Friday, October 31, 2003
Manny Ramirez cleared waivers according to the Duke on ESPNRadio.
I have to go into work, so I won't have access to a computer until about 7. More news later.
Sometimes it's tough coming up with things to write. Now is one of those times.
You see, the whole Manny Ramirez situation is not worth really talking about because there is only speculation at this point. We don't really know the motives, or the behind the scenes crap that is going on, and to say otherwise is just kind of foolish.
I will say a few points about it though:
- No one in baseball is irreplaceable
- Manny Ramirez is one of the five best hitters in baseball
- People who say this is a great move because Manny is a headcase and a detriment to the club house are idiots. These are the same people who think that Pedro should have pitched against the A's when he was in the hospital, and think that Trot Nixon is baseball incarnate. I get it, you don't like uppity Dominicans.
- On Manny Ramirez's end, this is not about money. For those out of Boston, or for those who have took their "Selfish Millionaire Manny" pills this morning, there was a column written by Dan La Batard after Ramirez signed with Boston. The following came out in the column :
- Manny had a $30 fake diamond earring because he didn't see the point in spending the money on more
- He was driving a Taurus when he signed with the Red Sox
- He didn't think that he could afford to move to Boston full time
- When he traded in his Taurus, there was an uncashed paycheck in the glove compartment from five months ago
Now I think it proves that Manny doesn't really care about the money, and that Manny is a space cadet. That’s all.
I still don't know the motives of the Red Sox front office, nor do I know the involvement of Jeff Moorad, Manny's agent.
As an aside, this is what is really wrong with baseball. The need to find a villian in every story rather then to cover it. I will say that most of the writers have been fair, at least the ones I read. The real problem standing in the way of the enjoyment of baseball is the fact that everything around Boston is a soap opera. Just let us watch the friggen games.
Also, Joe Morgan is hosting his regular baseball chat this morning on ESPN.com. This question got one of the stupidest answers I've ever seen:
Aaron (Cleveland): I can understand the Red Sox putting Manny on waivers, because they'd get his salary back to use on other players, but I've heard they'll trade him for virtually nothing and pay half of his salary. Are they nuts??? Regardless of his issues, he's still one of the top two or three hitters in the AL.
Joe Morgan: (11:08 AM ET ) I can't answer what they will or won't do. I don't think they'll trade him and pay half. I don't know exactly what they are doing. Last year they used a bullpen by committee, I don't know what they're doing.
If you've read this site enough, you know how I feel about comments like the bullpen one, so I won't rehash why he's a jackass. I will tell you why Morgan completely misses the boat here. His Big Red Machine teams won baseball games using closer by committee. Someone should tell Little Joe that he is propagating a myth. I sent in a question about it, but I don't expect it to be answered.
Sorry about the bitterness today. I got on a roll, and bang...vitriol. I'll post a few more times this weekend I think, with a readjusted roster for you to look at.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Manny Ramirez was placed on irrevocable waivers by the Red Sox last night, according to the New York Times, Boston Herald, and Providence Journal. The ESPN story is right here.
Essentially what that means is that any team can put in a claim for Ramirez, and the Red Sox can't withdraw the waivers. The team that claims him gets Manny and his remaining contract. If Ramirez is claimed, then the Red Sox receive no compensation.
I'm not going to tell you what I think until he either clears waivers or is claimed.
Since the free agent and roster stuff is pretty contigent on Ramirez being on the roster, I'm going to wait on that too. I'll have something on something later today.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Free agency has replaced drinking as my favorite thing to do in the off season. ESPN has a list of free agents right here, with the guys bolded having filed already.
And here is a list of the top 16 Free Agents:
Mike Cameron cf SEA
Luis Castillo 2b FLA
Bartolo Colon sp ATL
Keith Foulke rp OAK
Eddie Guardado rp MIN
Vladimir Guerrero rf MON
Javy Lopez c ATL
Greg Maddux sp ATL
Kevin Millwood sp PHI
Rafael Palmiero 1b/dh TEX
Andy Pettitte sp NYY
Sidney Ponson sp SFG
Ivan Rodriguez c FLA
Gary Sheffield rf TAM
Shannon Stewart lf MIN
Miguel Tejada ss ANA
There will be some various non-tenders that might shove their way into the top 16, but that seems to be the creme of the free agent crop.
The biggest news of course would be where these 16 warriors of the diamond land. Part of figuring out this mess in the off season is figuring out who can buy. These are the teams that have said that they will add payroll this off season:
Anaheim, Baltimore, San Diego, and Tampa Bay
Add in the rich teams:
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, New York Yankees, and Seattle
This should get interesting, eh? I'll probably take a day off tomorrow, but on Thursday, I'll be back with a vengeance, with who I think will go where, and who the Red Sox should go after.
Monday, October 27, 2003
ESPN is reporting that Grady Little will not be retained as the manager of the Boston Red Sox next season.
This might seem like semantics, but it isn't. The Red Sox are not firing Grady Little. They are declining the club option for 2004. There is a major, yet subtle difference there. Think of it like this:
Jeff Suppan comes over from Pittsburgh. He pitches ok, nothing special, but nothing horrible (he was the 87th best AL pitcher with Boston, 55th best pitcher in baseball Boston and Pittsburgh combined, between Kyle Loshe and Syndey Ponson w/Baltimore). This is below expectation of the front office. Now instead of picking up Suppan's option for 2004, they buy him out. They didn't release him (fired), they just let him walk away.
That is what Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein are doing with Grady Little.
From all accounts, Grady is a nice guy. The players love him, and the press likes him. However, the only public support of him have been two guys that aren't Red Sox right now (John Burkett, and Todd Walker, who are free agents), and Manny Ramirez, who reportedly cried when Shea Hillenbrand was traded. Grady's faults are archived on this site and many others. He was clueless when it came to the bullpen, and something that annoyed me was that when he made a decision, he never took blame for it not working out. Even when the death knell was released upon him from Aaron Boone, Grady said that leaving in Pedro, and throwing Wakefield to the lions was the right call.
Don't cry for Grady Little, folks. He’s a folk hero among baseball people now. Those evil statheads, run by Grand Poobah stathead Bill James have dispatched another Good Baseball Man. Little will get a job soon enough. There are rumors swirling around Baltimore saying he will be down in Charm City soon enough. Grady Little will fall on his feet, and will soon get a job in baseball. Maybe then he can be another ghost that can haunt the Red Sox. Or maybe he won't learn or change, as Good Baseball Men are, and he can be happily staring into space as his starting pitcher dies on the mound, and there is no one up in the bullpen.
That will always be Grady Little's baseball legacy in Boston. Grinning like an idiot, while the world collapses.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Here is what the Red Sox have, already, going into next year.
c - Jason Varitek r/r 32 $6.7 m
1b - Kevin Millar r/r 32 $3.3 m
3b - Bill Mueller b/r 33 $2.1 m
ss - Nomar Garciaparra r/r 30 $11.5 m
lf - Manny Ramirez r/r 32 $20.5 m
cf - Johnny Damon l/l 30 $8.0 m
sp - Pedro Martinez rhp 32 $17.5 m
sp - Tim Wakefield rhp 37 $4.35 m
rp - Ramiro Mendoza rhp 32 $3.6 m
rp - Alan Embree lhp 34 $2.75 m
25th man (bench/rp) -
options held - Derek Lowe rhp 31 $5.0 m ($0.5 m buy out)
Bobby Howry rhp 30 $2.5 m ($0.2 m buy out)
Total players - 10
2004 Salary - $80.3 m
Sunk costs -$1.2 m (minimum paid to Lowe and Howry, and $0.5 m paid to Suppan for buyout)
Total Expendatures - $81.5 m
Players who are arbitration ellegible:
Adrian Brown - 3rd year
Jeremy Giambi - 5th year
Damian Jackson - 5th year
Gabe Kapler - 5th year
Byung-hyun Kim - 4th year
Lou Merloni - 5th year
Doug Mirabelli - 5th year
Trot Nixon - 5th year
David Ortiz - 5th year
Ryan Rupe - 4th year
Scott Sauerbeck - 4th year
Scott Williamson - 5th year
Not yet eligible, but on the 40 man:
Jorge de la Rosa
Jeff Suppan (option declined)
Friday, October 24, 2003
Just a quick hit today, because I'm working on what I want the Boston Red Sox to look like next year. That should be up either tomorrow night or Sunday morning.
*Joe Torre finally decided that Alfonso Soriano needs a wake up call. Of course, he's played like shit since July, so Torre was a little slow on the up take on that one.
*Same for Jason Giambi. The only difference is Giambi will be playing Saturday in the Bronx. Soriano probably won't, unless its a pinch hitting appearence.
*Grady Little doesn't think he wants to come back. That's like getting fired, only yelled "You can't fire me, I quit!" at your boss.
*I have the rankings done for all the pitchers in baseball done. I don't know how I'm going to post that here yet, because it'll be tough to abbriviate all the names into 6 letters. I might just put another page on the side. As a taste, the best starters by league were Livan Hernandez and Roy Halladay, the best relievers were Billy Wagner and Damaso Marte. The top Red Sox were Pedro Martinez (#2 AL) and Mike Timlin (#14 AL).
*Outkast's Hey Ya is catchy as hell.
*In the "Who Will We Hate Next?" contest, the following names have been submitted:
One more week to go.
I'll be back this weekend with the thing I'm working on. I actually think I'm going to break it into two parts, what they have and what they should do.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
In Roger Clemens Final Start, he got knocked around a little bit early. After throwing a pitch high and tight to IRod (think the same kind of pitch that he threw to Manny Ramirez in ALCS Game 3), Rodriguez singled to right. Then he worked a full count to wunderkind Miguel Cabrera, mixing in some fastballs, sliders, and a brush back pitch (think Pedro to Karim Garcia, only in the front instead of the back, and head high rather then shoulder high). Cabrera roped a homer to right. Clemens then gave up three straight singles to Jeff Conine, Mike Lowell, and Derek Lee, the last scoring Conine. Clemens settled down after then and tossed 6 shutout innings.
Yankees' first run was scored on a Aaron Boone sacrifice fly in the second. Then Carl Pavano shut down the Bombers for the remainder of the game. The Marlins celebrated the 3-1 Game 4 victory with booze and women.
