Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I LOVE NEW YORK

Sure, I do. In fact, I am hoping they finally get around to restocking that major league roster of theirs. I am rooting for them to make that big deal that unloads their prospect du jour Phil Hughes to the team with the most attractive over-paid, over-priced, veteran free agent. All the Red Sox have to do to improve their chances long-term against the Yankees is to, as they say, lay down the smack. A three-game whipping of the pinstriped enemy should be all the impetus needed to get Steinbrenner worked up to a good froth (throw in some bonehead moments from Melky Cabrera and feeble at-bats by Bernie Williams) and the Bronx Bombers will be shipping off the last decent prospects in the system to land a Torii Hunter or Jacque Jones. If not, maybe crushing them in early June as well would do the job.

Plus, a bad performance against the Sox by Jaret Wright or the Big Unit should be enough for the Maniacal One to empty the single-A prospect bin to grab an unimpressive, over-paid veteran starter like Eric Milton in the hopes he gives the Yankees ANYTHING. Look at the box score for game three against the Mets: Aaron Small starting, followed by Myers, Bean, Villone, and Erickson. Suffice to say, it was not exactly Mike Stanton and Steve Karsay coming out of the pen in the late nineties. Heck, I doubt even the Yankees fans know who these chumps are.

So you, and I, and Theo are all hoping for that one big series this week. I mean, it was bad enough the Yankees had to trot out Miguel Cairo at first base in the last series against the Sox, but to have him batting last night against the Mets with two outs and two on in the bottom of the ninth inning? A thrashing of the Yankees that sticks them in full panic mode and further depletes an already empty cupboard in the minor leagues is exactly what I am hoping for in the next couple of weeks. For the long-term good of the Red Sox, can we hope for anything less? Come on, Georgie Porgie, one more explosion for old times sake. (Of course, I am afraid that George has mellowed too much with age, and Brian Cashman is too smart to give in to the pressure from the Tampa clique. But we Red Sox fans can and will hope!)

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TOMMY LASORDA REALLY WAS THE BASEBALL WIZARD:

Well, I must say I was far from intrigued by the kick-off of another edition of Interleague play. I admit that I waffle back-and-forth on the issue, as the traditionalist in me says that it is a travesty and only further dilutes the All-Star game and World Series, while the modern fan inside me says that this is my only chance to ever watch the Tampa Bay Devil Rays play against the Florida Marlins (or Toronto versus Colorado). Of course, with the MLB Extra Innings package, I can say that my innocence and joy of watching that rare National League game is tainted.

It is funny, you would have to pry the phone out of my cold, dead hand to keep me from ordering it again, but I almost and wistful of the days when you watched the Sox on channel 38, and you jumped out of bed on Saturday morning to watch Johnny Bench, Tommy Lasorda, and the San Diego Chicken on The Baseball Bunch. Then, if I had finished my chores and sufficiently sucked-up to my Dad and planted the seed that we really should watch the Giants-Dodgers game on the Game of the Week, we could catch Mel Allen on This Week in Baseball before the game. Mind you, This Week in Baseball (or TWIB as it became known as) was the only place I could see highlights of my beloved early eighties St. Louis Cardinals. No ESPN in town yet, no NESN with highlights, NOTHING ever on the News at Six, it was TWIB or nothing back then. In fact, just to get the scores of the games, had to suffer through the static of WFAN because there was no sports radio in Boston and Gil Santos did not always give out National League scores. Truly, it was the dark ages. Yet, it was also beautiful. The All-Star game was must-see TV, the playoffs were riveting, and TWIB and that Saturday Game of the Week was something that I looked forward to like no other TV show since the cable explosion.

Heck, I remember when NESN was a premium pay cable station (not so many years ago), and Kathy finally broke down, felt pity upon me, and ordered it. I was in seventh heaven: I could watch EVERY Red Sox game. That summer, NESN finally was added to one of the basic tier packages. Can anyone imagine that now? Sure, the new owners, the escalation of the Yankees rivalry, and the playoffs and the World Series brought on a new age in Red Sox mania, but making almost every game available to the basic cable subscribers went a long way into the blossoming Red Sox Nation.

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