Less than a week until the Yankees travel to 4 Yawkey Way…
My nemesis last year was Julia of Julia’s Rants. The season started so great for her as the Boston Red Sox took the first eight games of the season series against the Yankees. For a time, it seemed as though the Yankees would never get a win. But then along came August, and the tide turned. Led by hip-rejuvenated Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees captured all but one of the remaining games in the series enroute to their 27th World Championship.
There was hope that Julia and I could face one another in the ALCS but John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels had other ideas. Of course, after the season, Theo and the Red Sox decided that if you can’t beat him, sign him as they inked Lackey to a five-year deal to be their number 2 starter. I know that Josh Beckett is the ace of the staff, but if I were building a franchise, I’d pass on Beckett and Lackey and go with Jon Lester.
Barry Chin/Boston Globe
Still it was gratifying to beat Julia and to enjoy the success of a championship season (my seventh as a Yankees fan). Conversely, I am 0-for-lifetime as a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. If only Brett Favre had just tucked the ball and ran…
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Here we are ready for a new season, and the battle between Julia and I gets off to a very early start. I was listening to an interview with Boston beat writer Ian Browne and someone asked him if it was too early for Yankees-Red Sox. His response was that it could be January 19th and a foot of snow on the ground and it wouldn’t be too early. Precisely! Granted, it’s your final record that determines whether you’ll see October, but the Yankees measure themselves against the Red Sox. There is much more satisfaction in beating Boston than there is in beating, say, Kansas City. The wins are measured the same, but still a win against the Royals just doesn’t have the same meaning. I don’t want to offend my friends in Tampa because I know the Rays have the talent to win it all so this is not about disrespect. However, the rivalry between the Rays and Yankees just isn’t as deep and heated as it is against the Red Sox. There was a day that I despised the Baltimore Orioles like no other, so I am sure that the tide will eventually turn. However, right now, as it has been for most of the past decade, baseball doesn’t get any better than Yankees-Red Sox. As a Bay Area resident, I’ve been to Giants-Dodgers games, but they just don’t compare.
For our first wager, Julia and I have agreed to a book report assignment. The winner gets to send a book of his/her choice (I know, the winner pays…go figure). If the Yankees win, Julia gets to read and write a book report on the following book:
Don’t click…this was just a cut and paste from Amazon.com! The real thing will be making the trip to the Boston metro area to see my friend Julia! I chose this book because it had special meaning to me. 1947 was the year that my late father graduated from high school, and it was the dawn of the great Yankees dynasty of the early 50’s. If I could go back in time, 1927 would be my first choice so that I could watch the greatest Yankees team of all-time. But for a second choice, given all of the great Yankees clubs in the past, 1947 would be next. The team didn’t realize that it was on the verge of the greatest success in baseball history and it would have been fun to see the excitement and enthusiasm of those early years.
Yeah Joe, you can smile a little larger! You’ll be getting over on that dude next to you! 🙂
If I lose (c’mon, Carsten Charles Sabathia, don’t let me down!), I will have to read one of Julia’s favorites:
I like Julia’s essays, so I am pulling for my favorite MLB Blogger! Go Julia! Lose to the Yankees and write that book report! As Rob Schneider would say, ‘C’mon, you CAN do it!’. 😉
Courtesy: Julia’s Rants
Congratulations to Ian Kennedy for being named to the starting rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I was very frustrated at times with Kennedy and his attitude when he was with the Yankees, but I do hope that he finds success. It wasn’t that long ago when his name was mentioned in the same breath as Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Also, hats off to the Detroit Tigers newly named starting center fielder Austin Jackson. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Curtis Granderson in center field for the Yankees. But I will also wonder ‘what could have been’ with Ajax. He made me a believer with the way he tattooed a home run a couple of years ago in spring training. Granted, he is not a home run hitter, but he has that “it” quality people talk about. Having Johnny Damon as your personal mentor is not a bad thing so long as Damon doesn’t wear that freakin’ 2004 ring! 😉
Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger/US Presswire
I was also glad to see Chad Gaudin land with the local Oakland A’s. It is his second go-around with the A’s, and I think he’ll thrive in their bullpen. I am only a BART trip away from the A’s Stadium, so I am sure that I’ll be there a time or two to see how he progresses in his return.
Is this really the last season of 24? Wow, those were eight fast years! On the bright side, you know that they can’t kill off Jack Bauer. Not with the proposed movie deals in the works…
How could Jesse James cheat on Sandra Bullock? I don’t get it. She is perhaps one of the most beautiful and inspirational actresses of my lifetime.
I know, I’m getting way off topic. Sorry. I’ll close with saying that I am pulling for Crystal Bowersox on American Idol! Go Crystal! Keep up what you are doing. You are special!
