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Historic rivals, the Red Sox and Yankees meet up again this weekend at Yankee Stadium for a late-season series that will help determine whether Boston can join American League East champion New York in the playoffs.
|Musicians, from left, Rachel Bolan, Mike Mushok, Jason Bittner and Ken Casey gather to talk baseball at McGreevy's Third Base Saloon.|
In late August, the Red Sox were still in contention for that division title when they played host to the Yankees in a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Rachel Bolan had never been to a Yankees-Red Sox game. Tickets in hand (loge seats on the third-base side), the lifelong New York fan and Skid Row bassist is walking toward Fenway when Ken Casey spots him.
Darting down Boylston Street in a pedicab, Casey, Rachel's bass-playing counterpart in the unofficial Red Sox house band, Dropkick Murphys, shouts his distinct, low-vowel accent across three lanes of traffic and takes a gleeful jab at the Yankees fan: "Hey, your band sucks!"
For diehard fans of both teams, it is on.
Only an hour before, Bolan, with Shadows Fall drummer Jason Bittner and Staind guitarist Mike Mushok, convened with Casey at his historic McGreevy's Third Base Saloon for storytelling, and more of the good-natured ribbing of a roundtable of Yankees fans versus Red Sox fans.
Bittner: I'll start this out: 26, m-----f---er!
Mushok: You don't even know!
Bittner: Because there's so many, dude.
The Life: It should be noted, for the record, that the Yankees fan doesn't even know how many championships the Yankees have won.
Casey: We rest our case! [Laughter] It becomes so inconsequential after awhile …
Bittner: No one ever called me the smartest man in the world. I am a drummer, you know; I hit things with sticks.
Bolan: "I hit things!" [Laughter]
The Life: For each of you, throughout the history of your [favorite] team, which player on the opposing team do you absolutely dislike the most, and why?
Casey: The answer has obviously got to be Bucky f----ing Dent, for us. But that's not a personal thing, that's more just like a scarring memory. Well, I hate A-Rod now …
Mushok: I think every Yankee fan I know hates A-Rod, too.
Bittner: I'm a Yankee fan, and I think he's a d-----bag, too. But whatever.
Mushok: I mean, if you guys are down 9-0, he'll come in and hit a homer.
Bittner: Sometimes. But he won't hit a homer when we f----ing need him to hit a homer.
Mushok: That's my point. That's what I'm saying. [Laughs]
The Life: Through the history of the Red Sox, who just really gets under your skin?
Bittner: Oh, the history?
Bolan: You know what, [Dustin] Pedroia.
Bittner: Yeah, I agree with Rachel; I f---ing hate him. You know why? Because he's good! Because he's good. Because he always …
Bolan: He drives me crazy. I appreciate how good the guy is, but he's that guy that just drives me crazy. Like, if I was in the same room, I'd probably have a beer with him. But when he was hurt, and he's out there on his knees doing that s---, I'm like, come on, dude, just get better. [Laughs] You're trying too f---ing hard here.
Mushok: I mean, that's a true player.
Casey: When you see his little f---ing body runnin' around after another home run and say …
Mushok: Did you see on that Fox game, when they were playing, and they showed what he does before every play, and I never knew that …
Casey: Oh, I did see that, yeah. [Laughs]
Mushok: Did you see that, how before every play, as the pitcher throws the ball, he jumps in the air like this to get himself ready. I've never seen anybody do that!
Bolan: That's the s--- I'm talking about.
|Mike Mushok of Staind.|
Mushok: And I've been to so many games, but I never [noticed] it.
Casey: But you know what I love about Pedroia, to counter-argue, it's like watching a 13-year-old kid who's into it. Like, he plays the game right with that passion.
The Life: For the pure joy of the game.
Casey: For the pure joy, but he also looks like he's literally -- like, if he was doing it for free, he'd still be doing it.
Bittner: Totally. But I think that's the same thing about [Derek] Jeter, though, personally.
Mushok: And, you know what, that's why I respect Jeter.
Casey: And that's the one Yankee that I like.
Mushok: Dude, I'm with you. And that's why I would expect you guys [to like Pedroia], 'cause I have friends that are Yankees fans, and they go, the one guy that they like is Pedroia, for that reason, 'cause he's a gamer.
