Monday, October 31, 2005

Fuuuuuuuuuucccccckkkkkkkk

Theo is gone.

New Outfield? New team?

Manny wants out...again...Time to go. Sorry, I will not listen to how great his numbers are, etc...How many times do we have to listen to this crap?

A few weeks ago Manny and his reps wanted to talk to the Sox about the direction in which the team was going (i.e.- are they going for the WS win in '06?). Apparently, Manny and his peeps didn't like the response. Does this mean the Sox are actually looking at a rebuilding (but competitive) year or two here? With a look at the current roster possibilities, there are many, many holes. There is a good chance with Manny forcing this trade that the Sox brass may very well blow it all up and look to catch lightning in a bottle with the young stars.

I believe that the Sox will take this chance to shed themselves of the rest of Duquette's doings.

With Theo staying, though, they will more than likely continue with the "Money Ball" philosophy. Gets some guys on and bash them home. However, they MUST pursue pitching.

Wells, it is reported, is not going to be a Bostonian next year. That leaves Schilling, Wake, Clement, Arroyo, and Papelbon. They definitely need to pursue a starter, and a top-of-the-rotation type at that. And what about the bullpen? Who is left? Foulke, Timlin (is he a free agent?), and Hansen. They need a ton of arms out there.

But...and here's the part that most Sox fans don't want to look at right now...Is there enough of a team to try to salvage here? Can Theo be expected to rebuild a starting rotation, a bullpen, the entire infield (minus the SS position) and two-thirds of the OF? Also, Kapler will probably miss a portion of the season so there goes your fourth outfielder for a while.

Seriously...here's the lineup (without Manny)

???
Renteria
Ortiz
???
Varitek
Nixon
Youkilis
???
??? (Cora?)

Rookies coming up this year?
Hansen
Pedroia
Papelbon (first full year)

I will be very impressed if Theo is able to put together a competitive team looking at the core here. And don't expect much in return for Mr. Ramirez. Thanks to his stupid PR people, every other team in MLB now knows that he will not play for the Sox next year no matter. Try trading someone like that and getting something resembling equal value in return.

I have heard rumblings of Erstad for Ramirez...Do it. With the infield of Youk, Renteria, and Pedroia the Sox are going to need a gold-glover at first.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Stay tuned...

Rumor or fact???

So there is a rumor floating around that an AL Outfielder on a playoff team has tested positive for steroids. He has been going through the appeals process and resolution is expected in the next few weeks. I have not seen anything confirmed, but supposedly USA Today Sports Weekly has the story (can't find on the web) and allegedly Will Carroll from Baseball Prospectus did a radio show in DC and gave an official "I can not comment on this because I was involved in the appeals process." Yet he did confirm that it is a big name.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ozzie

Well, that didn’t take long.

I guess my prediction was only half right. I knew he wouldn’t go, but thought he would drag it on. I’m sure Bobby Cox is thrilled to have a comment like that made public. But then again from a guy who has beaten his wife, why should he care if he looks or sounds petty.

No mas beisbol

Congrats to the Chicago White Sox. So the Red Sox are no longer World Champions. But they still can lay claim to the Greatest Comeback in Sports History. And when they were eliminated in the playoffs this year, it was to the eventual champions, who really proved themselves to the Best Team in baseball. Hell, we put up a bigger fight than the National League Champions.

...and yet again the AL shows itself to be the stronger league. This is not the first time one league has swept the other for two consecutive World Series-es. It's actually the fourth time. But the other three times the team doing the sweeping was the New York Yankees. They swept in 1998-1999 (vs. Atlanta and San Diego), 1938-1939 (vs. Chicago and Cincinnatti) and 1927-1928 (vs. Pitsburgh and St. Louis).

Pitchers and catchers report in 4 1/2 months. [Edit: make that 3 1/2 months. Whew!]

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ms. Plunk?

Check out the last paragraph of article. I guess it runs in the family!?

Well then.

So I'm notoriously bad at predictions. I thought this was the year that was going to change -- by mid-August my two bold predictions, that the A's would take the AL West and the White Sox wouldn't make the playoffs, looked pretty good. But then both teams turned it around, in opposite directions, and I was totally wrong. I guess I called four of the eight playoff spots correctly (about what everyone else on this board did), but a smart monkey could've done as well. And someone picking the highest-salaried team from each division would have done even better, picking 5 of 8.

Anyway, even after the Bad Sox turned it around in September, I assumed they wouldn't get anywhere in the playoffs. And I maintain they didn't look great against the Red Sox, or even the Indians before that. But since then, damn. I guess I've been totally wrong about them. They've caught a number of lucky breaks, but they're still playing like the Best Team in Baseball. It's down to the same situation the Red Sox were in a year ago: either they win their first WS in over 85 years, or they suffer their worst collapse in team history. You gotta go with the first option. Even I don't hate Guillen or Pierzinksi that much.

