Don't ever give up!
Last Saturday and Sunday, the Yankees scored twenty-five runs to our five, blew out two of our starting pitchers and took a series at home, 2-1. This Saturday and Sunday, the Sox returned the favor with 23 runs to the Yankees' 9, blew out two of their starters and took the weekend, 2-1.
In a prediction thread over at the SG message board I had quite audaciously predicted a 6-0 record for the Red Sox in the final bookend series, but elsewhere I was seen to remark that a prediction of 3-3 was more realistic, since when the games are even-numbered the teams almost always, at least in the past few years--play to a draw.
In fact, an interesting statistic was cited on NESN (and elsewhere) that including the postseason, the two teams have faced each other forty-five times in the last eighteen months. The current record stands at 23-22, Red Sox.
This, of course, is not the perception. During a party I attended Saturday night, a raucous poker game accompanied an equally exuberant viewing of the Sox-Yankees clash on a silent television in the background. One of the poker players would duck his head out of the adjoining room to ask for updates on the Sox game. When, after a seven-run eighth, he was informed that the game had been all but won, he replied, "Finally, for one freakin' game."
"Hammer and nail is not a rivalry," and all that jazz. But at least for the past two seasons, the times, they are a-changin'.
At the very least, the two teams are becoming yin and yang, helplessly locked into a single, if conflicted, being. For all Red Sox fans whine about the Yankees' astronomical payroll and dirty dealings to acquire A-Rod, we're right there behind them in terms of the salaries we've taken to doling out, and, you could argue, ahead of them in the November wheeling and dealing that got us the inimitable Curt Schilling.
For all Yankees fans despise what they perceive as a losing culture, hangers-on at best in the American League East, it's hard not to acknowledge that given a wild-card-bound record that exceeds the slated division winners in the rest of the league, were the Yankees not to exist, the Red Sox would fill their place of dominance quite nicely.
If anything, it's probably good for baseball as a whole that the Sox and Yankees occupy the same division and the same league. Otherwise, they would meet so often in the playoffs and World Series that the contests might become moot for all other teams.
But screw what's good for baseball. I care about the Red Sox. I felt bloodthirsty as the Sox hammered Kevin Brown this afternoon, as if they vindicated some slight in my personal life. The fights were weak at best; at this a tiny, primitive part of me was disappointed, as I was hoping for a last pop at the Yankees before we venture into the rough water and such things become in poorer taste.
Because, after all, we don't know whether there'll be another shot to reignite the hatred--so deeply rooted in a kind of Freudian self-loathing, on both sides--that invigorates two major cities with another seven-round bout this fall. One or both of us could be bounced out of the playoffs early; at least one of us (the Sox) have not yet clinched a playoff spot at all.
But you have to wonder, who better to face in the race for the Fall Classic in this remarkable, twist-ridden season--the Twins from Minnesota, or our own twins of a different kind?