Bolan: He is a gamer, he just annoys me. [Laughs]
Bittner: Right. So, Rachel said Pedroia; Just for s-----s and giggles, I'll say Manny [Ramirez]. You know why? Because just the, "Oh, fly ball to Manny," he's like do-de-do-de-do--oh, I could run a little bit, but, ah, f--- it, I'm not gonna.
Bolan: Yeah, I forgot about him.
Bittner: That was just … come on, if you're still getting paid by the team, play your position.
Casey: I think Manny is not just a Red Sox issue; that's a problem with baseball in general.
Casey: As much as the Manny being Manny worked for a while, that's all we had. And he did do some kinds of funny stuff. I mean, we played after the Sox won in '04. The governor was unfurling a banner on the State House, and we were playing a little set, kind of beforehand for the people. And then we were also kind of playing the walk-on music when he was supposed to walk out with the governor and they dropped the banner.
They got a fly-over -- they got F-16s or whatever that were flying over -- and they're like, "This is how it's going down: you start the music at 11 seconds; after this, the governor and Manny will cross in front of you; at 34 seconds, the F-16s will come over " We're like, holy crap, this is like, so down to the second! Then, they come up: "OK, Manny's late " [Laughter]
Mushok: "All that s--- we told you "
Bittner: "You guys got any more songs?"Casey: I don't even know if I'm saying the right planes, but F-16s, whatever, they're flying around. And you can see Manny, 'cause he lived at The Ritz, coming across the Common -- walking across the Common -- so we start the song, and they eyeball it and the governor starts his walk-out, Manny crosses the street and they meet and come in front of us. They said, if people only knew nowadays, with times a little bit tighter, the taxpayers' dollars that were wasted as those planes circled around, waiting for Manny The Life: You would watch him on a Saturday afternoon game, and he would move with the shadows [in left field] to stay in the shade, not defensively.
Casey: He got away with it for a long time here because he had that comical element about him. But then when he turned, and he like, knocked down …
Mushok: Yeah, [Jack] McCormick.
Bolan: Don Zimmer.
Bittner: Yeah, Don Zimmer. That was uncalled for.
Casey: No, no, no …
Mushok: No, McCormick, the traveling secretary. That was … kinda bad.
Casey: Yeah, then he just kinda started his fall. People was all …
Mushok: And, him and [Kevin] Youkilis had that thing in the dugout.
Bolan: Oh no, you know who knocked down Don Zimmer, was Martinez.
Casey: Pedro Martinez.
Bolan: Oh, that's right -- sorry, my bad. [Laughter] But, come on, the guy's like, 102 years old.
Bittner: I mean, come on, Don Zimmer used to be the manager of the f---ing Red Sox!
|Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall.|
Casey: That was the A-Rod-Varitek [fight]. We played that day. We debuted the song "Tessie" that day. And the whole story with the song "Tessie" was, it used to be their fight song back in the turn of the century when they won; they stopped singing it in 1918 after [Babe] Ruth was traded and they never won again.
So, they had us redo the song, and I did any kind of interview you could possibly do, saying this is it, this is going to bring it back. We played the song on the field, they're getting smoked like, you know, 10-0, [Laughter] and I'm like, it's over before it started! And then the fight, the comeback, the walk-off, you know what I mean?
Mushok: Turned it around, man.
Casey: Yeah, that was the first day. No, that was a classic knockdown. I love Zimmer, but come on, it was classic -- and I hate Pedro. One of the best pitchers ever, but …
Bolan: Without a doubt.
Casey: He pulled some stunts, too.
The Life: Conversely, who do you see on the opposing team that, much as it grates on you, you have to say, I kinda like that guy?
Bittner: Youkilis. I like Youkilis, the sweaty bastard. I don't know, I just like him. I think he's a good player; I think he's a clutch player; I think he's good for the team and … I don't know, he's got a cool goatee.
Bolan: Oh no, I'm thinking [Jason] Varitek -- who's the catcher?
Mushok: Varitek. Yeah, he's awesome.
Bolan: I love that guy. He's just all baseball.
Mushok: I got a buddy that's a closer -- he was on the Red Sox -- he's out [of baseball] now -- Todd Jones. He said that Varitek, by far, was the best catcher he's ever thrown to. The guy knew the game, knew what to throw, when to throw. He's like, look, he knew, too, but he made him feel comfortable back there because he was so prepared for everybody that was coming. He called such a great game, he said.
