One of the best things about being a Yankee diehard in New England is, just about every year you get to experience a very entertaining
event here. This event usually happens late in the baseball season and sometimes
in early October. For people who experience this event for the first time, they
may find it pathetic or even alarming. Yet, for those us who have gone through
this seemingly every year, it’s one of the best parts of the baseball season.
The event? It’s the Red Sox "Nation" whine.
The "Nation" whine usually centers around the manager of the
team. He’s usually blamed for every loss. No, the "Nation" never gives the
opposition any credit, for it’s always something the manager did that cost
the "Fenway Faithful" a much desired win. Sometimes, the whine is directed
at a Theo Epstein free-agent signing that has gone bust on Yawkey Way. Other
times, the whine is directed at the umpires. You know, they’re all against the
Red Sox. But more than a manager, a poor free agent signing, or an umpire, the
whining is usually directed at the 26-time world champion, New York Yankees.
Today (August 7th) the official whining season began here in
New England, and not to my surprise, it was directed at the surging New York
Yankees who are in the process of erasing a 14 1/2 game Boston lead that was
established on May 29th. The only thing that surprised me about this whine, was
I couldn’t figure out who was more pathetic, the fans or the New England media.
You see Yankee fans, today in New England, the Boston fans
and New England media weren’t talking about the rise of Melky Cabrera and
Robinson Cano. They weren’t talking about the consistent hitting of Jorge Posada
nor Derek Jeter. Nothing was said about Hideki Matsui’s fabulous July.
They didn’t mention Bobby Abreu’s offensive surge, nor the dominating pitching
of Mariano Rivera. No, the self-proclaimed "most knowledgeable fans in
baseball" and the astute Boston media ignored all this, and pointed to the
Yankees "easy schedule" as being the reason why the Yankees are closing in on
Most of the papers around here have pointed out "there
is nothing to worry about" because soon, the Yankees will be playing "tough
teams". The local sports shows were flooded with whining Red Sox fans saying the
same thing. Mind you, we heard nothing about "easy" teams when the Red Sox
had a 14 1/2 game bulge on May 29th, but now, that the lead is shrinking at an
alarming rate, the whine is focused on the Yankees playing "easy" teams.
All the talk today about "easy" and "tough" teams, and lack
of talk about the real reason why the Yankees are winning, once again proved to
me that the label "most knowledgeable fans" and "astute media" should not be
given around here. The whine got so bad today, that I spent some time to look up
how both New York and Boston fare against "tough" and "easy" teams.
I went back to June 1’st (and stopped
after the last started series in July), and took a look at the Yankees and Red
Sox series wins against "tough" and "easy" teams. Interestingly enough, June
1’st started the second straight series win the Yankees had against a "tough"
team, the Boston Red Sox. Here are the results:
Series won against +.500 teams
New York 5 Boston 4
Series lost against +.500 teams
New York 2 Boston 3
Series won against -.500 teams
New York 7 Boston 5
Series lost against -.500 teams
New York 3 Boston 3
Series tied against -.500 teams
New York 0 Boston 2
Not much difference is there? Keep in mind, this is two
months worth of data. Now when Boston was running away with the division, I
didn’t hear any member of Red Sox "Nation" or any member of the local media talk
about "easy" teams. Yet now that the Yankees are on a tear, the reason
that is being thrown around here is, they are playing "easy" teams.
Now you may ask how could almost everyone around here miss
the actual reasons why the Yankees are surging? Well, members of the "Nation"
and the media, were too busy writing off the Yankees in May. Too
much time was being spent on planning an "elimination day" and not enough time
was being spent on the real reasons (an unbelievable amount of injuries to the
starting rotation, and slumps by Abreu, Matsui, and Cano) why this Yankee team
got off to a slow start.
According to the whiners here, soon the Yankees will start
playing those "tough" teams. So now, if the Yankees win series against those
teams, what will be the excuse then? You guessed it, Red Sox "Nation" and
the media will just blame the manager.