What makes this column special? He actually talks to an athlete!
ANAHEIM, Calif. - I am having a moment with John Lackey.
Lackey has just made his last regular-season start of 2009, and he has been coy about which game he will pitch against the Red Sox. Standing in front of his locker while his teammates pack and dress for a final weekend in Oakland, the big righty handles all questions professionally, occasionally smiling and making a joke. But there’s an edge to the proceedings because there’s a guy from Boston in the group.
And he knows. He knows that I know that he knows. He knows that, deep down, the Angels are incredibly frustrated by the Red Sox. He knows that I know the Sox think they can beat the Angels just by showing up.
Shoot yourself in the foot? Lackey knows that the Angels have blown toes off their feet in the playoffs against Boston. They have run themselves out of innings, thrown stupid pitches, and made ridiculous errors. They have lost nine playoff games in 10 tries against the Sox since 2004. And Lackey has seen it all.
So it’s awkward to ask the questions. But that’s what we do.
“Does it tick you off the way Boston has dominated you?’’ I start.
“I really got nothing to say to that,’’ he says, shaking his head. “What else can I say, you know?’’
I do know. I know the Angels are a ball of frustration when it comes to the Red Sox. They hate the Red Sox. They hate coming to Fenway Park, just as the Magic Johnson/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Lakers hated coming to Old Boston Garden.
Even an oft-used Celtics / Lakers reference doesn't detract from yet another decent article from Shank. Enjoy the run while it lasts...