And he would say, like, they would have off days and be like, oh, the Raiders invited us to go walk through camp. He's like, "No, we've got like, seven in a row coming up, and I really want to stay off my feet 'cause I've got to [catch]."
Bolan: Wow, that's cool.
Bittner: Ah s---, I wanna take back my answer, [Laughter] because I'm actually gonna say this: Jim Rice, because Jim Rice was a great baseball player, and for a brief second in time, when I was probably 8 or 9, I was a Red Sox fan for about a year.
The Life: Really?
Bittner: Yeah, yeah, you can actually find a picture of me, back home in the pictures, with a Red Sox hat on.
Mushok: Now, what about your dad?
Bittner: My father and grandfather slapped some sense into me, and then I went back to the right side of the fence.
Casey: Coward. [Laughter]
Bittner: However, I do have to say -- in my wife's defense, my wife is a Red Sox fan. Born and bred in New York, but her family were always Red Sox fans.
Bolan: You don't find many Red Sox fans in New York.
Bittner: Bit of contention at home with baseball games, like really knockdown drag-out fights because of a baseball game. Like, literally, because we start the bulls--- back and forth, and it gets to be …
Mushok: How have you guys done this season against the Red Sox, I don't remember.
The Life: Bad.
Casey: No, you need to let him answer that. [Laughter]
Bolan: Smart ass. [Laughter] Whatever, man.
Bittner: They're always going to say that. Let's see who's still alive in the postseason.
Casey: They can live in the past with their rings, but …
Mushok: Yeah, exactly. I'm the new millennium, OK? This is the 2000s now, and it's a new day.
Bolan: In Jersey you were either a Mets fan or you were a Yankees fan. And some Philly fans here and there, but I can't be a Mets fan.
Casey: See, that's what I dislike the most about Jersey Yankee fans and Connecticut Yankee fans.
Bolan: What's that?
Casey: They have a choice. It's like, it must be nice when you're like, yeah, depending on where you live in Jersey, you could potentially root for three teams, you know what I mean?
Mushok: And I'm in Connecticut. And I'm west of the Connecticut River, and it's mostly Yankee [fans].
Casey: So you're in Yankee country, yeah.
Mushok: Yeah, pretty much.
Bittner: Well, it's even worse for football with all the Eagles fans, the separation of church and state down there [in New Jersey].
Mushok: And it's the same thing, Giants-Patriots, too. It's the same thing, I gotta deal with all the f---ing Giants fans, too.
Casey: A lot of Giants fans in Massachusetts, actually. Yeah, 'cause I guess, apparently, something about the radio broadcast used to make it up here or something -- like grandparents.
But my line -- [to Mushok] don't take offense by this, 'cause you're on my side -- but any time like, [Hatebreed's] Jamey Jasta or guys like that, they wanna start talkin' smack, I say, I'm sorry, when you get a team, then you can talk to me. [Laughter] You're from Connecticut, you don't have a team. [Laughter]
Bittner: Don't say that to Matty Byrne in Hatebreed! [Chris] Beattie would fight you for that, too. Matty Byrne, all right, at least he's a New Yorker.
Casey: Let me tell you something … in 2005, after the Red Sox won, we went and played three nights at Irving Plaza.
Bolan: Oh boy.
Casey: In the middle of the show we had every derelict in New York City on our stage. And when the lights went dim, we dropped a video screen, and then, all of a sudden [vocalizes fanfare] it says, "The greatest collapse in sports history!" [Laughter] And we run the highlights, and the crowd was literally just like [opens mouth in shock].
We just played Vancouver, two weeks after we won the Stanley Cup, and the promoter said to me, "I can't believe people paid for two nights of you rubbing it in like that." That was nothing compared to what we did in New York. [Chuckles] And people just didn't get the joke. It was like the Blues Brothers, bottles flying at the stage, before the plastic bottles.
Mushok: Every time we play Boston, we get the "Yankees suck!" chant.
Bittner: Let me preface this: I'm the only New Yorker in a Massachusetts band. Every time we play New York, my singer's always gotta start the Yankees suck chant. [Laughter] Every f---ing time. So I just stand up on the stool --
Casey: Yeah, and you're left in the middle to take the bottles.
