Socking it to the Evil Empire

This was nice. This was even better.

Now it’s time for the real test.

Manny’s getting hot at just the right time. (Even if he can’t hit as good as Shaun Marcum’s little sister.)

We’ve got our three best guys going against Andy Pettitte and two rookies, one of whom is just off the disabled list, and one who’ll be making just his second major league start.

Advantage us. "I'm not going to apologize for having those three pitching," says Tito.

Nor should he. But lest we forget, mere rookies — especially lefties — often seem to do us in.

But, uh, about this Alex Rodriguez guy. Holy smokes. The guy is just fucking unconscious out there. (And, alas, he’s not the only one who’s hitting.) How many games has he helped those jerks win that they otherwise would have lost?

Contrary to what Gerry Callahan might think, I don’t hate the guy. I just think he’s a total dweeb.

But I do find it hilarious, if unsurprising, to see the bleacher creatures and New York media suddenly embracing and exalting a guy they were eviscerating six months ago. (After this season, he’s gone. And he should opt out. Just because he can.)

Then there are his teammates. Greg Doyel gets it right in his column: the fans, the media, the Yankees themselves don’t deserve him. Especially not that fist-pumping perfume salesman. Check this withering passage:

What about you, Derek Jeter? You cold-hearted snake. You captain in name only. What about Jeter, who holds Yankee Stadium in the palm of his hands because of his good fortune to have been drafted by the richest team in sports, to have been paired annually with the best talent money can buy, and to have cashed in with the obligatory occasional World Series ring? What about that guy?

Captain Convenient, who has watched A-Rod squirm at Yankee Stadium, never said a word in support of his teammate when Rodriguez was struggling last year. It was almost as if Jeter's mouth was wired shut, which it probably was -- to keep the smirk off his face. Jeter never embraced A-Rod, who arrived in 2004 as the best shortstop in the game but moved to third base to allow Jeter, the second-best shortstop on his team, to stay at that position. Jeter could have soothed Yankee Stadium's exasperation with A-Rod last summer with a quote or two in the media, but Jeter kept his counsel.

Last Saturday, after A-Rod's grand slam ended the game, which Yankee playfully pushed A-Rod back onto the field for a curtain call? It was Jeter. Captain Courageous.

But please, oh please, do not take any of this to mean that I support Alex Rodriguez in any way whatsoever.

I want him to fail. And I think he will. Mr. April must be cooled down. And I want Dice-K to do it.

(Oh, wait, did I call him Mr. April? Sorry. I guess his new nickname is “El Hombre.” Really. If you want to read a stupid column, click here.)

Anyway, it starts again tonight. And somehow it never gets old.

Sorry, Bob Ryan. I get where you’re coming from. But I just don’t agree. (“Calgary and Edmonton?” C’mon.)

This is fun. And Johnny Damon knows it.

Ninety times in the last four years. They lead 46-44. Sweep this series and we’re the better team. Right?

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