By Jim Caple
Page 2

Editor's note: Former Red Sox manager and ex-Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer is providing Page 2 with daily scouting reports and analysis of the American League Championship Series between New York and Boston ...

"All season long, but especially this past weekend after the Yankees beat the Twins and the Red Sox swept the Angels, everywhere I go, people all say the same thing to me. 'Zim,' they say, 'your fly is unzipped.' It's getting to be kind of embarrassing. Luckily, I'm usually wearing underpants.

"The next thing they say is, 'Who you rooting for, Zim? The Yanks or the Sox?' Well, that's a tough one because I worked for both teams and I hate 'em both. Don't get me wrong -- I love Joe Torre, and mark my words, that Jeter kid is really going to be something someday, but my problem with the Yankees is I can't stand that miserable SOB Steinbrenner. Sure, he spends a lot of money to make his team a winner, but he doesn't show any of his employees any respect.

"Like, he used to call me into meetings just so he could demean me. This one time, he had me come up to the front offices where the marketing people were considering some new magnets for a giveaway promotion and they wanted to test them out. So Steinbrenner started slapping them all over my head, saying that the magnets weren't any good unless they were powerful enough to stick to the steel plate in my skull. So pretty soon I've got all these magnets with the Yankee logo stuck to my head, and Steinbrenner is telling his marketing people, 'Sure, it looks good now. But how will the magnet look when it's attached to something smaller, like a refrigerator door?' Hell, I should have kicked his butt last October, too, when I was busy teaching that punk Pedro a lesson. Although I have to admit, he was right about the magnet.

"The problem is, I hate the Red Sox, too. I averaged 93 wins a season from 1977-80 and those SOBs still fired me as manager. I see how a lot of Boston fans are feeling pretty cocky and maybe they should, what with Schilling and Pedro and Manny and that powerful offense and Mariano Rivera being in doubt. Well, I felt pretty confident, too, when we had a 14-game lead over the Yankees in 1978, and the next thing I know, Bucky Freakin' Dent is taking Mike Torrez over the Green Monster and so many fans are blaming me for burning out the pitching staff in August that even Teddy Kennedy is giving me the finger and shouting, 'You suck!'

"And hey, I'm sure John McNamara felt pretty confident when he forgot to send in a defensive replacement for Bill Buckner with a two-run lead in the 10th inning. And Grady Little probably felt pretty confident when he left Pedro in there last fall. I remember right when Grady did that, Joe leaned over to me on the bench and said, 'Tell me, Zim. When you manage the Red Sox, does the team's medical plan cover all the costs for the lobotomy?' I thought it was kind of a cheap shot so I didn't say nothing. But the truth of the matter is that because the Red Sox don't have as much money as the Yankees, there is a co-pay.

"So I guess I'm saying that as long as the Red Sox are the Red Sox and the Yankees are the Yankees and my good friend Joe is in the dugout, my money is on New York. But personally, I'll be rooting for the Cardinals to win it all come the World Series. Hell, if ESPN wasn't paying me to be an analyst I would just as soon watch 'Murder, She Wrote' this week instead.

"Now, that Angela Lansbury. Is she a hot tomato, or what?"

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com




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WHAT WOULD ZIM DO?