Bolan: Yeah, totally.
Casey: You need to put up a sign at that point: Yankees fan.
Bittner: Every New York show I wear something Yankees, because I know he's going to do it, so I'll stand up and at least be like, don't throw s--- at me! I'm on your side.
|Ken Casey of Dropkick Murphys.|
Casey: I had to hide behind the amps while most of the barrage came, then when I could get back to a mike I said, "You don't wait 86 years and then not rub it in." Plus, if I didn't, you would have called us all [wimps] for not running it. [Laughter]
Mushok: Plus, the comeback. You just said it: down 3-0, never been done--
Bolan: That never happened. Ah, it's bulls---, it never happened. [Laughs] Yeah.
Casey: But I gotta tell you something, you wanna talk about the change in the whole dynamic. I mean, every friend I had from New York who just had that swagger about Boston, putting Boston down in every way aside from baseball.
I was in that park at Game 7 [of the ALCS], and it was like, that last out happened and they just disappeared. It was 10,000 Red Sox fans left in there, looking up at the arches, and you did feel like you exorcised a ghost. And, of course, on the ride home that night, I called every single New Yorker I knew. [Laughter]
Bittner: Of course you did.
Casey: From [Agnostic Front guitarist] Vinnie Stigma to whoever and I left messages.
Bittner: I can only imagine how that phone call went!
Casey: Me and Vinnie were at Game 2 in Fenway, and I said, this could be a sitcom, like the new Odd Couple, you know? And you know what, they just didn't know how to come back. It was like the dynamic changed right there. We were like an equal all of a sudden.
Bolan: It was crazy.
Mushok: Did you see the [documentary] ESPN did, "Four Days In October," it was one of those 30 for 30 things?
Casey: No, I haven't seen that.
Mushok: It's all about from Game 3 and the end of the last four games. And it shows [Kevin] Millar, who's a friend of mine -- I'm sure you obviously must know, he's a great guy. It was [Boston Globe beat writer Dan] Shaughnessy interviewing him. And he goes -- 'cause they got blown out -- "What's going on? We thought you guys were better than this. You're down 3-0." And Millar says, "You know what, don't let us win today. 'Cause if we win today we got [Curt] Schilling, Pedro, and anything can happen in Game 7." And he's going around the infield to every player: "Don't let us win today … don't let us win today."
Bittner: This is the worst part about it: I'm on my honeymoon for that whole thing. We're in Jamaica -- now, as I said, my wife's a Red Sox fan …
Mushok: So much for the [Laughs]
Bittner: Yankees win the first two games -- now, we're getting the feed on the TV. We're psyched! We're like, f--- the beach, we're gonna watch the goddamn game!
Casey: Yeah, yeah.
Bittner: We're watching the games, the Yankees win two, and every time we walked outside, there's all these little, like, beetles outside the door, and they just, bleep … bleep … bleep … bleep. And at night, you know, it puts you to sleep. But I kept thinking they were saying "sweep … sweep … sweep …" [Laughter]
So, I started doing that to my wife every night, I'm [going] sweep … sweep … sweep …
Casey: How was that acid? [Laughs]
Bittner: Yeah, it was nice until after the third game. So, I'm going, sweep … sweep … My wife's going, "Don't keep saying that, you're going to jinx yourself." Well …
Bolan: Yeah, I was living in Atlanta, and after Boston won the game -- the first one -- I'm looking at my friend, I was like, they're playing a little different. And you could just see, there was a body language and the confidence …
Mushok: They're loose.
Bolan: Yeah, and he's like, "Dude, Yankees are up 3-1." I'm like, I don't know, man, there could be a major collapse going on here. But, hey, if that's all you guys have to hang onto, man, that's fine with me. [Laughs]
Mushok: Believe it! Never done in the history [of the game], I'm hanging on to it!
Bittner: And you know what else wasn't done in the history of baseball, ever? Three grand slams [in one game], but who did that last week?
Bolan: [Laughs] And you guys played the Cardinals, right?
Bolan: You guys played the Cardinals, I'm like, they're going to kill the Cardinals, and then you swept the Cardinals, too.
