maier, and then Baltimore took Game 2 in the Bronx before the Yankees went to Camden Yards and took three straight. In the Fall Classic, the Braves took the first two games in New York by a combined score of 16-1. But then the Yankees took three straight in Atlanta and returned home to win Game 6.
From the 1996 ALDS through the 2001 ALCS, the Yankees were a mind-boggling 29-7 on the road.
They went 5-1 in the 1998 playoffs, eliminating Texas in the ALDS, taking two of three in Cleveland, and wrapping up the World Series in San Diego. The 1999 team also went 5-1 on the road, again finishing a sweep of Texas in the ALDS, taking two out of three at Fenway Park, and stealing the first two games of the World Series in Atlanta. In 2000, the Bombers took two out of three in Oakland, Seattle and Queens. And the 2001 team took both games they played in Oakland, and then Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS in Seattle.
From 1996 to 2001, the Yankees were 27-11 at home in the postseason. The stadium rocked this week the way it rocked then. But as much as the fans and players love that stuff, it’s also about shutting up the fans on the road.