There is no use trying to beat the Yankees in a fistfight. Just think back to grade school. A bully steals your lunch money for the 26th time and finally you’re fed up. You confront him and maybe land a few punches, but the fight hasn’t even started for him yet.
Soon, he’s landing rights, and you come out of the fight with a black eye and a bloody nose. You wonder why you even started with the young sociopath.
Similarly, there is no doubt the Red Sox threw a few sharp jabs this off-season by picking up Keith Foulke and Curt Schilling.
But like always, the Yankees came back throwing wild rights like Mike Tyson before he started taking his meds. If signing Gary Sheffield and Kevin Brown were body blows, then A-Rod was the knockout punch that put Red Sox fans in the hospital.
George Steinbrenner hopes Sox fans don’t recover from this concussion. But you have to remember, as the cliche goes, the bully may have won the battle, but he hasn’t won the war … yet. The season is still two months away!
You also have to remember, bullies are strange; they usually have underlying problems that go deeper than their tough-guy exterior. The crew from the Bronx may conceivably have one of the greatest line-ups in the history of baseball, but that won’t mean squat if their starting pitching struggles.
Some will say that no pitching can stop the vaunted Yankee lineup. But history has taught baseball fans that a bunch of hacking power hitters needs some mound support. Andy Pettite could have joined Whitey Ford as a legendary career Yankee, but now he’s gone. And, as a friend of mine pointed out, A-Rod can’t pitch lefty.
Kevin Brown is almost 40 and Javier Vasquez hasn’t faced the pressure of Yankee Stadium. Sure I’m a Red Sox fan, but I think most would agree that the trio of Pedro Martinez, Schilling and Derek Lowe rivals, if not trumps, the Yanks’ top three.
Now, I’ll take a break from my rants to remember there are teams outside of Boston and New York. It’s tough for me to believe this sometimes, but maybe the Red Sox are not the victims here, and maybe the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry is not the center of the baseball universe.
A-Rod going to either Boston or New York would not exactly have been the best thing for baseball. Both teams tried to “buy” him because, like always, they could. Small-market teams were like little kids swinging their arms while being held down by a much bigger adversary. They had no chance, so my complaints should be muted.
Anyway, back to my world. I’ve been thinking, how can we defeat this bully? First of all, you can’t chicken out and give up now. We watched Aaron Boone crush our dreams – how much worse can it get?
Actually, a lot of other heinous things could happen, but the Sox are not going to roll over and die this year and neither are the Orioles or Blue Jays, who have both significantly upgraded their rosters. As for Boston-hating Yankees fans, try and realize that you’re becoming just like the Red Sox fans who use the horribly false rallying cry of “Yankees Suck.”
You gloat about off-season acquisitions and how your team is going to beat up on Boston this year. A few years ago, you were bragging about another New York championship. Now you’re talking about how you out-did the Red Sox, a team that hasn’t won a World Series in nearly 90 years.
There is an air of defiance from both sides that had been missing for most of the ’80s and ’90s, and fans are starting to hate the other team more than they love their own team. It’s scary, and I like it. Regardless of the outcome, just imagine how intense the games between the two teams will be this year.
And by the way, “Nomah” just sounds better with a Boston accent than “A-Rod” ever would. (Sigh.)