Casey: Who, by the way, the nicest fans ever. I'm at every game in Yankee Stadium, I got a red adidas jacket that says Boston on the back in blue -- you know, every altercation you could probably have. And then I go out to St. Louis for the World Series, and the first guy I sit beside goes, "May the best team win!" I'm like, what! I can't come all the way [here] for that! [Laughter]
Mushok: I can't believe you said that, 'cause I've said that. You go, what do you remember about that game? I go, you know what I remember, how nice the people in St. Louis [were]. I go to a bar right next to the stadium, Red Sox shirt, Red Sox hat, sit down and they're like, "Ah, you guys are gonna win tonight, can I buy you a beer? We don't have a chance." I go, if you guys are in Boston, people are throwing cups of urine at you. [Laughter]
Casey: The only altercation I saw was right as the Red Sox were about to win -- actually, they had won, and as everyone was kind of gathering around the field, this security guard from Fenway that I know had lost his pass, and he was trying to get onto the field. One of the vice presidents from the Red Sox was kind of walking along the warning track, motioning to me -- keep following me, keep staying with me -- to get me to the door to get me onto the field. And I see this kid that I know, that works at Fenway, and he gets attacked by this St. Louis fan who just lost it, couldn't stand losing, and he's on the ground getting pummeled. And no other time in my life would I not …
Bittner: The security guy?
Casey: Yeah, he was not working there. He was a Fenway security guy, and he was out with the team. And I saw, there's my door to get on the field to celebrate 86 years of waiting, and there's this guy on the ground --
Bolan: Getting his ass kicked.
Casey: I'm just like, [motions stepping over] "Excuse me " [Laughter] I saw him a week later, I said, my man, I had to do it.
Bittner: "I didn't know that was you getting beat up!"
Mushok: "I would have helped ya!"
Casey: Oh, I didn't even lie.
The Life: That brings up a great point: being Red Sox fans --
Bittner: Yankee fans would do that, too.
The Life: When the Red Sox got into the Series, and it was obvious they were going to win -- then did win -- what was your reaction? Was there kind of a blankness, not knowing how to react?
Mushok: No, I was so stoked.
Casey: 'Cause I was there. Me and my buddy went out to St. Louis, and we were on the field. I filled my pockets with dirt from the pitcher's mound. I had this kind of running jacket on, with mesh in the pockets, and I walked back to the hotel -- and it was bulging out -- and I get back to the hotel and there's hardly any left. It was just dribbling out the whole time. [Laughter] It was like the little girl that leaves the breadcrumbs as a trail.
But when we got back into the hotel afterwards, we were sharing a room, we're lying on the beds, looking up at the ceiling going, "Uh … did that just happen?"
The Life: Disbelief, real disbelief. Same thing for you, Mike?
Casey: If was funny, 'cause when they turned it around, I remember we were on tour. We went to some bar, and it was a Monday night. I forgot where we were, and the guy at the place -- we had gone there early to watch the game when it started -- it was like, "Monday Night Football," and he went to change the game to "Monday Night Football," like, "This is my bread and butter!" I'm like, "Dude, are you f---ing kidding me, you're going to change this?"
And I remember, I had found a dollar on the ground that day, and I carried it -- and I'm not a superstitious guy -- and I actually still have it. But I carried it, and they won that day. And I brought it to St. Louis, and I had it with me the whole time.
Casey: We went from the Bronx to St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan and friggin' blessed ourselves.
Bolan: [Laughing] Nice.
Casey: We put holy water on the hats and everything, we were going the whole nine, man.
Mushok: Yeah! But, no, I just couldn't believe it. And I was more of -- now, now we can actually say we did this.
|Rachel Bolan of Skid Row.|
Bolan: Isn't it crazy, like, just as fans, I know we all do it, we're like, OK, I don't want to get up and take a p--- during this commercial 'cause I'm gonna f---ing ruin everything. I'm gonna ruin everything. [Laughter]
Casey: Oh, superstition.
Bolan: Oh, it's nuts! It's like, nope, I won't sip my beer.
Casey: Our singer will not walk onto the bus if we're watching a game, 'cause he's afraid -- like, he'll walk through and something [will happen] -- 'cause that's happened. He's totally oblivious, he doesn't like sports, he'll be walking by and the other team will hit a home run, like, you m-----f---er! What did you do![Laughter]
The Life: Mike, you're in a situation where your band is a band of Red Sox fans. You're the most fanatic …
Mushok: Yeah -- well, [drummer] Jon [Wysocki], who's not in the band anymore, was, too. Him and I would watch every game together, pretty much.
