|End the charade|
Hey Boston, the joke's on you!
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By Jacob Luft
Obviously, you all don't know a practical joke when you see it.
It isn't enough for the Yankees simply to beat the Red Sox in four games, as they very easily could have. No, that wouldn't have been any fun.
Remember the intro to the classic sci-fi flick Flash Gordon, when an underling asks the evil warlord Emperor Ming, "Will you be destroying this Earth?" Ming replied with a maniacal cackle and said, "Later. I like to play with things a while ... before annihilation."
Well, the Yankees like to play with things a while, especially when it involves the heartstrings of the entire New England area and other assorted members of the Sox bandwagon who think it is tres cool to be associated with this perennial underdog of a franchise.
So you believe? Good, that's what the Yankees want. They want you to move all your chips into the center of the table, proclaim "all in" and then stand up and watch as the river card wipes away your mortgage payment and your kids' college fund.
The Evil Empire will restore order in Game 7, if for no other reason than the Sox's two best pitchers -- Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez -- will not be taking the mound. That means we'll be seeing a lot of the inexplicably corn-rowed Bronson Arroyo, Bronx-allergic Derek Lowe and the reigning Game 7 goat, Tim Wakefield.
I don't know who will be the one to play the role of Ashton Kutcher tonight, letting the Red Sox know that they have been Punk'd. But rest assured, it will be somebody in pinstripes.
As the great philosopher Jose Lima once said, "Believe it."
|Yankees will choke|
Manny Ramirez's Red Sox will laugh last.
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By Mike McAllister
Paybacks are hell. Tonight, the Red Sox will pay back the Yankees for Aaron Boone last season and Bucky Dent in 1978. They'll pay back the city of New York for Bill Buckner's gaffe at Shea in 1986. They'll pay back every Yankees fan who smugly uttered these three words -- Who's Your Daddy? -- prior to Game 4.
They'll even start paying back the ghost of Harry Frazee for selling Babe Ruth to the Yanks in 1918. Not that the Curse of the Bambino will be completely lifted with a Red Sox win tonight. Only a World Series championship can exorcise that demon.
But the Sox will make the Curse of Steinbrenner disappear by accomplishing what no other team in baseball history has ever done. In fact, just two teams in pro sports history (the 1942 Maple Leafs, '75 Isles in the NHL) have ever rallied from a 0-3 series deficit to win Game 7. By becoming No. 3, the Sox gleefully will nail the choker label squarely on the Evil Empire's front door.
Sure, history says the Red Sox will lose. But the historical implications actually favor the Red Sox. They can play loose, knowing few expect them to win. Meanwhile, the Yankees will be tighter than security at the Tiger-Elin wedding. They're not supposed to lose. Not a Game 7. Not at home. Not to a team that was left for dead after Game 3. And certainly not to the hated Red Sox.
Still, there are tangible reasons why the Sox will win. Scheduled starter Derek Lowe will never get a better opportunity to raise his price as a free agent this offseason. Leadoff man Johnny Damon (.103 in the ALCS) is due to start hitting more like Charlie Hustle and looking less like Charlie Manson. David Ortiz hasn't had a game-winning hit since, oh, Monday, so he's due, too.
The bottom line is that the Red Sox can make their biggest dent yet in the 85-year-old Great Wall of Frustration. And unfortunately for the Yanks, we're not talking Bucky Dent.