I hate to knit-pick, but count on me to play Devil's Advocate on a Monday morning, following a 96 hour span of baseball which left me with a smile from ear to ear.
A seven-run win Thursday, an instant classic Friday, a CC Sabathia gem Saturday and a prime-time thriller Sunday. Big hits from big names for the Bronx Bombers, up against an unforeseen offensive drought for Boston which reminded some of Jim Carrey's acting career (Hey, Jim, where ARE you?? Seriously, I feel like I haven't seen you since the last Jenny McCarthy news brief on E! And if the rumors are true- that a new Ace Ventura is coming out and you're not going to be in it- then I guess this is good-bye, old friend...).
For the long weekend, Yankees 4, Boston 0.
Alex Rodriguez, as the cliche goes, "finally became a true Yankee" (bookmark that slogan, it will be making an appearance again soon) after hitting a walk-off two-run home run early Saturday morning.
Johnny Damon continued to punish his old team, hitting a game tying solo shot in the 8th inning Sunday night. The home run was his 6th against Boston this year, double the amount of what he has against any other team this season.
The game didn't stay tied for long, as Mark Teixeira -insert cliche here- after hitting the go-ahead blast just two pitches after Damon went deep.
Today's MLB standings will reveal the following: The New York Yankees have a 6.5 game lead on the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. The Pinstripes have won 7 in a row, while the "Sawx" have lost 6 straight. The Yankees are now a staggering 39-17 in their new ballpark, while Boston is 27-31 on the road. If- and that is now a big "if"- the Red Sox make the postseason as the AL Wild Card, they will be tested in a best-of-five series where only two games will be played at Fenway.
How great is it to be a Yankee fan right now? I'll tell you, it's awesome.
But if the Yankees get what they want- a trip to the World Series- how great will it be then?
Do I not believe in the Bombers? Hardly. After watching their bullpen throw 8 scoreless innings Friday night, I can breathe a little easier when discussing, arguably, the Yankees biggest liability.
Do I think they can win it all this year? If I were a betting man, they would be my odds on favorite. And that is as a bettor, not a fan.
So what's the problem you say?
Who they may face. The Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers had the best record in baseball for the majority of the season. However, with the way the Yankees have been playing and with the Dodgers slowly coming back to Earth, the Yankees now hold that title at 69-42, 2.5 games up on the Dodgers.
The LA Boys are a team built for the future that can also win now. Looking at their team, it is almost obscene how much good, young talent they possess. Names like Matt Kemp, Andre Either, James Loney, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton will all soon be household names, if they aren't already.
For the fan base around Chavez Ravine, these are the guys who will bring a championship back to Los Angeles for the first time since Kirk Gibson limped around the bases and Tommy LaSorda was letting it all hang out.
But there are two names on that Los Angeles squad which could make Yankee fans cringe come October.
One of those names is a career .321 hitter against the Yankees, with 55 HRs and 163 RBIs. And he hasn't even played the Yankees in over a year.
After eight years of missing out on baseball's biggest prize, how much would a big series or big hit from Manny Ramirez kill NY fans? If Manny held up the World Series MVP title after, once again, beating the Yankees.
Only this time, he did it 3,000 miles west of the Bronx.
Ramirez has had tons of big hits against the Yankees. He was part of the Boston team which won that infamous 2004 ALCS against the Bombers after being down 0-3. He was also, along with David Ortiz, the cornerstone of the teams which won two championships in Beantown and ended a near century long span of mediocrity.
But nothing could compare to Manny's dreads flapping in the wind as he rounds the bases against the Yanks in the final series of the year. Nothing.
Except, maybe, winning a championship for his new manager...
Whether you are a Yankee fan or not, a Joe Torre fan or not, a baseball fan or not, let's just look at the facts. Joe Torre came to New York following Buck Showalter's mishandling of a 1995 Yankees team which had a golden opportunity to make noise in the playoffs that year. From 1996 to 2007, Torre's final season in New York, the Yankees made the playoffs every year. They won 4 World Titles ('96, '98-2000), won nine straight AL East crowns ('98-'06), and created a dynasty which the Bronx had not seen the likes of in almost 40 years.
Torre was ridiculed when he got to New York, while he was in New York, and as he left New York. Yankee fans, for one reason or another, are never happy. And while there were obviously fans happy with the job Torre did (this guy), people were always for one reason or another, hating on Joe. His biggest hater seemed to be his boss, George Steinbrenner. If Joe breathed the wrong way, it seemed like The Boss was issuing ultimatums on his job.
With Mr. Steinbrenner's health now not exactly picture perfect, imagine his health- and the health of millions of Yankee fans- if Joe Torre becomes the one unconquerable obstacle in the way of the Yankees return to prominence. The position of prominence they were last seen at with, you guessed it, Joe Torre steering the ship.
The living legend, who was basically run out of town, has the power in his 69 year old right index finger to fill out lineup cards and make calls to the bullpen. He also has the power in that same finger to raise it to the sky and signal the Dodgers position in the baseball world—No. 1—after the Dodgers (gulp) beat the Yankees in the Fall Classic. He can cry and wave to his family and friends again after winning a World Series in New York.
But he could be doing it for the "wrong" team.
Joe doesn't need another ring. He has done everything which has been asked of him for the past 13 years. As a reward, he has millions of dollars, some face time on national TV, and enough bling to keep any woman happy.
An October matchup against the Yankees, however, could change all that.
And for those who hated on Joe while he was a Yankee...need I say more?
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