First Pitch: The end of the world as we know it

August, 26, 2012
8/26/12
7:00
AM ET
Monster SeatsAP Photo/Elise AmendolaThe Red Sox have called it quits on their season with still a month left to go.
And I feel fine.

The blockbuster trade that gutted the Boston Red Sox of Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford not only slams the door on any more fantasies of the Red Sox being a factor in the AL East this season, it also effectively puts on indefinite hold what was becoming the stalest and most tiresome "rivalry" in sports.

At this point, not even the most fervent Sox-aphobes in the tri-state area can work much more than pity for their compadres in Boston, and the six remaining games between the two clubs now officially become meaningless events.

It might even turn out that those last three games of the season, when the Red Sox come to Yankee Stadium on October 1-2-3, might turn out to be rest days for the Yankees' regulars leading into the playoffs. We might see a lot of Brandon Laird and Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli in those games.

Oh, well. They seemed like a good idea at the time the schedule was laid out.

The bigger question is, could such a thing ever happen to the Yankees?

Could their high-priced roster, already bloated with three contracts worth more than $100 million and probably about to add at least one more, Robinson Cano's, in the next couple of years, become the same kind of albatross to Yankees ownership as the Red Sox became to theirs?

Is it possible that the Yankees, too, could someday be forced to dismantle, reload, or even -- gasp! -- rebuild?

On the surface, you would think not. The ballpark is a voracious beast that must be fed 40,000-plus well-heeled individuals, along with their wallets, on a daily basis in order to survive. It's nearly unfathomable that the Yankees would ever be forced to raise the white flag on a season with more than a month of baseball to play.

Of course, the Red Sox no doubt believed the same thing. And the massive salary dump does clear the way for an equally massive spending spree this winter, as well as cementing, for now anyway, the authority of manager Bobby Valentine, which looked pretty shaky just a week ago.

Which leads us to the Question of the Day: Do the remaining Yankees-Red Sox games mean anything to you, considering the current state of the Bad Guys from Boston? Or are they now about as significant as, say, a series against the Kansas City Royals? Let us know in the comments section below.

Up now: My column on why Hiroki Kuroda should hire a lawyer and sue his teammates for non-support.

Coming soon: Clubhouse opens at 9:35 this morning, lineups will be posted shortly thereafter, followed by the series finale in Cleveland, Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.96) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-12, 5.59) as the Yankees try to take two out of three from the Indians and avoid the ignominy of a 1-5 road trip. Check in often and as always, thanks for reading.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146