Results tagged ‘ Red Sox Nation ’
Yankees Universe will love this. The American League Division Series started Friday night with the Yankees in and the Red Sox out. According to Red Sox nation, this is all the Yankees’ fault.
That’s right. The Red Sox did not qualify for postseason play because the Yankees conspired to keep Boston out. It is all the fault of Yankees manager Joe Girardi for using 11 pitchers in the final game against Tampa Bay and setting it up for journeyman Scott Proctor to toss a lollipop to Evan Longoria for a game-winning home run in the 12th inning moments after Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had blown a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore that jumped the Rays over the Red Sox as the AL’s wild-card entry.
This is how sick the fans of that crybaby team that calls Fenway Park home reacts to everything: the Yankees are to blame. What a joke!
Of the 20 losses the Red Sox had in 27 games in September when they spit up a nine-game lead in the wild card standings, only four were to the Yankees. The same Scott Proctor who gave up that playoff clinching homer to Longoria also gave up a 14th-inning home run to Jacoby Ellsbury in the last regular-season game at Yankee Stadium. How come Red Sox Nation doesn’t think the Yankees were trying to help Boston there?
That the Yankees are responsible for the Red Sox’ failure to make the playoffs is absurd. After all, the Yankees had a 7-0 lead in that last game at Tropicana Field. Girardi paraded a collection of relievers into the game, but the guys that Tampa Bay came back against were not September callups. The Rays tied the score off Boone Logan, Luis Ayala and Cory Wade, all of whom were slated for the postseason roster. Proctor is another story, but Joe had simply run out of arms.
The Red Sox won the season series over the Yankees, 12-6. Where were the conspiracy theorists when the Yankees were losing eight of their first nine games and 10 of 12 to the Red Sox earlier in the season? Please tell me how that is the Yankees’ way of making sure Boston didn’t reach postseason play. The best way to keep opponents from advancing to the playoffs is to beat them as often as you can, which the Yankees certainly did not do for the most part against Boston.
I covered the 2004 AL Championship Series when the Yankees gagged on that 3-0 lead to the Red Sox and became the first baseball team to lose a seven-game postseason series after having won the first three games. The Yankees had a one-run lead in the ninth with Mariano Rivera, the best closer of all time, on the hill in Game 4 three outs from a sweep. Dave Roberts stole second base, and it all went downhill from there.
It was an excruciating period for Yankees Universe. The most successful franchise in sports suffered the most embarrassing postseason collapse. However, I don’t remember Yankees fans blaming anyone else for the team’s failure other than the team itself. The players felt the same way. They were responsible for not putting the Red Sox away.
This is no different. The Red Sox had an entire month to put the Rays out to pasture. That they failed to do so was no one’s fault but their own. Red Sox Nation should not hang Boston’s humiliating ending on the Yankees. Look in your own dugout.
Who would have thought it would ever come to this? Throughout New England, Red Sox fans are rooting for the Yankees.
True. The franchise that once felt cursed for having sold Babe Ruth’s contract to the Yankees is watching its fan base root for them in this week’s series against the Rays. Tampa Bay had closed to two games behind Boston – one in the loss column – in the wild card race. The Rays are at Yankee Stadium for a four-game set that began Tuesday night and will continue with a split-admission doubleheader Wednesday and a rainout makeup game Thursday night.
And Red Sox Nation will be cheering on the Yankees all the way.
The Red Sox paid tribute before Saturday’s day game against the Yankees at Fenway Park to Mike Lowell, the popular infielder who will retire at the end of the season, which is Sunday. Lowell is an excellent example of how fortunes can change for a player in the major leagues.
Lowell was signed originally by the Yankees and was being groomed as the heir apparent to Wade Boggs at third base. I can remember in Lowell’s first major-league training camp in 1997 how manager Joe Torre likened him to Ken Boyer, the perennial All-Star third baseman with the Cardinals in the 1950s and ’60s. This was high praise from Torre, who also thought the slim, black-haired Lowell resembled Boyer physically as well.
When told this, Lowell sort of squinted and didn’t respond. I figured that he might not know who Ken Boyer was, so when the joint interview with writers was over I doubled back to talk to him alone. He said he was familiar with the name only because he knew Clete Boyer, Ken’s younger brother, had been a coach with the Yankees. When I filled him in about Ken Boyer’s career and the regard Torre had for him, Lowell said, “Wow, those are pretty big shoes to fill.”
