The Big Apple and Beantown have nation's best sports town feud and culture clash.
When the New York Giants and New England Patriots kick off Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the game won’t be just a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, it will be a renewal of the greatest sports town rivalry and culture clash in the country — New York vs. Boston. Which city has the edge heading into Super Sunday? The following is a tale of the tape:
Today is a day that Major League Baseball had in mind when it expanded the playoffs for what was to be 1994, but due to the strike, actually began in 1995. Four playoff games, three of which could be elimination games. All in one day.
It will be tough to match last Wednesday night for a four-game set that ranked as the best ever, but with three teams’ seasons on the line, today is must-see baseball.
Beginning today at 2:00 ET, Tampa Bay will attempt to stave off elimination at home against Texas. Then at 5:00 St. Louis hosts Philadelphia in the only non-do-or-die affair. At 7:30 the Yankees will be in Detroit trying to extend their season another few days and force a Game 5 back in New York. Milwaukee and Arizona begin at 8:30, but I suspect most of the nation will catch only the last few innings after the Yankees-Tigers tussle. The Diamondbacks will try desperately to avoid the embarrassment of being swept at the hands of the Brewers.
New York at Detroit
The mighty Yankees on the cusp of elimination? Believe it. Will they force the Tigers back to Yankee Stadium on Thursday? Not likely. I mean, how comfortable can manager Joe Girardi be putting the Yankees’ fate in the hands of A.J. Burnett? To his credit, Burnett responded from an 11.91 ERA in five August starts to a respectable 4.34 ERA in five September starts. But you have to believe that the Tigers are licking their chops.
It’s not like Rick Porcello, on the mound for Detroit, is much better. He improved a 6.82 August ERA to 3.55 in September. Porcello was a winner on May 5 against the Yankees and Burnett, but not too much can be read into that. Burnett didn’t face any of the three outfielders likely to start for Detroit tonight. Likewise, neither Derek Jeter nor Alex Rodriguez started the game for New York.
Both bullpens should be in play tonight. David Robertson and Mariano Rivera for New York have been solid and should the Yankees bridge the gap to the eighth inning, the Yankees have an advantage. Joaquin Benoit has been okay, but Daniel Schlereth has been shaky. Even though Jose Valverde has a save and closed out the other win, the game turned into an adventure with him on the mound. Can Papa Grande continue to walk the tight rope?
I keep expecting the Yankees veterans of many championships to get the big hit that turns the game. But that era in Yankees lore may be over. Jeter, the hero of postseasons past, struck out in the ninth representing the tying run in Game 2. He whiffed again with the tying run on second to end Game 3. And the torch may not have been completely passed to Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson from Jeter and Jorge Posada.
It was the Tigers’ Delmon Young with the heroic hit yesterday, a seventh inning home run off Rafael Soriano. Somehow the Tigers seem more energetic and youthful than the Yankees. I don’t see this series going back to New York.
Derek Jeter has joined an elite group, earning his 3,000th hit on Saturday against Tampa Bay pitcher David Price. Jeter becomes the first Yankee to reach the exclusive group, reaching this milestone on a home run in the third inning.
Roberto got his 3,000th against the New York Mets' John Matlock. It was his last regular season at bat of his career before being killed in an airplane crash off the coast of Puerto Rico. He was on his way to do charity work for Nicaragua after the country suffered a devastating earthquake.
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Al Kaline - 3,007 hits Team: Detroit Tigers
Kaline played all 22 seasons with the Tigers and got his 3,000th hit on September 24th, 1974, when he hit a double off the Orioles' Dave McNally.
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Craig Biggio - 3,060 hits Team: Houston Astros
Biggio got his 3,000th hit on June 28th, 2007 (he's the most recent member of the club, after Jeter), when hit hit a single off the Colorado Rockies' Aaron Cook. He tried to stretch it into a double, but was tagged out, adding a little awkwardness to the celebration of the milestone.
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Tony Gwynn - 3,141 hits
Team: San Diego Padres
Gwynn's 3,000th hit came on August 6th, 1999 with a single off of Montreal's Dan Smith. As a player who's career was spent in the relatively obscure San Diego market, it's kind of ironic that the biggest hit of his career came in Montreal, the only market with fewer fans or media coverage.
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Robin Yount - 3,142 hits Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Robin's 3,000th hit came on September 9th, 1992, off of Jose Mesa.
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George Brett - 3154 hits Team: Kansas City Royals
After collecting his 3,000th hit, Brett stepped off first base to enjoy the moment, only to be tagged out by Angel's first baseman Gary Gaetti. Another side note: He was nicknamed "Mullet."
Cal Ripken, Jr
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Cal Ripken, Jr - 3,184 Team: Baltimore Orioles
Cal Ripken's 3,000th hit came in Minnesota on April 15th, 2000 against the Twins' Hector Carrasco. He had three hits that night, the third of which was number 3,000.
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Carl Yastrzemski - 3,419 hits Team: Boston Red Sox
Carl's 3,000th hit came on September 12th, 1979 against the New York Yankees on a ground ball that just squeaked past second baseman Willie Randolph. Yaz said, "This one was the hardest of the 3,000," after the historic base knock.
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Stan Musial - 3,630 hits Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Stan got his 3,000th hit on a pinch-hit double in Chicago's Wrigley Field as Haray Caray made the call. At the time, he was the 8th player to reach that milestone, and the only one to record number 3,000 on an extra base hit.
Jeter doubles in the first inning, goes hitless the rest of the way.
Derek Jeter's march to 3,000 will have to wait at least one more night (and two more hits).
The New York Yankees Captain's night started off well. His leadoff double to left in the first gave the crowd a jolt of electricity that they were going to see history. But then the Rays Jeff Niemann settled down and closed the history books with a strong performance and a 5-1 win on the Yankees home turf.