(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)
Speaking of lucky, how lucky am I that I managed to get tickets to this game? Thanks to HJ's friend Rob, also a long time reader of mine. (The same Rob who very seriously asked me, when ascertaining that I was, in fact, the author of this here weblog, "You know he's a Yankees fan, right?") I like to think he was looking out for me.
Regardless, he offered HJ and I tickets to last night's game and we gladly accepted, unaware of the intense cloak and dagger business we'd have to go through to retrieve them. It involved a lunch time super secret drive to the depths of Newton, shimmying down a drain pipe to obtain the tickets contained within, donned sunglasses and wigs and wire transfers to banks in the Cayman Islands. Okay, only part of that is true, but I'll let you decide which part. Rob claims we should consider ourselves lucky to have escaped without an attack by fluffy bunnies or an armada of Volvo-driving suburban moms. Espionage and intrigue indeed.
It all ended up being worth it though (well, for me anyway, I can't speak for HJ who has now seen his beloved Pinstripes go 0 for 7 against the Red Sox thus far this season). That said, he remains an extremely good sport and even bantered with me about such things as why he couldn't see Papelbon's stash of Tonka Trucks in the bullpen from our seat and which Yankee player's names sounded like delicious menu items.
Me: What about Matsui? Could you order a Matsui?
HJ: No, that's not a real thing in a restaurant. What would that even be?
Me: It would be delicious is what.
HJ: Alfredo Aceves is one. But Alfredo is an actual menu item so...
Me: Could you order an Alfredo Matsui?
HJ: Ew. That'd be like octopus in cream sauce.
Me: Oh so now you can tell me what a Matsui is.
This kind of thing is pretty much par for the course.
We both also marveled at the resilience of the human liver on display all around us. Truly astounding that and the examples of douchiness weren't limited to fans of either team as one might expect. Nope, there were Yankee fans in attendance whose seeming only mission was to wank poetic about Derek Jeter (again, some more), and there were Sox fans who couldn't find anything better or more creative to do than to repeat the insipid "Yankees Suck" chant. And here's the thing about that: if you're going to insist on doing it, you might want to do it after the Yankees have done something especially bone-headed, like Nick Swisher's error leading to Pedroia's ground rule double. Or "past a not quite diving because he really doesn't seem that interested A-Rod." You certainly don't want to break it out after Johnny Damon goes yard or Swisher redeems himself with an amazing diving catch. Oh, oh that is when you'd like to reassert that the Yankees do, in fact, suck? Okay then. Sigh.
Look, I realize that it seems that I'm perhaps getting soft on the rivalry or that I'm bagging on my own people here but I think the issue, really, is that the rivalry has gotten a lot less one-sided of late. And we need new blood. Or at the very least, new chants. The Yankees don't suck. Neither do the Red Sox. Admittedly the Sox have owned the Yankees this season, or, in the parlance of 14-year-old Twitter devotees (and, let's be honest, probably Jonathan Papelbon), pwned them. And that I find delightful. But there's certainly enough insanity and rivalry-ness on the field to go around. You want to boo Mark Teixeira? By all means. Go to town. Want to roll your eyes every time someone mentions Jeter's clutchiness or calm eyes? Please, I do too. But seriously, watch the game. It's usually a pretty good one.
Speaking of, guy one section over who spent the entire game wacking a beach ball between sections and who seemed to be suffering from some sort of anger management problem if the force by which he was sending that beach ball aloft was any indication, you missed a pretty good game. Shame, that.
Of course, because it's Yankees/Red Sox, there had to be some drama. Sources at home tell me that the umpiring was shitty all night as in evidence, even from the right field box seats (most of which don't even face the right direction), when the ump badly blew the call at first resulting in Swisher being awarded an infield hit on a bunt. He was, I don't mind telling you, very, very out. So out that no Yankee fans in the area even bothered to put up a fight. The play ended up not mattering (except to Wakefield's pitch count) as Nick Green snared a smoking liner and doubled Swisher off first (perhaps rightly, perhaps it was a make up call), shortly thereafter and HJ began fielding frantic, angry text messages from Sebastian, a mutual friend and Yankee fan now living in Manhattan and listening to the game on the radio. "Tell him he can blame Julio Lugo," I said, "I usually do when things go badly." Because I don't know many things in this life for sure, but I do know that Julio Lugo would not have caught that ball.
Then, of course, there was the drama in Papelbon's ninth. While it wasn't quite the "load the bases then strike three guys out" heart attack I was fearing, things did get a little dicey. Honestly, they righted themselves when I threatened to take away Paps' Tinker Toys unless he finished the job.
"I'm glad the see he responds to threats," HJ said.
While leaving the park, I called my dad to inform him that, despite predictions, neither I nor HJ had killed anyone and no bail money needed to be ponied up. He answered the phone from the depths of sleep.
"Huh, wha? HJ killed someone?" he said groggily.
"No, dad, I'm telling you no one killed anyone. You should be proud."
"Huh, why'd he kill someone? What'd you do?"
"No, he didn't kill anyone. The Sox won 6-5. We're at the game."
"Oh, huh, say the Sox won?"
"Yes, dad, 6-5."
"Oh, oh good. Fell asleep. Hey, make sure HJ doesn't kill anyone, ok?"
"Right, thanks, dad. Will do. Go back to sleep."
I'm telling you people, the life I lead. Honestly. All that said, I'll take a 7-0 season lead on our biggest rivals any day. Even if espionage and intrigue is required to witness it. Hell, for that kind of lead, I'll make like Sydney Bristow in Alias and take the spy games international. Anything for my baseball team.