My cold, dark Yankee heart is broken. I will not see Andy Pettitte take the mound at Yankee Stadium again. Even just typing those words doesn't sound right. I know it sounds cliche, but it really is the end of an era. The first of the "Core Four" is retiring.
Since 1995, I have been fortunate to watch the Yankees win five World Series. The four constants of those five championships are Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Pettitte. Of course other great players have come and gone during that time, including Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Alex Rodriguez and yes, even Roger Clemens. Whether it was the regular season, Division Series, ALCS or World Series, Andy was "my guy." It didn't matter if I went to a game on a Tuesday night in April, a Thursday night in August or a playoff game in October, this lefty was the guy I wanted to see pitch. Pettitte always came through. He got the big pitch. He got the big out. He got the big win. He has 19 postseason wins in his career, many of which I've been fortunate enough to witness in person.
I will leave it to others to discuss his Hall of Fame credentials. I will leave it to others to bring up yet again Pettitte's admitted HGH use and his relationship with Clemens. I don't even want to talk about those three years from 2004-06 when Pettitte left us to pitch for the Houston Astros, a decision I'm not sure I'll ever come to terms with.
News of Pettitte's retirement isn't a surprise; he'd been hinting at it for months since the Yankees were eliminated in last year's ALCS. But hearing the news doesn't make it any less hard to take. Please don't confuse my heartbreak for concern over the Yankees' starting pitching woes. The Yankees needed more starting pitching well before Pettitte's retirement announcement. I'm not upset because we lost a starting pitcher. I'm upset because the starting pitcher we lost is Andy Pettitte.