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Baseball: Yankees vs. Red Sox

Major League Baseball

Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 12, 2004; 3:30 PM

Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will start Game 1 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees. Schilling hopes to shut out the opposing team at Yankee stadium. "I'm not sure I can think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people from New York shut up," the ace said yesterday. The bitter rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox dates back to Jan. 3, 1920 when Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, two years after Boston won the World Series.

Post staff writer Jorge Arangure Jr. will be online Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 3:30 p.m. ET to take your questions about the game.


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Jorge Arangure Jr.: Hey everyone. I'm sitting here at Yankee Stadium more than four hours before the start of the game and place is already crowded with reporters. Yes, everyone is anticipating this series. Let's get started.

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washingtonpost.com: Jorge,

Thanks for taking our questions. Is there any sense among the Red Sox that they need to get it done this year? The team has a boatload of free agents, and it seems unlikely that they will re-sign all of them.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: There is always a sense in Boston that they need to get it done. It hardly matters what the circumstances are any year, or how many free agents they'll have after the season. Of course this year is a critical year since Boston may lose Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, Derek Lowe among others. But as Yankees' GM Brian Cashman said yesterday, Boston may just have as many resources as New YOrk. They'll reload every year.

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Gaithersburg, Md: Don't you think Pedro was just trying to psych the Yankees out by making that "daddy" comment. I really don't see a competitor like Pedro really saying that and mean it.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I completely agree. I don't think for one second Pedro fears the Yankees. I think the comment was made purely out of frustration and perhaps there was some gamemanship involved there to. Conspiracy theorists in New York think Pedro was also trying to put himself in the good graces of Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner, who may be the only man willing to give Pedro a four-year contract in the post-season. Expect Pedro to perform well tomorrow.

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Boston, Mass.: Everyone seems to agree that Boston has the better starting pitching and the Yankees have better relief. My question is, in a seven-game series, which matters more? Why?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: In a seven-game series, I think the bullpen may be more important. Remember, Grady Little refused to pull Pedro out of Game 7 last year because of his lack of trust in the bullpen. Do you think if Grady had Mariano Rivera in the pen he would have left Pedro out there? Of course not. If Boston had a true closer last year, perhaps they would have been in the World Series instead of the Yankees.

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washingtonpost.com: How is Kevin Brown's health -- and mindset?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Kevin Brown's health is always questionable these days. He has a bad back, his right hand hasn't yet fully healed from punching the wall after losing to the Orioles -- and by the way isn't that a sad statement about Baltimore that a loss to them forced Brown to punch a wall?
Brown's mindset is an even bigger question mark. Nobody ever has accused him of being sane.

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Falls Church, Va.: The Yankees offered Arizona Soriano and Nick Johnson for Schilling, before being scooped by the Sox. Soriano was thus available for the A-Rod deal. So, did the Red Sox win that one?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Yup, I certainly think the Red Sox win out by having Schilling. The Yankees desperately need pitching and Schilling would have been great to lead that staff. I find it hard to believe the Yankees needed another hitter in that already stacked lineup. If those lose this ALCS because of Schilling, Steinbrenner will fume. Though you could hardly fault the Yankees in their pursuit of Schilling. They still think the Diamondbacks dislike them dating back to the Yankees' last-minute grab of David Wells a few years ago. And if you look at the Red Sox deal, how does Casey Fossum and Jorge De La Rosa equal Nick JOhnson and Alfonso Soriano? Hmmm.

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Washington, D.C.: Who is the Yankees' MVP: Jeter or ARod?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: In the post-season it would be difficult to argue against A-Rod being the MVP. He led them in hits and home runs. But how can anyone but Jeter be the MVP of this team? Yeah, I hate to credit Jeter more than he's already been lauded, but the guy deserves it. He has been the one constant on the Yankees through several incarnations of this dynasty.

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Gettysburg, Pa.: I'd love to just sit down and be able to enjoy tonight's game, so could you please say something, anything, to make me forget, as I watch, that tonight's pitching matchup could have and SHOULD have constituted 2/5ths of the Orioles' rotation for the last, say, decade and a half.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Well as an Oriole fan you should take comfort in the fact that Baltimore finally seems ready to compete again. They just need two starters to fill out that young starting rotation. Two guys like Schilling and Mussina. Oops. Sorry. I was supposed to make you feel better. Hey, Miguel Tejada is pretty good.