The Life: And Rachel, [guitarist] Snake [Sabo] is a Mets fan, but you don't really have any rivalry within your band.
Bolan: No, except when the Subway Series happened. And it was great.
Bittner: Our band's a different dynamic. But it's not four guys against one. It's two guys against one, and it's two [other] guys who jump on the bandwagon just to be d---s. [Laughter] Jon [Donais] and Matt [Bachand] don't give a s--- about baseball at all. Jon can't even tell you what a home run is, or what a triple is, or a double. But he sees that the fact that I get mad when the Red Sox win, so he's like, "Yeah, I'm a Red Sox fan!"
You don't even know about baseball, dude! All you know how to do is play six strings, that's all you know how to do.
Mushok: But that was me, too, up until probably '03 -- actually, no, it was probably about '02, [when] I became friends with Todd [Jones] -- 'cause I was that guy. I didn't play 10 hours a day like [Matt and Jon] obviously still do, you know what I mean? You don't get that good without -- those guys, I'm not saying me.
But I met Todd, and he was the coolest guy, and we became really good friends. And then I started watching him play baseball. And then he came to the Sox in '03, and I had a buddy of mine, Dave, on the road with us who was the biggest Red Sox fan ever. He's the one that kind of -- 'cause I wasn't [a fan]. I was a musician. My wife, we've been together since before the band started, 17 years, married for nine. And she's just like, "Who are you?" 'cause now I don't miss a game, you know what I mean? And now it's Bruins -- of course, I always watched football; I always loved football and watched the Patriots. But the baseball thing came on and she's just like, "Oh my God, 162 games, are you s----ing me? And then playoffs?"
Bolan: When I moved to Atlanta -- you know, I grew up in Jersey: turn on YES Network every night, watch every Yankee game of the year. Move to Atlanta, I thought everybody had YES Network. It didn't even dawn on me .
Bittner: Nope, TBS, m-----f---er.
Bolan: I get down there, I'm like, oh my God, everything's the Braves.
Casey: Yeah, but now with the computer, it's so much better. After the clubs will close in Europe, we'll have the laptop up against the wall on the windowsill outside, even if it's cold. I remember one time we were in an alley beside this club, we got the laptop up 'cause they're gone but you can still get the signal. And we're all gathered around -- it was like, Luxembourg or something -- it's like a bunch of people come down this alley from a bar, and they just stop. They're just like, "What are you doing?" We're like, watching baseball! [Laughter]
Mushok: It's the best thing -- Slingbox
Casey: Yeah, Slingbox.
Bolan: Slingbox or Justin.tv.
Bittner: I had the same thing happen to me last week, 'cause I was just down in Australia doing this drum clinic tour.
Mushok: Dude, it's the best 'cause it's like, late at night or early in the morning you can watch it.
Bittner: Yeah, we got into Melbourne a day early, and I'm walking around the city, and I walk by this outdoor bar and I see YES Network. I'm like, you gotta be kidding me.
Bolan: I know.
Bittner: And I had nothing to do that afternoon --
Mushok: Beer! [Laughter]
Bittner: Put [a] chair right there, started having the XXXX Gold coming my way, I'm gonna sit right here 'till this game's over.
Casey: By the flip side, there's this chain of bars in Sweden -- I forget what they're called -- and it's like an Irish bar, but it's like all Boston-themed. I think the guy, like, married a Swedish girl or vice versa and went there. We all go, "Whoa, it's all Boston!" You go in there like, you gonna put the game on? And they're like, "What?" [Laughter] Look at the walls, what do you mean you don't have the game on?
Bittner: We have skiing here …
The Life: So, conversely, we talked about the feeling when the Red Sox won in '04. With -- [to Bittner] I won't ask you, you don't know -- 27, right?
Bolan: Right. [Laughs]
The Life: Is it a different sort of euphoria when the Yankees win a championship because they haven't gone 86 years without winning?
Bolan: Well, man, just being the huge fan, if you win every year it's just as special. However, when Joe Torre left, I was really worried.
Bittner: I was bummed.
Bolan: 'Cause, honestly, I thought Don Mattingly was going to come in and coach. And I was really comfortable with that. They brought [Joe] Girardi in, who I loved as a catcher -- I f---ing loved him, Dwight Gooden …
Mushok: How do you feel about him now?
