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Is it just me, or is it a whole lot of fun to compare the Yankees and Red Sox organizations? On the one hand, an enlightened despotism under Theo, the boy-king, and on the other, a treacherous, backbiting cabal ruled by the madness of King George?
I mention this because Yanks GM Brian Cashman appears to have acted on his own authority in benching the free-falling Alex Rodriguez. Don’t managers usually make decisions like this? Say what you will about Terry Francona, you can’t imagine that he’d sit still for that kind of meddling from above. I’d be willing to bet large sums of money that even high-handed Yankee management wouldn’t have been able to pull something like this in the days of Joe Torre. Whether or not it was a wise decision is immaterial: Yankee management is sticking its nose into day-to-day baseball decisions, and, historically, this action has been a good sign for Red Sox fans.
The turn-of-the-century dominance that the Yanks enjoyed has faded precipitously. They haven’t won a pennant since 2003, which interestingly enough, coincides with the arrival in New York of our dear glove-slapping friend A-Rod. They’re rapidly falling back into their stereotypical portrayal of 20-odd years ago: spending giant haystacks of money on aging stars, underachieving (as much as a team with a 38-31 record can), and being troubled by an unstable egomaniac of an owner. I still can’t think of Steinbrenner without hearing Larry David’s impression of him.
Of course, they bring it upon themselves, with their uncanny knack for getting players in at the absolute peak of their market value and then looking confused at their inevitable decline. You’d feel sorry for them, but then you remember – they’re the Yankees. And you chortle happily to yourself, crack a beer, and watch that clip of Ellsbury stealing home for the 43rd time.
The Jays are average, the Orioles still stink, the Rays are turning back into pumpkins, and the Yankees are in disarray. Small wonder the Sox are 20-8 against the AL East. Small wonder it’s such a fun time to be a Sox fan.