So, really for the first time all season, or ever, I'm rooting for the White Sox. If they win, (1) Ozzie Guillen will have to address his promise to retire; (2) the Curse of Barbara Bush will become baseball's biggest curse (she deserves that after her New Orleans comments); and (3) the Red Sox will remain the only team in baseball history to come back from a 0-3 deficit to win a 7-game series.

These are all good things. Go Sox.

Random Thoughts during game 3

Part of me hopes the White Sox win this one and then we get to see the graphic "Only one team in postseason history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit."

If HOU can win here, Dookie gets the loss. Of course Petite did not get the loss yesterday, but it would Clemens the loser in game 1, Andy started game 2 and then Dookie the loss in game 3. HMMMM.

All these Prison Break promos remind me of the show Cop Rock for some reason.

Wow

Just in case you didn't already think Tadahito Iguchi was awesome: his favorite song is "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses. Check out Keep Your Sox On for a list of the favorite songs by other players in the WS.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

Caple

Remember when Jim Caple was a decent writer? A big Red Sox fan, sort of funny. Maybe the emergence of Bill Simmons (who's funnier, and a bigger fan) set him off, but he's been terrible for a few years now. Anyway, his latest article sort of pissed me off -- I'm getting tired of cheap, unfair shots against Red Sox fans. So I wrote him back.
I just read your article "White Sox, Astros Deserve This". I completely agree with the title, but was surprised to find half the article was spent attacking Red Sox fans. Which is fine -- I'm used to it. But what's imcomprehensible to me is that your complaint is that we obsess about The Curse. "The Curse" was something entirely made up by the sports media, and many of us fans found it ridiculous and or annoying. We saw it for what it was -- something for you guys to write about. But now that "the Curse" is no more, you turn around and attack us for having obsessed about it. Incredible.
Okay, the "half the article" comment was a major exaggeration, but it otherwise feels like a fairly reasonable message overall. I very quickly got this well-thought out, well-typed response:
RIght. It was all us. We're the only ones who focused on the World Series drought. Which is why I got a recent email from someone whose address was sox1918@ aolcomor some such thing.
Wow, defensive much? Anyway I stared at my computer screen for a while trying to figure out what the hell he was trying to say. I finally responded with:
I'm sorry, but you just totally changed the subject -- nowhere in my message did I reference the World Series drought. I made it very clear I was talking about "The Curse". In my opinion, caring about the last year your team Won It All is not the same as obsessing about "The Curse". No, it's just being a fan. On my television at this very moment are a couple very happy White Sox fans holding up a "1917" sign. How is that different than putting a "1918" in an email address?
Then to show I wasn't nearly as pissed off as he was, I lied and said I was a big fan of his writing, etc. Anyway, he chose to ignore that, and the question I posed to him, and instead rattled off this response (which reads more like a schoolyard taunt than anything else):
right. and was it someone in the media who spray-paintedd ''reverse the curse'' on the overpass?
So there you have it. Modern sports writing in a nutshell: 4 numbers in an email address and 4 letters spraypainted onto a sign, and you have all the evidence you need to write an article attacking an entire fanbase.

(In his defense, judging from the typos, he may have been drunk.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Funny funny

Not sure why it took me this long to discover it, but the Onion has a new sports section which is (naturally) completely brilliant. The writers clearly know a lot about sports, and also clearly are serious baseball fans. Headlines include "MLB Introduces Todd Zeile Award for Participation", "Attempt To Delay Ejaculation By Thinking About Baseball Ruined By Crush On Johnny Damon", and "Fox Cancels ALCS After Just Two Episodes". But two brilliant ones include
"Bush to Throw Out First Out First Through 120th Pitch of World Series"
"We want all the players on both teams to know that if they're hit by one of the First Pitches, they should just take their base. Anyone who charges the mound will be cut down by sharpshooters equipped with suppressed MP5 submachine guns. That goes double for you, Pierzynski."

"MLB Promises Next Season Will be Even More Predictable"
"Angels first place, A's second place, Rangers third place, Mariners last place," Selig said. "Sound familiar yet? If not, get used to it, as that will be your AL West for the next 20 or so years."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

zzzzzzzzz

Over two months ago I described the Lee Mazzilli firing and Sam Perlozzo hiring as "the first time in MLB history a manager with two z's in his name replaced another manager with two z's in his name". Of course I just made that up, but a day later Murray Chass reported the same thing. Meaning it must be true, and also that it's proof that the Red Sox are a horrible team with stupid fans who like to kill puppy dogs for pleasure.

