By Jason Keidel
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It’s been a while since we slept through a Sox-Yanks series. The scalding rivalry has been rendered so soporific this season by the Red Sox’ lethargy and spot in the standings.

Bobby Valentine’s inane assertions aside, the Yankees aren’t losing their colossal AL East lead, nor are his beloved Bostonians climbing over three teams to pluck the Bombers from their perch. Indeed, the last time there was such a large buffer between teams and one leapfrogged the other, Boston was on the business end of a titanic Yankees comeback 34 years ago.

“Anyone who thought a team with no starting pitching depth, an injured closer, injured position players and a bad taste in their mouth from their epic 2011 collapse was going to be a legit contender is delusional,” says Paul Francis Sullivan, of renown.  From Boston and still an unabashed Red Sox devotee, few can better break down the Sox.

“This is a Red Sox team in name only. It is a team in transition. As it sheds more of its old championship identity and brings in more kids, they are a team that has not found its new identity….And whatever fun the team could be having has been sucked out by the presence of Bobby Valentine, whose tenure as manager should have ended in May.”

In fact, now that the Mets have plunged down from orbit, ending the 80-game romance they built with the five boroughs, the entire baseball season has become a bit wanting. Unless you’re a Pirates fan (I almost became one in the ‘70s, until I saw Reggie hit those three homers in the World Series), where’s the juicy story? The Reds are aflame. Yawn. The Washington Nationals, loaded with young talent, continue to gallop in front of the National League East. But do you really care? And does it matter until they win a playoff series?

New York has stayed largely, as they say in the movie business, on book.  The script has played out as predicted. And now, frankly, we’re bored.

Maybe that’s why we’re so rabid over Tim Tebow. Why else would we care how a backup QB plays – in training camp, no less – or runs shirtless from some meaningless scrimmage? For a sportswriter, the Jets will be a dream in the fall, each story practically writing itself. But you have to be really bored to find nuggets in Cortland, with nothing at stake and even less to report.

And the five boroughs and beyond have finally grown numb to the gaseous declarations from Rex Ryan: the hefty, haughty coach who has done more in Hollywood films than the film room over the last year, admitting that he didn’t pay enough attention to each side of the ball, making you wonder what exactly he was doing.

We know the Knicks will stink, because they always do, and just hired a geriatric Jason Kidd to run their offense this season. The Nets are nothing, despite their new, trendy address.

So we’re waiting for the Yankees to prove themselves in October, the Jets to tank around the same time, and the Giants to play deep into January. The cognoscenti has placed Dallas and Philadelphia ahead of the Giants, despite their two Super Bowls in four years, and the fact that the Eagles haven’t won a title since they beat Lombardi 52 years ago, and the Cowboys haven’t been a threat since Troy Aikman retired in the ‘90s. No thanks. Give me the Giants to win the NFC East. Victory trumps vanity, which is all the Eagles and Cowboys can claim until they actually command something besides the back page.

I recently walked by a muted television and saw women in tight shorts running across some floor, gripping a volleyball, trying to chuck it into some net. I still have no idea what that game is, if it’s actually a sport, or why the Olympics recognize it as such. Dream Team redux aside, is there anything worth watching in London? Michael Phelps has drowned, and boxing, my first love, is worthless.

A shame there isn’t a September snooze button. We’ll have the U.S. Open in Queens, the Yankees jousting for playoff position, and the NFL – the only sport that surpasses the provincial.

Be honest, if your baseball team gets bounced, you’re not watching anymore. But football has us so spellbound that we buy these obscene Sunday packages, watch three channels at once, scan crawlers and ogle our computers to track fantasy stats…

Until then, we can only fantasize.

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