Monday, August 21, 2006

A Bloody Red Sox-Yankees Weekend

Here in Rhode Island, where I was brought up and still spend my summers, it’s not so much Democrats vs. Republicans or haves and have-nots. Rhode Islanders are divided pretty evenly between whether you are a Red Sox fan or a Yankee fan. For Red Sox fans, this past weekend has been an unmitigated disaster, as the Yankees, mostly recovered from debilitating injuries, faced an obviously dispirited Red Sox team with its team captain and on-field leader on the bench, injured. Two hapless catchers, Lopez and Mirabelli, have been trying to spell the irreplaceable and scrappy Jason Varitek, but have few hits, many passed balls and many stolen bases on the part of the Yankees to show for it. Three of the top Red Sox pitchers, Keith Foulke (reliever), Tim Wakefield and Matt Clement (starters) are also injured, along with right fielder, Trot Nixon, who was on his way to a banner year when he went down.

If you add to that a bull pen that throws batting practice when they are not walking batters, then you have the makings for the loss of five straight games to arch rival New York, most by lop-sided scores. Even young phenomenon, Jonathan Papelbon, who was blowing them out as a temporary closer in Foulke’s absence, seems to have lost it recently. Using starting pitchers nobody here had ever heard of before, Manager Terry Francona had to be operating in a state of shock as Yankee after Yankee rounded the bases, and, to rub it in, recent Red Sox expatriate, Johnny Damon, did the most damage.

It’s only five games, and it’s a long season, but Red Sox nation is also in a state of shock this afternoon; and the season looks lost. The only bright note is that most years Red Sox fans have this kind of excitement to savor. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to be a Kansas City Royals fan.

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