This is not a tale of good sportsmanship or love of the game. This is the long standing, sordid and tortured story of being a Red Sox fan in the wake of the New York Yankees 2012 collapse. In the twisted and delicious universe that is Red Sox Nation, Boston won the World Series yesterday when the Yankees were swept away in four straight games by the Tigers and looked absolutely awful doing it while back biting their way to the front pages of the New York press.
Boston had their worst year since 1965. New York’s season lasted exactly 15 days longer than did Boston’s. Fair enough. The sun will rise tomorrow and each team will look toward their 2013 seasons with plenty of question marks.
If you’re a real Red Sox fan you already know the litany of grievances and heinous transgressions perpetrated by the Yankees and indeed the self-inflicted wounds of Red Sox themselves. Damn their winning ways. The mere names evoke passion: Babe Ruth, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Conigliaro, Carlton Fisk, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer, Billy Martin, Lou Piniella, Calvin Shiraldi, Bob Stanley, Bucky F’in Dent, Aaron F’in Boone, Grady Little, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Dave Roberts, Kevin Millar, Pedro Martinez. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera.
These are the ingredients in a Northeast stew that starts simmering on the hot stove in November and comes to a deliriously tasty fruition, if both teams are lucky, in September. The recipe has been passed down through generations; each father, son, mother and daughter bringing their own special spice to the mix.
When bad things happen to the other guy we are secretly gleeful, reveling in their misery. Is there not a Red Sox fan alive who isn’t giddy over the Alex Rodriguez mess. By the way these were the same fans who were incensed when the Yankees swooped in and bagged A-Rod when it looked like Boston was about to seal the deal with him. Now who’s been bagged? He he he.
Mariano Rivera blew out a knee shagging fly balls to start the season and Derek Jeter broke an ankle to close the season. Yes, it’s a shame for two class acts that are and have always been great for the game to go down that way. In that deep, dark heart of the Nation, however, a band strikes up a rousing rendition of Sweet Caroline and a large chorus of players that never got a ring interspersed with a few that did, sings lustily. Ding, dong the witch is dead. Is it petty? Unquestionably. Would any Red Sox fan sing it all over again if were to happen all over again? Same answer.
Yes, Red Sox fans have an inferiority complex when it comes to the Yankees. By the same token, if you believe that any Yankee fan felt bad about injured Boston players missing a combined 1,500 games this season and the team finishing last then I have a bridge to sell you that runs over Florida swampland.
With the exception of today’s 6-1 thumping at the hands of the Tigers, New York pitchers didn’t lose this series. New York’s appalling lack of hitting is what sunk them. With the exception of the inimitable and timeless Ichiro Suzuki, who batted .353, Yankee hitters were, well, hitters in name only:
Nick Swisher: .250
Raul Ibanez: .231
Mark Teixeira: .200 (and some uncharacteristic muffs in the field)
Russell Martin: .143
Alex Rodriguez: .075
Robinson Cano: .056 (don’t ya know, no Robby Cano. With a minimum of 35 playoff at-bats, Cano’s OBP is the lowest in a single postseason and average is the fourth lowest in playoff history)
Curtis Granderson: .154
The Yankees led the major leagues in home runs during the regular season with 245 yet failed to score a single run in 20 straight innings against Detroit. They scored in just 3 out of 39 innings and never held a lead in any of the four games. Excuse me, I have to go outside and howl at the moon.
Wouldn’t it be a drag to be like them
They’re gonna sell out everything
But I won’t get fooled again
Cause I’m gonna be . . .19 forever
- Nineteen Forever, Joe Jackson