To bring you up to speed: The Great Yankee Conspiracy, is my theory that the Yankees MIGHT play half-speed against the Tampa Bay Rays in hopes of knocking the Red Sox out of the wild card spot in these last days of the season. I said the Yankees don’t have the stones to do it (or that it’s good strategy not to, take your pick). It’s hard to say, really. Tonight there’s no A-Rod and no Russel Martin, and the pitcher was “TBD” until about 10 minutes before game time, but it looks like the PLAYERS are at least taking the game seriously.
Most importantly, last night my STAR witness in the Great Yankee Conspiracy, Russel Martin who claimed “Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome to me,” proved that the Yankees ARE in-fact playing to win against the Rays, even if it means the Red Sox make the playoffs. First, he hits a home run. Then he bats into this incredible triple play – a story in itself.
What’s most important here is to note Russel Martin did not give up on the play and is seen DIVING into first base. The Yankees are playing to win, whether it’s just the pride and pressure of athletic competition, or strategy. Strategically, can you blame them? The Rays are surging, confident and dangerous. They should treat tonight’s game like a playoff game where they can defeat knock out their first opponent, Tampa Bay.