Friday, August 6, 2010

Game 108: What I'm Here 4

The last time the Yankees and the Red Sox squared off it was for a two game set in the middle of May which, somewhat incredibly, was 68 games ago. At the conclusion of that series (which was a split), the Yanks held a 5-3 edge in the season tilt, were 4.5 games ahead of the Sox but three in back of the Rays. Plenty of ebbs and flows have occurred since then, but entering play today, New York sits atop the standings by the slimmest of margins (1/2 game) and the Sox are a distant six back (seven in the loss column).

We are entering the point in the season when series, especially four game ones, can be potentially pivotal. By the time the game on Monday night reaches its conclusion, the Yanks could be anywhere from two to ten games ahead of their arch rivals with about 50 to go, including six head-to-head in the last two weeks of the season. That could be the difference between a nerve-wracking fight for the Wild Card or a relatively leisurely stroll towards the finish line.

Of course, in all likelihood, the margin will be four (Sox take three of four), six (a 2-2 split), or eight (Yanks win 3) all of which leave the picture much more murky than if one team finds a way to finagle all four.

The pressure is clearly on the Sox to make up some ground in this series, but all eyes will be on our boy Javy Vazquez tonight. The Yankees went to great lengths to make sure that Javy didn't start against Boston earlier this year when he was pitching terribly, although he did vulture a win when he struck out da' Yooooooouuuukkk in a one batter relief appearance in the top of the 9th inning during the first game of that quick set in May.

The Fackin' Youkstah is done fah the yey-ah after undergoing surgery on a torn abductor muscle in his thumb, so the Sox lineup won't be quite as formidable as it could be. Still, this will be the most important game that Vazquez has pitched in this stint with the Yanks and for better or worse, the results of his outing will hold a disproportionate amount of weight in the eyes of the fans in relation to the seven shutout innings he threw against the Mariners, for instance.

But hey, that's what makes this rivalry great. Those games in Tampa last weekend were probably more important than the four upcoming and certainly felt different from your typical three game series at the end of July. However, they took place in a sterile dome where the crowd was somewhat divided between the home team and the visitors. There will be no such balance tonight as the vast majority of the 48,000 or so that come through the turnstiles will be yelling for the Yanks. This is what it's all about.

It's the message in the song that makes you rock on,
Some people go to places where they don't belong.
Whether wrong or right, a lot of people fight,
But I'm here to bless this mic, aight?

I take action the minute that the crowd gets hype,
I'm type crashin, down like a meteorite,
I'm Bogart-ing, mics and whole stages,
Destroying MC's dreams, from words to whole pages,
Their rapbooks, look more like scrapbooks,
with their fictional fairytales and frail ass hooks.
A lot of shit has happened, since I started rappin',
There's been enough beef, and enough gat clappin',
There's been mad signs, for this brother to heed,
and while some choose greed, I choose to plant seeds,
for your mental, spirit and physical temple,
Bob your head to it, there's the water you've been lead to it,
Bathe in it, a long time you've been cravin it,
Prance to it, use your third eye and glance through it,
Your state of being, becoming advanced through it,
While others rhyme with no reason I be breezin',
Their mics I seize them, then I try 'em for treason,
I used to always like to hang out,
Now I lounge in the rest writin bombs while tracks bang out.
I know you peeped me in the club then,
but now I'm in your speaker, with the voice that you're lovin'.
[Song Notes: Since Guru grew up in Boston and eventually came to New York before making it big, I always look to GangStarr when the Yanks play the Sox. And man, this is my motherfuckin' jam right here. Guru at his finest with a sick D.J. Premier beat (sampled from this Young Holt Unlimited tune) jingling along underneath. Typically, I try not to quote an entire verse of the song, but the whole thing is just so damn smooth and contiguous, there's no logical place to cut it.]