Anyway, now the O's just signed Leo Mazzone as their pitching coach. I mean, c'mon. Way too obvious. Hey, I hear Mike Piazza is looking for a job...

Oh yeah, in less important baseball news, the World Series starts tonight. I still haven't decided who to root for. (Er, I mean "for whom to root". Man that sounds stupid.) Any thoughts? I was in Austin for games 5 and 6, watching them in Sixth Street bars -- Astros fans everywhere.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Damnit.

We could have been rich. Or at least have 5 minutes of fame.

Remember when we used to sit around for hours on end and discuss what would happen if it was any five of us against Shaq and Kobe. Or all four of us in the ring against Tyson. Or Us against Joe Thorton and any random defenseman. Well Spike TV has (sort of) created the show.

Random Thoughts for Friday

Gammons wrote on ESPN about Manny being traded “Another possibility would be Arizona, if Boston would take some of the contracts the Diamondbacks are trying to move, including Troy Glaus and Luis Gonzalez.” Huh? We are going to take back money? Are you kidding me?

Meet Scott Podsednik’s fiancee.

Look the fat kid made the majors.

Did anyone else notice that Billy Wagner’s agent is named Bean Stringfellow. I think this is a bad joke or something. "Yeah my agent's name is John Cocktosen."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

World Series Preview

I guess I will root for CHI. American league roots are just too strong, plus then we will have lost the eventual champ. Of course, I really won’t be upset if HOU wins, for the good guys (Biggio, Bagwell) and so Yankee fans will have to wonder “what if we had Clemens and Pettite.” Actually I think in this series I will start watching and then there will be some galvanizing event that makes me say – “I want Team X to win.” Well, actually Team X wins every year. Touche. I know, I know I’m in trouble now.

I'm not even going to make a prediction. I am just thoroughly enjoying the post division series playoff baseball this year.

One dude I enjoyed watching was Backe, who was “wired” for the last two games. He genuinely seemed pumped up.

Girardi in as marlins manager - no surprise there. Mazzone to Baltimore. Now we have the dual double zz’s going with Perlozzo. Just one season after Mazzili and Perlozzo. That didn’t turn out so great. I was a bit surprised the Braves let him go so willingly. I believer, he had one year left on his contract.

Good times listening to Steve “Psycho” Lyons announce a game. In one half inning he mentioned Grudzielanek fisted a single to right. And then also spoke about the Cardinal being dominated all night. And I always get a chuckle when announcer says “now coming up, switch hitter Lance Berkman.” Of course it was always infinitely more funny when it was Sean McDonough saying it.

I have to say the Brenneman, Lyons and Brenly team is far superior to Buck/McCarver. Buck is more and more becoming the next Costas – annoying little twerp, constantly sounding off on “the right way to play the game.” Shut up and do your job. Which is play by play. Its bad enough to have one (bad) analyst in the booth. We don’t need two. Of course, I will always love listening to the call – “Back to Foulke……” well you know the rest.

Speaking of which, in about a week we will be subjected to about 287,341,612 articles, postings, etc about the one year anniversary of …. Well you know the rest.

The curse of Barbara Bush may be over. Of course it could always come back for the WS.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Only one thought today

In one of the very, very earliest posts in the history of GYS, we discussed the relative strengths of the two leagues.

The general consensus was that the AL is the better league - and this really is backed up on a lot of fronts. One thing I found interesting is look at the pitching performances this post season from pitchers that were pitching in the AL within just the last two years.

Clemens, Carpenter, Hudson, Mulder, Suppan (kind of), Pettitte.

This just in.... Pujols Homer Just Landed

Man, I thought that homer would NEVER come down. The AP is reporting that some Canadian farmer found the remains of a baseball in his field at 10:30 AM this morning. Apparently, the leather was still smoldering.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Good Grief

So now, A-Rod's mom is saying A-Rod struggled in the post season because his uncle died. Please. So what was his excuse last year when he went 1-whatever in the last four games of the LCS. Maybe his therapist will provide an excuse for that collapse.

I know, I know. I should be sensitive. And I know how hard it is to lose a loved one. But really. You should be able to put it behind you for a few hours and go do your job.

Clemens did it the day HIS MOTHER DIED.
Last year, Rivera flew to Panama for the funeral of his cousin and his cousin's child. And still made it back. closed games 1 and 2. Do we hear his mommy offerring up excuses that "Mo was still rocked by the family deaths and that is why he coughed up consecutive games." Um, no I don't think so.
Brett Favre. And I'm sure about a dozen other high profile athletes have been able to temporarily put aside their grief.

