Thursday, September 14, 2006

Osaka or Bust

On September 2nd, just after completing the middle game of the Twins series, I posted the following comment:

No looking ahead. Twins/Royals/Orioles/Rays come first. Anything less than 8-3 is a failure.

That 11 game stretch began with the final game against Minnesota and the last game with the D-Rays. We've completed 10 games in that stretch now and sit a very pretty 8-2. Chien Min Wang takes the mound for the Yankees to close things out with a gravy game in the Canyon of Heroes book. Of course, we should win without fail in this situation, but I'm very proud of how the Bombers have taken care of the dredges of the American League going into the relatively meaningless series against Boston. Tampa Bay III is house money.

As I will be out of town over the long weekend here in Japan, I probably will be unable to promptly post anything about the Boston games. I will be enjoying the city life of Osaka and taking in such local favorites as "tako yaki", which is basically octopus in balls of batter. They put a little brown sauce on top, sprinkle some seaweed and poke a toothpick in it. You get about 6-8 a pop. Good stuff. I'll save some for all of you.

I'll leave the Buddha Babe Ruth at the doorstep, as I always do when I'm away, and give you a quick preview of the Boston storyline as I see it. Here we go:

1. Papi's Bronx Welcome

After his comments about Derek Jeter, Papi is going to get the Pedro treatment something awful. He deserves it. It was one of the most stupid lapses of composure for an athlete in his position because it was classless, and worse, it came just before the Sox headed into the Bronx. I'm sure his teammates appreciated it. I encourage anyone going to the game to chant, "MVP" for Jeter as lustily as is humanly possible, while serenading Ortiz with chants of, "Paaaapi!"

2. Nobody Gets Hurt

These games are meaningless. Sure, we reduce our maginc number with every win, and with every Red Sox loss. We can hurry the pace of our 9th consecutive division title, but there is an element of caution involved in this series. The Sox are bound to be pissed after we swept their season away over 5 games in Fenway. They are bound to be looking to find a little gold coin in the bottom of the piss pot of their season. Their fans would be a bit less testy if the team could come into the Stadium and take 3 games, or blow the Yanks out a couple of times. The Yankees on the other hand always expect the worst in these highly charged series and a few hit batters here, and a few choice words there, and then fireworks. The last thing we need now is to find a pitcher under a pile of angry ballplayers, or A-Rod with a broken leg. Just keep it cool guys.

3. Johnny Damon

He's been a lightning rod all year when it comes to the fortunes of the big rivals and each new series provides an opportunity to focus on the +/- effect he's had on the AL East race. This is the last meeting between these clubs in 2006. One is off to the post-season and the other is headed to the golf course. Damon is leading off and playing center field for the team with a future. That's bound to be a bitter pill to swallow for the Red Sox faithful. It's been talked about more than a few times this season, but this very deflated Sox team will be looking across the field into the Yankees dugout knowing that their wacky, idiot of a guru is spearheading a team from the Bronx looking for its 27th championship. They will be spiritless and fading to black.

4. Sheff Salad

Will Gary Sheffield take the field in this set of games? If he does, it will be one of those moments when you have to stop and rub your eyes. If you can imagine a lineup like this:


I know there's no Melky there, as we would all like to see. I know Sheff will have to play left and Giambi will have to man first. Just from a hitting standpoint, that lineup seems unfair. Doesn't that look like the AL All-Star lineup? There isn't an easy out in that entire group of players if Matsui and Sheffield can harness their talent to get hot over a 3-4 week period. Even if they only have 10 hot games, that should be enough with the other guys around them. One clutch homer from either of those players in a big playoff game could prove the difference between going home and spraying champagne on each other. We'll have to see how it shakes out.

If I can post from Osaka, I will. Otherwise, look for me at the start of next week. See you on the flip. Go Yanks!!! DEREK JETER....DEREK JETER....DEREK JETER....MVP.....MVP.....MVP....


ami said...

Have fun at Osaka! I have been there when I was about 12. I went to a beautiful temple(I could not recall the name.), and I could never forget watching the maple leaves falling from the trees.....
It was really pretty.

BTW, Wang is pitching in 6 hours' time.

Beating the Red Soxs doesn't mean that you don't have to be serious at the rest of the remaining games.

Go Worm Killer!
Go Yanks!!

Noel said...

Yes! Jeter for MVP!!! Ortiz deserved it! Chant hard for me you all. I wont be there in Da Bronx. Peace

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