Actually, those skanky ho's Mystique and Aura showed up, and after a Ruben Sierra (!) two run triple (!!), the score was 3-3 and the folks in Miami were treated to Free Baseball by Ugueth Urbina. Long story short, the Marlins held the Yankees for 3 more innings, and in the bottom of the 12th, Jeff "Spicoli" Weaver surrendered a home run to Alex "Sucks less the other one" Gonzalez. There was much rejoicing in South Beach.
I was going to write "It was a good game, blah blah blah," but in reality I think I would be insulting your intelligence to say otherwise. It was a World Series game decided in the 12th inning with a home run by a light hitting shortstop off someone who hasn't pitched in three months.
Now something that pisses me off. I will say right here and now that I am jealous of Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan, Steve Lyons and their ilk. Not only did they play professional baseball, but they get to stay around it and analyze it for a living. What pisses me off is that they make the game less enjoyable.
They are very good about technical baseball. However, when it comes to baseball theory, quite frankly, there are many, many people who could do it better then them. I really think that Morgan, McCarver et al. really don't know what wins ballgame. They talk about bunting, moving the runner over, productive outs, hustle, leadership and character. In other words, things that can't be measured. Intangibles. And they have their poster boy, Derek Jeter.
I like Jeter as a player. He is a very good hitter, and he is an excellent baserunner. However listening to the analysts, he turned into a demagogue once the calendar turns to October. These analysts turn into hero-worshiping sycophants whenever he does anything in the playoffs. Here seem to be the arguments:
Myth 1: He raises his game in October
Regular season: .317/.389/.462/.851
Myth 2: His leadership has helped carry the Yankees to four World Series titles
The definition of something that is intangible is that you can't measure it. However, I find that argument dubious when such players as Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Wade Boggs, Tim Raines, Chili Davis, Jorge Posada, and David Justice have been his teammates. All are known as outstanding ballplayers. I think their skills combined had much more to do with the Yankees successes then the leadership of a shortstop.
Myth 3: Jeter is an outstanding shortstop
This is most the infuriating myth, because there is a lot of intellectual dishonesty involved in it. The most common thing I've heard this post season is "Bouncing ball right by a diving Jeter". The numbers have said that he is a below average defender for a long time, but now they say he's the worst in baseball. If you watch him play, you see slow rollers go under his glove all the time. Either the analysts see this and still feed the monster, or they don't notice it. If they do, then they are purposefully misleading their audience. If they don't see it, then they should lose their jobs, due to severe incompetence.
Myth 4: Jeter is Mr. Clutch/has outstanding character.
There is no such thing as a clutch hitter, only clutch hits. Look in the BaseballProspectus archives for opinions that are more cognizant then mine. They already said it better.
I do not know Derek Jeter. I've never met him, but from what I hear from his teammates, he is a good guy. Something has been nagging me all year though. The first game of the year, he slid hands-first into third base and separated his shoulder on Ken Huckaby's kneepad. I read a article from the Toronto Sun at the time about Huckaby wanting to apologize to Jeter. He wasn't allowed in the locker room. He called and then Jeter blew him off. Personally, I think thatâ€™s a pretty asshole thing to do, considering the injury was Jeter's fault. When I read that, my opinion on Capt. Intangibles changed.
Myth 5: Jeter is a heads up baseball player.
He slid shoulder first into the catcher, separating it and losing 6 weeks. He watched from home plate last night as Luis Castillo and Alex Gonzalez spun a pretty double play on him. This whole reputation is built on the fact that he is a great baserunner, and that play he made on Jeremy Giambi in 2001. He's done some stupid things on a diamond that players have been bashed for. Not Jeter though.
It might seem like I'm picking on Capt. Intangibles, but I don't think I am. Analysts should let his play speak for itself rather then elevate Jeter to a God-like status because they like him better then Luis Gonzalez.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Nice pitching job last night by Dontrelle Willis, Chad Fox and Braden Looper, ruining another terrific start by Josh Beckett. Beckett of course was saddled with the loss, dropping him to 1-2 in the playoffs. Man, this kid sure can't win the big game.
Last night's rain-delayed hypeduel ended up a cluncker as the inability of the Marlin relievers to keep Yankees off the bases made a tight 1-1 contest a 6-1 laugher.
The Yankees had 14 base runners (6 h, 6 bb, 2 hbp), the Marlins had nine (8 h, 1 bb). The Yankees collected 16 bases (2 singles, 2 doubles, 2 homers), the Marlins tallied 10 (5 singles, 3 doubles, 1 passed ball minus 1 sacrifice and 1 caught stealing). The Marlins' only walk was an intentional free pass to Juan Pierre. Speed, energy and enthusiasm might help in Gammoball, but in real baseball, the Yankees won last night by getting guys on base, not making unnecessary outs, and getting extra base hits. But at least the Marlins have energy.
That rant wasn't the point of posting today. The point today was that I am actively campaigning for Grady Little to be fired. I've never been a big Little fan, but last Thursday night was the straw that broke the camel’s back. His complete inability to manage a bullpen has cost the Red Sox all season, and it finally broke the team. For the record, Little made three bad mistakes in Game 7. He left gassed Pedro in, he left Embree in for one hitter, and then he used Wakefield rather then his best available pitcher in a tie game (Williamson). In reality, some friends and I are thinking about filing a class action malpractice suit on behalf of the Red Sox Nation. Grady needs to go.
So right here, I'm conducting a little manager search. I'm calling it the Who Will We Hate Next? Search. Here's what we have to do. I'm going to compile all the names I hear around the campfire, and post them, with a little bio, either today or tomorrow. Then I need all the residents of The House that Dewey Built to e-mail me at House of Dewey with your thoughts. I will be printing people's reactions and choices as we look at who the next manager of the Boston Red Sox should be.
Our endorsement of course will mean nothing, but I think it is a good way to see how the fans and management group think in regards to team management.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Today the World Series returns to Miami for the first time since Craig Counsell scored on Edgar Renteria's single to center. In 1997. Just to take you back, here was the line up for the Fish on that day, and where they are now:
Devon White - cf (retired/Milwaukee 2001)
Edgar Renteria - ss (St Louis)
Gary Sheffield - rf (Atlanta)
Darren Dalton - 1b (retired/Florida 1997)
Moises Alou - lf (Cubs)
Bobby Bonilla - 3b (retired/St Louis 2001)
Charles Johnson - c (Colorado)
Craig Counsell - 2b (Arizona)
Al Lieter - sp (Mets)
Other Marlins in that game:
Jeff Conine - Florida
John Cangelosi - retired/Colorado (1999)
Jay Powell - Texas
Greg Zaun - Houston
Dennis Cook - Didn't play in 2003 due to injury/Anaheim
Cliff Floyd - Mets
Kurt Abbott - retired/Atlanta (2001)
Antonio Alfonseca - Cubs
Felix Heredia - Yankees
Jim Eisnereich - Los Angeles (1998)
Other fun Marlins facts...They've never lost a playoff series. They have won the World Series every time they've finished over .500. And the year their manager was born, the team that won the Series was the Philadelphia Athletics.
That whole exercise was fun, no? In the span of 11 years, the Marlins have been Devil Rays south, and every once in a while, finding themselves in a World Series. And considering their brief history, the Marlins have evoked some pretty crazy emotion. They were loved as a Cinderella story when they won, hated when the sold off their team to the highest bidder. Of their three owners, two of them have been pretty terrible guys in Wayne Huizenga and Jeffrey Loria. All and all, the Marlins have had a pretty interesting history, all things considered.
And tonight they face off the team with the history in Major League baseball, with the World Series tied at 1-1. This has the makings of the best game of the series so far, with a Josh Beckett/Mike Mussina match up. Beckett has never pitched against the Yankees, and Mussina has amassed a statistically insignificant 0-1 36.00 in 2.0 innings in the last four years. Beckett has been pitching excellently in this offseason, maybe the best stretch in his career. Mussina has been pitching well also, but he's been struck by gopheritis.
Actually the case of Mussina, because of the city he plays in, has been deemed soft, and not a "big game pitcher," whatever that means. If you look at balls in play, Mussina's era this postseason would be: 1.61. That's his ERA when he keeps the ball in play. The two ways to look at this is that Mussina was right that he only controls the 60'6" he has to work with. The other is that in the playoffs, he chokes and gives up more homers.
I think honestly that Mussina doesn't get scared under the bright lights of New York Postseason play. The dingers surrendered were to Manny Ramirez (no shame), David Ortiz (no shame), Trot Nixon (one of the best hitters against righties in baseball), and 2 by Todd Walker (see: Ricardo Rincon). There is no one on Florida's team that has Ortiz or Ramirez's power, save Mike Lowell, and the Fish have problems with righties anyway, never mind one of the best in the game.
All and all, Florida's chances lay in Beckett's effectiveness and Pierre/Castillo's ability to get on base in front of Rodriguez and Lee. New York just needs to give Mussina runs and the Stanford Kid needs to keep the ball in the ball park.
Josh Beckett is fast becoming the Official Marlins Pitcher of Dewey's House. The Yankees are the Official Team of pissing me off. Unfortunately I'm gonna go home pissed tonight, as Mussina keeps the ball out of the dark Florida sky, and Beckett wonders why he keeps getting the best pitcher on the other team. New York 3, Florida 1.
On to less pressing matters, this was in the Boston Globe today:
"As much as I love some of the Marlins' players and root for them to win, I have no interest in watching this series," Henry said in an e-mail statement last night. "The only interest I currently have in baseball is to prepare for next season. The supportive communications I have received from fans has been shocking and has stirred me greatly -- emotionally.
"Initially, I thought New Englanders would just finally throw up their hands. But their level of commitment and resolve is astonishing and deserves our full attention to moving this franchise forward without a break. It shows you how little I know about the toughness of this region. And it shows me how tough I need to be in making sure that we accomplish our goals. So I'm riding their `wave,' so to speak. They've given me the energy to move forward without having to get away from it all. I thought I would have to get away from it all to recharge and start again. But they have refocused me. And I can tell you that Theo [Epstein] and Larry [Lucchino] did not take a one-day or even a half-day break this week. I don't think they needed an external force to recharge themselves. This franchise is in very good shape with these two leading it.
"How amazing is it, that even the angriest/saddest/most broken-hearted fans offer thanks and remain determined to see this team prevail? It's astonishing. I'm not listening to the radio, so maybe things are different there. I just know what comes directly to me.
