This week’s Metro column, a paean to Tim Wakefield, knuckleballer, 16-game winner, and what’s more, a decent human being. (Curse of the Metro? Shortly after publication, Wake missed a start with a sore back.) And, after the jump, the column that never was: I was all set to mope about the Yankees for the next two weeks, until they come to Fenway for (fingers crossed) a vengeful drubbing. But yesterday’s rookie no-no changed all that, and this column will now only see the light of day here on UmpBump.
Moping Over the Yankees for the Next Two Weeks
BOSTON–This weekend was supposed to be about the Orioles. But you’re not thinking about the Orioles. No. If the blood in your veins bleeds Red Sox red, you’re still mulling over that three-game sweep in New York.
You’re having flashbacks of Wang’s no-hit bid, carried into the seventh. Of Youkilis called out for running outside the basepaths, Terry Francona ejected for arguing that call, and Joba Chamberlain’s ejection for aiming at Youk’s head. Cano’s two solo home runs and the Abreu/A-Rod double steal and Varitek’s wild throw. And that was just Game 3.
Fortunately, the team has two weeks to get its mojo back before the Yankees come to Boston. Unfortunately, that will give us plenty of time to brood.
And we can’t look to the schedule for solace. Sure, of our next three opponents, only Toronto is over .500. The Devil Rays are so bad they’re actually under .400. (That takes a truly special team.) Sadly, New York’s schedule for the rest of the season is as cushy as Boston’s.
I was looking forward to this Sox-Yanks series as a classic display of good hitting versus good pitching. But the Red Sox just couldn’t find their rhythm in the Bronx. Instead of defense, pitching, and hitting all working in harmony—as they had so well during the rest of the road trip—the team exhibited more dissonance than a Philip Glass piece.
And as if that weren’t grim enough, after completing the sweep on Thursday afternoon, the Yankees found themselves—at last—in sole possession of the wild card slot, after Seattle lost Thursday night. At least the Yankees face Seattle before they meet up with Boston. (What is this I’m grasping at? Oh…it’s a straw.)
Compelled by the vagaries of working for a living to “watch” Game 3 with New York unfold with ESPN.com’s GameCast, I nevertheless experienced all the drama of Red Sox-Yankees. After a pitch, an “in play” notice brought all the suspense of a Hitchcock film. When this was followed by the terse phrase, “C. Crisp grounds out,” it elicited a Kafkaesque sense of powerlessness. But by far the most horrifying moment came in the 8th. “B. Abreu stole third, A. Rodriguez stole second, A. Rodriguez and B. Abreu scored on throwing error by catcher J. Varitek.” That matter-of-fact announcement, in stark black-and-white, educed a brutal anguish. Hoping to lance the boil of my despair, I immediately fired off an email. “Little pieces of soul ripped out. Will to live evaporating,” I wrote. “Not how I wanted to spend my Labor Day Weekend.”
So no matter what happens now, it’ll be a couple of weeks before the Faithful perk up. And that will take something extraordinary. Say, a three-game sweep of the Yankees in the Fens, punctuated by a couple of no-hit bids and a well-executed double steal.
Or A-Rod doing something stupid.