Hit the bricks, Blue Jays fans. Take a back seat, resurgent Padres and Pirates. The big boys are flexing their muscles and getting ready to put their matching 9-6 records on the line in the first Red Sox-Yankees series of the year. Our abilities to hide our rooting interests has faded somewhat over the past fourteen months, so why pretend that anything else matters at this point? Kris is hoping the Red Sox sweep at home. I'm hoping the Yankees head up to Fenway, tear Terry Francona's heart out, and eat it for breakfast over some antibiotic-free farm-raised eggs with a side of cantaloupe.
Either way, with a three-game series starting tonight on regional TV, continuing tomorrow afternoon on FOX, and ending Sunday night on ESPN, one of us is going to be a sad tomato come Monday morning.
Tonight, young studs Jon Lester and Joba Chamberlain will take the mound. Huggable Red Sox team mascot David Ortiz has some words of warning for young Joba, who spent most of 2007 and 2008 figuring out ways to remove Kevin Youkilis' horrendous facial hair without a razor:
"None of that, man -- just play the game the way it's supposed to be, and that's about it," Ortiz said, referring to Chamberlain. "This is a guy, as good as he is, the next step for him will be to earn respect from everybody in the league. He's not a bad guy, but when things like that happen, people get the wrong idea."
Well, I don't interpret that as a threat at all. More like some kind words of respect from a veteran superstar to a young turk, perhaps with a friendly slice of advice that would garner zero national headlines were this to occur between any other teams.
Tomorrow's matchup might be twenty times better than tonight's, as former Marlin teammates Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett battle it out to see which one can get more strikeouts, walks, and home runs to piss off their respective otherwise bored defenses. On Sunday, Andy Pettitte and Justin Masterson go head-to-head in a contest between two pitchers who have nothing in common except that they are actually fifth cousins thrice removed.
No friendly wager on this series because that would be simply beating a concept deep into the cold, wet ground. Still, you better believe I am going to crow on my Twitter feed with every good thing that happens for the road team. As for you assorted Red Sox fans who deign to boo Mark Teixeira, fine. Boo him for being the awesomest player on your toughest rival, but don't stoop to the level of the sad Orioles fans and boo him for making a personal career choice.
(Photo courtesy of aptly-named Flickr user permanently scatterbrained)