Look Out Above

For a while there Sox fans thought they had things wrapped up. A 9-1 run while the Yanks were skidding, a big lead in the standings, the prospect of a Schilling return. The Yanks, said some, should be worried about the Wild Card, not the division crown. (SF, admittedly, did not go this far.) But what a difference a week or so makes. The Sox are now doing the skidding, their vaunted chemistry is in question, and everyone has a different idea about what role Schilling should be playing. Meanwhile, Yankee fans can take a few stats to heart: even with the troubles they’ve had at the plate, they’ve been the best offense in MLB thus far. That’s right: The Yanks have scored MORE RUNS than any other team, even the Sox in their dinky ballpark. And with Giambi returning to some kind of form and Woemack now gone from the lineup, the team should actually improve in the second half. What’s more, the Yanks and Sox are separated by just two runs allowed (431-429) going into the break, and that’s with the Yanks disastrously bad fielding in the first half, not to mention a goodly portion of the starting rotation on the DL and a wholesale renovation of the middle relief. We freely admit the Yanks had a terrible offseason acquisition wise, but that trouble has forced a welcome change in organizational thinking about young talent, and a reputed return to relevance of Stick Michael. All of which bodes well. So as bad as things have gone—and they’ve gone terribly—tthe Yanks do have some positives to reflect on as they head home for a couple of days. Will they continue their roll after the break? Revert to their mediocre form? It should be interesting.

36 comments… add one
  • Well, when Giambi (much like Tito Martinez in the last string of W’s) returns to earth, so should everyone else. But, if not, it is going to be an interesting second-half. Not even the most biased Yankee fan thinks the sox are going to fade into a memory; the month after the all-star break should tell us all a whole lot about where these two teams are headed.

    Brad-SF July 10, 2005, 5:43 pm
  • Brad:
    If A) Schilling doesn’t return to an important position in the Sox’ lineup (whether in the rotation or elsewhere), and B) the Red Sox fail to do something significant to their shoddy bullpen, or C) find players within the organization or through trade who can add a serious spark to a team that seems to be sleepwalking at the moment, then D) we all know exactly where the Red Sox will be headed: to a potential playoff appearance with absolutely no chance of a repeat title. In other words, nowhere. Even the most biased Red Sox fans ought to know that.
    But this is where my pre-season predictions are tested. So get to work, Theo. Look inside the organization (follow the Yankees’ lead!), fleece someone outside. Sign Oil Can Boyd if you need to. Find the answer. Make me look smart. God knows I can’t.

    SF July 10, 2005, 5:57 pm
  • “Not even the most biased Yankee fan thinks the sox are going to fade into a memory”???
    Yes, these are the new Sox, who won the World Series. But forget about Yankee fans (some of whom obviously expect the Sox to fade into a memory) — do you expect us to believe that Sox fans have REALLY forgotten what the previous 85 years of being a Sox fan were like?
    The role of the Red Sox is to fade into memory.

    john yf July 10, 2005, 9:53 pm
  • Oh please. Give it up, John. You asked for better debate here, so live up to your own request. Otherwise it’s going to be hard to take you seriously.

    SF July 10, 2005, 10:00 pm
  • So, essentially John, you are making the prdiction of a all-out Yankee blowout the second half? You’re saying that the Red Sox are not even going to compete for the remainder of the year? Need I remind you of the current shape of your own pitching staff? If you think the Yankees are going to waltz into Fenway, Minn, Chicago, Anglels, and Rangers over the next month without taking a beating, you’re wrong.

