Saturday, February 21, 2009
RIVALRIES ARE AWESOME
When you're on the heels of yet another baseball season, it's time to remember how awesome rivalries are. Many teams don't get to enjoy rivalries like, say, West Texas A&M, the Seattle Mariners, the Toronto Raptors. Then other rivalries go deep. Cardinals and Cubs, Giants and Dodgers, Michigan and Ohio State...but none greater, deeper and more furious than Yankees and Red Sox.
And while I don't necessarily condone tossing Don Zimmer around like a sandbag (a lumpy and ugly sandbag), those images are burned into the rivalry like notches on a walking stick. It's the time of year I reflect on some of the more friendly Yankee fans I've known...Mayhem, Chris, Rory, Dolan, Eric, Charlie, Thomas, Steven...and how we would size up the two teams for the upcoming year.
I'm not, for one moment, going to say that this year's Sox team is championship caliber. Possible? Sure. Probable? Not likely. The Yankees basically stocked it deep this offseason. If you're one of those guys buying into the "no chemistry" argument against the Yankees winning the division and possible championship, I get it, but it doesn't hold much ale. I think the addition of Sabathia and Texieria might help overcome any chemistry issues. If a Steinbrenner wants a championship team, he'll buy one. That's for sure.
This Sox team is a different one than those we've seen in recent years. Firstly, no Manny from the get-go. Some new faces on the pitching staff. We got Rocco. We got a "healthy" wrist on Papi. We got two shortstops--one that's a bargain and one that's a money pit. All that youthful core: Youkilis, Paplebon, Ellsbury, Lester, Masterson, Smoltz and Wakefield.
I was in line at the supermarket the other day and this girl in front of me, wearing a Yankee hat, got asked by the checker if she was a football fan and she just unloads. "No, I like the Yankees. I've been to Yankee Stadium three times. I don't watch alot of football, but I hate the Patriots. I hate the Red Sox. I hate Boston. I love the Yankees. I went to a Yankee and Red Sox game one time and the Yankees killed them. I've loved the Yankees my whole life. Since I was a little girl. Derek Jeter is awesome." Just fun to sit back and watch a woman who presumed there wasn't any opposition nearby just spewing her Yankee vomit. I really loved too how she denounced the Patriots because they're from Boston. That's like me hating the Knicks and the Jets too. That makes no sense. Especially if you don't even watch the sport. Hate the rivals. It doesn't mean you have to hate the entire city or state.
I wanted to pat her on the head and say, "Another moron Yankee fan." I resisted the urge. Of course, a rivalry kinda needs morons like that. Morons like me. Those who grew up nowhere near the rivalry and live it from the headlines, the replays, the fandom. I'll be the first to say that you feel like the world's biggest Sox fan until you go to Fenway. Thems is some Sox fans. I enjoyed the Sox as they rose to greatness. Hung true as the bandwagon got a little crowded and, now, the Manny-less Sox can now win with a little more anonymity. This last offseason reset the AL East the way it should be. Yankees on top with their new stadium, their all star lineup, their steroids and their money. The Sox below that as the reluctant underdog as their payroll shows a little relief and they slide to fifth or sixth in the league in team payroll. But this ain't about money is it? The Rays went to the Series last year on the second-smallest payroll in the league. Of course, they didn't win. Thanks for reppin' the East hardcore.
All that said and done, spring ball's in full swing now. The first game is only four days away. Let's embark on this 2009 Championship March. Go Sox. Go Cubbies.
Ever wonder what it's like to walk through the outfield bleachers in Yankee Stadium with a Red Sox jersey on?
And, how about serving chowder outside Yankee Stadium with a Sox jersey on. Some awesome Yankee fans in this one.