Baseball: Yankees, Red Sox trading verbal jabs early
By Dan Barbarisi
FAIRFIELD, Conn. ó Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester sat across from a man who, on the other 364 days of the year, is one of his arch-nemeses: New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain.
Tuesday night, meeting in the Connecticut no-man’s land where fans of both teams live uneasily together, Chamberlain and Lester seemed like fast friends. In front of a crowd of cheering Yankee and Red Sox fans at Sacred Heart University, the two pitchers ribbed each other about what it’s like pitching in each other’s ballparks, and opened up about the ins and outs of life in the majors.
Lester recalled his time in Yankee Stadium fondly.
“If I had a quarter for every time somebody said ‘You (stink!)’ in the bullpen, I’d be pretty rich now,” Lester said to Chamberlain.
Chamberlain soon came back with a charge about the cramped visitors’ clubhouse at Fenway Park, where the lockers are just a little too close together for his liking.
“It smells like 70-year-old Pine Sol, because they don’t ever change the carpet,” Chamberlain said to laughs and jeers from the largely pro-Yankee crowd of over 1,000.
Lester shrugged it off. “That’s Fenway,” he said, and he added that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
The crowd at Sacred Heart was two-thirds Yankee fans, and they weren’t shy about showing it. When the Yankees’ offseason spending spree ó $423.5 million for Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett ó was discussed, the audience showed their appreciation. Lester, like many Red Sox fans, he too had thought that the Red Sox were going to land Teixeira, and was shocked when it fell apart.
“I thought he would (sign with us) for a little while, but obviously we didn’t have enough money,” he said, keeping a straight face for a moment before breaking into a smile.
“We offered him $750 billion and they offered him $800 billion, so obviously we didn’t offer him enough money,” Lester said, exaggerating on the Red Sox’ offer.
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