This guys is unbelievable. I'm sure he is thrilled with his mom at this point. Classic.

Random Thoughts for Monday and some random predictions

I think I will root for the White Sox so we all get to hear Ozzie talk his way out of retiring. After all, he did say if the White Sox win the World Series he will retire.

The Angels can cry all they want, but the game 2 call did not cost them the game. In game 4, if Finley had run hard all the way to first instead of slowing to call for interference, he would have been safe and the tying run would have scored. These things are unfortunate, but good teams should rebound from them. A better place to look is at Vladi and Figgy’s atrocious series.

Am I the only one that gets annoyed that every article now refers to USC as the “two time defending national champions?” According to whom? If the sox win the 2006 AL East, will they then become two time defending champs?

I’m a little surprised that all the general/manager openings have not been filled. And with Bud’s gag order during the WS about to be in place, I imagine a number of these will extend to November. I have been keeping track of some and my predictions/thoughts as follows:

Yanks – Cashman – gone. Torre – safe and will take the high road. No bashing of George. Likely successor to Cash – Damon Oppenheimer from the Tampa faction.

Sox – of course Theo is staying.

Tampa – I think the new owner will do something unique here in the front office. Sternberg has a young director of basball ops (Andrew Friedman). He would be younger than even the kid in TEX. I think they will promote him to GM but bring in an advisor or two (maybe John Hart? Or Gord Ash?) As for a manager, Bobby V. I think he is in Japan, but never underestimate a NYers (Sternberg) love for past NYers.

Florida – Girardi.

Washington – if Bud hurries up and gets the sale done, Cashman is the man. But they have to have it done in the next 4 weeks. Don’t discount Theo assistant Josh Byrnes. Although if this thing drags on, Bowden will get one more year.

Phillies – they would love Cash, but I bet he holds out for Washington. Maybe Jerry Hunsicker? They can probably wait a long time for Cashman since they Have reuben amaro waiting in the wings.

Dodgers – god help them if they go with Terry Collins. I give up trying to figure out Depodesta.

AZ – Is Matt Williams ready to be the GM under Manny’s former agent Jeff Moorad?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Random Thoughts for Saturday

Man, CHI pitching continues to impress. Dare I say that this year might be lining up just right for them.... I do not like Ozzie Guillen or AJ, which would be the only reason to root against CHI. I need to keep reminding myself - "this is better than the Yankees, this is better than the Yankees, this is better than the Yankees...."

I have not read the Globe today, but I think Ryan is covering the LAA-CHI series. Which pretty much means that with O-Cab's HR last night, it will give him one more opportunity to rip Renteria, because, yes if we had resigned O-Cab, the sox pitchers probably would not have give up 24 runs in 3 games to the Pale Hose.

I read these stories about the Yanks (and to a lesser extent, the sox) signing BJ Ryan. I can’t help being skeptical. A proven left handed closer, with filthy, filthy stuff (285 K in 207 innings the last 3 years). And we are supposed to believe he will sign with the MFY to be a set up man? With his pedigree, he should get at least Foulke money. Are the Yanks going to give $8MM per year to set up? Maybe they will. They have taken all of MLB to new levels in the past for middle relief (Karsay, Chirs Hammond Gordon, Quantrill come to mind). And would Ryan be willing to accept that role? At least with the Sox, they could say, “we’ll make you the closer and we are trying to deal Foulke.” Apparently Ryan has said he would accept a set-up for a winning team, but does this not smack of "Lets get the Yankees and Red Sox to drive up my price?" I guess one way or another we will see the first $8MM set up man next year.

I love how the talk is that NY wants to take a run at Torii Hunter, but Cano is now untouchable. I mean sure he is a low cost option, but its not like he is the second coming of Soriano of Jeff Kent. At least I don’t think so. He does have one thing in common. Its like when the sox (and some fans) didn’t want to trade Casey Fossum for Colon. Or Nixon for Sosa.

This one passed without comment on these boards - Ramirez reportedly wants to discuss the direction of the franchise: What free agents are being pursued, what the payroll will be next year, whether the Red Sox will be a playoff team, etc. Seriously. I can just see it now, Manny and Bill James sitting down in Theo’s office debating the relative values and VORPs of Bill Meuller vs. Kevin Youkilis as the everyday 3B.

Along the same lines as my recent defense of Renteria….. I forget where I read it, but there is some noise about the upcoming FA class and a reference to how weak it is coupled with how last year’s market was overpriced. There were references to Kris Benson, Carl Pavano, Matt Clement, Jaret Wright, Eric Milton and Russ Ortiz. Sure he wore down a little (maybe even a lot, who knows how much affect the beaning had) at the end, but Clement had the best season of any of those guys. And he may have been the best overall FA pitcher with the possible exception of Lieber. Without Clement, the Sox don’t make the playoffs.