Lowell never got to fill those shoes with the Yankees. Boggs applied for free agency after the 1997 season and went home to Tampa to sign with the expansion Devil Rays, as they were then called. The Yankees didn’t think Lowell was ready for the majors and projected him to play at Triple A in 1998. They decided to get a veteran third baseman to keep the position warm for Lowell and targeted Oakland’s Scott Brosius, who was the player to be named in the trade that sent pitcher Kenny Rogers from the Yankees to the Athletics.
A lot of scouts at that time thought Brosius was washed up. After all, Brosius hit only .203 in 479 at-bats in ’97. He became rejuvenated with the Yankees and had a career season in 1998, batting .298 with 19 home runs and 98 RBI and was the World Series Most Valuable Player of the Yankees’ sweep of the Padres. That led to the Yankees to sign Brosius to a three-year contract. They went to the World Series in each of those seasons as well and won two.
Lowell became expendable and was traded in February 1999 to the Marlins for minor-league pitchers Ed Yarnall, Mark Johnson and Todd Noel. Yarnall pitched in three games for the Yankees in 1999 and 2000. Johnson went to the Tigers in the Rule 5 draft and pitched in three games for Detroit in 2000. Noel never made it out of the minors.
With the youthful Marlins, Lowell developed into the player Torre had imagined. Lowell drove in 100 runs for the first time in 2001, made the first of four All-Star Game appearances in 2002 and had 32 home runs and 105 RBI in 2003 when the Marlins went on to win the World Series over the Yankees.
Two years later, however, Lowell slumped to .236 with eight home runs and 58 RBI in 500 at-bats. The Marlins held up a trade of Josh Beckett to the Red Sox by demanding that Boston take Lowell as well. He had two years and $18 million left on his contract, and Florida wanted to dump it. The Red Sox made the deal and never regretted it.
Lowell bounced back in 2006 and hit .284 with 47 doubles, 20 homers and 80 RBI. He did even better in 2007 with a .324 average, 21 homers and 120 RBI and pulled off a Brosius by being named the World Series MVP in the Red Sox’ sweep of the Rockies that year.
Hip and thumb surgeries curtailed Lowell’s career the past two seasons, and he has decided to hang them up. The tribute was well deserved from Red Sox Nation, which cheered loudest when he doubled in two runs off Yankees starter Andy Pettitte in the first inning.
There were reminisces aplenty about Tuesday’s 50th anniversary of Ted Williams’ final at-bat in the major leagues in which he hit a home run, career No. 521, which at the time was the third highest total in history behind only Babe Ruth (714) and Jimmie Foxx (534). A lot has changed in half a century. Teddy Ballgame now stands in a three-way tie with Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas for 18th place, and Barry Bonds (762) and Hank Aaron (755) have long since passed the Babe.
As for what Williams did his last time up in the big leagues, thousands of words have been written about the grand style in which he ended his career by lofting one into the right field seats at Fenway Park. That is all well and good, but for me that is just the usual batch of Red Sox Nation tripe.
I have a personal beef about the whole matter from the mindset of a pre-teen who got stood up by the guy they called the “Splendid Splinter.” He wasn’t much of a splinter by then, nor at 42 did he fit his other nickname, “The Kid,” and from my point of view he damn sure wasn’t splendid.
Here’s why. Do you know what little piece of information all those Boston boors leave out of their Teddy’s last at-bat stories? How about this: nobody in the yard knew it was Williams’ last at-bat until after the game. That’s right. The Red Sox still had three more games to play, at Yankee Stadium, but after the game Williams told the writers that he wasn’t going to New York. The Yankees had already clinched the American League pennant, the Red Sox had been dead meat for a month, so there was no point in his making the trip.
Now doesn’t take a bit of the bite out of that story. I mean, it would have rung truer if he had told the press before the game that he wasn’t playing any more. To Red Sox fans, this was the perfect ending to a Hall of Fame career by admittedly one of the game’s greatest hitters. But to Yankees fans holding tickets to games that weekend, it was a big gyp. The only allure of the series was to see Williams bow out, not watch Carroll Hardy in left field.
My uncle, Bill Gallagher, had gotten tickets for the Friday night game Sept. 30, 1960, and we talked about Williams on the ride to the Stadium. I was really into baseball in those days and was amazed at how vital the two great aging stars of that time, Williams and Stan Musial, still were. Musial, in fact, would play three more seasons, and I would get to see him three home runs in one game at the Polo Grounds in 1963 when he was 42.
God bless Casey Stengel, then in his last year as manager of the Yankees. Although the Yankees were already set for the World Series, ‘ol Case started his regular lineup. Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and the rest. The Red Sox? No Ted Williams. What?