"There isn't anything I wouldn't do for these people. You know, there isn't anything these people wouldn't do for the Red Sox. We owe them."
Only time will tell if John Henry will live up to that e-mail, but at least he's saying the right things so far.
I was going to use the remaining space here to review Skin, but this entry is running long. I'll just post five quick notes I took on the show:
I liked it enough to watch again next Monday.
1. Kids are whiny little bitches
2. The DA is a douche
3. Ron Silver plays the part of "sympathetic pornographer" well.
4. The acting is pretty wooden, save Silver, but the writing is pretty good.
5. The camera work is cinema quality. The closest comp I can think of is Stigmata. Its actually distracting at times.
6. Actually might have a longer shelf life then I thought originally.
Enjoy the game tonight.
Monday, October 20, 2003
I am back, my brothers.
It took a few days, but I think I'm finally over the Very Bad Thing from Thursday night. Actually, the lack of baseball on my end was refreshing, and I think I'm ready to tackle the minimum 15 days until the Hot Stove season kicks off.
First the World Series. Judging by a couple of e-mails, some people think I'm showing an anti-Yankee bias, and severe sour grapes by not covering the World Series in depth. First off, I know that everyone has an anti-Yankee bias, so I can't comment really. Secondly, there are some sour grapes, but I just couldn't bring myself to watching two games at Yankee Stadium that should be at Fenway Park. Starting with game 3, I will be watching again, and giving you the same great fast food analysis you have grown to love.
Ok, now on to the Red Sox. Right now, I'm working on my off season preview, which include my "Recipe for a Perfect World." These are moves I would like to see done to make this team the best it can be. I hope that I will have the majors part all in place by Friday.
Right now, I will be talking about two things that aren't related to baseball at all. In fact, they are basketball items.
If you like college basketball and you live in New England keep your eye out this year. There is a mini-renaissance happening on the hardcourt. UConn is a favorite to win the national title. Boston College and Providence College are solid teams. Brown might steal the Ivy title. And for the first time since 1998-1999, URI has expectations. The Rams return all but two from the 20-11 squad from last year, and are adding some pretty good looking recruits. The New England hoops scene looks pretty entertaining this year if you like college hoop.
If you like the guys that are paid (Pro Hoops), today is a pretty shitty day to be a Celtics fan. Antonie Walker (who I love) and Tony Delk (who I don't) were traded to Dallas for Raef LaFrentz, Chris Mills, Jiri Welsch and a 1st round pick.
Let that sink in for a second.
Danny Angie just made his first trade as the bossman of the C's. The trade he wanted to make was to take his second best player, one of the top 40 guys in the league, and trade him for flotsam and a guy who hasn't been good since he was at Kansas. All dreams I had of the Celtics sneaking into the Finals this year are all but gone.
I can understand why people don't like Cyber 'Toine. He chucks, he styles, and he gets taken out of his game sometimes. But he works his ass off on the court, and he is the only thing that keeps Paul Pierce alive during games.
By the way, Pierce will now be quadruple teamed this season.
Last year the Celtics needed a third scorer. Now they need a second. Thanks Danny. Don't you have to resign to spend more time with your family now?
Now that all that is out of my system, tomorrow, I will be previewing game 3, as well as diving into a little bit of pop culture by giving you a review of Skin. I figured I would do that since the commercials are run every half inning during the Series.
Saturday, October 18, 2003
As I'm sure you guys can understand, I don't have the heart to post a full series preview.
My pick is Yankees 4-2, DeweVision picks Yankees 4-1.
I'll be building my perfect world this weekend, and I hope to post it either Monday or Tuesday.
Friday, October 17, 2003
First off, I would like to offer congratulations to the New York Yankees and their fans for winning the ALCS.
The Yankees won this game, and by extension the series, by taking advantage of perhaps the most heinous mistake of the year by the soon to be ex-manager of the Boston Red Sox, Grady Little.
Going into the bottom of the eight inning, Pedro was gassed. I knew it after Johnson popped out. I knew it after Jeter doubled. There is no way to defend sending Pedro out for the eighth. There is no way to defend him facing Williams, or Matsui, or Posada.
Grady managed this game like he managed the regular season. Unfortunately, it was game seven of the ALCS against the best team in the American League (talent wise). You need a healthy amount of guile, and luck to beat them in their park. Tonight, the Yankees took advantage of that huge hole that Grady Little gave them.
As a message to Red Sox fans: We are winning in 2004.
To Grady Little: You can kiss the fattest part of my ass.
To readers who stumble upon me in cyberspace accidentally looking for porn: I will be writing all offseason, going from the World Series, to the Hot Stove Season, to Spring Training. I'll probably write 4-5 times a week.
The Yankees deserved to win this game. They won because they don't do stupid things like leave their gassed ace on the mound because he doesn't want to come out. The Yankees won because their manager was more willing to win a ball game then make a friend.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
That is more like it. The offense is back, and the fans were treated to a pretty intense game, before a Nixon home run took the drama away. I think I might have misstated my point yesterday about offense. The biggest thing I like about offense is the "comeback factor." If both teams are hitting, then anything can happen. That is preferred to a team putting up a four spot in the second and then having a "who's offense is more anemic" contest the rest of the game.
People (those Classy Yankee Fans, who were leaving in droves before the Yankees hit in the bottom of the ninth) will tell you the Red Sox won because of the wind, because of Angel Hernandez's Wacky Zone, or because of Fox bias. This is crap. The Red Sox won because they scored more runs then the Yankees. Both teams were helped by the wind, both teams were helped/hurt by Hernandez's strike "zone", and although Fox may be desirous to see a black quarterback be a star, I doubt Fox is competent enough to actually pull off the fix. Remember, the best ratings would have come from Cubs/Red Sox. More on that in a few.
The Yankees lost this game because they were beat. They were beat because of some bizarre managerial decisions (not having anyone warming after Contreras, intentionally walking Varitek), some bizarre plays (Matsui throwing somewhere before looking/Ortiz's grounder hitting the base and then popping straight up), and some craptacular pitching by Pettitte, Contreras, Heredia, Nelson, and White. Ironically enough, the only pitcher that didn't surrender an earned run, Felix Heredia, did as much to help the Yankees lose as any of them. If you have been a regular reader of The House that Dewey Built, then you know that I hate the intentional walk unless it is absolutely necessary. Felix Heredia's inability to throw a strike is another example in the "I told you so" file.
Secondary for the Yankees, but probably much more annoying is the fact that their guys can not hit right now. The Yankees had five runs, seven hits, and one strikeout against John Burkett. After Grady sent Burkett to his room to think about the pain he wrought, the Yankees spent 5.1 innings scattering five hits, scoring one run (Posada's homer), and striking out six times. Biggest subject of Yankee ire is Jason Giambi. Against the Boston bullpen, he was 0-3 with three strikeouts, brought to you by Bronson Arroyo, Alan Embree, and Scott Williamson. Giambi will take a lot of guff because of his performance this season and during the playoffs because he is being paid $120 million. There is plenty of blame to go around as Karim Garcia, Hideki Matsui, Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter, Nick Johnson, and Jorge Posada are the only Yankees to reach base off of the Red Sox bully.
Tonight, there is Pedro Martinez against Roger Clemens. I really don't think I'll be able to concentrate on anything else all day.
And now for something completely different.
Simply put, the Cubs are not in the World Series right now because of Dusty Baker. Baker seems like a nice enough guy, but he has as much business managing a baseball team as I do. His abuse of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood all season has been well documented, but people are still surprised to see that they weren't sharp this series. His decisions on the offensive side of the ledger seems built on making outs quickly and efficiently, rather then scoring runs. Case in point, the presence of Tom Goodwin and Doug Glanville on the playoff rosters. They have the exact same skill set on offense, so why carry them both?
Dusty Baker was out managed by Jack McKeon this series. McKeon has a deep team that had the ability to put some runs on the board, despite having a shaky bullpen, and a fascination with Brad Penny. And if Juan Pierre got on to lead off a game/inning, McKeon didn't have Castillo bunt him over. In the first inning. Like Dusty did with Kenny Lofton and Mark Grudzielanek. It's wasteful baseball, and completely contrary to winning.
The end result was the Marlins beat the Cubs. The Marlins won with pitching, defense, and big ball (getting on base, hitting them around, not bunting or stolen bases. The Marlins are really too fast to not make every single to right a de facto hit and run. For what its worth, the Marlins were 4-7 in stolen base attempts). Ivan Rodriguez might be an overrated defensive player, but he's earning his keep this offseason. Some Cubs fans will blame goats, or that dude that stuck his hand out, but the blame lays with Dusty Baker and the Marlins.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
I've been writing a lot about things that bug me lately, the main recipient of this bile being Tim McCarver and Don Zimmer. I would assume that many people share my opinion on McCarver, as 2/3 of all Google searches that bring people to this site have some variation of McCarver and suck (or asshole, as some people say). This is less true for Zimmer, even though he is the more harmful entity in my opinion.
Before I get to the meat of this post, McCarver didn't annoy me yesterday, because I played a lot of NHL 2004 hockey, while looking at the TV for the pitches. Not only did this allow me to mute the TV, but it kept me distracted from the crapfest that the Red Sox and Yankees collectively put on. In fact, McCarver gave me the most entertainment of the night last night. When Mariano Rivera came into the game, McCarver was giving him the usual backrub, and then he said that "Rivera's elegant and easy gait is one of the reasons for his success." If you don't find humor in that, then you don't have a soul. There was the usually McCarver bluster of course, but nothing to get up in arms about. Derek Jeter made some pretty good plays and got the McCarver seal of approval. McCarver said the only way the Red Sox can get hits is broken bat singles right after Walker tripled to deep right. You know, the usual. Him admiring Rivera's gait made me stop hating him, and realize he is just an old fool trying to keep his job. While admiring men's gaits.
Anyway, the reason I'm posting wasn't to tell you that. I'm posting because I got an e-mail that asked me why I'm not doing game summaries anymore on this site. Why is everything during the ALCS a bitchfest. Well Mike, the answer is that this series has been terrible. There has been absolutely no excitement from this series, save the Saturday showdown. The runs scored have come in bunches. There have been no rallies so far. Offenses have been terrible. In other words, we're playing baseball in 2003, by guys who think its 1968.
