"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Like So Many Sheep In Red Sox Clothing

I spent much of the weekend being pissed off at the Red Sox, who couldn’t win a single game against the Baltimore Orioles. Not one. In my irrational state of mind I even wondered if there might be some foul play at work. After all, what better way for Boston to get at the Yanks than by rolling over three days in a row in Baltimore?

With this poison still working its way through my system, I sat down to watch the Yankees and Red Sox on Monday evening, and it all became clear as soon as the Boston lineup flashed onto the screen: Pedro Ciriaco, Daniel Nava, Cody Ross, Mauro Gomez, Ryan Lavarnway, Jarod Saltalamacchia, Danny Valencia, Che-Hsuan Lin, and José Iglesias made up the Red Sox starting nine, and three of those guys ended the night hitting less than .200.

CC Sabathia was on the mound for the Yanks, and he showed no mercy. As he was slicing and dicing through Boston’s makeshift lineup (Dustin Pedroia was out with an injured hoof, and Jacoby Ellsbury was on the bench suffering from the 24-hour-lefty-on-the-mound flu), I missed the old Red Sox. Do you remember what an event these series were? Do you remember how every pitch carried with it the weight of the world and a world of possibilities?

I miss the swagger of Pedro Martínez, the horror of Manny Ramírez and David Ortíz, the robotic fierceness of Jonathan Papelbon, the impossible smugness of Josh Beckett, and even the nauseating arrogance of Curt Schilling. I miss the way Jason Varitek would tuck his batting helmet beneath his arm as he crossed the plate after hitting a home run, and the way Kevin Youkilis would slide his hand up and down the shaft of his bat as if he were, well, you know.

I hated all of that, but now I miss it like crazy. These Red Sox? About as compelling as milk. So even as CC was busy dismissing one anonymous BoSock after another, I couldn’t help wondering what this series might’ve been like. Worse than that, when the Yankees sent 13 men to the plate in the second inning to score nine runs and put the game on ice, my heart didn’t beat any faster.

Robinson Canó led off the inning with an absolute monster home run that ricocheted off  the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar a mere 446 feet from home plate, becoming just the second player in four years to turn the trick. Three batters later Curtis Granderson laced a two-run homer into the second deck in right, and before the cheering stopped, Russell Martin backed him up with a homer of his own for a 4-0 Yankee lead.

Canó came up later in the inning and rocked a double to right center, scoring two more runs. A quick word about Canó. Even though some have criticized him this season and accused him of playing below his ability, it should be remembered that people whispered the same things about Roberto Clemente, probably for the same reason. Canó finished the game 3 for 5 with a home run and two doubles, giving him a total of 48 two-baggers and 31 homers on the season. Not bad.

Following Canó was Mark Teixeira, playing in his first game in weeks. He had struck out in his first at bat against Boston starter Clay Buchholz, but he liked something he saw from the new Boston pitcher, Alfredo Aceves, and quickly jumped on it. It was a no-doubter; the ball leapt off Tex’s bat and settled in the second deck. If Teixeira can get his swing together in time for the playoffs (or keep it together), the Yankee lineup is suddenly much more formidable.

Nothing much happened the rest of the way — a solo home run from Nava and a sacrifice fly from Saltalamacchia accounted for the Boston scoring — save for the bottom of the eighth. I’ve always loved watching players get their first hit, so I was thrilled for Melky Mesa when his two-hopper found its way into center field for his first career hit and RBI (Eduardo Núñez scored easily from second). Mesa started clapping and smiling half way down the line, and the Yankee dugout exploded behind him as they officially welcomed him to the major leagues with their cheers and good natured ribbing (Eric Chávez jokingly yelled for him to be sure to touch first base). The smile never left his face during that eighth inning.

The 10-2 Yankee win combined with a Baltimore loss gives the Bombers a tie with Texas for the best record in the league and a luxurious one-game lead in the American League East. I expect that they’ll take care of business on Tuesday and Wednesday. You can count on it.

[Photo Credit: Kathy Willens/AP Photo]

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Hank Waddles  Yankees

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1 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 2, 2012 3:51 am

Great write-up, Hank. I enjoyed the old Red Sox references.

I don't get the Roberto Clemente allusion. Care to 'splain? Something about racism?

2 Fuller R   ~  Oct 2, 2012 6:08 am

[0,1] I think you could compare Robby to Mike Schmidt, in addition to Clemente. Just like our hero, both played with an easy grace, making it sometimes look to some like they lacked intensity.

Ask anyone in the game, however, and they will attest that all three are gamers, who give it everything they got and sometimes just fall short.

3 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 2, 2012 6:46 am

[0] That lineup!!
Can't understand at all why people would say the Sox will be better than Baltimore next year..organization is in a shambles.

4 JeremyM   ~  Oct 2, 2012 7:13 am

Gotta be honest, I don't miss the Red Sox of old. Those games were starting to move beyond excruciating. 4 hours or so each time, pitchers stepping on and off the mound, hitters stepping in and out of the box. That one umpire was right....

5 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 2, 2012 7:22 am

Watching Bobby V come out to replace Bucholz..wow, guy just looked so beaten. Really look forward to his tell-all interview about the season. Wonder if he can wait till after the WS?

6 monkeypants   ~  Oct 2, 2012 7:37 am

[3] The Sox may not be better than the Orioles next year, but I be they're better than the Sox were this year. Is the organization in shambles? We'll know better when we see what they do with the massive amount of money they saved by foisting their payroll on the Dodgers.

7 monkeypants   ~  Oct 2, 2012 7:38 am

[6] The Dodgers who, from a quick perusal of the standings. look like they'll miss the playoffs.

8 knuckles   ~  Oct 2, 2012 8:53 am

I don't miss the old Red Sox.
- 4 1/2 hour games
- Curt Schilling's holier-than-thou-ness
- Pedro headhunting
- Manny's fake aloofness
- Varitek/Millar's fake grittiness
- Trot Nixon

Kick 'em while they're down. In 2-3 years we'll be wishing this was their lineup again.

9 thelarmis   ~  Oct 2, 2012 12:07 pm

yeah, i don't miss the old shit sox at all.

i wish their lineup was like this every year and they were always basement dwellers and doormats. in fact, i wish they were contracted.

i hope they remain relatively meaningless for years to come (won't happen, unfortunately). i will enjoy this for now and hope hard we beat them tonight/tomorrow.

10 Yankee Mama   ~  Oct 2, 2012 3:30 pm

Lately, the Yankees and Red Sox are like temporary relief you feel in the aftermath of a sturm und drang relationship. I welcome the peace. Then again, the chumminess between the players on the base paths signifies the end of an era.....for now.

11 Hank Waddles   ~  Oct 2, 2012 6:21 pm

[1] Latino players have always been targeted for lackadaisical play, and Clemente was the first. Canó certainly should hustle more than he does when he grounds balls directly at an infielder, but I think it's his play on defense -- languid and nonchalant -- that leads to a perception that he's going half speed.

Mainly, I just think it's odd that people can talk about him as if he's having a subpar season when his numbers say just the opposite. I don't think this is overt racism, it's just a skewed perception.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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