The immortal words of Mariano Duncan before game 6 of the 1996 World Series. Perfect words for that day, and perfect words for today as well. I won't be talking about games 1-162. I especially won't be talking about games 163 and 164. They don't matter. Games 166 and 167 don't even exist. They're hypothetical at this point. Forget about them.
Today, all we're going to talk about is game 165. This game exists in a vacuum. Every pitcher has zero innings on his arm. Every batter has a clean slate. Everyone is available, and everyone is ready. All hands on deck. This is a one-game season, there is no tomorrow to worry about. That's the attitude I have going in, and more importantly, that's the attitude the Yankees need to have.
Back against the wall, all or nothing, do or die: choose your own platitude, they all apply. I have to believe Joe has the team ready. I have to believe he's ready. I have to believe every player in that clubhouse knows what's at stake. I have to believe every single one of them would be as crushed by a loss as I would.
In most cases, I'd say there's nothing we, as fans, can do to influence the game on the field. After watching the games of the past week, and the insane crowds in Cleveland and Colorado, I'm going to say that doesn't apply to this game. There is something the Yankee fans can do. There's something the Yankee fans need to do. Alex Rodriguez is going to come to plate early in the game. The media will tell you history is repeating itself. A-Rod is mid-choke. They'll ignore the fact that he's faced the two most dominant pitchers in the majors over the past month. They'll ignore the fact that he was pitched around in game 1. They'll ignore any circumstances because it's a great story if HE
fails. It's a great story if the best player in the game causes his team to lose. True or not, it's a great story. When Alex Rodriguez comes to the plate later today, headline writers across the country will be hoping we'll boo him. They've been praying for it. This is what I'm hoping A-Rod will hear when he comes to the plate: "M-V-P. M-V-P. M-V-P. M-V-P. M-V-P."
Winning today is not optional. We need A-Rod at the top of his game. We need to let him know that we haven't forgotten how great he is. We need him to know we remember all the games he won for us this year. We need him to know we realize we wouldn't be here without him. Booing him isn't going to make him better.
I firmly believe if you pay your money, you have every right to boo when you aren't happy with someone's performance on the field. The only problem with that logic is that A-Rod doesn't deserve it. If you go to the game later today, and you boo A-Rod, all you're doing is buying into the B.S. ESPN and the rest of the media is spewing. This season isn't over, no matter what they tell you. This team is not done. Win today, we play tomorrow.
I'd give almost anything to be at the stadium tonight so I could start the MVP chant myself, but my wife hasn't given birth yet. I'll be here, with you, live blogging, celebrating and suffering (hopefully more of the former than the latter). Roger Clemens vs. Jake Westbrook. First pitch, 6:37 p.m. "We play today, we win today. Das it."