The New York Yankees cadre of Large Adult Sons put on a fierce display of slugging Wednesday night in the American League Wild Card Game. Sheer force began in inning one and continued until the clock struck midnight for the Oakland Athletics.
There was Aaron Judge serving as a peer review board, ripping holes in the concept of bullpenning by ripping a Liam Hendrik’s pitch halfway to Australia. The 116 mph missile gave the home team a 2-0 lead and set the Bronx crowd into a frenzy.
There was Luke Voit, emerging folk hero and barrel-chested beast, lofting a fly ball to right field and celebrating prematurely before chugging into third with a two-run triple. He’d get more anaerobic exercise by scoring on a sacrifice fly with a deft, athletic slide at home plate.
And then there was Giancarlo Stanton, capping the 7-2 win by vaporizing a 443-foot dinger down the left field line, causing the baseball world to pause, consider, and revere his might.
Aaron Boone’s team looked every bit the part of a 100-game winner. Yankees fans, perhaps annoyed that an elimination game was even required, soon realized their reward for surviving and advancing.
A date with the hated Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series. And they are ready, judging by the continuous chants expressing inner-most desires.
This is the way it’s supposed to be. Bitter rivals fighting to the death in October. Together these two squads won 208 games this year. Now it’s a first to three. This is the first playoff matchup between the Yankees and Red Sox since 2004. All that’s happened since then is a complete transformation of Boston’s ethos. Three World Series after 86 years of wandering in the desert will do that.
So much has changed. Dave Roberts no longer steals bases — he gives Dodgers the steal sign. Derek Jeter is no longer the consummate winner. George Steinbrenner is no longer with us. The old Yankee Stadium isn’t either. Bill Simmons has spearheaded to above-average websites.
Boston and New York always want each other. It’s special when they get each other. Something fantastic tends to happen. Don Zimmer and Pedro Martinez get physical. Three-zero series leads are blown. Alex Rodriguez starts a slap fight.
It’s tough to know what will happen in this latest renewal of hate. But it will be passionate and intense. One team will regret what it wished for. The other’s path to the World Series will only be sweetened.
New York wants Boston. Boston wants New York. We want New York-Boston. Everyone’s happy, for now, in the calm before the storm.