Friday, October 14, 2005

My One-Act Play

[I just realized that the problem is not that Doug Eddingses exist. The problem is that there aren't enough Doug Eddingses. For example, it'd be really great if Doug Eddings were in charge of the Human Resources Department at someplace I want to work for. So great, in fact, that I wrote a one-act play about it.]



DOUG EDDINGS AND ME
A one-act play, by Earl


[A nice corner office. DOUG EDDINGS is sitting behind his desk. I walk in. DOUG EDDINGS stands.]

DOUG EDDINGS: Thank you very much for your application. Unfortunately we received a large number of outstanding applications, but currently have only one position to fill. I regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a position at this time.

ME: Oh. I see. Thank you very much -- well, I really like corner offices. I think I'll take...this one. [Sits down behind Doug Eddings' desk.]

DOUG EDDINGS: [confused for a moment] Welcome aboard!

[5 minute montage, with shots of me spinning around in my swivel chair, me dancing on the desk, me high-fiving Doug Eddings, Doug Eddings giving me an oversized check for ten thousand dollars, me kissing a big wad of hundred dollar bills, and me dancing on the desk some more. Loverboy's "Everybody's Working For the Weekend" plays in the background.]

ME: Allllll riiiiight!!!

- FIN -

Random Thoughts for Friday

What a performance by Oswalt. The AB by Edmonds in the 5th, with 2 on was awesome. Oswalt just went right at him. And then froze him.

I'm sure it is just "negotiations" but I can't be the only one that thinks "If Theo wants $2.5 million, give him $2.5." Hell, that is about how much the Sox paid Mark Bellhorn in 2005 (not to pick on Bellhorn, just putting it in perspective). At this point, Theo has accomplished about as much (if not more) as Billy Beane had when the Sox made that offer to Beane. Except, as Joe Morgan would say "Theo did not write a best selling baseball book, like Billy Beane has."

And if Schilling gets and extra $16 Million for helping the Sox win the WS, now they are going to short change Theo? I don't get it.

Did you guys see this story. Classic.

I enjoy seeing a resurgence of Penn State football. Hopefully, they can have one more great season and Joe-Pa can go off into the sunset.

ND-USC. I thought that they usually played really late in the season, but regardless, this should be a good game. If only for the ex-Patriot factor. I was a bit surprised to not see Bob Ryan have a column today about it. In fact, we could probably write it for him.

Is anyone surprised that Romanowski used steroids? Why does the media even bother.

Wow, since when did I ever write about football. weird.

Please, please can we just let ball-gate end. Here's to the playoffs.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Random Thoughts for Today

I forget which broadcast I was watching (and I'm not even sure it was last night), but I can't believe the constant criticism and labeling of the Edgar Renteria signing being a bust. Actually I was watching NESN and they had Bob Ryan on complaining that the team screwed up by not signing O-Cab. Now sure O-Cab was hurt, but even when he played he was inferior to Renteria, with the possible and I mean possible, exception of defensively. Renteria did have a hire Range Factor so it is possible it was not so much worse than O-CAB. Other numbers - OCab batted .257/.315/.403 vs. .288/.345/.385 and Renteris scored 100 runs - that is a lot of runs. Now I agree he was a bit below his potential, but he was not a bust. If they'd signed Cabrera for 4years/$32MM, they would now be questining that move.

Watching Pettite last night was creepy. I never liked that guy. His beedy little eyes peering out from behind his glove and hat. But it would kind of be nice as GR said, to have MFY fans watch their two best pitchers from 2003 win a WS with another team one year after watching their mortal enemy dance on their lawn and then do what they could not do the year before.

The whole Eddings thing is unbelievable. And sad. I wish we were not talking about this and were, instead, talking about what a tight, exciting series it has been so far.

Interesting to see Reggie Sanders play like Reggie Jackson this year. Especially after he sucked so bad in his 5 other trips to the post season. Including last year when he went O for the world series. But then again the Sox did that to a number of batters.

Does anyone other than the NY media really care what Joe Torre says about the Boss when he launches his promised season ending comments on George. I looked at a couple of Yankee blogs and lets just say, I did not see a single reference to the upcoming missives. Lots of talk about what went wrong. And some (stupid) speculation that every GM in baseball will just give NY their best players (Vernon Wells, Aaron Rowand, and Torri Hunter) and and happily take Giambi off NYs hands now that he is back. My guess is that Joe takes the high road. As usual.

