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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Red Sox Commentary

Anticlimax would be (Yankee) dandy

Fans of both factions with the most tireless appetites might yearn for a peak moment bound for the Cooperstown vault when the Red Sox and Yankees tussle at Yankee Stadium for the final time.

But, of course, after the Sox depart the Bronx on Thursday afternoon, they’ll still have a magnitudinous 28 games left on their rigorous agenda and technically still won’t have their rosters finalized. September call-ups are up in the air for the Sox especially given Pawtucket’s guaranteed passport to next week’s IL playoffs and the major leagues are too plain big for August drama.

There is still that mathematical chance that the AL’s northeastern rivals will each earn postseason participation as usual, but why dream so vigorously? Does anyone really have enough rancorous energy as well as gambling compliance to go through with yet another ALCS showdown? You sure you want to risk bidding the stadium adieu whilst writhing in emotional postseason scars?

By next to no means does such a scenario appear plausible anymore, and that’s probably for the better. Even if Tampa Bay, Chicago, and Minnesota weren’t butting in so convincingly, Sox and Yanks buffs would be demanding more than is in supply and perhaps more than what’s good for them.

Finales of this breed are hard to come by if not impossible to compare. Most of us are too young to grasp the magnitude of Ted Williams’ personal walk-off in 1960, but, while visually pleasurable, it doesn’t challenge, say, the .406 season.

It’s a similar story with the old Boston Garden –the Hub’s only “Property Condemned” venue in any way comparable to the big Bronx ballyard. Both the Bruins and Celtics fizzled unceremoniously in the first round of their respective 1995 playoff runs, but a week before they debuted at the then-FleetCenter, the Bruins hosted the Last Hurrah in the form of a pre-season clash with Montreal.

Remember the score from that game? Didn’t think so. The lasting images from that night are all the alumni strolling on their skates one last time. Take the protracted All-Star ceremonies last month as the Yankee Stadium counterpart to that reflective event.

Again, it’s as much for the eye as it is for the heart and more for what the heart stored up in the past than what it might reap in the present. The Patriots caught a rare break with the defunct Foxboro Stadium when Adam Vinatieri penetrated the flurry to beat Oakland and ultimately propel the Pats to Super Bowl XXXVI. That game had both the visual exceptionality and the high-stakes adrenaline. But it’s rendered irrelevant to this discussion when you’re reminded that Gillette Stadium and only Gillette Stadium has a shot at being labeled the House That Brady & Belichick Built.

Yankee fans understandably want their team to leave their longtime abode in perking fashion, and beating the definitive rival would not hurt that cause. Just the same, visitors are capable of sculpting sweet memories at Yankee Stadium as well and a W in your very last visit makes for a peerless souvenir.

But when all of the present circumstances are stirred together, this is one of those rare times where it is more worthwhile to ceaselessly indulge in the past and let the majority of the present sneak by.

Don’t sharpen your teeth on the far-fetched hopes of these teams convening again to directly decide the upshot of their respective seasons. Instead, soak in the atmosphere as best you can –even if you’re not in attendance- and plug in all warm-up and between-inning voids to recall both the fond and forlorn memories. Every TV and media outlet on hand is just in the BP stage of that game, so join in.

As for the present game action, it’s nothing short of instinct for a Sox fan to crave one last dramatic disintegration of The Sandman on the same field where the life-changing 2004 pennant was clinched. Likewise, New Yorkers want to see their longtime house protected in its final weeks of activity –especially in a rivalry series. Nobody –tenant or guest- wants to leave a park like this on a bitter note.

But the fact that this is the last chance to see it happen at Yankee Stadium makes for only a bonus scrap of incentive. Setting a proper stage for September is what should matter for both parties.

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