It is July 2nd and the Red Sox have just been swept by the Yankees and are eight-and-a-half games back in the AL East. Then why do I feel so calm? Am I sad we lost that game last night in excruciating fashion? Of course. Am I angry, disgusted or planning a nose-dive off the bandwagon? Absolutely not. That was one of the greatest regular-season games I have ever seen. It had everything. Great pitching, clutch hitting, amazing defense, managerial games-within-the-game, plays at the plate, players getting beaned. All in one classic Sox-Yankees war.
The difference last night was simple. The Yankees have a shortstop who is willing to do anything it takes to win a game. Sacrifice. From the bunt he put down in the eighth two nights ago to the catch, or should I say, The Catch, he made last night. OK, we all gushed over Pokey making a great catch earlier in the year. It was great. It showed his amazing athleticism. Jeter’s catch was so much more. Athleticism – yes. Nobody else was going to get to that ball, and Jeter had no right to – he went a long way in a short time. Now consider the situation – 12th inning, game tied, runners on second and third. The game was essentially on the line. And the risk? Looking back at the play, its conceivable that Jeter could have been seriously injured. But Jeter made the play. He showed great athleticism and an intense desire to win at all costs.
The difference last night was simple. The Red Sox do not have a shortstop who is willing to do anything it takes to win a game.