The Bill Belichick videogate-spycam saga has nearly everyone’s attention across the sports nation, but just a few weeks ago it was Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain who had the attention of the Red Sox and Red Sox Nation.
Stealing a page from Mark McGwire’s book now, the Yankees rookie phenom says he doesn’t want to talk about the past.
Chamberlain, who was suspended for throwing two fastballs over Kevin Youkilis’s head in Yankee Stadium last month, sounded like he wants the incident to just go away in comments in today’s New York Newsday:
“It never happened,” Chamberlain said. “It didn’t happen, to me. It’s over with. We live in the present, not in the past.”
Chamberlain said he is “not at all” concerned about any type of lingering effects from the incident.
Elsewhere in the New York tabs, Mike Lupica of the Daily News writes that the Sox-Yankees matchup still generates excitement:
It will be a show. It is always a show, in April and September and in between. Yawkey Way waited quietly for it yesterday in the early afternoon, cars lined on both sides of the narrow street that will turn into the best street fair in baseball and maybe all of sports in the late afternoon today, when the turnstiles are set up and the music is played. And from Brookline Ave. to Van Ness there is as much baseball in this one block as there could ever be anywhere – because the Yankees have come to town again.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman looks at the Sox starters struggling when facing the Bronx Bombers and writes that the Yankees have the better starting rotation now. Brian Cashman chimes in:
“I don’t want to handle ‘us vs. them,’ ” GM Brian Cashman said of his Yankee rotation vs. the Red Sox. “But we are very comfortable with our first two starters, and after that we have both a lot of potential and a lot of questions. Past our front two guys you have every end of the spectrum possible.”
The Post’s Mike Vaccaro writes that there’s still plenty at stake for the Yankees this weekend:
Forget the scars it will leave on the still-shockingly vulnerable psyche of Red Sox Nation. This is all about practicality. The Yankees can, and surely will if it becomes applicable, remind everyone of all the success that wild-card teams have had in recent postseason, the Marlins in ’97 and ’03, the Angels of ’02, certainly the Red Sox of ’04. And that’s fine.
But it’s also worth noting that the two other times the Yankees qualified for the postseason as a wild card, they went 0-for-5 in close-out games on the road, squandering a 2-0 lead to the Mariners in 1995 by going 0-for-the-Kingdome and then a 2-1 lead to the Indians in 1997 thanks to Sandy Alomar Jr. These Yankees surely can win deciding games on the road if they have to. We just haven’t seen it lately, not since Game 5 in Oakland in 2000.
And why put yourself in that position if you don’t have to?
Why concede a pennant just because you’re already all but guaranteed a playoff spot? All summer long, even when the baseball was blightful and the deficit seemed implausible, the Yankees nobly would talk about how they weren’t in the business of concession speeches. So there’s no need for one now. Not from them.