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An unexpected change in stripes

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  September 23, 2011 03:54 PM

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What?! Whaddaya mean we're supposed to cheer for the Red Sox this weekend? I was just getting used to this whole-rooting-for-the-Yankees thing. It was such a graceful, easy adjustment, you know, like it was five years ago when Derek Jeter's range started to go and he humbly converted from shortstop to . . . well, anyway, it was easy. I just asked myself: What would Suzyn Waldman do? Voila! Instant Yankees fan! Oh my goodness gracious, bro!

Don't know how you went about it, but me, I went all-in this week when the Red Sox' September nosedive became so severe that Boston fans were required to depend upon the Yankees to do what the local team could not: beat up on the Tampa Bay Rays.

Like I said, all in -- I didn't do it halfway, like that bum Adrian Gonzalez, who barely runs to first base the 59 percent of the time he makes an out. A sore neck never stopped the luckiest man on the face of the earth, Mr. Joe Pepitone!

No, I committed myself to cheering for the Yankees, much like Phillip Glenn Hoffman committed himself to looking like that Art Howe dude in that nerd- and chick-flick baseball movie that everyone is talking about.

And not to brag, though it does seem to come more naturally now, but my commitment went beyond just baseball. I went Full Yankee, immersing myself in the ways of the Yankee fan, the mind set, the lifestyle, you know?

Among my prouder achievements that should help ingratiate me to my new Yankee brothers:

Had impure thoughts about Snooki.

Attempted to put an '86 Fiero on Craigslist on layaway.

Grew a mustache and convinced myself it looks exactly like Thurman Munson's in 1976.

Thumbnail image for ceronerickfinn81.jpgComplimented the bro on the train next to me for growing a mustache that looked just like Rick Cerone's in 1981.

Apologized profusely to the woman on the train with the mustache.

Wrote Nick Swisher a letter asking if he likes gladiator movies.

Wrote Nick Swisher another letter asking if he likes gladiator movies after he accidentally forgot to reply to my previous 17 letters.

Became familiar with the term "restraining order."

Looked up "grandish'' in dictionary. Still didn't know what the hell John Sterling is talking about.

OK, I guess I do have to have to admit, going Full Yankee began as something of a protest on my part. You could say it was my way of teaching the Red Sox a lesson for all of their transgressions during this 5-16 month -- specifically, their lack of guts, grit, hustle, scrappiness, caring, and Ecksteinability. Oh, and Trotitude. Especially Trotitude

Yeah, I know, the starting pitchers' ERA is 6.75 over the last 18 games. You know why? Because they don't scowl enough. Well, except for Lackey. But he does it to his manager. Not the same. Misdirected Trotitude is a dangerous thing.

The Yankees, they're everything the Red Sox have not been this season, at least after September 1. They have an $82.5-million bust of a pitcher named A.J. Burnett whose ERA is almost two runs better than the Red Sox' $82.5-million bust of a pitcher.

The Red Sox' setup man, Daniel Bard, has five losses in September; the Yankees' setup man David Robertson, has a 1.16 ERA all season.

The Red Sox' closer, Jonathan Papelbon, blows his first save since May in one of the biggest moments of the season; the Yankees' closer, Mariano Rivera, sets the all-time saves record and may well be an android.

The Red Sox' general manager, Theo Epstein, signs Carl Crawford to a $142 million deal and he hits .259; the Yankees' general manager, Brian Cashman, chortles that the duped the Sox into signing Crawford while his left fielder, the considerably less expensive Brett Gardner, hits .261.

Then there's the difference in managers: let's just say no one will ever accuse Joe Girardi of being in a [Fran]coma, not as long as that perpetually pulsating vein in his forehead constantly reminds you he's thinking, and thinking hard. Also, he has a binder.

And just look at that picture there. Classy, no? The captain! Derek Jeter, No. 2 in your program, No. 1 in starlets befriended. (See? Befriended. Classy!) You were right all along, Tim McCarver. The eyes are as calm as ... as a sea that is especially calm, definitely calmer than most seas. And other huge bodies of water. Like a lake, or CC Sabathia.

Yeah, yeah, I know it's not poetry, but give me a break, will ya? We Yankee fans aren't known for our metaphors. We're more into syllables.


Did Ted Williams ever acknowledge you after you clapped for him? Didn't think so.

Stick that in your adieu and bid it, Updike.

Yes, I do know there's some risk in this conversion, that the Red Sox, should they back into the postseason, wouldn't have to rely on the likes of Tim Wakefield or Kyle Weiland or Andrew Miller or Allen Ripley. But despite what the pit stains on this Teixeira t-shirt might tell you, I'm not sweating it. Disregard their 4-11 start against the Red Sox this year. We all know the season begins in October, unless the Yankees happen to win the first series of the year in April.

Nope, this is as real as Ivan Nova's 16-4 record.

I cheered for the Yankees this week, thaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Yankees won, and dammit, I'm staying with you, Waldman. You know, Suzyn, sometimes in life, Stockholm Syndrome can be pretty fun.

Sing it, Liza, old blue eyes, you!

If we can make it here, we can make it anywhere, and probably already did before hitting free agency, hahhahaha!

It's all about New York, New York around here now, so adjust accordingly, you loyal Red Sox losahs with your measly two World Series championships in the past seven years.

Come to think of it, only one thing still feels the same.

Bro, I still cannot stand A-Rod.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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