April 17, 2004
Both of last year's pennant winners just lost two road games against their main division rivals: the Yanks fell to the Red Sox, and the Marlins fell to the Braves. Manny Ramirez got credit last night for a home run that did not in fact cross the fence, and perhaps out of guilt he almost threw the game away a while later by dropping an easy pop fly. Remembering Game 6 last October, I was gratified that Florida's ace pitcher Josh Beckett got taken out of the game in the face of hot Atlanta slugging. Early signs are that the division races will be pretty competitive this year. Hopefully that will put to rest all the whining about the Yankees' "unfair advantage" with their $180 million payroll. By the way, I've run across a number of Red Sox fans in various places since last October, and have had mixed reactions from them to my expressions of goodwill and respect. Some smile warmly, and some give me an icy glare. For many Bostonians, the Yankees are as irredeemably evil as George W. Bush is in the eyes of many Democrats. Oh well... Perhaps we all need to be reminded of a basic fact: It's just a game, for crying out loud! Perhaps the extreme degree of fanaticism portrayed by Robert DeNiro in the movie The Fan is more widespread than I thought.