    Brad-SF July 10, 2005, 10:06 pm
  • Brad & SF,
    The statement was about how Yankee fans feel about the Sox. I made no Yankee prediction, and no Sox prediction: I don’t even know if the Yanks can beat the Sox next week. But I do know something about baseball fans in general, and Sox fans in particular.
    Baseball fans root for their team, often without much sense. Sox fans grew up thinking their team would let them down.
    Brad said surely NO Yankee fan could believe the Sox might have a weak second half. Well, Yankee fans believe in their team, and the Sox have some obvious problems and a long history of fading in the second half.
    Is this team different? Time will tell, maybe Newsweek.
    As for Giambi, time will tell there too, but he had major, longterm health problems caused, apparently, by steroid use. There is some evidence that he is over that: he is smashing the ball in a way he’s been absolutely unable to for 2 years. This looks like the real thing. It has affected the whole lineup, and is a major reason why the Yanks have again passed the Sox for the major league lead in runs scored, after a surge by Manny and Ortiz had put the Sox in the lead.
    Tino’s in a different situation. He’s been in a long decline, but has always been streaky. He had one of his best streaks, sandwiched between what is apparently continued decline.
    What amazes me is how much Sox fans follow Yankee players day to day. I look at Soxaholix, because it’s good, and sometimes look at Boston Dirt Dogs, because they’re good. So through them I have some sense of which Sox players are doing well and which are not. Plus when Manny and Ortiz pass A-Rod in RBIs, or Johnny Damon climbs in major league leaders, you know they’re doing well. But I don’t follow the Sox. If Soxaholix and Boston Dirt Dogs were for some other team, I’d know more about the day to day play of that team than the Sox.
    A YF

    john yf July 11, 2005, 9:00 am
  • John – I am actually pleased that you read those Sox sites; it’s more than I can say for myself w/r/t Yanks blogs. I happen to live in NYC (and have for over a decade), which is why I seem to have the Yankees on my brain – I subscribe to the Times and do my best to read the News and Post online to keep up with the rivals. It may sound crass, but I don’t really read that many Yankees fan sites, but rather spend far too much time on SoSH for good health. I think if you looked around this site you’d see that I post quite a bit about both teams, whereas my co-blogger doesn’t really ever post about the Red Sox except to chime in with some snarky, wiseass comment. The perception is thus that the site leans to the Yankees, since my postings aren’t so one-sided. If my posts are 65%-35% Sox, and YFs are 99%-1% Yanks, then the site is clearly going to feel like it’s more about the Yankees, and I get that. But that’s mostly because YF couldn’t give two sh*ts about knowing much about the Red Sox, to be honest, nothing else.
    I benefit from living in NYC but having access to all things Boston over the web. As for YF, he seems to pay almost no attention to the Red Sox other than to denigrate them and their fans. And I fully expect another wiseass comment from YF following this post. Just see what he said about (what I think was my) thoughtful post regarding rookie callups. It’s just a perfunctory compliment and then a generic, useless, and at this point tired slap at us Sox fans. Nothing of substance there. That seems par for the course when YF looks outside the Big Apple.

    SF July 11, 2005, 9:40 am
  • SF! It’s a pretty day! Lighten up.
    We, in YF land, have precious little time on our hands. We are busy people. Unlike the people of Boston—a more reflective, literary people—we hear in NY are doers. (Surely that is why SF joined these ranks.) But all that doing leaves little time for us to keep fully on top of the Boston sports media. For that we will not apologize. But with a series between the teams coming up, you can be sure our eyes will be on your boys. Be afraid.

    YF July 11, 2005, 10:55 am
  • No fans other than the Sox fans have sites as good as Soxaholix and Boston Dirt Dogs. The next most likely candidates might be the Cubs, or the Giants … but they don’t. The Red Sox Nation is unique.
    Soxaholix is entertaining for anyone, particularly anyone who’s lived in Boston, like me. Boston Dirt Dogs I started looking at before Yankee / Sox series, to see what the Sox were up to, and found it entertaining enough to go back to at other times. SoSH I obviously wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.
    BTW, if you look at my blog, you’ll see I call Fenway the best ballpark. I’m a Yankee lovah, not a Sox hatah. Although I might make an exception for Varitek and Ortiz.
    I think you can see why Varitek’s earnest schoolyard bully act might be less lovable for those outside the Red Sox Nation.

    john yf July 11, 2005, 11:20 am
  • PS, YF’s right.

    john yf July 11, 2005, 11:23 am
  • “Although I might make an exception for Varitek and Ortiz.”
    Why Papi though–because of the heroics or some personal issue? The guy’s pretty damn hard to hate to be honest with you (though I’m a bit biased; I named a cat of mine Papi): fun-loving, humorous, and a hell of a hitter.

