I watched "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" the other day, and what made that movie great parody, besides the awesome presence of John C. Reilly, was that they played it straight through all of the ridiculousness from a random halving or two to Dewey's rendition of "Starman". Reilly even made me believe he was a fourteen-year old at one point. He played it straight, and that's what made the movie.
That's what makes the latest chapter in the Yankees-Red Sox so great: someone is actually taking this stuff seriously. Someone cared enough to plant a Red Sox jersey in the Yankees stadium, like bugs planted in foreign embassies as they are built. Someone cared enough to drill for five hours into the foundation of the new stadium to locate said jersey. And someone cared enough to donate the worthless piece of trivialness to a Boston-area charity. Sure, it had to be in Boston.
Boston-New York is not the greatest rivalry in the sport. For my money (and I did study this at some point), the Dodgers and Giants win this hands down. But those two have fallen on hard times of late. The Yankees and Red Sox are now the darlings of the baseball world. ESPN won't interrupt its 24-hour coverage of football unless the Sox and Yanks are playing. Heck, the networks don't get out of bed for anything less than a Sox-Yanks series.
Never mind that Brian Bannister and the Royals might be the most improbable success story since the 1914 Miracle Braves (or at least the 1969 Miracle Mets). Never mind that everyone's preseason pick to win the AL Central, the Tigers, us floundering, and the other pick, Cleveland, is just two games ahead of them. Never mind that the A's, O's, Cards, and Marlins are all leading their respective divisions and were all expected to be closer to last than first.
There are great stories throughout the majors, and yet we get the same old Yankees-Red Sox fabricated storyline. The jersey they planted was a David Ortiz's and given the way he was batting before it was resurrected, they should have kept it buried.
Has the erstwhile National Pastime become a farce? Have steroid scandals and congressional hearings and fantasy baseball and all the rest made the game into some sort of joke? Before we know it, it will be as lowly as the presidential election.