Joe Lavin

April 23, 2004


Welcome to Friendly Fenway, A-Rod

After this past weekend, the Yankees would probably be surprised to learn that we sometimes call it Friendly Fenway. Let's face it. Fenway Park really only seems friendly if you're a Red Sox player and you happen to be winning. When you play for the Yankees, Fenway probably feels about as friendly as Sing Sing.

Luckily, it was a good weekend for the Sox and an especially miserable one for the Yankees. Taking three out of four from the Yankees certainly felt good. Watching Alex Rodriguez turn into Pokey Reese on offense felt even better. (Okay, that's cruel -- to Pokey, that is. After all, in the series, Pokey managed three times as many hits as A-Rod.) Much to our joy, we even got to see Rodriguez's first error of the season on Monday. So what if the Boston Bruins were playing a seventh game that night and the Boston Marathon was taking place a few blocks away, the main activity for Boston sports fans was letting Alex Rodriguez know exactly what we thought of him.

In addition to his lack of hitting, it wasn't exactly the most hospitable weekend for Mr. Rodriguez. On the night before the series, while dining on Newbury Street, he was welcomed to town by several Red Sox fans who gave him the finger. I assume these were people walking by on the street and not actually in the restaurant, but you never know. You would expect that most Maitre D's wouldn't allow that to happen in their restaurant. Then again, Rodriguez is a Yankee now. It's entirely possible that the Maitre D' was one of the people giving him the finger. Note to Alex Rodriguez: When dining out in Boston, you might want to have someone else taste the food first. Personally, I suggest Jeter.

Meanwhile, Jason Giambi didn't have it much better, hitting 2 for 12, all while Sox fans greeted him with such friendly chants as "You use ... steroids" and my favorite: "BAL-CO." BALCO is the name of the company behind the latest steroids scandal. What other fans would be knowledgeable and bitter enough to come up with a chant like that? Give Red Sox fans some credit. We can chant a lot more than just "Yankees suck," though there was plenty of that too.

Then, on Monday, Connecticut basketball Coach Jim Calhoun completed his snub of the Yankees by throwing out the first pitch at Fenway. Originally, the Yankees had wanted to honor Connecticut's college basketball championship by having Calhoun throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, but the lifelong Red Sox fan told them, no thanks. Winning a basketball championship is one thing, but annoying George Steinbrenner in the process could make him a hero in New England.

Of course, not all was perfect. Unfortunately, there were some sloppy plays by the Red Sox as well. Derek Lowe had some trouble on Sunday, and over the weekend both Johnny Damon and Gabe Kapler somehow managed to forget how many outs there were in an inning. In fact, while on the base paths, Kapler managed to lose track of the outs not once but twice in the same inning. If his teammates hadn't gone out to get him, he might still be out there, trying desperately to tag up with one out. For a team so obsessed with adopting a new statistical approach to baseball, you would think they might be able to keep track of this very basic statistic.

In a related development, on Saturday I also lost track of the outs and went to the kitchen for some chips when there were only two outs left in the inning. I'm still ashamed, but I promise that's one thing that will never happen again.

©2004 Joe Lavin

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Past BostonGM Columns

April 15, 2004
Pedro Martinez for Senate?

April 8, 2004
The Relief of Victory

April 2, 2004
Win One for the Beer Drinkers