    JTP July 11, 2005, 12:15 pm
  • “The perception is thus that the site leans to the Yankees, since my postings aren’t so one-sided.”
    What perception are you talking about? Did you take some poll? I’d guess that most people think that this site represents the thoughts of a Yankees fan and a Sox fan in equal measure. The name kind of says it all.
    In fact, I think you both do an excellent job of representing your fan bases. To say that RSN is a little more interested in what the Yanks do than Yanks fans are in what the Sox do is a statement of fact. All you have to do is go to a game at Fenway when the Sox are playing a non-Yankee team such as the Rangers (and yes, I did this last year, my 2nd game ever at Fenway). Say the Sox are losing in the 7th inning 8-2, well Sox fans are still capable of joyous exhiliration just by looking at the scoreboard. I have never seen a group of fans so happy when they’re team is losing by so much. But RSN is not your typical fan base. The news on the scoreboard was that the Yanks had blown a lead in the 9th to the Orioles. Cheers erupted. “Yankees suck” chants filled the stadium. Our men had come back from the moon! This would never and never has happened at Yankee stadium. Call us snarky bastards if you will, but our fandom is concerned only with our team.

    Nick July 11, 2005, 1:13 pm
  • OT: hey YF, are you rethinking your earlier posts this year about Giambi being washed up? Is he at the very least “enigmatic”?

    Nick July 11, 2005, 1:18 pm
  • Nick:
    The response is on the subject of a common question, which is “why do you Sox fans seem to care more about the Yankees than your own team”. The answer is twofold: first, we don’t. Let’s close the books on that one. The Sox are my number one love, but since the site is about both teams then of course I post about both teams. The second part of the answer derives out of your fine comment. In fact it is true, we Sox fans do obsess more about the Yankees than you Yankees fans do about the Sox. But don’t kid yourselves: you still think about the hated Sox, and a lot. The Sox’ success bothers you far more than say, a hypothetical Orioles banner. You can’t represent yourself as so sincerely single-minded; you aren’t. Hence, a statement like “our fandom is only concerned with our team” is simple hyperbole.
    In the end, I try to post about both teams, and I don’t find it, as YF may, a waste of my precious time to do so. In the end, that makes it seem like I spend more time on the Yankees than I do on the Sox, which is simply not true, as even a casual read of this site would reveal.

    SF July 11, 2005, 2:20 pm
  • Why Big Papi? Three reasons: in the press last year he was even more obnoxious than the Cowboy (before the “Who’s My Daddy” game, Ortiz said the Yankees were “afraid” of the Sox); he gets too many big hits against the Yankees; let’s face it, when he’s standing at the plate, he’s an ugly mofo.

    john yf July 11, 2005, 2:52 pm
  • Re: John’s three reasons –
    1. He was right.
    2. He does.
    3. He ain’t ugly, he’s my Papi!

    SF July 11, 2005, 2:59 pm
  • Re Giambi. No, we’re not rethinking our previous posts. We’re glad he’s doing well. We hope it lasts. It’s yet to be determined, as previously noted in this thread, whether this streak will be a Tino-esque brief run of glory or an honest-to-goodness resurgence. We suspect somewhere in between. That said, we’re never going to be big Giambi fans. As long as he’s a Yankee, he’ll have our full support. But there’s not a lot of love there. And you have to wonder how long his body is going to hold up.

    YF July 11, 2005, 3:05 pm
  • Re Papi being ugly at the plate. God knows I hate to see him there. But ugly is one thing he’s not. When we think of the prettiest swings in baseball, his is at the top of the list. Right up there with Barry Bo and Junior (and isn’t it sweet to see him banging again?).

    YF July 11, 2005, 3:10 pm
  • Re: SF’s first answer –
    Try this — Walk up to Sheff and tell him he’s afraid of the Sox.
    All kidding aside, here’s what I wrote on my blog last year:

    Yes, I thought the Yankees would prevail, but the Red Sox won. Anyone who saw Curt Schilling speak after his win saw one reason why. Schilling was explicit: in the first game he acted purely on ego, and lost, while in the second game he pitched for the team and simply asked to be able to do his best. The important Yankees like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera have always had this attitude.
    I think the Red Sox as a whole had the same maturation during the series as Schilling, which is why they went from a 19 to 8 loss to winning 4 straight games against all odds. The way they spoke about their respect for the Yankees, rather than their hatred, suggests this. If they want to win their first World Series since 1918, they should remember this.

