When the Yankees meet the Red Sox, there's usually excitement because the atmosphere of the games is a bit more charged than the usual regular season affairs.
That's not the case this time around. The Yankees just finished a pretty exciting four-game set with the Rangers while the Red Sox are a total non-factor outside of the tabloids at this point in the season.
But there is excitement. For Yankee fans, there's nothing quite so enjoyable from the schadenfreude standpoint, as a Red Sox team in disarray.
Boston's current problems were laid bare in a piece by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that reports Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez led other teammates to a meeting with team brass to ask that Bobby Valentine be fired. This comes on the heels of the Kevin Youkilis trade and a dozen other issues between Bobby V and his players.
The best part of this whole two-year Red Sox soap opera for the Yankees is that it reveals serious dysfunction in the way the Red Sox are doing business. Theo Epstein made the Sox look like the smarter side for years while the Yankees were just bludgeoning people with money, but Theo's last few years were full of big ticket spending out of the George Steinbrenner playbook while the Yankees are doing business with a deeper appreciation for the whole picture.
So Epstein's out and Terry Francona was tarred by the team after he was scapegoated and there were zero changes to the players responsible for last year's collapse. Valentine's hiring clearly wasn't the call of new G.M. Ben Cherington, instead it was the work of Larry Lucchino, who always seemed jealous of the respect accorded to Epstein.
Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman never looked so good. The Yankees haven't always worked, but the last 20 years have been pretty smooth because, if nothing else, the team has focused on things that actually matter.
And now Valentine will be the scapegoat because those same players don't like him, even though anyone with a brain could have seen that coming if they had just met both Francona and Valentine. The reason the Red Sox are out of the running, even with all their injuries, is because Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have been awful after they were awful down the stretch last season.
But by all means, fire the manager. That should change everything.
One of Epstein's greatest strengths as the team's G.M. was his willingness to cut through the old-school b.s. that always sank the Red Sox and make moves without much regard for the fanciful idea that there's something more special about the Red Sox than the Diamondbacks or Mariners. Trading Nomar Garciaparra in 2004 was the prime example of this.
Now, though, the Red Sox care about everything but the baseball. Banning fried chicken, firing managers and secret meetings with whiny players do nothing to address the product on the field and that's the problem in Boston.
If the Red Sox opened a restaurant, they'd respond to complaints about rotten meat on sandwiches by sending them out on wheat instead of rye. And that's a very good thing for the Yankees.