Friday, June 12, 2009

A Fleeting Moment, Now Fleeted

Or should that be "Now Flut"? "Now Floot"? I'm not sure what the proper conjugation is in this case. Maybe, with the rain, it should be "Now Flooded."

To borrow a phrase from the musical Camelot, for one brief shining moment... a moment that lasted a month, a very nice month, it was possible to believe that the 2009 Yankees were less like the 2008 Yankees and more like the 1998 Yankees, a team that didn't care how good their opponents were, they just won anyway. And that this would continue against the Boston Red Sox in the three-game series now concluded at Fenway Park.

It was possible to believe that this would be, if not 2000, or even the last Pennant season of 2003, then at least 2006. Talk about a fleeting moment: The Yanks were awful for the 1st 3 months, then took off, and in August swept a rain-forced 5-game series at Fenway.

I was there the day of the 4th game, and on that hot Sunday afternoon in New England, I heard the fans and heard the WEEI hosts, and they were all acting as if things were back to the way they were, with the Yankees in the Sox' heads, as if they just couldn't beat the Yanks when it mattered, as if those ten amazing autumn nights of two years earlier -- October 17 to 27, 2004 -- had never happened, as if their first World Championship in 86 years was less than a fluke, but an actual mirage, perhaps even a myth.

The Yanks finished 12 games ahead of the Red Sox, and the Sox even finished behind the Toronto Blue Jays, third. It was a very good time to be a Yankee Fan. (Then came that awful Playoff series against the Detroit Tigers.)

For a fleeting moment, I thought that we might be back to that level, going into this Yanks-Sox series at Fenway.

Then the series happened. A 7-0 loss in which the Yankees got just two hits. A 6-5 loss in which the Yankees came back but fell short. A 4-3 loss in which the Yankees led 3-1 in the 8th.

This is unacceptable. The Yankees have let the Red Sox back into their heads. The Scum triumphant, the Yankees reeling and back out of first place, and looking like there's no way they'll ever be able to beat the Red Sox again.

Think of it this way: Suppose the Yankees and Red Sox both make the Playoffs -- even if it's with the Yanks as Division Champs and the Sox as the Wild Card. Suppose then the Yanks win their Division Series and the Sox lose theirs. Suppose then the Yanks go all the way and win the World Series.

What changes? Sox fans will have to get rid of their "Got Rings Lately?" T-shirts. But what else? Nothing. We'll still say we've got far more than anybody. They'll still say we can't beat them. We'll say we're the World Champs so fuck you. They'll still say we can't beat them, so fuck us.

No, for 2004 to be avenged, there must be a day of reckoning, where the Yankees either beat the Sox in a Playoff series, or beat the Sox in such a way that the Yanks make the Playoffs and the Sox don't, and the Yanks then go on to win the Series.

This will leave Sox fans to talk about 2004 and 2007 -- and leave them sounding as pathetic as Met fans talking about 1969 and 1986. Someday soon, this must happen.

Speaking of the Mets, they come into Yankee Stadium II tonight for a three-game series, weather permitting. And they're reeling, too, having lost 2 of 3 at home to the Phillies, the 2 losses being rather embarrassing ones, cancelling out their 1 win. They're now 4 games behind the Phils; the Yanks, 2 behind the Sox. Each New York team might as well be 12 games out.

Yeah, yeah, I know, cue the line from Fever Pitch -- the soccer one, the one with the happy ending: "Jesus, Mike! You need medical help! You've got some sort of disease that turns people into useless bastards!"

Yeah, well, I caught it from the Yankees.

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