I'm a big fan of offense, which surprises my friends because I was a pitcher. Offense makes for good baseball, because the game is in doubt with offense. With pitching, because runs are so scarce, if a handful are scored early, then you have guys trading zeroes, like yesterday. Offense makes the game better to watch. Now I don't mean I like Coors Field offense, 14-11 games just drag. I'm talking offense like the Cubs/Marlins series so far, which has been great.
The Red Sox/Yankees series has been horrible so far. If I was Fox, I wouldn't show the games in primetime either. They have two games left to catch my interest, before I can anoint this series watchable, let alone good.
And just for frame of reference, here are the rates for the Red Sox and Yankees:
Boston vs. New York .250/.309/.409/.718 vs. Oakland .211/.290/.378/.668
New York vs. Boston .196/.285/.291/.576 vs. Minnesota .275/.344/.384/.728
Here is the best player comps for those four offenses:
Bos (Nyy) Pat Burrell PHI .209/.309/.404/.713
Bos (Oak) Vance Wilson NYM .243/.293/.373/.666
Nyy (Bos) Brent Butler COL .211/.276/.300/.576
Nyy (Min) Mark Kotsay SDP .266/.343/.384/.726
Those aren't offenses. Those are two guys struggling to hold jobs, a guy who had one of the most disappointing years ever, and a centerfielder who is playing in an extreme pitchers park.
No one ever says "I can't wait to see Mark Kotsay play." The reason is he just isn't very good. I'm sure as hell not excited to see a Pat Burrell and Brent Butler battle either. That is why this series has been terrible.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
What is clutch? Is there such thing?
I don't know. No one can define it for me, and I haven't seen anyone with an clutch skill set. I'm not going to rehash the clutch hitting argument here, I will say that it is my opinion that there at clutch hits, but no clutch hitters.
Here are the top players this post season in the magical world of clutch.
ab h hr abrisp hrisp abmob hrmob clutch
Matsui NYY 28 3 1 11 4 18 1 3.179
IRod FLA 37 13 3 13 7 20 2 2.811
Sosa CHC 35 8 2 11 4 16 2 2.571
AGon CHC 33 10 4 7 4 12 2 2.424
Lofton CHC 43 15 0 8 5 12 0 2.209
Bernie NYY 27 6 0 7 3 12 0 1.444
Damon Bos 27 9 1 4 2 7 1 1.407
Ortiz Bos 33 3 1 5 1 11 1 1.212
Simon CHC 21 8 1 6 3 11 1 1.190
Sori NYY 34 8 0 8 3 12 0 1.118
I define clutch as hits with runners in scoring position and home runs with men on base above what is expected by neutral performance. That's why you have David Ortiz on there who has done essentially nothing this post season. Of his three hits since the end of the year, one was with a runner in scoring postion (the double off Foulke), and his only home run had a guy on base (off Mussina).
Sorry about the nicknames in the table, but that's the only way I can get it to format right. If you know how to do it better, drop me an e-mail.
Anyway, for the sake of bitterness, here are the 10 worst this postseason:
Alou CHC 41 16 1 11 3 23 1 -0.854
Nomar Bos 37 8 0 4 0 13 0 -0.865
Sierra NYY 4 1 1 2 0 2 0 -1.000
JTek Bos 22 6 3 2 0 7 0 -1.500
Cab'ra FLA 34 12 2 10 3 18 0 -1.588
Luis C FLA 37 9 0 7 0 12 0 -1.703
Lee FLA 38 7 1 12 1 23 0 -1.816
E'cion FLA 27 5 2 6 0 10 0 -1.852
Walker Bos 28 11 5 6 1 10 1 -2.143
Karros CHC 25 8 2 11 2 11 0 -2.400
Small samples aside, I think this is the best way you can accurately determine who is hitting well "in the clutch".
I tossed some stats up, because the numbers are a world where I don't get agita over idiots from Memphis, and jackass writers from New York.
It's mathamatical therepy.
I have to give a lot of credit to Yankee fans.
I’m dead serious about this. They have acted well, and even tempered in the last few days about the ugliness that existed between the Yankees and Red Sox. After Game 1, I received some e-mails from Yankee fans saying how the Sox would blow it and other various Yankee fan noise that confirmed their reputation.
However, to their credit, they seem to be putting Game 3 behind them. Red Sox fans are basking in the afterglow of Game 4, so all those bad things that happened on Saturday afternoon probably won’t be rehashed amongst the Hatfields and the McCoys until Game 7.
That’s what I thought until I went on Bruce Allen’s Boston Media Watch website and found this column in the New York Times: Hoping to avoid a negative charge by Dave Anderson.
I’ve never read Anderson before, so I’m not sure what his shtick is, but this is a column that would normally be reserved for the fan boy papers in New York, not the Times (which ironically enough is a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox.)
Although the column is poorly written, Anderson did say one thing that really turned my stomach.
Names or even nicknames will never hurt Martinez, but in the absence of sticks and stones, a battery might. When he's on the mound or when he warms up in the bullpen, he would be within range of any Yankees loyalist with a good arm. But if there's no Game 7, Pedro the Perpetrator will be safe.
Until next season.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but did a columnist for the national paper of record just encourage people to throw batteries at an opposing player?
I think Anderson is suffering from Rush Limbaugh disease here. It’s an affliction which only strikes the mediocre professional opinionists. People get paid for their opinion, and in an effort to stay relevant, they need to spark controversy. Dan Shaughnessy has made a career on this very principle. Anderson is saying something completely outrageous to try to get people to notice him/talk about him (Mission accomplished, jackass.)
Names that I call him here will not hurt Anderson. However, a battery might. When he’s in the press box, he’s in range of any Red Sox loyalist with a good arm.
See, its fun to threaten people on paper. I just hope the Yankee fans realize that Anderson is a talentless yutz, and Duracels go unsold in the Bronx.
It's funny that the fans are the ones who are seeming to rise above that game, and the players and coaches are on the way. Good thing the media is still beating the story drum. Otherwise, we might forget.
Monday, October 13, 2003
Sox won...that is good.
Tim McCarver showed his McCarverness...that is bad.
Because I actually get e-mails saying that the McCarver bashing is good, here are my favorite Special Timmy quotes from tonight:
When Matsui misplays the ball off the wall, and Nixon and Millar advance to second and third: "What a great play by Matsui, keeping Millar at third. He played that extremely well deking out Millar." The replay then shows the ball bouncing over his head and rolling towards the infield.
Johnny Damon catches a flyball a few feet in from the warning track: "Bernie really can't hit a ball any better then that."
Jason Varitek pinch hits for Mirabelli: "Well, if you bat Varitek for Mirabelli then you have to take Wakefield out of the game."
Someone should tell Special Timmy that just because he caught Steve Carlton when all his skills dissolved, doesn't mean that the personal catcher thing is a hard and fast rule.
Anyway, my look at the game will come tomorrow morning. I needed to be bitter, since McCarver really takes away my enjoyment of the game.
Paul Williams is 24 years old. He is a 2002 graduate of River College, where he played on the basketball team. He is also Red Sox fan.
George Noucas is the assistant basketball coach, and according to the Boston Globe (link doesn't work as of now), "Williams wasn't the most talented player in the world, but he played as hard as you could play and gave you everything he had every night." Noucas is a Yankees fan.
The two men used to kid eachother about their various affilations. They kept contact after Williams graduated college. Now Williams is a special education teacher at the 8th grade level at West Running Brook Middle School (Derry, NH).
By night, he is a groundskeeper who works at Fenway Park.
As you might know by now, he was the groundskeeper assigned to the Yankees' bullpen.
The end of the story has Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia using cleates, feet, teeth, and fists to subdue what they said was a combative belligerent. The Boston police say that Nelson and Garcia were the aggressors. As of now, no charges have been filed, but the rumor is that it will happen tomorrow morning.
It'll be interesting to see if Fox mentions that tonight. If not, at least we'll know that Pedro and Manny really are bad guys.
Fine for throwing at someone: $50,000
Fine for yelling at someone: $25,000
Fine for yelling at someone and spiking someone else: $10,000
Fine for a coach running at someone, and assulting them: $5,000
Guess which ones are the Yankees, and which one are the Red Sox.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
I was going to write a whole recap of the game yesterday, but my heart just isn't in it. The reason is the wind in my sails was stolen by a few people who still trumpet the myth that the Yankees are a classy organization.
When tensions run high, it is impossible to remain objective. But partisanism is no excuse not to at least think about what happend at Fenway yesterday critically, rather then be a goofy fan-boy. In my estimation these are what I think about actions of yesterday:
- Pedro Martinez threw a shoulder high fastball at Karim Garcia. Garcia was grazed on the back of the left shoulder and hit the bat. I think it was Pedro's intent to hit Garcia, I don't think that it was his intent to throw behind Garcia.
- Garcia yelled at Pedro
- Garcia cheapshotted Todd Walker, spiking him about thigh high
- Pedro exchanged words with Jorge Posada, and Don Zimmer. During the altercation, Pedro and Posada both screamed at each other and pointed to their heads.
- The pitch to Manny Ramirez was eye high, and on the inside part of the plate. He overreacted, but it's easy to realize how he could get upset.
- Don Zimmer saught out Pedro Martinez with the intent to confront him. Pedro backed away a step, but pushed Zimmer. Zimmer fell because of the combination of the push and his forward momentum. This is confirmed by this video on Boston.com. Seen with RealPlayer.
- Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia fought with a groundskeeper who was supposed to be in the Yankee bullpen. I don't have an opinion on this, simply because I didn't see it. The Boston Police are currently considering filing assault charges against Nelson and Garcia
- Tim McCarver still having a job is the biggest disgrace of this game, not the actions of the players
Everything that happend on the field is a part of baseball, except for the Zimmer/Martinez physicality. There is no reason why a coach on a team should go to a player on another team and confront him verbally, never mind physically. Alot has been made of the fact that Pedro should have taken more evasive action to keep from dumping Zimmer on the ground. Afterall, Zimmer is 72, he's had medical problems, and has a metal plate in his head. After this display, I think the plate might be the only thing in there.
