Monday, April 11, 2005

Credit Where Credit is Due

Game 7 - Red Sox

Red Sox 8, Yankees 1
Record: 3-4

Let me begin this entry by stating the obvious: I hate the Yankees. Now that we've established that (again, ad nauseum), you should probably sit down and brace yourself, because I come here not to bury the Yankees (the Sox took care of that), but to praise them.

The Sox got their rings today in an emotional pre-game ceremony that drew Sox alums from Johnny Pesky all the way to Derek Lowe and Dave Roberts. Not only did most of the Yankees stand and watch what must have been an excruciating scene, but Joe Torre graciously doffed his cap to Terry Francona as the Sox skipper received his ring. According to one account, Francona was overheard to tell Torre, "That was the classiest thing I've ever seen", as the 2 exchanged lineup cards before the game.

In a rivalry that has been recently characterized by nothing as much as excessive vitriol - between fans, players, and certainly media members - today's events served to remind us that sometimes the hard thing to do is the right thing. It's one of the great lessons all of us that grew up playing sports were supposed to learn - play hard and fair and then afterwards shake the hands of the guys on the other side of the field, regardless of the outcome. Good stuff from the Yankees today, and from the Sox, who staged a respectful, joyous celebration that hit all the right notes and then went out and beat the snot out of the Yankees.

Mariano Rivera was on the receiving end of one of the afternoon's loudest ovations, and he took the good-natured ribbing in the manner in which it was intended, acknowledging the Fenway crowd with a tip of his cap and broad laughter. Almost makes me wonder if these 2 teams can finally play some baseball without endless trumpeting fanfare and freighted consequence. And because I know you're wondering, yes, it is sooo much easier to say nice things about the enemy after the events of last October.

It's also easier to say nice things about Tim Wakefield after his second stellar performance of the young season (both against the Yankees - he's apparently taken out a low-interest mortgage to secure the deed to New York's AL franchise). 2 earned runs and 8 hits in 13 2/3 innings for the longest-tenured Sox player in 2 starts against the Yankees this season, and I didn't have to watch any of it. God bless you, Timmy Wake, and God forgive me for doubting you - in both the past and the future.

A few other random blatherings on this long-awaited day:
  • It was great to see Derek Lowe and Dave Roberts get their rings in Fenway with their former teammates, but I wonder a bit about how their current teammates feel about their presence in Boston. Roberts, especially, as his Padres had a game today.
  • I'm watching the hometown Nats take on Whitney's nemeses from Atlanta this evening. Pretty cool to see 'Washington' writ large on a major league uniform. Not so cool to watch Zach Day implode in the bottom of the 5th. I'll be taking in the Nationals' home opener on Thursday night, and I'm fairly well excited, to be honest.
  • Curt Schilling starts tomorrow, not the 18th, as erroneously noted below (sue me, I'm not a major media outlet - I don't have to get facts correct. Okay, bad example.). Wonder how jacked up that guy's gonna be.
  • And for Whitney - did you get to actually see Pedro pitch on Sunday? For all his exasperating Pedroisms, he's still pretty goddamn electric. Enjoy.

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