Bolan: You know what … I feel good, but that first year, man, I went to a bunch of games and I just watched him stand there with his arms crossed, watching and not making a f---ing decision.
Bittner: Yeah. Or not making the right decision.
Bolan: The whole thing was like, just pull him out of the game. I mean, he had a really bad year, whatever. But then he came, and he won the championship, which was cool. But …
Mushok: He still has that look about him, though, like a deer in the headlights, at times.
Bolan: He does, he really does.
Bittner: He looks like he doesn't know what to do, like he's uncomfortable.
Mushok: I don't know, I watch sometimes and I go, I'm not sure that guy knows what he's doing.
Bittner: I don't think he does either, because he knows the powers that be -- any move he makes may be the wrong one and he knows he's going to hear it.
Bolan: However, he did win a World Series, so it's like …
Bittner: He did, but so did Joe, and look at all the s--- that Joe went through.
Bolan: Well, Joe won a bunch, you know? But it … I like Joe Girardi.
Mushok: Well, I'll tell ya, I've seen the Yankees this year, when they play the Red Sox, and a lot of times it looks like a deflated team.
Casey: He's got big shoes to fill with Torre, so that's a no-win job.
Bolan: Oh, totally, dude. Totally. Joe Torre was awesome. He's classy …
Mushok: I love Torre, actually. I thought he was great, I agree.
Casey: I sat beside his sister at one of those games -- his sister's a nun, and I didn't know. At one point, I'm sitting in the same row, I said, "Sister, you know God's a Red Sox fan, right?" She says, "Oh no, son, he's a Yankees fan." [Laughter] And then I find out it's his sister.
Bittner: "How do you know that? Well, my brother "
Mushok: Holy smokes, that's crazy.
Bolan: I love Joe Torre. Joe Girardi, you know, when I see him, if you take a picture of him and put it in black and white, he looks like an old-timey baseball player, just gnarly-looking dude and s--- like that. But, you know
Mushok: I agree, like you hear with Theo [Epstein] and the talk of Theo possibly doing the Cubs thing, you know what I mean? I don't know, I think the way they have things now with [Terry] Francona, I mean, I think it's … s---'s working.
The Life: Not only the rivalry, but do you look at the teams and realize you're lucky because so many other markets in the country don't have the passion of the Yankees and Red Sox?
Bittner: I do think we're lucky because hands-down, all bulls--- and rivalry aside, we have the two best teams in baseball, and we always have.
Mushok: The Phillies are pretty good this year, but yeah.
Bolan: But they're not cool. [Laughs] You know what I mean?
Mushok: No, I'm with you, yeah. But, I gotta say, though, even just talking New England, who else can say in the last 10 years, three Super Bowls, two World Series, basketball, Stanley Cup …
Bittner: That's true, that's true.
Casey: My daughter's 9, and she's seen a s---load of parades, man. [Laughter]
Mushok: I'll tell you, my grandfather passed away before the Red Sox won, and he didn't see any of that, you know what I mean? And he watched every day, you know?
Casey: My grandfather was 86 when they won, and the first person I called from the field. That was the kind of s--- that happened. It was like, spiritual, like that HBO special when people were putting hats on their grandparents' graves and stuff. It's like, imagine that, going your whole life and never seeing the team win!
Bolan: Yeah … good point.
Mushok: You can't. And that's the thing: People in New England now have no idea, the younger generation, you know what I mean? And they expect it.
Casey: And that's the thing, why it matters so much more in baseball -- 'cause I'm probably a bigger hockey fan than anything. But baseball, that's like the family sport: it's summer, you're watching it with your grandparents, your parents, you know what I mean? And that's why I think there was that more of like a special [feeling]. I don't know if you'd see people for another sport going to put a hat on their grandfather's grave.
Bittner: But, see, that's the weird thing because I'm a hockey fan, too, but I'm a Bruins fan. I always have been, ever since I was a kid.
Casey: Well, you're really confused, then. [Laughter]
Bittner: I am, I am -- I've got a wife who's a Red Sox fan
Casey: Interview's over, I can't deal with this, I don't know [Laughter]
The Life: Your love of the Red Sox, is that just ingrained in you from childhood, just because that's what your family did?
