The Red Sox and Yankees get a lot of attention for a certain kind of game that they play--the long, painstaking, exquisitely intense variety. The kind where every last pitch is an exercise in tension and every contact between bat and ball or ball and glove an intricate demonstration of both quantum physics and chaos theory. This, when layered with the heady mixture of folklore, local pride and divisional aspirations in the stands, makes Yankees-Red Sox games, at any time of year, totally epic more often than not.
But then there's another kind of game the Yankees and Sox play. The kind we saw last night--the kind where you end with a score of something like Pi to Q and both teams scrape the bottom of their bullpens and most people, on both sides, have switched off the TV coverage of scrubs performing mop-up duty in front of an echoingly empty Yankee Stadium by the ninth inning.
Sometimes, it seems the two evenly matched clubs meet one another like the irresistible force encountering the immovable object. Other times...one or two false moves, and the balance slips out of control; the game goes pear-shaped like ruined pottery on a wheel.
Obviously, baseball teams everywhere play both of these types of games. But there are also games in between. Sometimes with the Sox and Yankees, it feels like there aren't.
A couple more points--
- I'm reserving further pronouncements on Mike Timlin after I tried to evaluate him based on two appearances coming off an injury, and was chagrined to see him follow with a crisp 8th in Cleveland. It's also clear that when it comes to baseball analysis skills, I will never be Peter Gammons. But chalk up last night's appearance as another vote in the "Mike Timlin, Please Retire" column.
- We have all seen Manny Ramirez do many things. Auction a grill on eBay. Step into and out of the Monster between innings. Re-create the pose of a charging moose with teammates in the dugout. Grow dreadlocks. Call himself a 'bad man' at a press conference. And we've seen him quibble with umpires before about balls and strikes.
But I don't think we've ever seen Manny absolutely lose his everloving shit at an umpire like he did with Tim McClelland last night, when Manny thought that what turned out to be strike three was ball four. Maybe Manny could, uh, look at the umpire for the call before deciding whether to run down to first base or not, granted, but that kind of reaction from him is so rare that I give him a little more of the benefit of the doubt.