This is not unique to the Bronx. I’ve heard it in Boston, I’ve heard it in Philly, I’ve heard it in all the places where the smart fans dwell and even the ones where they don’t.
1. Alex Rodriguez ties up the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon.
2. Papelbon retires Robinson Cano for the second out to keep alive his chances of getting out of the game alive.
3. Papelbon hits Francisco Cervelli on the elbow putting the winning run on base and bringing home run threat Marcus Thames to the plate.
4. The Yankee crowd boos.
You’re aware of what Thames did next. I’d just like to stop at the booing part. Nobody’s suggesting a Bronx crowd should be applauding Papelbon for plunking a Yankee, but, honestly, if Cervelli can get up and walk to first, that’s a good thing, why on earth are you booing the gift of the winning run sent to first on a hit batsman?
Jason Varitek, who for my money is the only reason the head-to-head matchup between the teams offering us playoff previews tonight here in the Bronx end up 4-3-2 Yankees instead of 4-3-2 Red Sox, must have just tied some kind of dubious record. In the first inning he and Jon Lester were victimized by three stolen bases without a single throw. Two were on balls that popped away from the Boston veteran but the third was not. It was pointed out, in the Baseball Prospectus Annual I believe, that veterans who guide pitching staffs without contributing offense are not called catchers – theyre called coaches. If Varitek is not producing that vaunted glove and brainwork behind the plate the Stockings need to move him out, Victor Martinez in, and almost anybody to First.
The Sox sloppiness afield has cone in contrast to the unlikeliest of Yankee brilliance: a Joba Chamberlain barehanded pick-up of Ellsburys squib in the first, and a stop, slide, and hope grab by Nick Swisher to rob Ortiz just now in the second.