Casey: Oh, I mean, my grandfather was friends with [Johnny] Pesky. After games, I would get to wait 'till everyone left the park and go out in centerfield and pretend I was Fred Lynn and dive around.
Mushok: Come on! Wow.
Casey: At the time, I didn't even realize -- and then you went through that point, as a teenager -- you know, losing to the Mets in '86 and all that stuff -- it made it kind of a, "Wow, I appreciate …"
Bolan: Another New York team. [Laughs]
Casey: But that's why I was like … I was like, the biggest little kid of all when it came back to finally winning, 'cause it made you really [appreciative], more so than anything being on the field.
Bolan: Sure, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Casey: Like, when we've got to do music videos or whatever we do at the park, we're like, running around, still like, What can I steal! They used to have the urinal in the [dugout]. It's not there anymore, they got a proper bathroom, but we did a rally there in '04 -- a fan rally, like we did a concert at the park, just a free concert the night before the playoffs. So, we were walking down with the instruments, right to go onstage, I saw that urinal going, "I gotta p--- in this urinal!" [Laughter]
I didn't have to p---, but I just had to p--- in that urinal, you know? [Laughter]
The Life: Not so much that it's Fenway Park, but how envious are the three of you that Ken's playing at his team's park?
Bolan: Oh, dude …
The Life: How much would you love to play at Yankee Stadium?
Bolan: That's major, that's major. It's something I couldn't even imagine doing -- I could imagine it, but it ain't gonna happen. [Laughs] Paul McCartney, my biggest influence, just did two nights at Yankee Stadium -- two f---ing nights. It was pretty cool.
The Life: Do you look at that and think, man, that would be cool someday
Mushok: They have that Big Four [show], too, in a couple weeks [which has since taken place Sept. 14].
The Life: Yeah, the Big Four with Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax.
Bolan: That's right.
Casey: Our roadie just quit us to go to Megadeth, just so he could try to work for them for those [Big Four] shows. Then he quit again to come back. I think he was stage manager or something. He guitar-techs for us. I think he was stage-managing for them, and then he quit. But he was like, "Come on, I just wanted to be on that tour!" [Laughs]
Bolan: As Red Sox fans, what's your most memorable lineup for those guys?
Casey: You know, if you want to just take out the championships, I mean, that '75 team, you know, 7 years old at the time, 6 years old, you're like, remembering that World Series. That's like, when you're first introduced to baseball, you know what I mean?
Bolan: Sure, yup.
Casey: To me, that was like, just so … getting to stay up and watch those games, that's kind of the lineup for me. But then I think of your teenage years, too, you know, and watching Dave Henderson hit the home run coming back against the Angels; when [Roger] Clemens pitched and how awesome that was, and being at all those games as a 16-, 17-year-old.
Me and my friend had one foot ready to step over and run onto the field, Game 7 when they knocked out the Angels and eventually went on to play the Mets. My buddy's father was a detail cop at Fenway, and he knew. We had one foot over and then just felt -- bam! -- on the back of our necks. He locks us in the souvenir stand that was facing out. [Laughter]
Mushok: Come on, really? [Laughs]
Casey: Yeah, so now, instead of being the first people to lead the party, we're locked in watching the whole party afterwards. He locked us in there for three hours.
Mushok: Oh, that's awesome. You have the best stories, dude! Holy s---.
The Life: How about the Yankees?
Bolan: Thurman Munson -- Munson, [Chris] Chambliss --
Casey: Bastard! Thurman Munson, my most hated Yankee.
Bolan: [Willie] Randolph, Dent, [Graig] Nettles.
Casey: Oh, that's a great lineup.
Bolan: Then there was Roy White, Mickey Rivers and Reggie Jackson. That, to me I just remember like, everyone running on the field and Chris Chambliss hitting the f---ing home run [to win the 1976 AL pennant].
Bittner: I agree with everything Rachel just said because that's when I was a kid, and I saw those games -- first time I went to Yankee Stadium, 1977, like literally right field, and I'm just yelling at Reggie Jackson the whole entire time: "Reggie! Reggie! Why is he not turning around?"
Bolan: Reggie bar! [Laughs]
Casey: That was a tough team to like as a Red Sox fan.
Roger Lotring is an author, freelance writer and radio show host based in Connecticut.