There once was a time, you might remember, when this was a big deal. Now, good luck using this as an excuse for putting off whatever weekend chores that happen to be begging for your attention.
With all the drama and intrigue of a "Hee-Haw" repeat, the Red Sox and Yankees renew their rivalry this weekend with four in the Bronx, taking on the once upon a time contention of the hammer and nail. Coming off the heels of last month's five-game sweep, the Red Sox have dropped nine of their last 10 against their rivals, and 10 of the 15 meetings this season. Fly, meet windshield.
Oh, it gets more humiliating for the fandom of the Olde Towne Team. For the second straight season, Boston might be subjected to watching the Yankees celebrate an American League East title -- their ninth straight in case you lost count, now the longest-running streak in the majors after the Braves were officially eliminated for the first year since 1990. New York's magic number sits at six heading into tonight's game. By tomorrow night, assuredly the end of a long day (last month's day-night doubleheader was only 8 hours, 20 minutes of baseball), Johnny Damon and company could be spraying champagne.
Speaking of Damon, the former Red Sox icon has been widely credited with New York's dominance this season, and has been seen as a major reason why we're talking about Derek Jeter's MVP candidacy. Not only has he shined on baseball's biggest stage, he's made his former employer look somewhat foolish for not valuing him higher. While he's playing catalyst for the postseason-bound Yankees, Coco Crisp's finger hurts.
Perhaps the only story line worth paying a hoot about would be how David Ortiz reacts to the "controversy" brewing over his MVP remarks last Sunday. Ortiz said big boppers like himself deserve the award, not table-setters like Jeter. Of course, the New York media ran with this story line, which means Ortiz is going to have to answer question after question about it this weekend. The first hit Jeter gets in the series will no doubt prompt 16 different Saturday morning columns further praising the captain, who you might remember, was voted the game's most overrated player by his peers.
"Jeter's been blessed with great talent around him. He's never had to lead. He can just go and play and have fun. He hits second -- that's totally different than third or fourth in a lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie [Williams] and [Paul] O'Neill. You never say, 'Don't let Derek beat you.' He's never your concern."
Oh, wait, those aren't Ortiz's words, as the New York Post's Joel Sherman points out, they're those of Jeter's teammate, Alex Rodriguez, five years ago. And we all know how New York feels about him. Ortizís reception from Yankees fans this weekend is not going to be pretty for certain. And with no Manny Ramirez hitting behind him for the remainder of the season, Jimmie Foxx could even be in jeopardy. With a lack of protection, Ortiz went hitless in Boston's most recent series in Baltimore. It is the first time he has gone without a hit for three straight contests all season long.
That lays the groundwork for Ortiz to struggle and Jeter to shine on his home field, magnifying his profile and cementing the voters' choice. And an AL East title to boot.
Once in demand, tickets for this weekend's series can be had easier than a matinee showing of "The Wicker Man." Those poor souls who bought into a New York package deal to catch the Sox and Patriots in New York might be more apt to go catch the completely unnecessary "High Fidelity" on Broadway just to see if it rivals Jimmy Fallon's job in completely demolishing Nick Hornby's work.
It's at least better than watching the Yankees do it to the Red Sox again. Get the chores done.
Then again, there is that slate of college games tomorrow. Eh, paint the house next month. Just don't wander too far with the remote. You might not like what you see.