On the eve of the first game in yet another Yankees-Red Sox series, I was feeling a little tired of The Rivalry. Seriously. Not only do we play them tomorrow night for what seems like the millionth time, but with some of the old Red Sox antagonists gone — Pedro, Schilling, Trot Nixon, Kevin Millar — I began to wonder if I could muster the same old feelings. You know the ones I’m talking about. They look like this.
Now that the Yankees are coming off a championship and have already won this season’s opening round at Fenway, I’m not quite as crazed as usual. I mean, David Ortiz pals around with A-Rod during batting practice. Mike Lowell always seems pleasant enough. And what about how Jeter jokes with Pedroia and Youkilis; the three of them act like brothers, for God’s sake.
So what’s to get all worked up about? The fans at Fenway and their “Yankees suck” chants? Even that’s so yesterday. I’m telling you, I was sitting here wondering how to psyche myself up for tomorrow night and then I lit on Boston’s starter for the game: Josh Beckett. Yesss. There’s no one I enjoy watching the Yankees beat more than the Beckster. So, for anyone reading this who’s having the same sense of malaise that I was, check out this video. It was made by a love struck Red Sox fan named Hillary. Pay particular attention to the shot of Josh with the deer. Well, the puppy one’s cool too. Anyhow, just try and watch this and then tell me you don’t want the Yanks to hit, like, 20 homers off this guy.
Following in the Oscar-winning tradition of this clip, I encourage all Yankee fans to get up out of your BarcaLoungers, stick your heads out the window and shout to Jeter, A-Rod, Cano and anybody else who left one of tonight’s 15 runners in scoring position: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Yes, the Red Sox have commandeered sole possession of first place, and Wang probably made his last start in pinstripes before getting shipped off to an undisclosed location.
But this was a game the Yankees could/should have won. The relief corps of Hughes, Coke, Aceves did an admirable job. Swisher made a great diving catch after failing to make a routine one earlier. And Damon and Posada continued to hit for power.
But it was Tex’s night to shine. Win or lose, the guy can flat out hit. I know it’s only June, but I’m thinking MVP.
There were moments during the eventual 6-5 loss when I really thought we’d be celebrating a comeback. I was watching the ESPN feed (it was that or NESN here in California), and Rick Sutcliffe, who is always mind-numbingly boring, said when Wakefield was replaced by Ramirez: “It’s the bullpen that separates the Red Sox from the Yankees. This game is over.” Not quite, Sut.
Result: Yanks pull within a run.
Of course, he also came up with this gem in the second after Swisher bungled Kottaras’s ball: “Makes you appreciate all those years that Trot Nixon played right field here.”
I know Red Sox fans will always have a place in their hearts for the Trotster and he used to kill the Yankees with the bat, but he wasn’t exactly a Gold Glover, was he?
Anyhow, the comeback didn’t materialize (why have Gardner pinch run if he doesn’t steal?). Instead, we Yankee fans suffered through another exercise in futility against Boston, and it’s downright freakish.
I’m mad as hell, yes. But mostly I’m worried. Not about the Yankees. They were on a nice roll before they hit Beantown and they’ll probably resume their winning ways as soon as they leave. My concern is for Wang. What happened to him, and why can’t somebody fix him?