It was all looking good until Yankees first baseman Juan Miranda botched a potential double-play throw in the second inning, which subsequently allowed six unearned runs to score.
At the time, the Yankees-Red Sox game was tied at 1-1 due to a home run by Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell earlier in the inning.
Ask me how much I wish Mark Teixeira had been in the line-up last night.
Nevertheless, a bet is a bet and Julia of Julia’s Rants was the victor! So, here is the first part of a four-part series about Boston Red Sox players (past and present).
THE GREAT TED WILLIAMS
Ted Williams was a great baseball player.
Whew! That was easy. Just three more of these and I’ll be finished! Life is good…
You mean that’s not quite good enough? Bummer. Well, here goes…
Before I get started, I need to check on my lunch…
Crow and Mushroom Stew
1 Tbsp lard/shortening
1 pint stock or gravy
2 Tbsp cream
1/2 cup mushrooms
salt and pepper
Clean and cut crows into small portions and let them cook a short time in the lard/shortening in a saucepan, being careful not to brown them. Next, add to the contents of the pan, the stock or gravy, and salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Simmer 1 hour, or until tender, add mushrooms, simmer 10 minutes more and then stir in cream. Arrange the mushrooms around the crows on a hot platter.
Yum, I can’t wait…
Okay, before I get started, who should I write about? Let me see. I could write about George Herman Ruth. He was a Red Sox once, right? He contributed significantly to the Red Sox World Championships of 1916 and 1918.
Oh, there was something about Harry Frazee financing the play ‘No, No Nanette’ in 1923 and he needed some cash, so I guess that won’t work.
I could write about David Wells or perhaps David Cone…
I know a thing or two about those guys…
Somehow, I don’t think Julia is going to let me get away that easy.
In the spirit of fair play, since this blog is temporarily on loan to the Red Sox Nation, I think I will go with Carl Yastrzemski for the first blog…
THE PERFECT PLAYER
In 1967, Carl Yastrzemski won the American League MVP in a near unanimous vote (missing by a single vote). He won the Triple Crown (.326, 44, 121). He also led the AL in runs, 112; hits, 189; total bases, 360; runs produced, 189; OBP, .421; and SA, .622.
1967 was a remarkable year for Yaz but where did he come from?
Carl Michael Yastrzemski was born in Southhamption, Long Island on August 22, 1939. He grew up in Bridgehampton, Long Island, as the son of a potato farmer. After high school, Yaz went to Notre Dame on a baseball and basketball scholarship, but was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1958 during his first year of college.
At age 21, he joined the Red Sox in 1961. He inherited left field, a spot that had been occupied by the legendary Ted Williams for the previous two decades.
Yaz hit for average almost from the start, winning the 1963 batting title with .321 average. He also led the AL with doubles and walks that year. The power was slower to develop. For his first six years, his season high for home runs was 20 in 1965. Surely, the shadow of Williams and the surrounding cast of losing players had an impact on Yaz, but the tide was about to turn.
After a losing season in 1966, Dick Williams was hired as the Red Sox manager. The experts expected another losing season in Boston. In fact, the Las Vegas oddsmakers had the Red Sox at 100-1.
With Yaz leading the way, the Red Sox were entrenched in perhaps the wildest pennant race in AL history. Four teams (including Minnesota, Detroit, and Chicago) battled it out throughout the summer, separated by only a few games.
Game after game, Yaz consistently came up with the key hit or catch, or baserunning play, to help Boston win. He was on fire during the stretch run, and batted .523 over the final 12 games of the season. In the season’s final two games against Minnesota, with the Red Sox trailing the Twins by one game, Yaz went 7-for-8 with 5 runs batted in as the Red Sox won both games to win the pennant in the season known as the “Impossible Dream”.
The Red Sox subsequently lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. But 1967 will always be known as “The Year of the Yaz”.
During his 23-year career, Yaz finished with:
· 7 Gold Gloves
· 3,419 hits
· 1,844 RBI
· 452 Home Runs
· 3,308 Games Played
Yaz was the first Boston player I was aware of growing up. He wore a Red Sox uniform for his entire major league career, and his number, 8, was retired upon his selection for the Hall of Fame. I didn’t see the early years, but from my perspective, Yaz played the game the right way and he set a standard that is difficult for many to achieve (not just the game of baseball, but the game of life as well).
“And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I’ll take the pennant every time.”
— Carl Yastrzemski
I received this notice regarding my Yankees Fan Membership from the She-Fan, Jane Heller, this morning…
Maybe she’ll renew my membership next month if I can defeat Julia in the April 24th to 26th series between the Yankees and Red Sox…
I wonder if lunch is ready…