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Rivalry Thoughts


"The Thinker: A-Rod edition", via

State of the Rivalry

So the Yankees come to Boston tonight. Color me nonplussed.

It's hard to get too excited about one Sox-Yankee series. In the media they are presented as critical to the division race. But this significance is way overstated. In 2007, the Sox lost 5 of the last 6 games they played against New York, and they still won the division by two games. The games against other teams are just as important.

A Sox-Yankee series doesn't ignite the same passions it used to. There's probably more animus between the Red Sox and the Rays right now than between Boston and the Bombers. Granted, the reception Jonathan Papelbon and his wife received in New York may lead to something in this series, but it seems doubtful (hard to blame the players for a situation the New York tabloids created).

Frankly, the Rays are a much more exciting rival. They have, get this, superb starting pitching, something the Yankees haven't had for at least five years. They also possess an offense that is young and not prone to injury, and a terrific defense (2nd in MLB in defensive efficiency, at .712).

That said, it would be a mistake to utterly dismiss the Yankees. Their record (56-45) is one game better than at this point last season (55-46). They could still go on a run, despite the serious injuries to Posada, Wang, and Matsui. With only Wang certain to return, the Yankees may need a lot more help to compete for a playoff berth.

At the Deadline

Historically, both teams have sought to address weaknesses before the trade deadline. In the past this lead to such exciting scenarios as the many Manny Ramirez trade requests, the acquisitions of Bobby Abreu and Roger Clemens, the trade for Eric Gagne, and others.

This year, the Hot Stove talk is focused on... [drum roll. Opens the hermetically sealed envelope. Dramatic pause.] ... Juan Uribe and Jarrod Washburn!!!

New York's top pitching prospects have been absolutely atrocious, with the exception of Joba, their 'ace' is the reanimated corpse of Mike Mussina and the Yankee FO thinks Washburn is the answer?!!

At least for Boston the lack of activity makes sense, since all of our needs can be addressed internally. Masterson and Bowden can help in the pen, and Ortiz's return (replacing Crisp in the lineup) should help the offense. Uribe's defense is very good, so he could make sense as a late-inning defender, taking the role of Alex Cora. I can't imagine him replacing Jed Lowrie though.

10 Things I Hate About Sox-Yankees Series

10. There is usually an ESPN game.
9. Derek Jeter is always smiling when the camera focuses on him. Always. Why is he always smiling?
8. Needless drama / hype from the media.
7. Joe Morgan and Jon Miller, gleefully rooting for New York.
6. Seeing the Red Sox fail to score runs against hittable pitchers like Mussina (or in this series, Ponson).
5. Knowing that Mariano Rivera's coming on for the save against the only three hitters in our lineup that can't hit him.
4. Derek Jeter.
3. Alex Rodriguez.
2. Alex Rodriguez. (As a two-timer, he counts twice.)
1. The Yankees don't suck. At least, not when we play them.

One more thing. You've seen the photo above. Now tell me, what is A-Rod really thinking?