I'm not going to mince words here, because I think this is the only way I can truely express what I'm thinking. Don Zimmer is a disgrace to baseball. His reputation as a cuddly statesman of baseball is total bullshit. This is a guy that took the most talented Red Sox team in the last 40 years and drove them into the ground. The people that Zimmer had run-ins with on the Boston Red Sox were Jim Rice, Bernie Carbo, Butch Hobson, Dwight Evens (yes, the namesake), Fergeson Jenkins, Rick Wise, and of course, Bill Lee. Spaceman has actually gone to the extreme that Zimmer was an "anti-intellectual menace"
The best example of Zimmer's High Crimes against Baseball came in 1978. Butch Hobson, Red Sox third baseman led the majors in errors. He had bone chips in his elbow, and he winced when he threw across the diamond. Hobson's manhood was questioned by his manager, Don Zimmer. To this day, Hobson has still expressed bitterness when it comes to 1978. Seeing that the Red Sox finished the year one game out of first, you would think that either DHing Hobson, or replacing him would have made up that game. Remember, because the difference in the standings was because of the one game playoff. It's not out of the relm of posibility to assume that one of the 43 errors committed by Hobson could have cost the Red Sox a game.
So why the love of Zimmer? I think it's because he's old and people tend to like the old people that stick around for a while at their craft. He should have been pushed out of the game years ago, but he's what the old time baseball people love.
I don't know enough about the Nelson/groundskeeper situation to comment on it. I will say that Paul Williams, the keeper, had spike marks on his back and arm. Seems a little excessive when trying to subdue someone.
I can't get started on Tim McCarver, except that he is a hazard in the booth. He was convinced of Pedro's evilness, especially when it came to Zimmer, before he saw the whole story. It also bears mentioning that McCarver was a Yankee employee, and was released by the Red Sox in 1975, costing him a World Series visit. I never thought he had a bias until yesterday. I honestly feel that Tim McCarver's continued career in broadcasting is all I need to know to prove that there is a God, and he has a sick sense of humor.
Where is the class folks? The Yankees get credit for it but they sure don't exhibit it. They win because of their talent, and their payroll advantage, not because they have clean uniforms, and carry themselves well. I suppose it is all Pedro's fault, but Martinez didn't spike Walker, and Martinez didn't force a 72 year old bench coach to actively instigate a fight. The MLB fined Martinez, Ramirez, Zimmer, and Garcia. The mayor of New York is calling for Pedro to face assault charges. Yankee fans on NYYFans.com have numerous threads calling for the head of Pedro Martinez, including one calling for a new nickname for him, calling him subhuman.
Where is the class? It isn't there. It's foolish to think that the New York Yankees are any better or worse people then any other baseball players. Calling a team classy is just another way to make something boring likable.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
I need a night to wrap my head around the game. I'm formulating what I'm gonna say here. Let me just tell you that if you don't want Tim McCarver bashing, then tomorrow's post isn't for you.
Tomorrow will be a weekday sized post, because I'm going to comment on the Red Sox game, the Cubs game, and the embarrassment to baseball that is Tim McCarver.
Also, today is URI's Homecoming. We lost to #3 Villanova 21-17 with a last second 'Nova touchdown. I need to go out and have fun while trying to decipher the strangest baseball game I've seen in a while.
Friday, October 10, 2003
Last night left a bad taste in my mouth. Today, I'm going to divorce myself from baseball, with my only involvement in the sport reading Andrew Zimbalist's book "May the Best Team Win," and having the Cubs/Marlins game on as background noise as I make my decent into the abyss of Budweiser.
Larry Mahnken writes the best Yankee blog (Replacement Level Yankees Blog) out there and said this about last night:
The Red Sox wasted opportunities to put the Yankees away in the first two innings, and the decision to bring in the struggling Scott Sauerbeck into the game in the 7th inning, after Giambi had walked, and turning Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada around to their strong sides, can only be explained by saying that Lowe was finished, and Sauerbeck was the only pitcher who had warmed up.
But why only Sauerbeck? Sauerbeck is a LOOGY, and his lefty/righty splits are painfully obvious in the regard. If Sauerbeck was used this way during the regular season, it's apparent why his numbers were so awful. That's just bad managing. But I ain't complaining. If Little wants to bring in the wrong guy to pitch to good hitters this series, more power to him.
Tomorrow the Yankees face Pedro in a huge swing game. Really, this game is all about Clemens--he won't be getting any standing ovations this time, unless he gets pounded out of the game. Rocket has only had two great starts against Boston in the past two seasons, and he's been pounded by them three times this year alone. The Yankees need him to throw six innings without giving up more than two or three runs, while they work Pedro's count and try to get the bullpen into the game. It can be done, but it's almost all on Clemens, pitching in what is absolutely his last game in Fenway Park, probably the last game he pitches against an American League team, and maybe the last game of his career. But, you know... no pressure, Rog.
Hero of the game: Derek Lowe, for hitting Aaron Boone with a pitch. Made my night.
I feel the same way. Amazing, eh?
Game sucked, eh?
For all the quality of the A's series, this game sure did suck. It was the suckiest game that ever sucked.
Now that I have that out of my system, tonight was a painful but not a bad loss. The Red Sox went to Yankee stadium against two pitchers that have pitched well against the Sox of late, and walked away with a split. Looking forward, the Sox have face off against Clemens, Wells, and Mussina at Fenway, then Pettitte and Clemens in the Stadium. Tonight wasn't that bad.
But it still sucked. Four times the Red Sox could have turned a double play to end an inning. They did turn any of them. In the second, Matsui hit a grounder to second with Posada on. If they could have spun it, Johnson's homerun would have been a solojack. Three times in the third, they could have saved Lowe some pitches, but Millar "dove" (fell) over one, Jackson bobbled another, and Millar went home rather then turn two (this one was the smart call).
This game has also realized that there are two Grady Littles. There is Grady and Bizzaro Grady. Grady Little manages game one. Bizzaro Grady managed game two. Todd Walker wastes on the bench. Gabe Kapler leads off. Scott Sauerbeck pitches for the first time since June. Actually, let me stop here and rant (you guys paid for that).
Scott Sauerbeck can't get righties out!!!!! Jorge Posada is a switch hitter who has hit lefties at a .916 OPS clip, righties at .847. By calling Scott Sauerbeck into the game, you are flipping Posada around, batting right handed.
If you don't follow, that means that you are exposing the biggest bullpen weakness you have (Sauerbeck against righties), and the move played into your opponet's biggest strength at the time (Posada vs. LHP). Posada doubled in two runs against Scotty the Left, and the game was notched at 6-2, effecively putting the game out of reach. That decision did not lose the game for the Red Sox, but it sure didn't help.
Good lord, I'm going again...Tim McCarver is a jerk. There is no one I would rather hear do a baseball game less then Tim McCarver. I don't think he's biased against the Red Sox, I think he is a clueless front runner who opines for days went by, and he was the personal catcher for Steve Carlton. Good god, Fox, what does the guy have to do to get kicked off the air, say that Pedro is overrated because the media wants to see a Dominican pitching star??? I haven't heard one person say that McCarver brings anything at all to the discussion, never mind insight. He makes me long for those days past when the colorman of the home team did the series. I personally would love to see Buck with Kaat, or Remy. Even both. McCarver makes the game unbearable to watch and it makes my blood boil that he makes hundreds of thousands of dollars while people who can add to the game watching experience sit at home.
Argh! Tonight's game sucked. Saturday we have a marquee matchup: Pedro Martinez vs. Roger Clemens. The only thing that would make me more ashamed to be a Red Sox fan then the Kim display would be if people cheered Clemens before this game. It really doesn't get much better then Pedro and Clemens in October.
Regis Philbin says: "Look at the Red Sox. They have facial hair and shaved heads. They look like street toughes."
Tim McCarver says: "You might beat Pedro, but you will never intimidate him. He's unintimidatable."
Fools act alike. Tomorrow I will post again, but it won't be as angry. Maybe.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
I'm coming up with nothing today folks. Nothing. The offense is hitting again, the pitching was great with Wakefield, Timlin, and Williamson pitching top notch, and Embree pitching ok. Hell, Todd Walker even quit doing his Jeter impression and made some really good plays at second last night.
Otherwise it was a pretty boring game. It has invoked strange feelings in yours truely. I'm not excited. I'm actually pretty pragmatic. I can't wait for the next game to start tonight. I actually feel like I did when I was playing. My teeth are gritted and I just want to play ball.
One thing did get under my skin though. Why is it that the theatrics during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium are allowed to go on so long? I understand the patriotism angle, but if God Bless America is played, then can we cut out "Cotton Eyed Joe"? In the regular season, you get 1:40 between innings, in the post season, its 2:20. Why do the Yankees get the extra time for the 7th inning? It ices the pitcher coming into the bottom of the 7th, and it slows the game down to a crawl. I just don't get it.
Tonight Derek Lowe pitches against Andy Pettitte. Pettitte has generally been death on the Red Sox his career, but has been nothing more then medocre in the playoffs. Let's hope that changes tonight.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
W L RS RA AVE OB% SLUG PkR PkH DE OE
NYY 101 61 877 716 .271 .356 .453 976 1011 .698 1.001
BOS 95 67 962 809 .289 .360 .491 1007 950 .701 .984
New York Yankees
C Jorge Posada
1b Jason Giambi
2b Alfonso Soriano
3b Aaron Boone
ss Derek Jeter
lf Hideki Matsui
cf Bernie Williams
rf Karim Garcia/Juan Rivera/Ruben Sierra
dh Nick Johnson
Boston Red Sox
C Jason Varitek
1b Kevin Millar
2b Todd Walker
3b Bill Mueller
ss Nomar Garciaparra
lf Manny Ramirez
cf Johnny Damon
rf Trot Nixon/Gabe Kapler
dh David Ortiz
IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP ERA RsSvd
NYY 834.3 7.15 1.81 0.97 1.22 3.90 157.47
BOS 772.0 6.89 2.76 0.78 1.29 4.00 160.21
IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP ERA RsSvd
NYY 394.7 6.80 3.26 0.84 1.40 4.08 66.73
BOS 499.0 7.67 3.41 1.01 1.45 4.87 55.26
Oct 8 @ NYY Tim Wakefield vs. Mike Mussina 8:00pm
Oct 9 @ NYY Derek Lowe vs. Andy Pettitte 8:15pm
Oct 11 @ BOS Roger Clemens vs. Pedro Martinez 4:15pm
Oct 12 @ BOS David Wells vs. John Burkett 8:05pm
Oct 13 @ BOS Mike Mussina vs. Tim Wakefield 8:15pm
Oct 15 @ NYY Derek Lowe vs. Andy Pettitte 4:15pm
Oct 16 @ NYY Pedro Martinez vs. Roger Clemens 8:15pm
On the one hand, you have an established power. They have a corporate exterior, are built on tradition, have an earned arrogance about them. They are described as classy and professional.