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Washington, D.C.: Thanks, Jorge, for coming on. Who would you pick as underrated players for each team, or players who are likely to make an unexpected contriubtion to help their team win?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Well it's tough to say anybody is underrated in this series, since these teams have been profiled to death. But how about Ruben Sierra for the Yankees and Bronson Arroyo for the Red Sox. People forget that Sierra had pretty good numbers this year as a part time player. Arroyo earned himself a spot in the post-season rotation and as of today he would start a possible Game 7 at Yankee Stadium.

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Transplated Yankee fan in Arlington, Va.: Hi Jorge,

What do you make of MLB pulling the plug on the Who's Your Daddy t-shirt when Red Sox fans are often seen in t-shirts with far more explicit and inappropriate anti-Yankee sentiments? For a team who have tried to be the anti-Yankees in terms of their "gritty" appearances, this complaint seems to be the antithesis of that persona.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I'll combine the couple questions on the t-shirt scandal.
I think the whole thing is a bit silly. But when you consider that MLB actually sanctioned a t-shirt with a negative remark that's pretty surprising. If people weren't convinced the league caters to the Yankees, despite what Steinbrenner thinks, then this might have been the final straw. Yeah, it's true that there are shirts with even worse things on them worn by Sox fans. But those aren't sanctioned by MLB. That's a big difference. MLB doesn't profit from those.

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washingtonpost.com: Have we heard the last of "Cowboy Up" or is this year's team using that too?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: The whole 'cowboy up' thing has been sent out to the prairie. These guys have now begun to call themselves the 'idiots' if you can believe it. It's hard to dislike the Red Sox clubhouse, a group of personalities, one more fascinating than the other. There is Johnny Damon, who refuses to shave; Kevin Millar, who refuses to shut up; Manny Ramirez, who refuses to have common sense; and Oritz, who refuses to stop smiling.

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Groton, Mass.: Why do you interview some players that speak English (like Palmeiro) in Spanish?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Interesting question. A little off topic, but that's OK. We can walk and chew gum at the same time here at the Post. The main reason is that often, players feel more comfortable speaking in their native language. Nothing more than that. Palmeiro is a good example. It happens often. And to my advantage, it helps players remember who you are, so perhaps in the future, they'll remember you and won't walk away.

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Emporia, Kan.: Hello Jorge. Seems to me that the Yankees' starters have been a big disappointment (aside from Mussina, who has been fine when healthy). Javier Vasquez was one of the better young pitchers in the NL last year -- what happened to him? And, for the Sox, does Martinez seem to have his quality stuff again?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: The Yankees are absolutely clueless as to what happened to Vazquez. In the first half of the season he was exactly what they hoped he could be. Then in the second half everything disappeared. Some people theorize Vazquez's mechanics are flawed, they point to his front shoulder flying open during his follow through. Others say he simply isn't mentally able to perform on such a big stage. The Yankees better find out what the problem might be. They signed him to a four-year $45 million contract.

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washingtonpost.com: What's the better place to watch a game -- Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I swear there is no favoritism for either team, but for me Fenway Park is the best stadium in the majors. Nothing compares. The fans are so up close and the atmosphere outside the stadium in unrivaled. As a reporter though, i must say Yankee Stadium has a much better sightline from the press box. But like you guys care about that.

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Belmont, Mass.: Of all the pitchers going in this series, which one do you think is most likely to start a fight with a purpose pitch?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Is there any doubt it's Pedro Martinez? The guy has done it before and might do it again. And i don't neccesarily think it's because he likes to start fights. I think it's simply because he has to pitch inside to be effective and there's nobody on either roster who depends more on intimidation than Pedro. For the Yankees i think the most logical person might be Tanyon Sturtze. He's already gotten into a fight with several Boston players and if he's pitching, the game might be out of hand anyway.

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Baltimore, Md.: A lot of familiar faces from last year(including Johnny Damon, whose face has apparently not seen a razor since the '03 ALCS), but many new ones as well. Besides Schilling, which of the new members of the Sox has been most instrumental in their excellent play over the last few months of the season?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: It's hard to say Bronson Arroyo is a new face, but he was a non-factor in last year's playoff run. He has helped stabilize a rotation that saw off years from Derek Lowe and Tim Wakefield. Of course Keith Foulke was a good pickup, but those seven blown saves in only 39 chances scare me a bit. I have this feeling Foulke blows a big save to the Yankees during this series.

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washingtonpost.com: Won't whoever wins this thing be so emotionally spent that they won't give the Cardinals/Astros much of a fight?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: That is certainly a valid point. You could argue that the Yankees were so spent last year after the ALCS, they had little to offer the Marlins. I think the big difference this year though is that both the Astros and Cardinals are tremendous teams, more dangerous than Florida was last year, and a win by either team wouldn't be such an upset. The Cardinals have an even better lineup than the Yankees or the Red Sox.

