Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
How to Stay Warm During a Chilly October in New York
2008-10-07 07:23
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

It's painful to see the Red Sox playing so well, but in a way, it is a tribute to the Yankees' success in the late '90s, a run that forced the Red Sox to build a bigger, smarter team.  It's as if they are the villans in the superhero movie who create a supermonster to defeat the superhero (Though you'd be hard-pressed to find a Sox fan who considers the Yankees the heroes).

As much as I hate to see Boston winning, I do appreciate that they are defending their title so well--at least thus far.

So while we wait for the hot stove to warm up, we are left with our memories--and what a stockpile we've got to choose from! I've been digging around in the Esquire archives lately, and now offer up Charles Pierce's 2001 profile on our man, Mariano Rivera:

He is modest and mild. He is neat and quiet. Closers are not. They snarl and spit. They rage and howl. They are wild and unkempt, hooligan cowboys, living and dying with every pitch. One of them still hangs around the Yankees, helping the relief pitchers. The hair's thin now, and gray. The mustache still droops, and it's gray, too. He's the old rancher with a rifle above the door that nobody asks about. Be they as precise as Mariano Rivera or as fierce as this old gentleman, closers make their own special marks, always, as long as they sign in blood.

...His power seems like some sort of physical trompe l'oeil, its source a mystery locked inside the elegant movement of his pitching motion. The power is in there somewhere, coiled and mysterious and remorselessly reliable. Otherwise, he looks as if he's tossing a tennis ball against the side of his garage. If he has an identity as a closer, it is that he throws the same pitch at the same speed with the same fluid motion every time, impeccable and contained and neat, like his handwriting, like his career.


Nothing like Mo to make a Yankee fan feel all warm n fuzzy inside.


2008-10-07 08:12:57
1.   williamnyy23
I don't know if I'd say it's painful to see the Red Sox win. While I definitely root against them, I can't say I do so with the same passion as others. Once the Sox won the ALCS and WS in 2004, I lost a big incentive to want the Red Sox to fail. After all, what made the rivalry fun was the Yankees always beat the Red Sox, and what made seeing the Red Sox fail is that they always came up short.

Now, with those absolutes asides, all that is left is the competition of each current season because the Yankees still have a dominant historical advantage. So, even though it can be annoying (not painful) to see the Sox doing better right now, the reality is 2009 will erase that feeling.

2008-10-07 08:21:22
2.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
1 Sadly (?) I can't say I disagree. Plus, the more the Red Sox do it right organizationally, the more likely it is that Cashman and the Bros. Steinbrenner get the same religion and actually put it into practice.
2008-10-07 08:33:59
3.   Shaun P
1 Yeah, the Red Sox winning doesn't quite bother me as much as it used to. The Angels, now, those guys bug me. Thanks for rolling over for the Red Sox in the division series AGAIN, Halos.

I'm dreading a Red Sox-Dodgers Serious - not because I wish anything bad on the Sox or Joe Torre- but only because FOX, ESPN, and the fish rags will bring up the "didn't make the playoffs, Sox's rivals and Torre's former employer" Yankees constantly. I can see it now.

2008-10-07 08:37:21
4.   standuptriple
3 You have to admit, the Halo philisophy is a sound one. Pitching, defense, small ball, speed. It sets up well in the playoffs/short series. I actually respect the 9th inning bunt for the win call. Take cajones and sends a valauble message to the team. Wanna bet that whole team can bunt effectively in '09?
2008-10-07 08:48:27
5.   ms october
i really didn't think i could dislike the angels more than i did - but "rooting" for them again against the red sox only to have them flop again ratcheted up my dislike for them even more.

my dislike for the sox intensified after i moved to boston. i think i have made the red sox stand for other things i dislike about the area.

oh well, at least the potential is there for these to be pretty interesting and competitive series.
and go rays!

2008-10-07 08:58:05
6.   williamnyy23
4 The problem is defense was certainly not a hallmark of this Angels team, something that became evident in this series.
2008-10-07 08:59:14
7.   Ben
Man that's a beautiful and amazing picture. I really get the sense of the whole game, the whole stadium waiting for him. Anyone ever run to the mound from the fence? It's a long run. Imagine that being your job. And he does it so methodically, his head down, steady jog, mit in hand, he goes about his work. What an absolute original.

