"…I leave symbols to the symbol-minded"
– George Carlin
CC Sabathia threw a ball that hit Dustin Pedroia on the butt and now John Harper is all: the world has changed symbolically and crap and the Yanks have turned a page and we're now in a new chapter, much better than that previous chapter in which the Yanks won only four world series and they were pushed around by the Red Sox so much that the Bombers failed to win the whole thing for 10 years! And all the fans are like, "Yeah! CC!! Roarrrrrrr!" And there are manly chest bumps and self righteous gulps of beer at bars and in living rooms, and maybe a Nick Swisher/K-Rod double point or two to the heavens, and intense approving nods of the head, and it's so much awesomer now that CC did what he did! Oh yeaahhhhhhhh! Hulkamania is running wild! Even Josh Who Plays The Game The Right Way knows what's what and the silence in the Sox dugout is an acknowledgement of the unwritten rules. Josh hits batters left and right, loses command, yada yada, it's not intentional maybe but, come on, Josh knows that this had to happen, and so did the Sox. But that's the crazy thing. During the Torre era, none of that ever happened!, although there seemed to be far more brawls and even Zimmer was all ROAAAR!! during one game, but, well never mind, this was a change for the better. The Yanks are back and that's cause there's a new sheriff in town!
Or what John Harper writes in his own words:
But there was a better reason for him to go ahead and drill Dustin Pedroia in the backside. Essentially, he told the Red Sox, the days of them sending Yankee hitters to the trainer's room without fear of retaliation are over.
If that engenders more good feeling in a Yankee clubhouse already oozing confidence and unity, well, perhaps it's the type of thing that will help the Bombers repeat as champions.
You got that sense after the Yankeesfinally finished pounding on the Red Sox for a second straight day, winning 14-3. For while on the surface Sabathia's plunking of Pedroia got lost in the slaughtering, as Mark Teixeirahit three home runs and Francisco Cervelli drove in five runs, it hardly went unnoticed in the clubhouse.
"It just tells you that CC's got our back," one player said. "It means a lot to the guys in here."
Retaliation as it applies to the Red Sox has been a touchy issue since the Joe Torre days, when the Yankee pitchers rarely, if ever, even knocked Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz off the plate – no matter how many times Pedro Martinez came up and in, decking or hitting Yankee batters.
To a degree, Joe Girardi has changed that philosophy with his intensity, and he had let everyone know he doesn't like when his hitters get plunked.
Sabathia wouldn't admit to a payback pitch, of course.
"It was just a fastball that got away," he said when asked about the Pedroia pitch. "I was trying to get inside and it got away."
Players on both sides knew better. There's a new sheriff in this rivalry.