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Article:Mind Numbing Baseball or Instant Classic?

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First, I am a Red Sox fan, tracing my Sox roots back to the Yaz era that began in the early 60's. I've suffered though Mantle, Maris, and Ford, the dark days of Hector Lopez, The Stick, Roy White, and the resurrected Bombers of Reggie Jackson, BillyBall, and the Jeter era...and of course the Frustration of the New Millenium.

I remember Felix Mantilla, Jim Pagliaroni, and when Schilling was Chuck, not Curt. Culpability meant Ray Culp's location not two hundred million dollar payrolls.

So the Sox victory tonight brings their deficit to 64-68 over the past seven plus seasons. Still, watching these games brings plenty of time pain, as they almost never last less than four hours (4:21 tonight), as though swinging at a first pitch strike is a crime and you get paid time and a half for a full count.

Okay, so maybe extra innings gives some legitimacy to a four hour game tonight, but not by that much. If you love crisp baseball, you will find only annoyance in Sox-Yanks contests. John Lester and Joba Chamberlain must have combined for, oh, 800 pitches (actually 205) in their combined 11 1/3 innings. Pitch counting mercifully got both teams into the bullpens.

Mark Teixeira mostly got the silent treatment in his pinstripe debut. Before the game his press conference offered no raw meet and all the intensity of an episode of Mr. Rogers. Sox fans administered polite indifference more than rowdy rancor. Could respect actually be creeping into a rivalry more remembered for brawls than hat tips?

The Sox first run was a thing of booty, with Ellsbury singling, getting balked to second, and scoring on a steal of third/passed ball as Molina either got crossed up or butchered a curve, and Joba Chamberlain covered home plate as though he was approaching a mine field. Had he tagged Ellsbury with his glove instead of his backside, it might have been a close play. So before the two hitter had made an out, Ellsbury had turned a single into a run with his speed and Yankee charity.

Evidently Chamberlain must have gotten a love letter from Bob Watson, as he omitted his customary beanballs for Kevin Youkilis. Or he was again so wild that he was incapable of aiming the "purpose pitch". Is Chamberlain hurt? He doesn't look like the same guy as he throws mostly low 90s now.

Derek Jeter is starting to look old...although no doubt still carries himself with the dignity of a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Fans got 'treated' to Javier Lopez getting out of a bases loaded no out jam, courtesy of his own wildness, of course. If you can breathe and throw lefthanded, you too can be a LOOGY (lefty out of the bullpen guy) and make 1.25 million dollars. Jesse Orosco, where are you?

I must have seen Mariano Rivera pitch fifty times against the Sox, and he wasn't the same guy either. He now has an even dozen blown saves against the Sox. The cutter is now 91-92, still well-located, except for the hanger that Jason Bay deposited in the Monster Seats for a two-out game tying ninth inning shot.

The Sox wore their Friday night softball red shirts tonight, after wearing their Earth Day greens Wednesday with green hats. MLB properties knows no shame.

Sox fans took umbrage at Paul O'Neill's antics like "water cooler abuse" after a strikeout, and Yankee fans have the same anti-hero in Kevin Youkilis, the Sox version of O'Neill. Youkilis was part of the game tying and game winning rallies, finishing with a walkoff homer.

And Randy Newman haters ("Short People") got their comeuppance as Dustin Pedroia had a monster defensive game for the Sox.

And the rambling, stream of consciousness, Thomas Wolfe style? Could anyone who watched this mind-numbing "instant classic" not write this way?

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