I recently had a second child and watching her, I keep telling my wife that I'm overcome with this little one. I feel like I miss her already yet she's only 8 months. Turns out I'm just cherishing her. I feel like that for Mo. He's the best.

2008-10-07 09:07:08
8.   Max
1 5

my dislike for the sox intensified after i moved to boston. i think i have made the red sox stand for other things i dislike about the area

Bingo. William, I think you might feel differently if you had to live anywhere in New England. The smallmindedness of many RS Nation "members" regarding their team and the need to belittle anything NY-related is astounding in its breadth.

BTW, I noticed a very similar type of passive-aggressive inferiority complex when I lived in Chicago in the '80s, when the Mets were a good team. Wrigley and Fenway felt like very similar places when there was a NY team in town.

2008-10-07 09:07:41
9.   pistolpete
1 Not me, I'm still aggravated as hell at the sight of this team doing well. It's not so much the year-to-year successes, but the whole "Boston dominating professional sports" attitude that's in my face every day living up here in CT.

All we need is for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup in the next year or so and the city will implode from its own arrogance.

6 And evident, might I add, the last time the Yankees met Anaheim during the regular season. I remember thinking about how that might be their Achilles heel down the road.

The Sox infield, on the other hand, just didn't seem to miss anything last night.

2008-10-07 09:27:48
10.   Shaun P
5 I've actually warmed up to the Sox players more over my years of living out here. Lester, Lowell, Youkilis, Wakefield, Ortiz - all quality folks.

But bandwagon Sox fans and the ridiculous "Red Sox Nation" make for some trying experiences. Worse than the cattle path roads and no one knowing how to drive properly, much less actually obeying traffic laws! But I digress.

7 Mo is a joy and a wonder for sure.

2008-10-07 09:31:22
11.   williamnyy23
10 Unfortunately, the same could probably be said about the Yankees. There are definitely a lot of band wagon jumpers on our side, and I am sure the rest of the country got pretty sick about being force fed the Yankees over the past 10 seasons.
2008-10-07 09:36:40
12.   pistolpete
11 Still, I always sensed a reluctance by the media to embrace anything about the Yankees' success save for the wonder that is Derek Jeter.
2008-10-07 09:39:57
13.   JL25and3
Going into the Angels-Sox series, I thought my only rooting interest was for both teams to lose. But once it started - and particularly after game 1 - I realized how intensely I wanted the BoTox to lose.

I dislike the Angels as much as the next guy. I hate their spunky, gritty, productive-out style of play; I hate it more because of how it's praised as some morally superior style; and I especially hate it because they trounce the Yankees so thoroughly with it.

But I'd much rather spend the winter hearing a bunch of Ecksteinian, Erstadian blather than to have to endure "the Red Sox dynasty."

Go Non-Demonic Rays!

2008-10-07 09:40:51
14.   JL25and3
11 That's their problem, not mine.

OK, it bugs me, too. But I can live with that.

2008-10-07 10:33:46
15.   bp1
Alex, nice piece. You're right - nothing makes Yankee fans wax poetic more than the mention of Mo.

It has been my honor to watch him all these years - to bear witness to what will some day be talked about with reverence and disbelief. Just think how his legend will grow after he retires. I cannot imagine how it will surpass the reality we have seen with our own eyes. The best ever. Case closed. We are damn lucky.

As far as the current playoffs, the only thing I am holding onto is the vision of a vicious and obnoxious boo when Manny returns to Fenway, followed by him hitting a 450 bomb off Beckett after which he stands at the plate for a good 10 count, admiring.

But that will sort of be like an matter anti-matter collision and you know what happens then. Boom.

2008-10-07 10:57:38
16.   Max
But that will sort of be like an matter anti-matter collision and you know what happens then. Boom.

One can only hope.

2008-10-07 11:31:30
17.   Bronxer
11 True for all teams, especially NY teams and the Red Sox.

All those years when the Yankees were dominant, constantly winning either the WS or the AL, I didn't care one bit about Boston and their fans. Yanks were champs and we had no real "rival", at least no competitive rival. And yet Boston fans detested the Yankees and Yankee fans.

Now I see the full swing. Boston fans winning a lot (at least a lot for them) and many of them not really worried a lot about the Yankees or their fans. The fact that they're playing TB instead of NY in the ALCS says a lot. And now, more than years past (save 2004) many of my friends who are Yankee fans simply detest the Sox and their fans.

What goes around ...

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