I had planned on doing a series of State-of-the-Yankees posts, one each month, to satisfy the sports coverage requirement of the VTK. Then the World Cup precluded the Y.6.6 and I never got around to the Y.7.6, which is probably good since the Bombers were 3.5 games behind the Sox a month ago, and it wouldn’t have necessarily made for the best reading. But now they’re 6.5 games in front of the AL East and coming off a dominating 5 game sweep at Fenway, so I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to post a quick State of the Yankees.
The State is good. Only once before in MLB history has a 1st place team swept a 2nd place team in a 5 game series and that was back in 1923. For the Yankees to do it at Fenway against the Red Sox in this 5 year stretch is a pretty significant chapter in this epic rivalry. Now they just need to guard against an emotional letdown that would allow the Sox to get back into it. Winning at least 2 out of 3 against the crappy Mariners would be a good first step, especially considering their next 9 are against playoff contenders.
The Abreu/Lidle pickup at the trading deadline is looking more and more genius each day. Not only did the Yankees not give up anything substantial in return and convince the Phillies and Abreu to waive his no-trade clause and the option year of his contract, but both players came up huge in their first taste of the Rivalry. Abreu reached base 17 times and Lidle pitched 6 scoreless innings to set the Yankees up to win the 5th game. Awesome. Sheff-who? Pavan-what?
I was out in Pittsfield for the weekend at VTK reader N-Rob’s rockin’ bachelor party, which included an incident of me crashing a golf cart into a drinking fountain in the pitch dark at 20 mph, leaving my stomach bruised and the fountain spraying everywhere. Good times. It was also a great place to watch/follow the series since, as I’ve been telling Boston folks for years, Pittsfield is one of the hotly contested border towns between Red Sox Nation and Yankees Country, with the population probably going 50% to 40% Sox to Yankees (10% to the Mets?). I’ve been out there 3 weekends this month and have been encouraged to see tons of Yankees shirts and hats. This piece of “research” by the NY Times would have you believe that Pittsfield is part of Red Sox Nation, but if you think scientific method should be more stringent than counting the number of Red Sox and Yankees cookies in Auntie Kristen’s bakery then you’ll disregard it (what kind of spelling of Kristin is that anyways?). You can’t legitimately call any town in New England / New York for one team or the other unless it has more than 2/3 of the population rooting for one of the two teams. And there’s no way Pittsfield has 70% of its population in Red Sox Nation. So at least 40% of Pittsfield is in a good mood this morning. And about 2% of Cambridge!