By Jason Keidel
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If you’re like me – a native New Yorker with a healthy hatred for the Red Sox, Patriots, Ben Affleck, and all things New England – David Ortiz’s histrionics last night didn’t surprise you. In fact, you didn’t even blame him for it.
Indeed, you blame the Yankees for it, and you should. Ortiz went Reggie on us in our yard while he went yard, swatting a ball over the porch, flipping his bat in contempt for Hector Noesi, and admiring the arc of the homer with a caustic glare toward the young pitcher before he finally sauntered and circled the bases.
There are several schools of thought on how to handle this. The genteel response is to assert that the only way to stop such celebrations is to keep him from hitting home runs. Since that is impossible and, frankly, the meek man’s way of handling Big Papi, I must side with the second solution.
Drill his fat ass.
Get a large man with a live arm and but a bull’s-eye on his back, ribs, gleuts, and gut. Hit him hard. Hit him often. And to hell with repercussions. When Jason Varitek and A-Rod morphed into cage fighters on that summer day in 2004, the Red Sox emerged with more than a win that afternoon. They got the upper hand, snatched the moral and macho high ground from a team that tormented them for a century.
Simply, they punked us. They knew it. We knew it. Ever since ’04, more than a curse was broken. The Yankees lost their prerogative as baseball’s eternal dynasty and, perhaps, their place as America’s Team.
In basketball, a team is soft when the opposing point guard drives down the paint with impunity. In football, your defense is defenseless when the opposing halfback darts five yards deep into your secondary before he’s hit. It’s emasculating. Some things are not just physical but also metaphysical. Such things don’t beam from the scoreboard. The trenches, the lane, the line, the mound, and home plate are all places where games are won before they are reflected from the box score.
For too long we’ve eaten this appalling parable about Papi – the cheery, cherubic masher wielding maple with an easy grin. He spits into his palms, claps, and clubs Yankee pitching for a decade. And we’re sick of it. Ortiz was busted with equine potions in his plump posterior, yet no one called him out on it, falling for his faux indignity over the Mitchell Report.
Our pals in Bristol, ESPN, the de facto headquarters of Red Sox Nation, didn’t send their crack team of reporters with a fraction of the fervor used in following Barry Bonds. And “Manny being Manny” – a formerly quaint euphemism for odd bathroom breaks in the Green Monster and long locks wretched fielding – was hailed as a hero by our pals over at the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” until the very end, until even the most jaded Manny enthusiast couldn’t defend him another day.
Joe Torre, a fine baseball mind and a quintessential gentleman, was far too gentle with the Red Sox. For too long, the Red Sox sent a conga line of hitters to the plate who were all too comfy in the batter’s box spikes dug deep up font while they leaned as far forward as they could, daring our decent pitchers to throw inside. And while Rex Sox pitchers made a living (and loving) drilling Jeter on the arm, wrist, hand, and helmet, Torre gave no matching marching orders, no edict demanding his team’s pound of flesh. It was nauseating.
And though the next Joe (Girardi) teems with more testosterone, we’d still like to see more than a condemnation from the comfort of his office before a forest of microphones. “Yeah,” Girardi said after the game. “I really didn’t care of it.” Oooh. Watch out, Red Sox, the Skipper really disapproves. He might even give you an evil look from the dugout tonight, or challenge Terry Francona to a staring contest.
We want to see the Sox tremble in the box with a planned exit route to the dugout, cleats in the air, helmet on the ground, ass on the dirt.
It’s time to get dirty, Yankees. We got your back.
Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com
Let’s hear it. Should the Yankees score some retaliation? Fire away in the comments below…