Plus like they say. If you take George's money, you also have to take his crap.

I didn't think it was possible, but...

...I now hate AJ Pierzinksi, and Fox Sports, more than ever.

I'm seriously considering scalping tickets to Friday's game in Anaheim, just to watch the umpires come out: they will be booed probably more than at any other time in baseball history. And they'll deserve it. Fun stuff.

[Also, if you were as pissed of at Chris Myers's postgame interview as much as I was -- he didn't have the balls to let the White Sox players know they got a serious gift, and then he plugged not one, but two Fox shows -- then click here and him them know.]

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Its that time again

Book Review!!!

This month’s installment – The Last Commissioner by Fay Vincent.

Continued.

Random Thoughts for Today

This one shocked me. The team layed down on him. Sure there were distractions and injuries, but god they sucked at the end. And with Camden Yards not being the guaranteed sell out it used to be plus the new TV network, and competition from the Nats, I would have expected them to do something to generate more buzz.

Ozzie ran the White Sox out of a couple of potential rallys. Yet escaped criticism. Oh well.

Lou Pinella was actually pretty good. In fact, he did something I had not seen - he managed to get McCarver to actually be quiet. For long stretches of time.

I am a bit surprised that both games today are at 5:00. I remember having to leave work very early last year to catch Game 5 of the ALCS - of course the 14 innings meant it overlapped anyway. I guess for games 1 and 2 they don't stagger the starts.

And if I manage to get out of work early tonight and catch some of the games, I will be able to get another book review done.

Sure sign that your NL-only fantasy league has bit the dust:

You make a blockbuster 32-player trade, in which all players from two teams are swapped (click here for details), in early August...

...and no one notices. My team (the Easy Roiders) won, by the way, which means I am the best GM ever.

Best Headline Ever

From Fark.com (the best source of news on the web)

"Nomar Garciaparra saves two women from drowning; A-Rod and Jeter said to be in good condition"

Monday, October 10, 2005

LAA

So there you have it - no Red Sox, and no Yankees, in the ALCS this year. Did anyone actually call that back in April? Both looked outmatched, and tired, in their Division Series, against teams they each really had a shot at beating (at least the Yanks forced a game 5). I'm bummed Boston is out, but also thrilled that New York is out also. Of course, the only people upset about both are the folks at Fox Sports. And, at the very least, what's bad for Fox is probably good for baseball.

Let's go Angels.

Breaking News

Anaheim, California October 10, 2005 - New York Yankee spokesman Howard Rubenstein today announced that George Steinbrenner happily has entered into a five year agreement that is expected to regain and extend the Yankee dominance of MLB. Under the contract, whose exact terms were not released, Steinbrenner will deliver his soul and the souls of approximately two or three dozen Tri-State area millionaires to Satan. The deal is effectively immediately and is reminiscent of an earlier five year deal the parties had entered into in the period early 1996 and expired at the end of October 2001.

In other news, LA Angel starter and Cy Young favorite, Bartolo Colon was removed from the decisive Game 5 of the AL Division series this evening. Colon's removal from the game forced into action Angel rookie Ervin Santana.

Too Early for Hot Stove

It's weird not having the Sox playing right now, but it doesn't hurt. I guess winning it all last year really did do something...

Anyway, is it too early to start thinking about the hot stove? In years past, it would take weeks to get over the final Sox loss. Hell, it took a year to get over the 03 game 7 loss. But not this year. Which leads me to this statement, or maybe more of a question: Was this Sox team likeable???

I love the Red Sox. But does that mean that I loved this group of players that comprised this year's campaign? I liked Ortiz, Papelbon, Timlin, and Bill Mueller. Jason Varitek is a perenial favorite. Nixon always plays hard and you have to respect that. But, with a little distance, I am finding that I did not like this team despite them being my favorite sports francise...

Does anyone else feel this way?

I got mad often at Manny Ramirez. He's making millions to play a game, and he was lazy. Yes, amazing offensive stats once again, but lazy nonetheless. Damon couldn't keep his yap shut. I got sick of him being the team spokesman. Those were the main two dislikes. Oh, and Foulke...

Then came the indifferents...This was a huge band...Millar, Olerud (he may fall in to the "liked" category, but he seemed like a desperation move), Bellhorn, Cora, Mirabelli, most of the pen...

Then there were "others"...

Yet, I rooted them on. I wanted them to pull it together...

So looking to next year, we will be losing most of the aforementioned...At first, I looked at this as a sad occasion. Most of these guys brought us the salvation of finally winning it all. But, just like the movie "Major League II", they got caught up in the hype. Does anyone really care that Arroyo put out a record, or that he was playing concerts? Could we have had one less Damon commercial or one less Ford F50 with Curt and the family?

