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Since my gainful employment revolves around writing about science and medicine, I end up trying to solve baseball not with numbers (as I still have trouble adding large columns of figures), but with clinical evidence.

That said, I’m going to rationalize my feelings on the Red Sox-Yankee series by virtue of Jean Piaget and his theories of cognitive development. From birth to the age of 2, children are extremely egocentric and cannot perceive the world from others' viewpoints.

When it comes to baseball, this “sensorimotor stage” reigns supreme. In my head, this is the only thing in the world anyone is possibly thinking about. A regular season series between 2 teams, 2 fanbases. I assume that my mentality is shared by the masses, that this is the only thing worth watching and the only thing worth thinking about.

(I guess this school of thought may or may not be a linchpin in the whole “Why Everyone Hates Yankee Fans” argument.)

So in about 5 hours or so, the Yanks face off against Boston at Fenway, which seems to have lost a bit of its old death trap stigma for opponents. We can possibly thank the O’s for that.

(OR, as I like to believe, thank ME since 2 years ago when I went out there, I tried to stuff a Yankee schedule and Yankee phiten bracelet into their plumbing, in an effort to reap revenge for this. Since then they haven’t won a playoff game at home. I can’t take credit for the water pipe disaster, though. I have to say, there is a certain poetry about the state of emergency, drowning, etc, as it relates to the equally catastrophic defense in Fenway these days…)

As always, I disgress. And as always, this weekend will likely feature around 20 hours of baseball, extra innings, drama, etc. It’s like putting Kristin Cavalleri and Lauren Conrad in a locked room together. No one really cares anymore (or will admit to it, anyway), and the whole rivalry aspect isn’t so much existent as non-existent…yet it’s entertaining and compelling because of its guaranteed intensity.

I will now chew off my own tongue for comparing "The Hills" to any element of baseball.

Both teams face certain challenges this weekend, some more than others, and both boast marked edges in different areas. Can I be any more hedging-of-the-bets-esque? Yeah, for the sake of lunacy, let’s move forward with this theory instead: The Yankees will sweep the Sox, because they’re deities of the sport and because the Sox are playing like Popples on acid.

For the list-oriented, I’ve outlined the 9 things that need to happen this weekend to grant Yankees fan all the reason we’ll need to act like unmitigated jackasses.

1.) The Yankees need to outfit Jeter in some kind of Bubble Boy type apparatus. He’s the last man standing of the Core Four. Thank you, Sports Illustrated, for ruining my life. Don’t be surprised if your art direction department receives a FedEx shipment of trout wrapped in the SI masthead.

2.) Javier Vasquez and David Robertson are not allowed within a 20 miles radius of a pitcher’s mound.

3.) Someone in the Yankee front office ensures Ortiz remains in the lineup, possibly through some kind of Robert Deniro in “The Fan” type of scheme.

4.) Robinson Cano. Dustin Pedroia. Right there. Yesterday before the first game of my softball doubleheader, the ump comes over to our dug out and says, “Usually a ball hit over the fence is an out. Haven’t seen anyone do it in 3 years though, so I’m changing it to a homerun. And now that I’ve said that, I guarantee you all pop up trying to do it.” Um, thanks, Blue. He went on to say, “And you’ll see that the females on the team decide the game. Every team is the same in softball, the best team is the one with girls who can actually play.”

Yeah, I could see that. Having to drag your pitcher’s girlfriend out to the field, or bribing sisters, or even just accosting some random girl on the street and charming her into playing…all so we don’t have to forfeit…generally dilutes the strength of the squad. Similarly, this weekend, the better 2B is going to be a hugely significant difference. Cano needs to play even more Herculean than he has been. And our pitchers need to not underestimate the pip squeak in #15.

5.) Run on the Sox like they’re chasing you down a flight of stairs with a chain saw. Boston has allowed 42 STOLEN BASES. 42! The next highest in the entire league is Arizona with 27. If the Yanks don’t motor around the base paths, I’ll be as disappointed with them as my Dad gets with me when I don’t take the maximum amount of 401(k) contribution out of my paycheck.

6.) Give Jay-Z highly visible seats to maximize the cutaways to him glowering at Fenway “Faithfuls.” I don’t think this will help them sweep, but I’ll find it amusing.

7.) The thing with both of these squads is that they never, ever give up. Which should be a basic philosophy woven through every team in every sport, but it’s even more evident with the Sox and Yanks. The Yanks had the league record for comeback wins last year, but I wouldn’t cite that as an edge per se, since Fenway seems to just historically breed the same for the Sox.

Additionally, the Yanks have this annoying habit of either a.) not scoring for 7 innings then deciding in the 8th to explode, or b.) cushioning their lead early and hard, then giving way to complacency (and by “complacency,” I mean “bullpen”) to relinquish the game. Which is why they need to follow Michael Scott’s advice here. Or Winston Churchhill. Whomever.

8.) The pitchers for this weekend:

Phil Hughes (3-0, 1.44) vs. Josh Beckett (1-0, 6.31)

CC Sabathia (4-1, 2.74) vs. Clay Buchholz (3-2, 2.97)

A.J. Burnett (4-0, 1.99) vs. Jon Lester (2-2, 3.93)

It’s funny, really. Well, not funny “haha” so much as funny “this is going to throw me into apoplexy, isn’t it.” Our ace has the fattest ERA right now, and of the 3 projected starts, that’s the one I’m the most worried about. To complement the weirdness: Clay Buchholz isn’t a guy I want to admit I’m concerned about, but I guess in fairness, he’s been somewhat spectacular, barring his most recent start.

The Yanks need to continue teeing off on Beckett, as they’ve been doing as of late. None one hits the annoying starter better than the Yanks do, and their penchant for taking him deep needs to come out 3-fold tonight. Jon Lester, who is my favorite Sock by far (which is like saying ants are the insects I’d most like to unwittingly swallow in my sleep, if I had to pick one), is closing out the series against the surprisingly controlled AJ.

This game is just as critical as stifling Pedroia. If AJ comes out cleanly, we’re golden. If he turns sheds his stability to reveal his nipple-pierced corpus of madness, then we’re in for a looong Mother’s Day.

9.) To sweep the Red Sox, the Yanks need to prey on their defense for each and every top of the inning throughout the weekend. Be merciless and unapologetic and do to their fielders what Tom Cruise did to Jack Nicholson at the end of “A Few Good Men.” Make them uncomfortable, throw them off balance, and the very instant they begin to expose their weakened cohesion, garrote their moral.

Take the field, then take their spirit.

Game on, boys. See you tonight…


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