Unlike today’s 24/7 media whirlwind, information from out of town came slowly in those days. A man sitting in the seat next to Uncle Bill said that he heard that Williams decided not to accompany the team to town. Truth be told, I had not been much of a Yankees fan to that point in my life, but I cheered my head off for them that night. To make matters worse, the Red Sox almost won the game.
What follows comes from my old, pencil-scribbled scorecard, boys and girls (I still score in pencil).
Bill Monbouquette, a wonderful guy whom I would get to know more than 20 years later when he was the pitching coach for the Mets, was Boston’s best pitcher and took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but he was replaced by lefthander Tom Brewer after Bobby Richardson led off with a single. Brewer gave up a single to Gil McDougald, and the Yankees had a rally going.
Tony Kubek, another terrific person I would get to know years later, flied out, but Hector Lopez and Maris followed with singles to tie the score and put runners on first and third. Mantle had come out of the game earlier, and his spot in the lineup was taken by Bob Cerv, the thickly-built, right-handed hitter.
Boston manager Pinky Higgins brought in a right-handed pitcher I had never heard of, but a year later he would almost be a household name – Tracy Stallard, the guy who gave up Maris’ 61st home run. On this night, Stallard would be done in by his second baseman, a September callup named Marlan Coughtry. Thanks to him, I learned something important about the game – the need to remain calm in a crisis.
Cerv hit a grounder to Coughtry, who considering Cerv’s lack of speed should have thrown to second base to start a double play. Instead, he decided to tag Maris in the base path and then throw to first. Maris, who never got enough credit for being a heads-up player, put on the brakes and went into reverse. Coughtry took the bait. Lopez broke for the plate. The rookie tagged Maris eventually for the second out but in hesitating lost any chance to get the third out as Lopez scored the winning run.
Talk about a satisfying finish! It made me forget all about Ted Williams, who insulted baseball fans in New York so that he could have all his Beantown acolytes wax poetic about his going deep in his last big-league plate appearance.
Red Sox Nation took time away from its disdain for anything Yankee to pay tribute to the late principal owner of the organization known in Boston as the “Evil Empire.” That is what team president Larry Lucchino called the Yankees after they beat out the Red Sox to sign Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras years ago, but Thursday night at Fenway Park the rivalry took a back seat to respect and appreciation in a salute to George Steinbrenner.
The main force that fueled a franchise that tormented the Red Sox over the years from Bucky Dent in 1978 to Aaron Boone in 2003 right down to snaring Mark Teixeira was honored with a moment of silence before the Red Sox-Rangers game before a crowd of some 37,000 people at Fenway. The Boss would have approved. A military guard marched onto the field while images of Steinbrenner and longtime Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who also died last week, were shown on the Fenway video board.
Members of the Red Sox and Rangers stood in front of their respective dugouts, removed their caps and bowed their heads just as if Sheppard himself might have instructed them. The normally boisterous crowd responded in kind.
“George elevated our rivalry and was a great competitor and a very important person in baseball because he made the Yankee brand a lot stronger than when he took over the team,” Red Sox board chairman Tom Werner said. “It’s appropriate for us to honor him. What he did for the Yankee brand was to make it one of the most admired not just in sports, but in America.”
You’ve got to admit that it was pretty classy of the Red Sox.
It was inevitable that Yankees manager Joe Girardi as the skipper of the American League for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Angel Stadium would run into some criticism. He knew it would be coming, and he was ready for it.
Naturally, Red Sox Nation was not happy about Kevin Youkilis being passed over for the White Sox’ Paul Konerko when a replacement was needed for the Twins’ Justin Morneau, who is recovering from a concussion. Morneau had been elected to the starting team by fans. The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera will take his place in the starting lineup while Konerko will take Morneau’s spot on the roster.
Girardi identified as a bang-bang call between two players having good years. Youkilis did finish a very close second to Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher in the Final Vote for the 34th roster spot, but despite Boston’s rage over this the Red Sox are well represented on the team with pitcher Jon Lester, catcher Victor Martinez and DH David Ortiz. Besides, pitcher Clay Buchholz, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and third baseman Adrian Beltre had all been named to the squad but had to be replace due to injury.
How many representatives does a third-place team warrant? The White Sox are in first place in the AL Central and had just one representative, pitcher Matt Thornton, before Girardi selected Konerko, who has been a big part of the South Siders’ emergence after a terrible start.