    If the Sox have gone back to their Cowboy ways, it bodes well for the Yanks. A few pitchers would help too.

    john yf July 11, 2005, 3:11 pm
  • And Ortiz is an ugly mofo!

    john yf July 11, 2005, 3:13 pm
  • John: I think that’s a lot of mumbo jumbo. The Sox and Yanks were evenly matched all year. To look for extra-natural factors seems a bit ridiculous to me.

    YF July 11, 2005, 3:15 pm
  • John: What will sink the Sox is not their “cowboy ways,” however unappealing, but their serious pitching problems.

    YF July 11, 2005, 3:17 pm
  • YF and I agree. You’d think that if Kevin Millar’s and Johnny Damon’s loose lips sunk ships then Sox wouldn’t even be where they are right now, considering how far gone the media is portraying their sorry family. Combine that with their year-long health and pitching woes and it’s a miracle they are in first, right? Foulke’s knee, Schilling’s ankle, and Embree’s (lack of?) talent will be the determining factors in the long run. I only wish they were healthy so we could reasonably discuss team chemistry as a factor. As it is, pitching woes trump incohesion. They always do.

    SF July 11, 2005, 3:49 pm
  • Re wins, I haven’t checked this, but someone said the Sox are exactly where they were last year at this time, in terms of wins.
    Re Schilling, you can look it up. He had a major change of heart, and he credits the change in his onfield performance to that. SF – are you going to disagree with Schilling? YF – Mo, Bernie and Jeter say the same thing about all their wins.
    Is all other stuff important? OBVIOUSLY. You can’t win many games with Darrell May, although the Yanks almost pulled one out.
    You can have Foulke and Schilling back, if we can have the Big Unit, Mussina, Pavano, Jaret Wright and Quantrill of last year.

    john yf July 11, 2005, 4:40 pm
  • What does agreeing or disagreeing with Schilling have to do with it? I won’t disagree with Schilling’s statement that his change of mindset was important, just as his adjustment this year may be similarly important. He has to put ego aside and accept a lesser role, first as a setup man (that’s got to be a comedown for a former stud starter) and then hopefully later as a starter. But so what? That’s part of being a reasonable professional, not just an indication that a team has wonderful chemistry.
    What I am saying (and I think YF is saying the same thing) is that chemistry is less important than a healthy, talented team. Chemistry is not irrelevant, it’s just not primary or totally defining. It’s a limited quality, though not unimportant. You make the point yourself with your final sentence, basically.

    SF July 11, 2005, 5:11 pm
  • This much is certain: we’re not getting Quantrill back. As for believing Schilling, who cares what he says. And let’s not really worry about what Jetes and Bernie said either. Athletes are always in the awkward position of having to find some explanation for what, rightly, is simply the vicissitude of athletic performance. That’s why, we suspect, so many athletes have such strong faiths. And that’s why there are so many cliches about “chemistry.”

    YF July 11, 2005, 5:19 pm
  • YF: “Junior (and isn’t it sweet to see him banging again?).”
    Oh, how sweet it is; Junior was my first love (of a player) as a child. You never forget your first.

    JTP July 11, 2005, 5:48 pm
  • I’m not talking about chemistry. I’m talking about insightful comments by some players about why they stunk up the joint for 3 games but then came back to win 4 straight playoff games and 4 straight WS games. I’m talking about comments by some great players who 12 World Series games IN A ROW (yes, Derek, Bernie, Paulie, Mo and the gang), and lost only 3 playoff games in 2 of those seasons. And I’m talking about comments by the greatest reliever of all time.
    They’re very similar to the comments by a few geniuses like Shakespeare, Mozart, Michelangelo and Thomas Jefferson, who all believed their creations were part of something bigger than themselves. If you want to be young whippersnappers and disagree, that’s you’re perogative. But frankly, I think more people listen to Schilling, Mo, Mozart, Shakespeare, Jefferson and Michelangelo.
    And now back to baseball: Of course we’re not getting Quantrill back, and what’s more, I trust Joe to know that we’re better of without him. The point is that Sox fans can piss and moan all they want about pitching problems, but we’ve got just as many, and we’re still gonna whup ’em.
    Moose against Arroyo? Pick ’em. Arroyo’s been more consistent this year, but Moose can be a Sox killer.
    Wang against Wells? How sweet it is. We’re lucky to be rid of that tub of lard, and sometime this year, despite his great left arm, Sox fans will find out why. Boomer’s gonna let em down big time. Maybe not this game, but it’ll happen. While Wang has been the lucky card that’s kept us in the running.
    Big Unit versus Clement? This is why he gets the big bucks. What’s he gonna do? Opening day seems like a long time ago. While Clement is the reason the Sox are, temporarily, in first.
    Wakefield versus ? How sweet it would be to go into this game 3 and O and pull this game out of a hat. The Yanks sometimes get him (game 7) but Wakefield has long been a pain in the butt for Yankee fans.
    Pavano’s first stop towards a good season? Who knows?
    I know I’m looking forward to Mo showing Big Papi the real Mo.