On the other is the rival. They aren't seen in the same light. They have long hair, or shaved heads, are built on failure, and are cocky as hell. They are described as unprofessional and bush league.
I am of course talking about the Omegas and the Deltas in Animal House.
You never find anyone say they root for the Omegas in the John Landis classic. They aren't fun, and they aren't interesting. Judging by their dress and demeanor, they are upperclass, a product of privilege.
Yup, everyone loves the Deltas. They are hard partying, hard drinking, and rough around the edges. They don't live within the set rules of society, and in fact when confronted with the orthodoxy, they actively rebel against it. The Deltas were a microcosm of life. They say to hell with "the man". People working in offices think back to college and say "If I was a student at Faber, I sure would rush Delta."
I think you see my point. Due to an error of geography, there are an insane amount of Yankee fans. But there are many, many Yankee fans that live outside of the Tristate. With no geographic bond to draw the people into this fandom, why do they do it? Why do they root for the Omegas?
I think, especially this year, that is why there is a lot of tension between Yankee and Red Sox fans. Red Sox fans celebrate by gathering on various college quads, and have drunken riots (I don't vant no dunkin roits in my town), and Yankee fans shake their head and chalk them up as boorish. The Red Sox celebrate clinching the Wacky Card at home with their fans, running into bars and the like, and people like Steve Levy call it excessive celebration on SportsCenter.
The Yankees are built on professionalism and the ghosts of 26 World Series titles, the Red Sox are built on passion and the workings of 29 year old kid and the mad theories of someone from Eastern Kansas.
When the Yankees lose a game, the next day their fans act like they have been denied their birthright. The next day after the Red Sox lose, their fans talk about their teams resiliency. A good example of this is the ALDS. Yankee fans I know said that everyone was harping on the Yankees for losing the first game. After the Sox lost the first two, all I heard was how the A's better sweep.
The Yankees are class and professionalism. They show it by allowing minimum facial hair, clean cut hair styles, and pristine uniforms. The Red Sox are immature and loutish. The show it by having a scruff, long hair (or no hair), and baggy dirty uniforms. The Yankees pump a fist and give a high five. The Red Sox point at their own bench and give a hug. The Yankees' owner says he doesn't care about the Red Sox, but they seem to be the topic of discussion whenever Steinbrenner opens his mouth. Word is he demanded that Brian Cashman block Boston from getting a Colon in a trade. Never mind that Theo Epstein was after Javier Vazquez. The Red Sox CEO openly acknowledges the rivalry, calling the Yankees the "Evil Empire" after signing Jose Contreras. He says its foolish to pretend the two teams don't like each other.
The fans don't like each other either. Both groups of fans are accused of hating the other team more then they like their own. Red Sox fans can be led into a Yankees Suck chant by Teddy Bruschi at the Patriots' Super Bowl parade. The Yankee fans are too big for that, instead chanting 1918, and Boston sucks at a Mets game (which happened on the ESPN game this summer).
Even the players are starting to get into it. After Roger Clemens beaned Kevin Millar on the head, Pedro Martinez hit Derek Jeter in the hand (to the day I die, I will never acknowledge that Alfonso Soriano was plunked by Pedro. He swung the bat.) Not quite Fisk/Munson, but some fire none the less.
I haven't even gotten into real analysis yet. You aren't gonna get it here either. The Yankees have starters playing into their strengths, and the Red Sox offense still haven't broken out yet. That doesn't bode well for the Hose Rouge.
Despite what I think, the Omega's have a stronger house. They have the class president, captain of the swim team, and the editor of the Daily Faberian. The Delta's have more fun, but they live in a shithole.
Jeff's pick (1-3): NYY 4-1
DeweyVision (3-1): NYY 4-1
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
I'll get to the preview in a second.
I love baseball. I don't think it accurately is shown here just how much I think about baseball, watch baseball, or actually dream about baseball. Baseball is a religion to me.
My church just happens to be in Fenway.
This is why I can't fault people like Rich Eisen when he was on Sportscenter showing his passion for the Yankees, or Will Carroll on BaseballProspectus showing his love of the Cubs. They practice the same religion, except they worship in the Bronx or in Chicago. And I have no problem with that.
There is a line when passion becomes partisanism. Keeping with the religion analogy, those are the Fundamentalists. Those are the people who care when a team they have nothing to do with loses. They are the people that chat "Yankees Suck" while sober. They are the ones who go on internet message board and bitch about other teams more then they comment on their team.
The biggest problem with baseball is that the Fundamentalists make up most of the casual fandom. And because of that, Fox, never a network of subtly, panders to them. They look for the story that will get the Fundamentalists up in arms, rather then offer actual analysis. On example is Fox showing the Curse of the Goat/Curse of the Bambino montage before last night's A's game. Forget that I have actual never met a mature Red Sox fan that truly believes in the Curse of the Bambino, the Sox Fundamentalists got the built in excuse in case the A's won. It wasn't one team played better, it was a intangible curse from 80+ years ago.
This pandering to Fundamentalism is showing its head now. The Red Sox got bashed as being a low class team for the following reasons:
- They shaved their heads together
- The Lilly on the jackets
- Kim's finger
- Manny watching the homerun and then jogging to first pointing at the dugout
- Red Sox players advancing towards the stands
- Derek Lowe's "obscene" gesture towards the Oakland dugout at the end of the game yesterday
I've already covered the Kim finger issue, he was booed by Fundamentalists, and returned the favor. The shaved heads is no different then hockey players growing goatees for the playoffs.
That leaves Manny, Lowe, Lilly jackets, and the players engaging with the fans.
If you didn't see the game, Johnny Damon and Damian Jackson collided violently in short center last night. Damon didn't move for a few minutes, but was waved to the field as he was put in the ambulance. Then the camera cut to a brouhaha by the Red Sox dugout. As it turns out, David Ortiz was clapping on the way back to the dugout, as Damon was being carted off. Him and Jackson looked up at the stands and started yelling and moving towards them. Dave Wallace, Todd Jones, and Ron Jackson pushed the players away and Mike Timlin was yelling at someone. Security took the fan away. During the incident however, Thom Brenneman on Fox said how this was the "wrong time to get into it with fans"
Manny Ramirez was bashed for a solid inning after hitting a homerun off Zito and watching the ball fly out into the stands. When he started towards first, he pointed to the Red Sox dugout. Manny was "unprofessional", "bush league", and "might get himself or one of his teammates hurt."
The Lilly jackets were made by taping Lilly on the back of some of the players' jackets and were made when the fans were chanting "Lil-ly!"
After he struck out Terrence Long, he pumped his fist a few times and slapped his right hand on his thigh. Some of the A's, notably Miguel Tejada, Chris Singleton, Scott Hatteberg, and Tim Hudson thought that he was pointing to his crotch and thrusting it towards the A's dugout. I like to say goofy white guy celebrating, but their perception counts more then mine.
To those last four events, I would like to say why the double standard? Why were the Red Sox wrong to yell back at a fan who, as it turns out was mocking their teammate? Why are Lilly jackets bushleague, but Eric Byrnes shoving Jason Varitek not? Why is Lowe slapping his thigh obscene, and Tejada striking out and screaming "fuck!" not? Why is Manny crushing a ball to left and watching it go, and then celebrating by pointing to his teammates wrong, but Jermaine Dye watching his blast, and pointing to his teammates on the third baseline right?
I'll tell you why there is a double standard. Because of pandering to the Fundamentalists. The Red Sox are against the orthodoxy. They have fun when playing. They involve the fans as much as possible, and they look like they enjoy playing the game. Baseball isn't a job to the Boston Red Sox. They show their intensity by head shaving and pointing to the dugout, rather then shoving catchers and yelling fuck loud enough for a camera to pick up. To these Boston Red Sox, baseball isn't a job, it's a passion.
Chicago Cubs vs. Florida Marlins
W L RS RA AVE OB% SLUG PkR PkH DE OE
CHC 88 74 722 680 .259 .323 .416 979 1003 .710 .977
FLA 91 71 751 692 .266 .333 .421 954 900 .704 .973
C Damian Miller/Paul Bako
1b Eric Karros/Randell Simon
2b Mark Grudzielanek
3b Aramis Ramirez
ss Alex Gonzalez
lf Moises Alou
cf Kenny Lofton
rf Sammy Sosa
C Ivan Rodriguez
1b Derrek Lee
2b Luis Castillo
3b Mike Lowell/Miguel Cabrera
ss Alex Gonzalez
lf Miguel Cabrera/Jeff Conine
cf Juan Pierre
rf Juan Encarnacion
IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP ERA RsSvd
CHC 838.0 9.13 3.47 0.75 1.21 3.20 206.43
FLA 684.7 7.58 3.01 0.78 1.28 3.59 139.13
IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP ERA RsSvd
CHC 421.0 8.81 4.17 1.03 1.35 4.15 69.11
FLA 462.0 6.64 4.03 0.80 1.45 4.34 42.24
Oct 7 @ CHC Josh Beckett vs. C. Zambrano 8:00pm
Oct 8 @ CHC Brad Penny vs. Mark Prior 8:00pm
Oct 10 @ FLA Kerry Wood vs. Mark Redman 8:15pm
Oct 11 @ FLA Matt Clement vs. D. Willis 7:30pm
Oct 12 @ FLA TBA vs. TBA 4:00pm
Oct 14 @ CHC TBA vs. TBA 8:00pm
Oct 15 @ CHC TBA vs. TBA 8:00pm
In the division series, DeweyVision beat me 3-1. The system will have no such luck in the LCS.
We all know the important storylines in this series, the Cubs are close to unhittable, and the Marlins have youthful energy, in whatever Gammonisan dreamworld that was deemed important in.
The Marlins are very slanted towards the right. The Cubs have a lot of right handed pitching. And the Cubs throw hard. Very hard. Hard enough that the best offense in the National League was brought to its knees. My gut tells me that there will be alot of strikeouts sandwiched around Juan Pierre bunt singles.
