Monday, May 21, 2007

Three nights in the Bronx
Sox travel to New York with a double digit lead over the Yankees

This one goes out to an old friend of mine. In 2004, with the Sox hanging by a thread after having dropped the first three of the ALCS to the Yankees, I found myself in a TGI Fridays in Long Island. Don't ask. It's amazing, absolutely amazing, the places you end up thanks directly or slightly indirectly to Baseball Ireland. Karlovac, Vienna, Stockholm, Fenway Park, Regensberg, Atwerp, Rhode Island, the OC and TGI Fridays in Long Island.

So while watching the Sox get pummelled in game three on the big screens at the bar I was verbally assaulted by a group of Yankee fans, one in particular. He was a big, rotund individual with dark curly hair and those bulging, Reche Caldwell eyes allot of Americans get after three bottles of Coors Lite (sorry, but it's true!). At one stage, before he was thrown out, he leant in close, and after calling me a 'Mick Bastard' he roared 'The Sox are going to lose, the Sox always lose!'

Well, my inebriated friend from Long Island, the times, the times they are a changing. My God I would love to hear that fellas take on the state of affairs in the American League East right now. I would also have loved to have seen his face the night the Sox finally took that ALCS, but I would settle for his take on what's going on right now.

With the Red Sox in a double digit lead over the Yankees some people in baseball are actually calling the AL East race over and done, in May! Take John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves.

"People say, 'Hey, there's a lot of baseball left," Smoltz said "But the Red Sox pretty much have cemented themselves in a position where I don't think they can be caught."

Certainly it will be difficult at least for the Yankees to catch Boston as things stand. Sorry Toronto fans, not happening in '07, some Deity or another is really peeved at you fellas, that injury list is debilitating. D-Rays and Orioles, thanks for playing, hope you had fun. So is it too early to say this is a pivotal series about to happen in the big apple?

The pitching matchups for the series at Yankee Stadium are:
  • Monday night: Wakefield vs. Chien-Ming Wang
  • Tuesday night: Tavarez vs. Mike Mussina
  • Wednesday: Schilling vs. Andy Pettitte
Do the Yankees have to take 2 of the 3 or risk having their season be declared over before May 24th? For the Red Sox, they can take things at their pace right now, with practically everything going there way. Even when tested (Beckett's injury and Drew impaling himself on the bullpen wall) the Sox keep coming out smelling of roses. David Ortiz, as he often does, summed it up perfectly;

"We don't need to worry about nobody right now. Everybody needs to worry about us."

Game. Over.

Meanwhile, in the Bronx, panic is beginning to set in.

It's not only sections of the New York media calling for manager Joe Torre's noggin, ESPN is currently running a long article saying it is time for the Yankees to sack Torre, basically saying the players aren't playing for him. Personally I think that would be a tremendous mistake. The Yankees would be nothing without Torre, Do you think Buck Showalter would have created the dynasty that Torre did?

Why should Torre pay for the personnel mistakes the Yankee front office have made, particularly in the last couple of years. If someone has to go, shouldn't it be Cashman?

Taking a step back, it is amazing that the pre-season bookies favourites are now talking about massive upheaval, staff sackings and general panic across the board.

The single biggest mistake looms large. It is not too much of a stretch to imagine that, when Roger 'I, me, myself' Clemens takes the mound against the Sox in just a few weeks time, his current employers could be, say, 15 games out of first place. Just imagine for a second the scene if Clemens gives up a few early runs and the penny suddenly drops for Yankee fans worldwide.

''Woah, woah, hang on a second here. We are paying this guy 28 million (pro-rated) for a half season, half-assed act where he doesn't travel on road trips and we are now looking at a 14 game gap between us and those Red Stockings? Really? We needed this that badly, why, exactly?''

That will be one big, rotund, Texan pill to swallow. And no, sorry, you can't just take back the offer. Contracts have been signed. Roger, meet the third place, 10.5 games back Yankees. You guys have fun and play nice.

By Wednesday the Red Sox could possibly hold a 13.5 game lead over the third place Yankees. The bookies didn't think that possible at the start of the season when they had the Yankees at a ridiculous 3/1 and favourites. The vast majority of baseball writers didn't see this coming, at the start of the season they were tripping over themselves to hand the AL East to the Yankees. Rick Sutcliffe said, while commentating on a Yankee game in early April, that all they had to do was avoid injury and the division was 'theirs to lose'. That ignorant, racist clown that had a pop at me in Long Island that night three years ago, I am pretty sure he didn't see this coming.

However, by Wednesday night, the AL East race could possibly be over. I wonder will Roger even be watching?

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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports


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