Sports Commentary 9/5/13
Sox-Yanks…first 4 of last 7 meetings of the season in the Bronx this weekend…
BASEBALL’S BLOOD FEUD
Never in the history of American sports, maybe in the history of all sports, have two teams loved to hate each other so much. Never has a rivalry been so intense, never has the history between two teams been so charted by so many memorable moments. When the Red Sox and Yankees get together it all goes on the table. Babe Ruth for “No, No, Nanette”, DiMaggio and Williams matching legendary feats in ’41 as they battled for the MVP. Sparky Lyle for Danny Cater. Bucky “Bleepin'” Dent. Wakefield to Boone under a Bronx full moon. Tek and A-Rod. Boggs, Clemens, Damon, Youk, a bloody sock. There’s enough history to fill a college course on baseball and every bit of it flavors every meeting between the two teams, who’s rivalry has dominated the sport for nearly a century. All that history goes back on the front burner when the two teams go head up in the Bronx tonight. Parts of that history rub more raw than others, A-Rod having passed Dent as “Boston Enemy #1” while Ryan Dempster, who, probably strategically, was pitched out of this coming series last night, carved a scarlett letter into the hearts of Yankee fans less than a month ago when he intentionally, on the fourth obvious attempt, plunked A-Rod and stayed in the game while Yanks manager Joe Girardi was tossed. Dempster eventually suffered a fine of $25 hundred and a five game suspension that didn’t even keep him from missing a turn in the rotation. Stadium fans would have loved to have gotten a shot at Demspter in this series. They’ll be in a foul mood just because they’re being denied. At the time all of Major League Baseball sided with Dempster, even A-Rod’s union brethren, who demanded the collective bargaining terms that allow him to play when they work on their behalf, turning their backs on him when those terms helped him avoid suspension. In retrospect, Dempster’s action may not have been so well thought out. Many didn’t expect even A-Rods own teammates would come to his defense, but they did, emptying the dugout and the bullpen when he was plunked, taking up an “Us against the world” attitude when the only one to suffer a punishment from that action was their manager. Suddenly a team that had spent most of it’s season with 13 players from it’s 25 man roster on the disabled list, pretty much given up as a post season afterthought, galvanized behind one Ryan Dempster Delivery and, with three and a half weeks left, they loom as a potential post season opponent. So it goes with this rivalry. For all it’s history, each season comes with it’s own chapter. Four games in the Bronx. It could be the last gasp for the Yankees as they try to keep their post-Dempster surge alive, or it could be the start of something big, three weeks, three games separation in the loss column. The NFL season begins tonight and the Giants visit the arch rival Cowboys on Sunday. This is one time even the NFL takes a back seat in the northeast corridor. The Yankees host the Red Sox with a lot of issues yet to be resolved. Nowhere in sports does it get better, or more intense, than this. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.