A big point against the Cubs though, is the complete inablity to avoid making outs. Dusty Baker, who is immune from criticism I think, stacked his bench with non-hitters who have alot of speed, or make contact, because that "makes things happen." There will be no Hee Choi on the roster. Insted his polar opposite, Randell Simon, is. Simon's entire value is in batting average, so if you can get him to swing at a bad pitch (and he probably will, either singling, or getting himself out). Tom Goodwin is the same way, except he used to be able to play defense, and he can steal a base.
In the Youthful Exuberance department, there are two guys on the Marlins who wear their hats askew, and wear baggy uniforms. Juan Pierre and Dontrelle Willis are fun as hell to watch, in the complete opposite way that Simon is fun to watch. Pierre uses his speed to fuel a popgun offense, and Willis is the most baffling pitcher since Joe Piscipo swept the nation and FernandoMania was used to sell out Chavez Ravine.
All this means is that it will be fun to watch. A dalliance in speedy, strikeout baseball that will serve as a distraction to the baseball war happening in thee Junior Circut. The teams will look good, but baseball isn't about selling jeans, its about scoring runs and preventing them. Neither team scores much, but the Cubs prevent them better.
Jeff's Pick (1-3): CHC 4-2
DeweyVision (3-1): FLA 4-3
Monday, October 06, 2003
Much like the regular season, tonight the Red Sox flew by the seat of their pants.
Right now, its about 15 minutes after game time, and I'm still wearing my backwards Sox hat.
Now is a time for celebration...Sox win! Sox win! Sox win!
Manny Ramirez BOS
Three run bomb off Zito. Got bitched about for watching the shot's majesty. I think some people hate sports. I'm not one of them.
Jason Varitek BOS
Started the Red Sox scoring. For all the credit my illegitimate brother David Ortiz gets for clutch hits, I think Varitek might be the best hitter the Sox had this year in the "clutch" department.
Derek Lowe BOS
Lately, he's been pitching like he's had both testicles his whole life. I think one day I want to have a beer with Derek Lowe, just to thank him for this series, and to apologize for me thinking he was born with female gentalia.
Not on this day
When Grady Little actually went by matchup and the hot hand, rather then ride his horse. Williamson was obviously wound too tight, and Derek Lowe provided the Vicadin for the soul.
Take that, conventional wisdom!
Going with Lowe. A lot of guys would have either rode Williamson or intentionally walked Melhuse. To his credit, Grady Little made the successful decision. To be honest, I'm too euphoric to even realize if it was the right one or not.
What do you think? See you Wednesday!
Now that there are only five teams left...four after tonight, I figured now is as good a time as any to review the completed Division Serieses. Also, I got an e-mail this morning that says that it's Adam Melhuse. I'd like to thank the e-mailer for clearing up and then destroying the joke.
Marlins 3, Giants 1
Series MVP - Ivan Rodriguez FLA
All he did was hit, and play defense. For all the talk of the energy the Marlins have, it was Ivan Rodriguez who was the stabilizing force behind the Fish. IRod holding on to the ball throughout the bevy of collisions really solidified his place among the "Greats of the League Division Series!". I love the Wacky Card.
When Jack McKeon showed how much game two meant to the Marlins by bringing in Pavano and Willis. All the momentum Alou's Giants had after the Jason Schmidt beauty was wasted by the time Dontrelle Willis took the mound.
Because of classes, I didn't really get a chance to see any of the Florida wins. The highlights have been shown ad naseum since, so I'll spare you the unoriginal rehashing.
All I have to say is that Barry Bonds wasn't allowed to become a factor, only notching nine at bats. Edgaro Alfonzo did what he could to knock Bonds around the sacks after the eight walks, but no one else in the Giants' line up hit. What cost the Giants the series was the inability for the Giants hitters to make adjustments to the Marlins, and ended up overcompinsating with some boneheaded baserunning (Snow trying to score on a single to left, Grissom trying to steal third). The only plus that came out of San Francisco is that Bonds said he would be back in spring training.
DeweyVision vs Jeff DV 1-0
Cubs 3, Braves 2
Series MVP - Kerry Wood CHC
Two starts, two absolutely dominant pitching performances against the National League's best offense. Truthfully, this recognition could go to Mark Prior or Moises Alou, but I'm going with Wood.
In game five, when Alex Gonzalez homered off Mike Hampton. Wood was too strong, the Braves hitters too impatient. The Brave hitters didn't do anything to help their cause. Despite scoring a run, they just didn't have the horses to come back from the "insurmountable" two run Cubs lead.
The Braves were out pitched, out hit, and out classed, whatever that means. Despite the high win total, this was the weakest Braves' team in years, and the Cubs exploited it. I'm not sure the Cubs are really good enough to make it in to the World Series, but they matched up well with the Braves.
By the way, if the Red Sox happen to win today, and then the Cubs and Sox make it to the World Series, I bet it'll be one day before I am sick of the "The world will end during game 7, har har har." Bite me, asshole.
DeweyVision vs. Jeff DV 2-0
Yankees 3, Twins 1
Series MVP - Derek Jeter NYY
Jeter is topping off his best year since 1999 by playing well in the postseason. His defense is still terrible, but at least he's putting the ash on the ball. Jeter is an annoying hitter to face because he seems to take away the inside corner with that dive across the plate, and then he flicks the outside pitch into right field. It's annoying baseball, but smart hitting. This is a note for Yankee fans who might stumble on this site: Jeter is a good baseball player, but not because of some mystic ability to "make the big play" or "rise to the occasion". The Yankees win because they are a good team, not because of "character and chemistry" or Jeter's "leadership and class." The sooner that the majority of announcers and fans know this, the sooner Yankee fans will stop being pidgeonholed as arrogant pricks.
When game 2 started, the series was pretty much over. The Twins scored three runs in three games and were sent home by the bullies of New York. The Twins did well to take the first game, but I never really thought the series was in danger.
I've covered most of what I think in the last two sections, but I need to rant about the quality of broadcasting so far. Normally tolerable announcers seem to turn into giggling school girls when it comes to doing Yankee games. That isn't the annoying part, the annoying part is that they gush over the wrong things.
The Yankees won out the series due to hitting the Twins when their starters started getting tired, and their pitching holding down a mediocre offense. The did not win because of good defense or "Yankee Mystique". When the Yankees started hitting Radke in the seventh inning of game two, it wasn't because of "Yankee Magic" as Joe Buck said, but because they are good hitters hitting off a starter who was up to 85 pitches.
As for defense, the Yankees are bar-none the worst defensive team in the postseason. Yesterday there were two plays that caught my attention, that were explained away by David Justice (who was wearing his Yankee jersey under the suit I think). The first was a Derek Jeter diving play on groundball up the middle. As most people who have seen Jeter can probably guess, the ball rolled under his glove into center for a single. Justice said the reason he didn't make the play is because he was worried about his shoulder injury from the beginning of the year. This is, of course, a crock of shit. There are probably 15 starting shortstop who make that play without diving at all. Jeter took three steps to his left and then dove.
The next was the (Justice) "extremely athletic" play Matsui made on a fly to left. He made a running catch, cutting in front of Bernie Williams, who had the same idea Godzilla had. In non-Justice land, this is called a "routine catch". In JusticeWorld, he says how Matsui is an above average left fielder for making that play, despite the fact that Mastui cut off a sprinting Bernie Williams, and avoided a crash by about a foot. It was a stupid play, but whenever Jeff Brantley brought it up, Justice talked about his athleticism.
I think this is why a lot of fans hate the Yankees, and by extention, their fans. They are almost never criticized by the national announcers, and even when they are, the Yankees have to do something terribly bad. Things like Jeter and Williams defense have deteriorated to the point of liability, but they are still called average to above average. People like hearing about their team doing well, so Yankee fans buy into it, and parrot what they hear on the air. It comes off as arrogance, and that causes a rift between the Yankee fan and the other fans. As an extention, it cheapens the fact that the Yankees have won 26 championships. When Smithers is kissing Burns' ass all the time, people forget how rich he is.
DeweyVision vs. Jeff DV 2-1
Sunday, October 05, 2003
Going back to Cali - Notorious BIG
When the lala hits ya lyrics just splits ya
Head so hard, that ya hat can't fit ya
Either I'm witcha or against ya
Format venture, back through that maze I sent ya
Talkin to the rap inventor
Nigga wit the game tight, Bic that flame right
Spell my name right, B-I, Double-G, I-E
Iced out lights out, me and Cease-a-Leo
Gettin head from some chick he know
See it's all about the cheddar, nobody do it better
Going back to Cali, strictly for the weather
Women, and the weed -- sticky green
No seeds bitch please, Poppa ain't soft
Dead up in the Hood, ain't no love lost
Got me mixed up, you drunk them licks up
Mad cause I got my dick sucked
and my balls licked, forfeit, the game is mine
I'ma spell my name one more time, check it
Its the, N-O, T-O, R-I, O
U-S, you just, lay down, slow
Recognize a real Don when you see Juan/one
Sippin on booze in the House of Blues
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
If I got to choose a coast I got to choose the East
I live out there, so don't go there
But that don't mean a nigga can't rest in the West
See some nice breasts in the West
Smoke some nice sess in the West, y'all niggaz is a mess
Thinkin I'm gon stop, givin L.A. props
All I got is beef with those that violate me
I shall annihilate thee
Case closed, suitcase filled with clothes
Linens and things, I begin things
People start to flash, 818's, 213's
Frequently floss hoes at Roscoe's
If I wanna squirt her, take her to Fatburger
Spend about a week on Venice Beach
Sippin Crist-o, with some freaks from Frisco
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
Cali got gunplay, models on the runway
Scream Biggie Biggie gimme One More Chance
I be whippin on the freeway, the NYC way
On the celly-celly with my homeboy Lance
Pass hash from left to right
Only got five blunts left to light, I'm set tonight
Paid a visit to Versace stores
Bet she suck until I ain't got no more, only in L.A.
Bust on bitches be-lly, rub it in they tummy
Lick it, say it's yummy, then fuck yo' man
Fuck your plan, is it to rock the Tri-State?
Almost gold, 5 G's at show gate
Or do you wanna see about seven digits
Fuck hoes exquisite, Cali, great place to visit
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
I'm going going, back back, to Cali Cali
As an aside from blunts and hoes, I heard this song right after Bill Mueller caught the final out. It's great. Right now, the Dewey's House enclave of the Red Sox Nation is brimming with confidence, joy, and a Greek calzone from Leo's Pizza. I honestly feel so rejuvenated be the last two games that I could pitch an inning for the Sox if they need me.
