If there is to be October baseball in the new Yankee Stadium this season, we now know what that will be like. We know how a sellout crowd in this stadium sounds. We know how an electric atmosphere feels. And now we know what a championship-level Yankees team looks like.
All three have been seen to varying degrees at some point this year, but they came together in a perfect confluence Thursday night in the Yankees thoroughly convincing 13-6 win [
The Yankees entered the game in a position only a contortionist could love -- standing on top of the Red Sox and looking up at them at the same time. Even as New York was dissecting the rest of the major leagues to a .642 winning percentage, there was no mistaking the giant hole on the Yankees resume, the one that looked an awful lot like the number 0. As in, zero wins against their archrivals, their nearest pursuers, and their biggest threat to returning to the postseason.
But now that number is 1, and if it still is miniscule when compared to the eight the Red Sox have against them, it is surely bigger than it looks. Because that one equals 3½, which is their lead now in the AL East. It means 1st, which is the position the Yankees will be in in the standings no matter what happens over the weekend. And it means an end to the infinite amount of wonder and speculation about whether or not the Yankees really were the best team in the division. "Now," said Yankees first baseman
The media weren't the only ones unsure of what to make of this team, though. Such is the reality that comes with being able to beat everybody except the one team that is your most challenging competitor. If their best-in-baseball record over the past three months wasn't enough to finally convince people that the Yankees are in fact worthy of their first place standing, then Thursday night's thrashing of the Red Sox should finally do the trick. To be sure, the rest of the series is littered with potholes -- namely
Some Yankees, like catcher
Others disagreed. "I think we are different," Yankees manager
Two of them came in the decisive fourth inning, when both
"We are playing a lot better," acknowledged Posada. "Hopefully, we can pile on."
As satisfying as Thursday's win was for their fans, who made it only the second sellout of the year, it's hard to imagine the Yankees running away with the division. The Red Sox are not up to full strength, and injuries to
"It's a long year," said Francona. "Sometimes you're a little beat up and maybe not in position to reel off eight of nine. That's just being realistic. We like our team a lot."
Francona is right to be confident in his club. But for the first time all year, the Yankees are right to be confident that they truly are the best team in the AL East, even if the race is far from over. "The division's too tough," said