Why couldn't I see all these faults during the season...Well, I believe it is called rationalization. I wanted to win it all again...to experience that joy of another Series win...It didn't happen...

Let's bring in some new blood. Let's discuss the Hot Stove.

Nothing better to do on a Sunday night than pile on

This hack. I know we have said it before. Again and again. But really. In the midst of an exciting post season series, this is the article he writes? It is really a mailed in piece. Not a single reader could possible learn something from it. Or even think, hey that was a funny article. Or uplifting. Or anything. Utterly absurb. At least with CHB he will take an opinion on something. Or say something controversial.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

There oughta be a law

Given the sudden absence of baseball in my life, I'm watching the Patriots-Falcons game, despite not really caring much about football. I was really excited to learn Atlanta has a guy named "Alge Crumpler". Which should be the most awesome football name ever - except he's a tight end. And then some guy on the Patriots named "Patrick Pass" rushes for 6 yards. This is not right.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

random note on Red Sox fans...

...Sometimes they piss me off. A lot. I hate the booing, I hate the "Yankees Suck" chants, I hate the irrational hate of players who underperform, and I hate the WEEI callers who are sure they could manage any team to a 162-0 season. For these reasons I don't read the Boston papers, or listen to WEEI. Given that, I have to say: I saw none of the Hate Towards Graffanino that a lot of Sox bloggers were going off about (possibly setting a new record for the number of times the word "crucifying" was used in a non-religious context).

No, before yesterday's game, Graffanino got a huge ovation at Fenway. He really appreciated it, and wants to come back. That was absolutely awesome. Really, if the season was going to end that day, what a great note to end it on.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Three and out

Well, that didn't work out quite the way we had planned, huh? It's amazing -- on this site we've been going on for months about how this Sox team is not built for the postseason (the first post I can find was August 13), and so fully saw this coming, but...well, sometimes you really hope you're wrong about some things.*

So this sucks. But you know what? For me at least, it doesn't...super-suck. Given the utter joy of last year's Win, and utter misery of the previous year's Loss, this hurts, but not in a heart-ripped-out-of-my-chest-and-thrown-into-the- garbage-disposal sort of way. No, it just sucks. There's next year, and a very exciting off-season (let's get all 7 closers that are on the market, just in case), to look forward to. Am I alone in feeling this?

Meanwhile, let's go Angels. I really don't want to have to root for the White Sox in the ALCS.

* and in a sense, our predictions were wrong, I guess: it wasn't so much the pitching, and certainly not the bullpen, but rather the hitting -- or utter lack thereof -- that lost it. Oh well.

Today?

Hey Boston folks: will there be a game today? Weather reports seem to indicate the showers will come afterwards, but then again, Boston weather reports never seem to be right. (Tomorrow looks a lot worse.)

This can be done. Wakefield's the guy to do it. If it becomes 1-2...well, in every ALDS Game 4 it's 1-2. Hopefully the offense will wake up. They've spent the last 36+ hours getting pissed at themselves...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Yikes

Best case scenario: two wins at home, followed by a Game 5 back in Chicago. But who starts?

Bottom line: much more dire situation than 1999, or 2003...

ALDS Game 2: open thread

A slightly better 1st inning than yesterday. Already matched yesterday's total offense, and the Sox starting pitcher looks like he knows how to pitch. Let's keep it up -- anyone online?

WTF?!?

I keep hearing and reading complaints to the effect of, "Why did Francoma bring Clement in for the 4th?!?" Okay, maybe it wasn't the best decision in the world, but...I mean, did these people actually watch the game? Or, you know, actually look at the final score? The Red Sox lost by 12. Let's just say Clement was pulled after 3 IP. And somehow the bullpen magically becomes really really good and pitches 6 innings of shutout baseball. So then what -- the final score is 6-2, and the Red Sox still lose. No, the simple fact is, the hitting sucked. They made Contreras look like...well, the Contreras that the Yankees thought they were getting back in 2003. (Once again, proof that Mel Stottlemyre is a terrible, terrible pitching coach.) The way Manny and Damon and everyone else looked lost at the plate -- it's reasonable to assume they flat-out told Francona the guy was unhittable (and the huge strike zone didn't help). And so Francona assumed -- correctly -- that a 4-run lead was in fact insurmountable, and so wanted to keep Clement in the game, to save the bullpen.

If anyone here wants to argue that Tito did in fact blow it with his decision, I'd love to hear it. (Please, no "we had him on the ropes the previous half inning" arguments. Crede made a huge error, and even after the runs were scored, Contreras needed just 10 pitches to get three outs. He was still very much on his game.)

