Thursday, May 29, 2003

Game 52 - Red Sox

Yankees 6, Red Sox 5
Record: 31-21

When they write the story of the 2003 Boston Red Sox, this game will very likely take on mythic status. The character of the myth will be dictated by the results for the rest of the season, but it will have one of two faces.

The first possibility is that this game will be remembered as a microcosm for all the Red Sox' flaws, from shaky defense, to dumb baserunning, to Derek Lowe's pouting and road woes, to inadequacy in the bullpen. The Sox got down 5-0, came back to tie the game at 5 in the top of the 9th, but lost when Brandon Lyon walked in the winning run in the bottom of the inning. (And, for what it's worth, ball 3 to Posada was a ball, though it was close.)

In the second, and in my mind (and hope) more likely scenario, this game will be portrayed as a symbol of the 2003 Sox' grit, guts, and absolute unwillingness to go down without a fight. This game will be about Derek Lowe overcoming early woes to keep his team in the game, about Shea Hillenbrand waking his team up with a laser homerun off seemingly unhittable Mike Mussina, about Varitek, Damon, Walker, Garciaparra, Millar, Hillenbrand, and Mueller reaching base and tying the game in the top of the 9th on a walk, a fielder's choice, and 5 singles, shaking vaunted Yankee closer Mariano Rivera, sending George Steinbrenner into televised fits of apoplexy and deepening the cavernous circles under Brian Cashman's eyes.

The Sox just played 6 games against the Yankees in about 10 days. Pedro pitched in none of the 6 games, Bruce Chen started twice, and the Yankees got solid starts from Clemens, Wells, Pettitte, and Mussina. And, you know what, the Sox are still in first place, and they scared the living shit out of the entire Yankee organization, from the batboys to the Boss. (And, by the way, does Springsteen know that Steinbrenner's using his name, and if so, why hasn't he hunted him down and pummelled him with the Big Man's saxophone?) Last night's loss sucked, but I would have felt much, much worse about it if the Sox had gone quietly in the 9th and faded out of the Bronx. I'm almost pumped.

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