Thursday, September 09, 2004

Games 136 through 138 - Red Sox
Please Don't Pinch Me

Red Sox 8, A's 3
Red Sox 7, A's 1
Red Sox 8, A's 3
Record: 84-54

I haven't been neglecting this blog (at least not to the degree my depressed Metfan pal has), I promise. It's just that I'm having a hard time finding the words to describe the otherworldly run of Sox play that began nearly immediately after the trade deadline. I don't want to say too much for fear of the dreaded "J" word, and because speaking certain things aloud simply isn't done in the Nation, but this team is 28-8 since Nomar (who?) left for Chitown.

The Sox faced the AL West's three best teams over the last 9 days, and left them reeling in a puddle of their own sick, taking 8 of 9 from Anaheim, Texas, and Oakland. Boston's won 13 of 14 and 20 of 22. The Yankees are so apoplectic that they've screamed for a forfeit - against a Tampa Bay team that was caught up in the midst of a hurricane. Many better scribes than I have already made this point, but do you think they'd be pulling that sort of low-rent crap if the Sox were still 10 games back? Yeah, me neither. But their corporate haircuts and lack of facial hair make them the league's classiest ballclub, right?

Speaking of haircuts (how's that for a silkysmooth segue), did anyone get a load of Bronson Arroyo's new style last night? It's really hard to have the very worst look on a team that features Pedro Martinez' jheri/mushroom, Manny Ramirez' Sideshow Bob, Trot Nixon's doublewide mohawk, Kevin Millar's lumpy buzzcut, and Johnny Damon's Captain Caveman/Our Lord Jesus Christ, but Arroyo has lapped the field. I've been Googling to try to find pictures, because words simply don't do justice to Arroyo's White Guy Cornrows. That's right, you read correctly, Bronson Arroyo is sporting tight little cornrows. Set off against his teenage rebel tuft of chinfuzz, the overall look is somewhere between Lil' Bow Wow Grows Up Rough and David Beckham's Goofy Twin. I guess the heat of a pennant race will do bizarre things to otherwise grown men.

The Sox have 24 games left, with 18 of them against fairly mediocre opponents (Seattle, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay). The obvious caveat to that sentence is that the Sox have played like assmonkeys against the Orioles, but I prefer to believe that it was the early version of the 2004 Sox that took on Balmer in the season's first months - not the new and improved wrecking machine that's torn through the AL since August 1.

The other 6 games are against (cue the Darth Vader March) the Yankees - 3 in the Bronx and 3 in Fenway - in a 10-day span beginning September 17. A realistic 3-3 split in those games makes September really, really interesting for fans of both teams. Sox fans are holding their breath, hoping against hope that this year really is different. Yankee fans are holding their breath too, with the seeds of doubt creeping in as their pitching staff crumbles and their once-enormous lead shrinks. So much of Yankee Nation's self-worth is tied up in the (to date true) notion that their team will prevail against the Red Sox, regardless of statistics, momentum, and talent. If the Sox catch and pass the Yankees for the division championship, the shock to the system will have long-lasting and far-reaching consequences.

Down the stretch they come. Lotta ball left. Hell's Coming with Us. Blah blah blah. Let's play some baseball.

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