Baseball is drowning, you guys


We all know baseball is circling the drain, ready to shuffle off the mortal coil at any moment. But I always assumed its inevitable demise would be the result of either be old age or blunt force trauma at the hands of football. But drowning? Didn’t see that one coming!

But apparently so, as Rob Bradford’s latest hand-wringing column about the Red Sox makes plain:

This organization will find itself at a crossroads this summer, trying to avoid the kind of ditch even a $200-plus million payroll or shock-and-awe transaction won’t eliminate. If the Red Sox can’t find a way to remain in contention for something — anything – they’ll be in danger of drowning in the kind of apathy their entire sport is desperately flailing to avoid.

Two swimmers sinking and I’m only one lifeguard, so I’ll make the hard choice to let baseball tread water a bit and talk about the Red Sox.

This structure of this column may look familiar to some of you. It’s the once-ubiquitous-but-now-rarely-seen “[team] must remain relevant!” column. You used to see them all the time in New York when people would make it clear that the Yankees can’t just be decent, they must be relevant. Whatever the hell that means. So too with the Red Sox, I guess:

But here’s the reality: the Red Sox organization is playing for something almost as pressing as titles. They’re playing for relevance.

To be clear, like Moe Greene said in The Godfather, we’re talking business. This isn’t about the baseball side of things, which is so broken, there’s no easy fix. Instead, let’s take a hard look at what the Red Sox truly have to lose.

What follows is not so much about wins or losses. It’s not even about revenues so much despite a citation to past financial concerns of Sox’ ownership cited in a nine-year-old book. It’s about those hard-to-quantify-but-easy-to-columnify concepts like the team’s “brand” or fan “apathy.” Concepts about which we should be deeply, deeply concerned despite the fact that the Red Sox have sold nearly 95% of their tickets this year — third behind only the Giants and Cardinals — and stand at fifth in average per-game attendance despite having the fourth smallest capacity in the bigs.

And, more importantly, despite the fact that the Red Sox’ “brand” in New England is, you know, damn strong. Despite the fact that, if anything, the Red Sox built their brand on futility for, oh, eight decades and still had passionate fan support and always will.

At any rate, this kind of quasi-“too big too fail” talk was tiresome when it was about the Yankees. It’s just as much if not more tiresome when it’s the Red Sox. Sports teams win. Sports teams lose. Attendance goes up and down some, but a city like Boston’s love for the Sox isn’t going to disappear. And I think their brand will be OK if it has a rough patch. Even if columnists fret otherwise.

Yankees score runs in final three innings for 4-1 victory over Dodgers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – Despite battling injuries all season, the New York Yankees are still managing to pick up victories.

With AL MVP Aaron Judge sidelined after injuring his foot on Saturday, the Yankees got strong pitching and were able to use a little bit of small ball to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 Sunday and take two of three games in the weekend series.

“Just a really good all-around effort. A lot of winning things were happening in that game,” manager Aaron Boone said.

New York plated runs in the seventh and eighth innings on soft-contract grounders before Anthony Volpe provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the ninth.

J.D. Martinez homered for the Dodgers, who dropped the final two games in the series.

Clay Holmes (4-2) pitched one inning to pick up the win, and Wandy Peralta got the last four outs for his fourth save.

It was a pitchers’ duel for six innings between the Yankees’ Domingo Germán and Dodgers’ Bobby Miller. The right-handers matched zeroes as the teams combined for only four hits in the first six innings.

Dodgers’ rookie Miller allowed only one hit in his six innings, becoming the first Dodgers’ pitcher since at least 1901 to allow one hit or fewer within his first three big league starts. The 24-year old right-hander struck out seven and walked two in his third start.

Germán went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run and four hits, including Martinez’s solo shot to tie it at 1-all in the seventh. The right-hander has limited opponents to one run or fewer in four of his last six starts.

Jake Bauers – who was playing right field in place of Judge – scored the game’s first run in the seventh on Kyle Higashioka‘s broken-bat grounder to short.

Bauers got aboard with a base hit then advanced to third when Brusdar Graterol threw the ball away on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s bunt.

After Martinez’s homer, the Yankees retook the lead in the eighth against Evan Phillips (1-1). Oswaldo Cabrera drove in Anthony Rizzo with the go-ahead run with a slow roller that second baseman Miguel Vargas could only throw to first.

“It not being hit well helps when the fielders have to move a little. That’s what you’re selling out for. Good job by the base runners there,” Boone said.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said both balls could not have been placed any better by the Yankees’ batters.

“I don’t think they had a chance on both balls. The base runners had such a good jump. They were jam shots,” Roberts said. “There were a lot of things we did as far as giving away a couple bases on the defensive side.”

Volpe had two hits after being mired in a 3-for-38 slump his last 11 games. He extended the lead by driving Caleb Ferguson’s fastball over the wall in left-center in the ninth. It was Volpe’s ninth homer, which is second among AL rookies.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence,” said Volpe after the Yankees took four of six on the road trip.


Martinez evened it in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to left-center. It was his 10th homer in the last 21 games.

Martinez has 20 homers against the Yankees, his third-most against any club. He has 35 against Baltimore and 23 vs. Cleveland. He is four homers away from 300 for his career.


Miller – the 29th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft – looked like he might have a short outing after throwing 27 pitches in the first inning. He struck out three but also walked two.

Miller retired seven straight between the third and fifth innings before Volpe lined a base hit to center field with two out in the fifth.

“It felt really good. Been working on my slider a lot lately.,” said Miller, who threw 86 pitches, including 39 sliders. “They know I have a good fastball so I have to have my other pitches working as well.”


Yankees: LHP Nestor Cortes is expected to be placed on the injured list Monday or Tuesday due to a shoulder issue. Manager Aaron Boone said Cortes has been slower to recover between starts and is likely to miss one or two starts. … LHP Carlos Rendon (left forearm strain) will face hitters on Wednesday.

Dodgers: OF Trayce Thompson was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain. OF Johnny Deluca was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.


Yankees: Return home for six games starting Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Clarke Schmidt (2-5, 5.01 ERA) has gone at least five innings in six of his last eight starts.

Dodgers: Hit the road starting Tuesday against Cincinnati. RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 1.77 ERA) has gone 3-0 in his last four starts.