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Littleton, Mass.: Is there any way Terry Francona can get away with leaving Pedro in past 100 pitches of the seventh inning in game 2? What would the justification have to be for such a move?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: If Terry Francona leaves Pedro in there for more than 100 pitches past the seventh, then get those phone calls to WEEI in Boston ready, because the Red Sox will lose. Let's give Pedro credit for being one of the best pitchers of his generation, but he is no longer the bonafide, resilient ace he was several years ago. Pedro has always been fragile, but he pitched with such tremendous heart it didn't matter. But he's gotten older, like we all have unfortunately, and he can't stand the punishment of throwing more than 100 pitches in a start.

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Arlington, Va.: So when the Red Sox win the LCS, who's the first to get the boot from the Yankees? Torre or Cashman? Or will George do the 2-birds-1-tirade deal?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: As hard as it might be to believe, the Old Man has gotten a bit soft in his advanced age. Steinbrenner is no longer the maniacal owner he once was. Ok, so he's still a bit crazy, but he's mellowed out. Neither Cashman nor Torre will bite the dust should the Yankees lose. Steinbrenner had the opportunity to get rid of Torre last year, but instead signed him to an extension. And as far as Cashman, Steinbrenner knows the biggest way to get back at him is to keep him employed and under his wrath.

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outside the beltway: As an Orioles/Philly fan who increasingly appreciates the Yankees/Sox rivalry every single year, I'd have to say that the Yankees's only hope this year is that Mystique and Aura are back in town (now that Guiliani's off the beat). The Red Sox have the pieces and the attitude going in, the Yankees aren't impressive other than the bats in the middle of the lineup and Rivera if they have a lead. The Yankees look ordinary this year; the Red Sox look special. So, I think we'll see what the intangibles really mean this time around.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I'm staying in Times Square and i still haven't found either Aura or Mystique. Promise. But you're right, this is an ordinary Yankees team. Except when you look at the fact they've had more come from behind wins than anyone in history. That says something about them. It sounds funny, but the Yankees are the gritty gutty team this time around. I would never rule them out.

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Chantilly, Va.: Hi Jorge: thanks for doing the chat today.

Did you read the article on ESPN.com regarding the anti-Semitic roots of the Harry Frazee story? (Frazee was rumored to be Jewish, hated by AL president Ban Johnson, etc., etc.) It really put an ugly spin on the whole Curse of the Bambino nonsense and would make burying the Curse this year extra-special.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I promise i'm not avoiding your question. I realize it might be controversial, but honestly i haven't seen the article and can't really comment.

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St Louis, Mo: Jorge, do you think the weather will favor either
team? I think the forcast for the series is 50's,at
night and maybe some rain in Boston over the
weekend.
Thanks Dave

Jorge Arangure Jr.: It's going to rain in Boston? Man, i didn't bring my raincoat on this trip.
I don't neccessarily think the weather affects either team. You could say Mussina could be put on the disadvantge since he uses so many grips on his pitches, much more than Schilling. But Mussina has pitched in cold weather before and it shouldn't be problem.

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Anonymous: Tell us more about Schilling and Rodriguez.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Ok. Schilling is really good. Seriously. He won 21 games this year, more than anyone in baseball. He would be the Cy YOung winner if not for Johan Santana.
A-Rod is still trying to get adjusted to playing in NY. Nothing would make him more beloved in NY than helping to beat the Red Sox.

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Washington, DC: The Red Sox won the series 11-8....Why does NY have 4 home games and the Sox only 3? I thought Boston would get home field advantage, no?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: New York gets the home field advantge because they had a better regular season record than Boston. The Yankees won the division and the Red Sox finished in second place. New York gets the home field regardless of the head to head matchup.

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Emporia, Kan.: Regarding the importance of the bullpens, nobody in the AL has a set to compare with Gordon and Rivera. But that won't matter if the starters can't get them into the seventh with a lead. Also, Little didn't have Foulke last year to go to. Now Francona does. Big upgrade.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: You're right. The Yankees need to get the game into the seventh and right now they don't have the starters to do so. But don't underestimate the Yankees offense. Even without a strong pitching performance they might still be able to outslug the Red Sox and get into the late innings with a lead. Foulke can be great, but like i said, his seven blown saves scare me. That's a lot considering he only had 32 saves this year.

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Jorge Arangure Jr.: Allright everyone, thanks for stopping by. I think this series is at least headed for six games.

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