Friday, August 7, 2009


The Yankees finally beat Boston. It took five months, and a healthy amount of self-loathing, but it happened. Right now, I feel like some tiny Caribbean nation (St. Vincent and the Grenadines? sure!) that went 100 years without beating America in soccer. Now that it happened, there's an explosion of feeling, and anything is possible. I imagine politicians in New York will try to piggyback on the emotion from last night's win for their next campaign (The city's Republican Party will change its name to "The Hour of Our Glory August the 6th People's Movement"). Fights will be about to break out in the Bronx, and one guy will go "hey man, wait a second...the Yanks beat Boston." And the other guy will pause, nod slowly, let his lips curl into a slight smile, and say "yeah man...they did." And that fight won't happen.

Of course, Red Sox fans at the Stadium reacted exactly as you'd imagine, and exactly as Americans would react in the above scenario. "Great, congratulations, you beat us one time." But when Posada didn't slide (why, Jorge?), costing us a run, and when Pedroia and Kotchman went deep for the early 3-1 lead, little two-man islands of red stood up all over the stadium, lifting both hands in that trademark gesture of Boston smugness, pointing at various fans who'd heckled them along the way, knowing in their seedy little hearts that the SAWX had an engimatic something that the Yanks just couldn't match. Oh, you could see it in their smiling Irish eyes: they owned us.

Until they didn't, HOMES. The good guys dropped an 8-bomb in the bottom of the 4th, and that was that. The rest of the night was a celebration. Conclusions to be drawn from the game:

1) The Yankee line-up is just cruising. These guys are laying sweet lumber on anything white and round in a five mile vicinity. It's getting so you can't buy an onion in Brooklyn without Mark Teixeira coming up out of nowhere to smash it to pieces. (Afterward he feels bad and gives you a few bucks and says to come see him if you ever go to a game.)

2) John Smoltz is not a viable option, RSN. Sorry. His fastball has less movement than David Ortiz after he eats a pound of Vermont Cheddar (they call me Rick Reilly with attitude).

3) The Joba big game questions linger. Not an impressive performance last night. He got knocked around through five, giving up big hits and getting rattled into walks. You could spot him 10mph and make the Sox use wiffleball bats, and he still wouldn't have gotten Pedroia or Youkilis out. You hate to see it, because before all is said and done we will be calling on him to beat the Sox again. And in the future, we won't have Smoltz to kick around.

4) The Sawx are in trouble. I risk invoking the jinx here, but these guys are down to a few good players. Kotchman and Vic the Slick will help, but that line-up has holes galore. They badly need Buchholz or someone to step up and become a quality pitcher, and they better hope this Wakefield injury is mild. The Rays are only 2.5 back in the Wild Card, and they have youth on their side.

5) Victor Martinez pulled, I must admit, a pretty cool move in the 2nd. While Jorge Posada ran home, he stood casually, giving no indication that there would be a play at the plate. The deception worked, and Jorge jogged in, thinking he didn't need to slide. Meanwhile, Pedroia threw an absolute dart on the relay, and Victor applied the sudden tag. Really just an amazing play all-around, requiring precision, trickery, and perfect timing. At the time, this was totally demoralizing. And then Pedroia led off the next inning with a solo shot. I may have said something like "this game is over" to my stepfather. I can't remember.

Okay, before I go into the rest of the post, quick link. Yesterday I read a pretty cool article about US soccer. It was more like a diary, or something, but it covers the national team as they try to qualify for the World Cup. I remember reading an SI article a few years back about this same topic, and it was just as fascinating then. Americans tend to ignore this part of the process, but it's worth recognizing that the team has to bounce around the very unfriendly confines of Latin America in order to earn a berth in the WC. They endure slurs, thrown batteries, threats, etc. And then they come to play at home, and it's still like an away game, because all the Honduran or Costa Rican or Colombian nationals pack the US stadiums. Not an easy road. But a good story, so check it out.

Okey doke. Since I'm really slaying the sports world with predictions lately, I conclude today's post with some premature (short) recaps of the next three games.

Friday, August 7: Yankees 12, Red sox 0

AJ Burnett's perfect game highlighted another strong Yankee performance in the Bronx on Friday. The Red Sox had no answer for the right-hander's impressive arsenal, and only Nick Green managed to hit a ball into the outfield. Robinson Cano led New York's offense, hitting for the cycle twice and scoring 8 of the 12 Yankee runs. Before the game, David Ortiz admitted to using steroids as recently as 2008, and told reporters that he's no longer able to achieve an erection.

Saturday, August 8: Yankees 14, Red Sox 0

For the first time in history, a team had back-to-back perfect games, as CC Sabathia followed up Burnett's gem with one of his own. The big lefty was so overpowering that the only Red Sox player to make contact was Nick Green, who threw himself over the plate in the ninth inning, was hit in the head, and called out for leaning. Robinson Cano led the Yankee offense, hitting a record-tying six home runs, including three in one inning. Before the game, David Ortiz admitted to wearing a brassiere, and told reporters that his favorite soap opera is Guiding Light.

Sunday, August 9: Yankees 27, Red Sox 0

Andy Pettitte out-dueled Jon Lester, throwing a perfect game and completing a four-game sweep of the Red Sox. The Texan southpaw was so dominant that only Nick Green managed to even swing the bat, attempting to bunt on a 0-2 pitch in the dirt. Robinson Cano led the Yankee offense with thirteen triples, a record sure to stand forever. Before the game, David Ortiz tried to sexually assault a male reporter, but quickly lost his breath and fell on the locker room floor, where Terry Francona rubbed his head, sang "You Are My Sunshine" in soothing tones, and fed him a Snickers.

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