Sunday, September 15, 2013
35 years ago I sat on the floor of our sun parlor, in my lucky seat in front of the couch. Two years earlier that's where I was when I was whispered, "How about a home run?" as Chris Chambliss approached the plate against Mark Littell in Game 5 of the ALCS. In 1978 it was the Yankees and Boston Red Sox who needed a 163rd game to determine the AL East division winner. No wild card teams back then.
It was Rosh Hoshanah, the Jewish New Year and the only reason that schools were closed on a sunny Monday afternoon. Rather than attend temple, our congregation met in front of a 17" color TV. The Yankees stud ace Ron Guidry was having a career year and gutted his way to his 25th win with plenty of help from the bullpen. Everyone, of course, knows that the biggest moment of the game was when the Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent earned an off-color nickname when he gave the Yankees the lead for good with a 3-run home run off former teammate Mike Torrez. The team went on to win the World Series, their last until Joe Torre and company restored order in 1996.
Yesterday, Saturday, was Yom Kippur. The "Day of Atonement"...and boy did the Yankees have plenty of atoning to do afterwards. I sat on our leather sofa, which has witnessed one World Series title, as Jon Lester dominated the Yankees in a 5-1 Red Sox win. It left the interlocking NY's three games behind both Texas and Tampa Bay in the AL wild card standings. The Yankees stud ace CC Sabathia continued his 2013 struggles; he lasted six innings, and allowed the five runs on nine hits and four walks. He lost his career worst 13th game.
While neither of these teams are as good as their 1978 ancestors, the Red Sox have set themselves apart in the AL East, one year after they won 69 games and finished last in the division. The Los Angeles Dodgers helped them out by taking Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez off their hands last season. GM Ben Cherington and company then picked up Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Koji Uehara, and Mike Carp prior to the season. All of them have contributed to the Sox success as has Jake Peavy who was acquired at the trade deadline. Most importantly they got rid of self-absorbed manager Bobby Valentine and hired their former pitch coach John Farrell, who had been the manager in Toronto, and was very popular with the team.
The Yankees, of course, added to their injury list in the series as they do most every game. Brett Gardner was lost the other night after he strained his oblique. Alfonso Soriano was scratched from Saturday's game due to a sprained thumb. And so it goes...just as they did a week ago the Yankees hope they can salvage one game in a series with Boston. Better say your prayers.