Originally written on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 11/16/14

The Red Sox and Yankees have been hit with injuries this season but when you look at their Division standings, New York's in first place and Boston last place. "WHY?" If you watched this weekend's series from Fenway Park the answer was right in front of you, "age" trumped "youth."

If you watched any of the games this weekend you understood why the team's are where they're at. Since opening day Boston's had 30 players on and off the DL while the Yankees have had 21. Some players have been on the DL several times. The Red Sox have been playing without their stars Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, and just recently traded to the Chicago White Sox, Kevin Youkilis, who was in an out of their line-up with serious back problems.

The New York Yankees have also lost key players. The biggest loss for New York, Mariano Rivera, without a doubt the best 9th inning closer in baseball history. He's lost for the season. Add starter Andy Pettitte,(fractured left ankle), along with Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, CC Sabathia out with a groin injury, and you have to wonder how New York has the best win record in baseball and lead their division.

The answer's simple. New York's roster's filled with players who for the most part are on the down-side of their baseball careers. Players other teams gave up on. Players who were All-Stars and starters in their prime for other teams, now relegated to fill-in roles, and happy to still wear the uniform of a major league team. Players who like fine French-wine, have aged graciously and still rise to all occasions when called upon. Players like former Atlanta Braves great Andruw Jones, who many said was washed-up years ago. This weekend he sure didn't play like someone washed-up. Or how about Mariano Rivera's 9th inning replacement, Rafael Soriano, who Tampa gave up on in 2010. The Yankees signed Soriano in 2011 to a three year contract worth $35 million. He didn't look to me like any washed-up player this weekend as he shut down Red Sox hitters. The Yankees had other so call "washed-up" players in their line-up this weekend. Many said Derek Jeter was washed-up several years ago. Jeter doesn't look like any "over the hill" player to me,(even when he dropped a soft pop-up in the infield). Shows you how much they know about the game.

On the other hand this weekend the Red Sox had a line-up of players who will be back in the minor-leagues before most Fenway fans learn how to pronounce, or spell their names. Their roster's top-heavy with players from their triple A team up the road in Rhode Island or double A team in Portland,Maine. Some showing promise during the weekend, most not up to the task of putting across runs when they needed to. But Boston can't put all the blame for losing three games to New York on their minor-league replacements. Their so-called pitching "stars" Josh Beckett and Jon Lester didn't earn their money this weekend. In fact they haven't earned their money since last season. They need to return a big part of their salary to the Sox front office.

The New York Yankees have always "respected" players with "experience." For more than a decade the Yankees have signed players other teams said are "washed-up.." For years the average age in the big leagues was 27. The average Yankee player age,32. For years baseball experts have said "age" would be New York's downfall. The Yankee front office and fans just ignore all that "age" talk. Now here we are at the season's half-way point and the "old" New York Yankees are occupying first place in their Division and own the best win record in all of baseball, while the "youthful" Red Sox are in last place wondering when will they ever get out of the cellar?

The "TALE OF TWO TEAMS"- one "young"- "one old"- teams with very different philosophies - very different results - on display this weekend on one of baseball's greatest diamonds, Fenway Park. "It doesn't get much better than that!".

Larry Upton
"Upton on Sports"-source: sicom/nydailynews/

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