Anyway, no matter what Boston loses by, 14-2 or 6-2 or 5-4 (remember Game 1 in 2003? ugh...), they're only down 0-1. A win today ties it, after two on the road. Let's go Wells! Let's go...entire lineup!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Parity scorecard

Following up on something Grieve said a few days ago...remember when we were told this was the year parity returned to baseball? That neither the Sox nor the Yanks were making it to the playoffs, as the Orioles would take the East and a low-payroll team like the A's or Indians would win the Wild Card? Yeah, those predictions were spot-on. Just like they were last year. The Yanks, Red Sox, Los Anaheim, and Other Sox rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th in salary in the AL (4th was the Mariners, somehow). Put another way:
  • Yankees: highest-paid team in baseball (and hence in the AL East)
  • Red Sox: second highest-paid team in baseball (and hence in the AL East)
  • Angels: highest-paid team in AL West
  • Hose: highest-paid team inthe AL Central
Talk about parity! Highest salary means you get in; it was the same last year, except the Twins had a slightly lower payroll than the Hose. And the year before that, except the A's beat the Angels. Only one lower-salaried team even came close this year, the Indians; and this was at least in part because they benefitted from the best strength of schedule in the entire league.

The NL is not as clear-cut. But this is due to two horribly mismanaged, overpaid teams (Mets and Phillies...who almost made it) and of course the Worst Division in Baseball History. The only playoff spot not affected by those two factors was the NL Central -- which was also won by the highest-salaried team in the division.

Yet all this year - just like last year - we had the sports media and Bud Selig going on about parity finally arriving to baseball. Next year, when they do the same, don't believe them.

Good Thoughts

Not that the bullpen appeared much in this series, but they seemed to pitch well when they had to...Not sure if that is a sign of how things will continue in the upcoming series, but certainly facing the White Sox lineup might be a good confidence builder.

With that said...
In the long run, is it an advantage for the Sox to face Chicago in the short series rather than LAA? I think so...First off, because of how things line up, we will only face Buerhle or Garland once...We might see Buerhle on short rest in Game 5 (if necessary). I think the Sox starters can go deeper in to games against the White Sox lineup than the LAA lineup. We will go with Clement in Game 1, then my guess is Wells, Schilling, and Wake. That makes the matchups Clement v Contreras, Wells v Buerhle, Schilling v Garland (in Boston) for the first three.

Meanwhile, the Angels have their rotation lined up and ready to go against the Yankees. Colon in Game 1 against Mussina. Not too sure about how it rounds out after that...

Not sure what any of this means...If there is one thing this year has taught me is that nothing means anything in baseball. Even baseball prospectus stats had the Yankees chance at making the playoffs at 25% in August, they won the division. We had also thrown out things like, "If the Sox go .500 the rest of the way, the Yankees will have to play .667 baseball to catch them." Well, the Sox went better than .500 and the Yankees played better than .667." And who would have thought Cleveland folds like that? Craziness.

My ALDS predictions-
Angels in 4
Red Sox in 5

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Another question

One month ago today I commented the fact that Joe Torre replaced 7 of his 8 position players. In the 6th inning of today's game he outdid himself, replacing all 8:

- M. Bellhorn at third
- T. Womack at second
- F. Escalona at shortstop
- M. Vento in right field
- M. Lawton in left field
- W. Nieves catching
- B. Crosby in center field
- A. Phillips at first

I don't think I'd ever heard of Mike Vento before (turns out he has only one career at at-bat).

The inning also featured a pitching change (F-Rod for Franklin), two pinch runners (Shoppach for Ortiz, and Machado for Manny), and two pinch hitters (Mirabelli, whose HR made the pinch runners sort of useless, for Varitek, and Hanley Ramirez for Tony G). That's 13 substitutions in a single half-inning. Is that a record?

[P.S. 46 players used total, for an 9 inning game (8 1/2 innings, really). Is that a record?]

Non-Red Sox question

Jimmy Rollins just got a hit (2, actually), extending his hit streak to 36 games. On the last game of the season. So what happens to the streak? If there's a one-game playoff (unlikely -- Astros are winning, and Oswalt is on fire), does that count? What about the playoffs? I assume hit streaks carry over to new seasons?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

And so...

...the de facto postseason has begun. A best-of-three series between the Sox and the Yankees (2 games at Fenway, one at Yankee Stadium), winner takes the AL East. Loser now has a real shot at the postseason also, given that Cleveland lost their game against the White Sox's bench (after losing 2 of 3 from Tampa Bay). But who cares: the division is within sight.

Win today; win tomorrow; get a day off.