(Reuters photo / Boston.com)
Okay, so add Saturday's game to the long list of classic showdowns that forms this rivalry (and Friday's, too, but Saturday was the game in which we embarrassed one of their best pitchers (well, two if you count Joba Chamberlain's muffed attempt at a home-run catch out in the bullpen), so I'm focused on that one). As in most of them, people got hurt. And hit. In this game, though, people were not only hit with the ball, but Eric Hinske (above) and Jacoby Ellsbury both laid devastating tackles on Jorge Posada at the plate. Hinske got the bigger shot in, but Ellsbury got the added bonus of being called safe after he kicked Posada's leg out of the way and touched home before Posada could tag him.
Excellent. Yes. Stomp them. This is what we've been needing for, oh, weeks.
Speaking of Ellsbury, my dad, whose binkyism for Ellsbury grows with each passing hour, left me a message that could just as easily, in parts, have been directed at Red Sox brass:
Now, we've all had a good chuckle at Josh Beckett's expense on many an occasion around here. He makes it hard not to laugh at him sometimes, what with his cussin', fit-havin', stuff-chewin', inarticulately awesome ways. And I've seen some material on "the shows", as they say, this week--like scaring the living bejesus out of a Make-A-Wish Foundation kid Curt brought into the clubhouse--that was just more fodder for the Joshie Is a Nutcase file.
But what he did yesterday earns him his first serious stripes, if you will, as a young staff ace--proving the stopper in a game with huge competitive and psychological implications for his team. He came out spitting nails, eyes narrowed, and weilding a devastating curveball among a mix of skillfully executed pitches. It has since been remarked that this win, over his only fellow 18-game winner, was also a career move for Beckett, as getting to 19 wins ahead of Wang may have tipped Cy Young votes in his favor.
My favorite personal moment for Josh was his body language after beaning Giambi in retaliation for Youkilis. I believe that the Youk drilling was a mistake; Joshie just probably got all fired up just remembering how pissed he was at Joba Chamberlain the last time Youk got drilled, or something. After clipping the Roided-Up Buttmonkey on the right elbow (good choice, Josh), he took two or three deliberate strides towards his veiny, inflated opponent as if to say, and I'd be happy to fight you as well. Which, of course, serves to deter a fight, since baseball players don't pick actual fights in all but the rarest of cases.
In any event, both the victory and serving as the team's official 95-mph messenger amounted to the same thing: leadership. Leadership, attitude, toughness, and a will that practically spoke out loud: not today. Not on my watch. That is enough of this foolishness in my house.
And so while I may rag on him for not knowing the difference between "alteration" and "altercation," today my only thought for him, wherever he is, amounts to: Seriously, Josh. That was wicked awesome.
And thank you.