Four of Six

I went out to dinner last night at The Capital Grille in Boston (we sat two tables away from Michael Dukakis), and I was continually keeping an eye on the Red Sox – Yankees game, which fortunately, was in my line of sight. Thank you, Capital Grille, for putting windows in the wall seperating the bar from the restaurant. Unfortunately, we left right when the game was coming back from it’s second rain delay, so I was not able to catch the game again until the 8th inning. We got home at the right time, as I was able to see Orlando Cabrera and Johnny Damon play heroes of the day. I also was able to see Manny’s great catch through a replay after the game.
As I was watching Tom Gordon dominate the Red Sox (what a pitcher he is!) and Mike Timlin in turn brush the Yankees away, they were showing shots of Mariano Rivera warming up in the bullpen.
Now, before this game, I always had a hatred for the Yankees. I did not like them, I did not like their players, and I had to try very hard not to be biased in this column towards the Yankees, especially when I did my pre-season preview of the Yankees. Last night, something changed. I looked at the pinstripes on the uniform of Derek Jeter, I looked at the interlocking ‘NY’ on Mariano Rivera’s hat, and I didn’t feel a stir of anger. I felt like I did for any other team, and they evoked no emotion in me. When we beat them last night, I exulted as I would have for any other team. (Admittedly, I exulted a little bit more because they are the Yankees after all, and plus it was a win we needed to stay in the hunt for the division.) However, to me now, Mystique and Aura really are dancers now. I no longer fear the Yankees, I no longer have hatred for the Yankees. It is now more a mixture of bemusement and pity. Heavy on the bemusement, light on the pity.

Oh ? about those Diamondbacks. Or should I say, where did Mystique and Aura go? Baseball fans will recall that prior to the World Series, Arizona’s maestro pitcher Curt Schilling was asked for his impressions of New York Yankee history, and the mystique that seems to surround the team. “When you use the words ‘mystique’ and ‘aura,’ those are dancers in a nightclub,” said Schilling. “Those are not things we concern ourselves with on the ballfield.” Peter Jennings, in an e-mail newsletter – link by site I found it off of unavailable

I didn’t even care that they whipped us 14-4 today. Derek Lowe just didn’t have it, as has been the case all season. Besides, it’s not like we’ve been whipped before …
We dropped a game to Oakland on May 27th by a score of 15-2.
San Diego stifled us on June 9th, 8-1.
June 20th saw Jason Schmidt 1-hit us for a 4-0 win, which I attended.
June 26 saw Philadephia beat us 9-2, and the Yankees thrashed us 11-3 on the 29th.
The Braves handed us a 10-4 loss on Independence Day.
We’ve also dropped two games to Baltimore, Seattle, and Anaheim that weren’t anything to write home about.
It’s been done before. What’s important is that we won last night. If we hadn’t won last night, we’d be 5.5 games back, and looking at a sweep by the Yankees. The point of this little fairy tale is this:
The Yankees have the best home record in baseball, followed by the Red Sox. If we can take 2 of 3, we came in and did what we had to do. If we can go back home and again take 2-3 (do I dare say perhaps a sweep?), then what have we done? Taken four of six. We came into this series 3.5 games back. If we can take four of six, and we assume that the little brief spell in between each series when the Sox take Baltimore on and the Yankees take Toronto (and one with Tampa Bay) does not change the standings at all, then we will have a deficit of 1.5 games. That’s pretty good, so I will go on record saying this:
If we can come out of this six-game series having won four games, I will consider it a victory.
If we lose tomorrow, it just means we have to sweep next weekend at Fenway which is very doable.
So you heard me, Sox of Red. Four of six.