When 23-year-old me received orders to the city of Yuma, I had no idea where that was. Honestly, geography isn’t my strong suit.  I assumed it was somewhere in Japan.

“Arizona!” The master sergeant bellowed, sensing my confusion. I sat down, immediately expecting the worst: snakes outside my barracks door, camel spiders in the workplace, and venomous scorpions hiding in my boots.

Next stop — Yuma

Obviously, I was right about everything. And for added nightmare fuel, the aptly named ‘Yuma Scorpions’ were Arizona’s Winter League affiliate, discovered one night at a Buffalo Wild Wing’s by bumping into their hall of fame slugger, Jose Canseco. Between B-dubs and the popular Burgers ‘N Beer hangout, there would at least be a place to watch baseball, eat poorly and drink yourself good-looking. Most Marines can afford to do that, not because of our paychecks, but because of our PT standards.

However, not everyone can go on burger and beer benders.  A good example — one C.C. Sabathia. He who just last night took to the media to vent about the Nunez bunt attempt. Surely, it had nothing to do with forcing the hefty lefty to field his position.

Bosox great offers Sabathia an easy Rx

So, when the former Ace openly criticized Boston’s deadline acquisition for laying one down, Boston’s eight-time All Star, and Red Sox icon, 1978 MVP Jim Rice stepped to the proverbial plate.

“What he has a right to do is fulfill his contract, lose some weight, and go out there and pitch.” A visibly frustrated Rice fired back. Heads across Sox Nation silently nodded in acknowledgment in response to the South Carolina native. Is there finally some tension between the clubs?

Of course, the rivalry needs not be reignited between the stubborn, if not arrogant, dueling fan bases. On a club level is where it’s been lacking. With only three head-to-head games remaining and the teams separated by a mere 4 1/2, heading into September needs to have a stress factor. Passion and grit drive the rivalry on, despite the teams not meeting in the playoffs for 13 years. Remember A-Rod’s string of F-you’s to Varitek, resulting in a mitt to face collision, and Don Zimmer tumbling to the ground by the hands of a Pedro Martinez special delivery? That’s what I miss!

Tension on the field

Currently the East, Central and West division leaders’ closely contested records continue to resemble the early seconds of ‘The Price Is Right’s’ popular Plinko game. Four teams within 3 1/2 games of each other, including the Bronx Bombers, are duking it out for the two Wild Card spots. With Boston and New York with a lot to play for over the final 30 games, expect an elevated level of intensity between today and Sunday. As far as the on-field dramatics that span a full century? For now, the Rice-Sabathia jab will just have to suffice.