Dominican Duo BOS
Despite playing invisible for three games, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz won the game for the Red Sox. Manny had two hits, including a huge single off Foulke that set the stage for Ortiz. Ortiz broke out of his 0-16 slump with a double that drove in Nomar and Ramirez. Buy your David Ortiz Fan Club t-shirts right here.
Scott Williamson BOS
Williamson's troubles with his shoulder and control pale in comparison to the hell that he must be going through with a sick infant. He picked the exact right time to become untouchable. I just want to point out that a healthy, focused Williamson might be the best pitcher on the Red Sox, save for Pedro.
Adam Melhuese OAK
I don't know what else a guy has to do to get his team to win. Melhuease went three for four, essentially having his way with non-Williamson pitchers. Milhouse might also have won the award for most obscure A.
Keith Foulke/Ricardo Rincon OAK
Showing the flamablity that the Red Sox bullpen gets credit for, the best Oakland had to offer was less then a 38 year old knuckleballing Tiger cast off. Maybe Rincon has Todd Walker on his fantasy team, and want him to finish off this year strong so he can trade him for sweet, sweet draftpicks. Maybe that's just me.
Ken Macha OAK
Throwing Foulke for 51 pitches wasn't such a good idea, was it now. Macha has been a good manager, but I think he's falling into Gradyland. Kind of like when you're playing a monkey in chess, you don't try so hard and the monkey beats you. Again, maybe it's just me.
John Burkett+Grady Little BOS
The combination of the two made this game much closer then it should have been. Little did a good job with the game, save for leaving John Burkett in for an inning too long. John Burkett gets credit for showing his inner Burkettness.
When Grady Little brought Tim Wakefield in the game. Wakefield and Williamson allowed two base runners in 3 2/3 innings, shutting down Oakland completely and giving the Red Sox offense time to click into gear for the first time all series.
Take that, conventional wisdom!
The way to beat the Red Sox is to shut down their bats and expose their underbelly of a bullpen. This series, the bullpen has a 1.23 era, and is 2-0. Williamson, and Timlin will soon have songs sang about them by the children who were at these two games at Fenway.
I though that coming into Boston, the A's needed to sweep in order to win the series. I felt that a fired up Boston Red Sox team would be tough to beat once they got the taste of victory.
That first taste was last night, courtesy of Trot Nixon's bat. This afternoon, more gooey winning goodness was shoved down our throats off the bats of Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Todd Walker, and Johnny Damon. This Red Sox offense actually won the same way they put up so many runs during the regular season. No one hitter takes over a game. An analogy would be that the Damon/Walker home runs were paper cuts, and then the Oritz double would be the dunk in the salt water tank.
The Sox got some luck when Tim Hudson left the game due to oblique strain in the second. Then they hit an overmatched Sparks, a befuddled Rincon, and a overworked Foulke. The Sox won this game without much help from the Green Elephants.
You, enlightened fan, can of course not look past tomorrow night. For all the talk of "who do you want in a 5-game series?" that question now becomes "Who do you want in a one game series?" I'll take my chances with four day rest Pedro Martinez, over three day rest Barry Zito.
The storylines for this one are actually pretty nifty. You have a resurgent and rejuvenated Sox team, a reeling A's team, the duel of last year's top Cy Young finishers, and some bulletin board material courtesy of Tim Hudson.
In a futile attempt to think I can actually change the outcome of professional baseball games, here is Hudson's quote:
I think we have the better team," said Tim Hudson. "We have the best left-hander in the league going tomorrow."
But Boston believes it has the best right-hander.
"It's all right," Hudson said, "I'll take Barry Zito over Pedro Martinez any day."
I just got home from this game now, after spending the night in Massachusetts. All I can say, is with no hyperbole, that Nixon's home run is the greatest feat in the history of mankind.
Trot Nixon BOS
Red Sox Bullpen
I thought these guys couldn't get anyone out? Timlin for three innings, Williamson for one. Excellent pitching kept the Oakland hitters not only at bay, but overmatched. Mike Timlin's performance might rank as one of the ballsiest pitching performances out of the bullpen all year.
Jason Varitek BOS
He made two heads up plays during the game, that really saved the game for the Red Sox. On the first interference call, when Hernandez threw the ball to Chavez, alot of guys would have tryed for the plate again, but Varitek essentially drew the interference call by running back to third. The second is blocking the plate when Byrnes tryed to score. He didn't get caught up in the macho "I look like a rough surfer" Eric Byrnes shove to go and get the ball and tag Byrnes.
Normally sure handed, the A's 'fence was terrible last night. However, the only one that can really complain is Ted Lilly. The Sox only scored one run despite the extra four outs.
Red Sox offense
Welcome back! There were four well hit balls by the Red Sox last night. Johnny Damon's first inning double, a David Ortiz fly out in the sixth, Doug Mirabelli's singling in the eleventh, and Nixon's homer. Remember when they set the AL record for slugging?
Eric Byrnes OAK
Nice shove tough guy. Try touching the plate next time rather then pick fights with a catcher and then limping towards the dugout. Carlton Fisk would have tagged him and then strangled him to death with his batting gloves.
Um...probably Nixon's home run.
Take that, conventional wisdom!
Chad Bradford is fast becoming one of the most dominant bullpen arms in baseball. He has made many righthanders look absolutely foolish all year. Yet people still think he's garbage because he throws underhand and because he only throws 83. These are also the same people who don't realize that Byung-Hyun Kim is an excellent closer.
The game speaks for it self. Trot Nixon hit a homerun to win. Ted Lilly, and Derek Lowe pitched outstanding baseball. The umpires made correct, but controversial calls in the game (Umpire head Steve Palermo explained the rule and lauded the umpires).
Insted I will talk about the two non-baseball controversies.
On the jackets of Doug Mirabelli, Lou Merloni, Tim Wakefield, and Adrian Brown was some masking tape. The tape sayed Lil--ly, after the A's pitcher Ted Lilly. The crowd loved it. Sean McAdam didn't. I don't care. The game is supposed to be fun, and stuff like that is fun. It isn't "bush league" and it isn't "disrespecting your opponent". It's just something goofy that these Red Sox did with the fans. Call this a pre-emptive strike against all those who like to pretend that baseball is more important then it is.
The next is actually more serious. Reliever Byung-hyun Kim was introduced and booed pretty hard. Kim tipped his cap, and then flipped the bird to the booing fans. This is obviously an obsence gesture, that shouldn't be taken lightly. But isn't the cause just as obscene as the result? The fact that Red Sox fans booed a guy durning his introduction is shameless, and I was actually embarrassed to be a fan there. Mike Timlin was embarrassed to be his teammate. None of it means anything. I actually think that it's pretty immature to boo a person, rather then a play. Kim shouldn't of responded as he did, but there is no reason to expect more of him then the idiots that booed him.
Saturday, October 04, 2003
Some quick notes today...
I ended up getting a ticket to the Red Sox game today. There is only one way I could be more pumped, and I dare not say it, lest I jinx the band and they break up.
I'll have one of those in depth thingies tomorrow, with my usual charm and panache. Or I'll just drop some f-bombs.
DeweyVision vs. Jeff
Marlins 2, Giants 1
Cubs 2, Braves 1
Twins 1, Yankees 1
A's 2, Red Sox 0
I'm beginning to hate DeweyVision.
Friday, October 03, 2003
What a depressing game...
Barry Zito OAK
Barry the Weird fought through his early struggles to pitch a gem. His hook was absolutely nasty once the fourth inning started. When Zito is on, he is nearly unhittable. He also only walked two guys, and struck out nine. I don't know if that is a testament to his goofy curve ball or a hacking Red Sox offense.
Eric Byrnes OAK
Surfer boy knocked in two runs with a double to left. From the nine hole, he was 2-4 with that double. Considering he was 0-second half, it sure was annoying to see him actually be able to put some wood on the ball.
Johnny Damon BOS
Really the only Red Sox to contribute to the offense. Damon's automatic double knocked in Mirabelli, for the single Sox run. I hate the auto. double rule, because Damon was gliding halfway between second and first when the ball bounced over the wall. He would have had a triple with Nomar up. Sad.
Tim Wakefield BOS
Not really fair to call him a goat, since he didn't do much wrong except no be able to control an uncontrollable pitch. Some of his knucklers just stayed up in the second and they got hit. If not for the second inning, then Wakefield gets the win, and is a hero.
Red Sox offense
Guys? Guys? Where are you? Guys?
I watched both games. I can only blame myself.
In the top of the third, Mirabelli was in, Damon was on second and Nomar walked. Walker grounded out to third, and Manny hit a line drive into the left field gap that was stabbed by Guillen. The Sox never threatened after that.
Take that. conventional wisdom!
Grady Little hit Nomar second again, despite the fact that Walker and Ortiz really can't hit lefties. That left Nomar and Manny with absolutely to fall back on. Nomar and Manny: 2-6, 2 walks. Ortiz and Walker: 0-8.
Ken Macha decided that Keith Foulke's (free agent this offseason) arm was made more of rubber then anything as he pitched in the ninth despite a four run lead. Foulke wasn't very sharp, but only gave up a single to Mueller.
I don't think the season is over.
I prepared myself to be able to drop these two games in Oakland, as long as the Red Sox themselves stay up, and realize they own in Fenway. It's looking promising, so far, as Derek Lowe's little hissy fit on the mound about walking Terrence Long is the kind of mentality this team needs.
As for game 2, it was a horrible game to watch. The last time I saw something like this was June 20-21, when the Red Sox played the Phillies. The end result of that extra inning one run loss, and a uninspired effort was a five game winning streak, culminating in a 25-8 battle against Florida.
I don't fault Grady's strategy in this game. Psychologically, moving Walker from the three hole might have been a bad move, considering the night he had the other night, and one of his homeruns was against a tough lefty. I'm just saying a real case could be made that that move was counterproductive. I just don't agree with that argument.
Ken Macha, who I think has done an outstanding job as A's manager, gave me a head scratcher when he brought Foulke into a four run game the day after he threw 51 pitches. Conventional wisdom is that you need your closer for just those situations. The A's team however might have been better served if they used one of their lesser bullpen arms.
This series isn't over, no matter what some "fan" sites and curly haired Boston Globe columnists tell you. Sox just need to play like they did to get here.