Hey Slaintedan...we're Baaaack!!!!
Well danny-boy! Here we go again. What do you say we put a friendly little wager down on this one. Loser buys the winner a 6-pack of a local microbrew?
It's an East feast in ALCS
East Coast rivals to meet in Championship Series
If there were anything, anything at all in the baseball universe, that could possibly follow the drama, the intrigue, the gut-wrenching tension of Boston's Game 5 victory Monday in the Division Series at Oakland, it's this:
American League Championship Series.
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees.
Game 1, Yankee Stadium, Wednesday night.
As an encore to a riveting first round of baseball's postseason tournament, the sport's most storied rivalry will reach a new height in a new century. From the Curse of the Bambino to Bucky Dent and all points before and since, a new piece of Sox-Yanks history will be written in the coming days.
It'll be only the second time the Yanks and Sox have met in postseason play, which stands to logic but almost defies justice. We should be so lucky to have the two teams meet here and now, because for 94 years of the 20th century such a matchup simply wasn't possible, not until the four-team league tournaments emerged in 1995.
There just seems to be a feeling in the air that this one might have a bit more drama to it than the Yankees' 4-1 dispatch of the Sox in the 1999 ALCS. This series has classic written all over it before the first pitch has been thrown.
Any baseball fan, no matter whether they're pulling for the Yanks or pulling for the Sox or can't stand either one, has to have that sense that something special is about to happen.
It'd just be hard to think otherwise, the way this postseason has gone so far.
The Red Sox and the two National League Division Series winners, the Florida Marlins and Chicago Cubs, helped make this first round perhaps the most exciting session since they started up these tournaments, capping each series with signature moments. After Pudge Rodriguez held that ball aloft and after Cubs fans turned Turner Field into their personal post-party, Derek Lowe's pair of two-seam fastballs wrote a perfect ending to a perfectly amazing five-game series against the A's.
The Yankees, meanwhile, did their best to make their four-game defeat of the Minnesota Twins as boring as possible, pretty much steamrolling through the series and capping it off with an 8-1 runaway at the Metrodome.
Boring, this ALCS will not be.
Of course, Yanks-Sox is never boring, thanks to a long-running history together. History won't mean much on the field, however, as the 2003 versions of these two teams pick up the rivalry on their league's biggest stage.
Honing in on the moment, it certainly makes for good speculation to figure out which club is in better shape heading into it: The team that advanced in such emotional fashion, or the team that advanced in such a businesslike fashion?
To say the Red Sox left everything in the Division Series doesn't seem to jive with the way this club has held itself together all year, hugging each other and holding head-shaving parties and the like. And to say that the Yankees don't have enough emotion carrying them through doesn't fit with the way they seemed to thoroughly enjoy their clinching party in Minnesota -- a party they didn't get to have last year, when the Angels made them the first steppingstone toward the World Series title.
Overall, this season certainly hasn't elicited many yawns around Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park. The Yankees bulled their way to their sixth consecutive AL East title with one of their most balanced attacks during that stretch, using a 21-win season from Andy Pettitte and what many believe to be an MVP-caliber season from catcher Jorge Posada among their many weapons along the way. The Red Sox stayed close to the Yankees' trail the whole way, though not close enough to make a run at the end, and staged a strong September run to the Wild Card berth.
As with any series, this one will turn on the mound. Both teams boast strong starters, but their biggest similarity is that both clubs maintained a carousel approach to their bullpen during the course of the regular season. In what turned into a game of one-upmanship, each team become active leading up to the July 31 trade deadline to improve what each considered its lone glaring weakness. Obviously, those decisions made by Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Red Sox rookie GM Theo Epstein will be put to the test at some point in this meeting, unless we get 14 complete-game efforts from starters or something.
All things considered, it's quite possible this classic matchup can somehow, some way take this October madness to a whole new level. Taking into account where the rivalry begins in unparalleled intensity, it shouldn't be too far a drive toward complete October madness.
And there isn't a red-blooded baseball fan who wouldn't want to devour every last pitch of it.
SQUID=Stupidly Quick, Underdressed, & Imminently Dead
Katie has a nice "spice rack".
If you can read this, thank a teacher....If you're reading this in English, thank a Veteran.