    john yf July 11, 2005, 7:45 pm
  • YF says Ortiz isn’t ugly?
    I’m starting to wonder if YF is really a Yankee fan.
    I’m not talking about his swing. As we used to say in third grade, He’s so ugly, if he was a dog his mama would shave his ass and make him walk backwards.

    john yf July 11, 2005, 7:53 pm
  • Did I just see Schilling, Shakespeare, Jefferson, Mozart, and Michelangelo in the same sentence?
    This whippersnapper is at a loss.

    YF July 11, 2005, 7:54 pm
  • “that’s why he makes the big bucks”
    Why is that? From everything I have seen, and I’ve watched every start, he’s very prone to complete implosion on the mound. I’ve yet to see the guy YF’s thought they were getting, so lest we not count chickens before they hatch. Moose can be had on any day (just as Arroyo), Pavano is more BP than an intimidating pitcher, and as far as Wang goes – I’ll give credit where it’s due, and he has pitched great.
    Also, didn’t Wells go 8-strong against the Yanks last time out? I thought I watched it, but I’m not too sure.
    As far as getting “whupped”: did you watch the last series? The only reason you won one game of the set was due to a last inning home run from Sheff – again, please save face and don’t make predictions of the Yankees simply beating up on the Sox – it makes you look stupid more often than not.
    As far as Mo showing Ortiz anything, I’m going to leave that alone. But, it’s possible that starting Moose, Wang, and PitcherX – we may not see Mariano for three of the games. But, I’ll stay away from predictions.

    Brad-SF July 12, 2005, 1:37 am
  • Sorry John, I wasn’t calling you stupid, but more a general “you” of people who are always making predictions based on love of team, often myself included. Something I’m sure all of us wish we could take back 50% of the time! Just hope you did not take that the wrong way.

    Brad-SF July 12, 2005, 3:37 am
  • If we’re not allowed to predict a whuppin at Yanks Fan Sox Fan, what’s the point of being a fan? In a more levelheaded post I said I didn’t know who would win.
    Before the break, the Yanks were hot and the Sox were not, but the effect of the All Star Break and the Yankees Sox rivalry are giant X factors.
    Of course Johnson isn’t earning his salary. But he is being paid the big money, as Schilling is, because he’s supposed to do the job he’s been doing for years.
    The Sox have trouble with lefties. Johnson is a Hall of Fame lefty, probably the most intimidating of all time.
    Will this be the game in which he puts it all together and turns the season around? Yankee fans would love that.
    Remember the first game of the season, Johnson versus Wells? Yankees 9 Red Sox 2.

    john yf July 12, 2005, 9:01 am
  • Yep. I also remember Johnson v. Tampa (twice), Johnson v. Detroit, Cleveland, and the second time v. the Sox. Then, as I said, I remember the second time through the Yank lineup for Wells. All that being said, I still hold no predictions other than the following:
    If both teams don’t get their acts together and straigten out, it’s going to be a llloooonnnnggg July.

    Brad-SF July 12, 2005, 9:51 am
  • I’m sure Varitek and Ortiz will hear about Sheff’s comments in today’s NY Post, made at the All Star game. “We’re going to bring our gold, our jewel in there, which is A-Rod,” Sheff says. “We’re going to make sure that Alex is taken care of.”
    Damon says A-Rod has come into his own and calls him one of the three best players in baseball. (With Bonds and ?)
    Damon also said, about Jeter, “It’s strange that he’s not here because he’s on that list of Best Players in the Game.”
    Just goes to show that winning can change idiots.

    john yf July 12, 2005, 11:39 am
  • s

    J July 17, 2005, 10:18 am

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