After revealing his batting order, Girardi was questioned about having Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (.274, 8 home runs, 43 RBI, 9 stolen bases, 60 runs) hit second and Rays left fielder Carl Crawford (.321, 11 homers, 50 RBI, 31 steals, 70 runs) hit ninth. Crawford was the Most Valuable Player of last year’s game at St. Louis. Jeter was MVP in 2000 at Atlanta, which played into Girardi’s reasoning.
“With a player like Carl Crawford at the bottom, it’s like having two leadoff hitters,” Girardi said. “Derek Jeter has been here many, many years in a row and deserves to bat second.”
Then, of course, came talk about the Home Run Derby in which the Yankees convinced second baseman Robinson Cano to bow out but allowed Swisher’s appearance.
“I think it’s a great event,” Girardi said. “My son will watch it, and then we’ll practice hitting home runs when we get home. We have a player in it. Robbie has some lower-back issues. We felt his back needed the rest.”
One thing is for sure, however. With home-field advantage in the World Series on the line, Girardi intends to manage the game with a victory in mind.
“We were the recipients of the home field advantage last year,” he said. “We were 7-1 at home in the post-season. We’re going to play the game hard and right and do whatever it takes to win.”
Yankees fans will have to boost their effort in the “Send Swish” campaign to get right fielder Nick Swisher to the All-Star Game or risk his losing out to a member of the Red Sox. Major League Baseball reported Tuesday that Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis had moved ahead of Swisher at the midway point of the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote.
Swish was leading after the first day of voting, but Youkilis passed him on the second day. Both players are dealing with the disadvantage of being on the road during this special voting period. The Yankees are in Oakland, and the Red Sox are in St. Petersburg, Fla. But fans may vote an unlimited number of times at the clubs’ web sites and with their mobile phones.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is jumping with both feet into the “Send Swish” campaign. Cash will team up Wednesday with youngsters at the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx to vote for Swisher. The G.M. will vote with the kids from 1 to 2 p.m. at the club’s Lucille Palmero Clubhouse at 1930 Randall Avenue.
Yankees fans are urged to “Send Swish” to the 2010 All-Star Game by voting an unlimited number of times for him at yankees.com. Voting began Sunday and wraps up at 4 p.m., EDT, Thursday, July 8. Supporters of Swisher who vote online will be entered to win tickets to an upcoming Yankees game and a signed Nick Swisher baseball. Fans are also encouraged to check out Swisher’s video at yankees.com where he reaches out to all his fans, with his bags packed, ready for a trip to the All-Star Game July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.
Swisher has reached out to celebrity friends such as Jimmy Fallon and Sean Combs for support, but Youkilis has made his plea in the United States Senate. Constituents of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) received an e-mail Tuesday imploring them to Vote Youk, including a link to the online ballot.
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has become a part of the Final Vote. Yankees Universe can’t let Red Sox Nation get away with this.
Yankees fans should be forgiven if they feel like gloating over the early struggles by the Red Sox. After all, didn’t everyone in Red Sox Nation bask in the euphoria of the Yankees’ rugged starts the previous two years?
Yankees fans surely remember those days. In 2008, the only year since 1995 that they failed to reach post-season play, the Yankees didn’t get to the .500 level until June 11. They then went on a seven-game winning streak to stay above par the rest of the season, but their 89-73 record at season’s end failed to qualify them for the Big Dance.
Last year, the Yankees opened the season with Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list recovering from hip surgery and were 13-15 when he returned May 8 with a first-pitch home run in Baltimore. The Yankees won 11 of their first 13 games with A-Rod in the lineup and never looked back.
Say this for Red Sox players. They did not go overboard about that 8-0 run against the Yankees in the early going a year ago. More than a few pointed out the Yankees were not complete without A-Rod, and those Red Sox players were proved correct when the Yankees won nine of the teams’ last 10 games against each other.
Red Sox Nation, however, did not want to hear any of that stuff early on. Their organization was on the rise and, in their minds, the Yankees were getting old and staid. But one of the major differences in the intense rivalry between the two teams is that Red Sox Nation is much more concerned about the Yankees than Yankees Universe is concerned about the Red Sox. For example, it is not uncommon during a lull in a Celtics or Bruins game for some Boston throat to shout out of nowhere, “Yankees Suck!” Yet have you ever heard anyone yell “Red Sox Suck!” at Madison Square Garden.
Yankees fans care about what is going on with the Yankees, period. That the Red Sox are in a funk and needed minor-league callup Darnell McDonald to save their bacon Tuesday night is something for Red Sox Nation to stew over, not Yankees Universe. Still, Yankees fans can’t help enjoying not seeing the Red Sox on the radar for a change.