Friday, July 02, 2004

Best game ever in the month of July?

Back on April 24, I pooh-poohed the importance of the three game, weekend series between the Yankees and the Red Sox because it was so early in the year. It turns out that I was right that the series had very little impact on the overall race for the AL East (I believe that the Sox swept that April series but are still down 8.5 games to the Yanks -- and it's only July). However, I think that I underestimated the importance and the passion of any Sox/Yanks game. Last night's game between the two storied rivals served as a reminder that anytime these two teams take the field it is an event worth watching.

Now, I do not claim to be a baseball historian. Not by any means. But, I submit to you that last night's game in the Bronx may have been the greatest game ever played in the month of July. Since I live out of market, I was forced to experience the game via minute by minute highlights on ESPN. But even in this broken up format, I was riveted to my television and moved to wake up my parents with an 11 o'clock phone call just so I could experience this game with someone else.

This game had everything. Head-hunting by Sox ace, Pedro Martinez. A gutty performance on the mound by a baby-faced, rookie, left-hander. Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada hitting a 2-run homer off his blood enemy. A dominant performance by Red Sox slugger, Manny Ramirez. A thrilling, three-run come-back by the Sox to force extra innings. A fabulous play in the field by Sox reserve shortstop, Pokey Reese. And an even more fabulous play by Mr. Yankee, Derek Jeter, to steal a hit that would have given the Sox a twlefth inning lead.


DJ's play was perhaps the finest defensive play that I have ever seen in a baseball game. Partially because of the intensity of the rivalry. Partially because of the game situation. And mostly because of the combination of athleticism and selfless hustle that were required to make the play. Jeter came out of the stands with the baseball and a bloody face.

(Shaw/Getty Images)

The Yanks went on to notch a come-from-behind win in the thirteenth inning. It was an amazing finish and worthy addition to the history of the Yanks/Sox rivalry.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Yanks magic number is 78.