Sunday, December 16, 2007

Massachusetts Hates Roger Clemens

ESPN.com has a poll up asking readers if they'd vote for Roger Clemens. More than 187,000 people voted, and 56% said that they'd give good ol' Rog their vote. I'm not sure how Dan Duquette voted.

I took a screenshot of the results, as seen below. One measly state had more than 50% saying they wouldn't vote for Clemens. Guess which state that is....


Massachusetts is the only state in red on there. Illinois was the only other state split 50/50. I suddenly like Illinois a little more.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Saving Myself Some Time....

Just go here and read the comments to see how I feel about the Sox players implicated in early reports of the Mitchell Report.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Consider Me Sold... For Now

After posting my anti-Santana diatribe just hours ago, consider me sold now after reading this. That's not much to give up for one of the best pitchers in baseball.

I obviously like Jed Lowrie, but he's never even appeared in a major league game, as far as I can remember. Plus, the Red Sox infield is set for at least the next three years; he's expendable. Justin Masterson is great, but not MLB ready.

Go for it! You have my blessing.

Santana? No, Thank You

Rumors are flying that the Sox are "actively/aggressively pursuing Johan Santana."

I, for one, am not interested.

I mentioned it once before in this space that I don't think Santana is worth the cost, and that was before the cost went up to its now-astronomical price. You're talking two members of your projected starting rotation (Buchholz, Lester), one of your center fielders (probably Ellsbury, who is also your projected leadoff guy and early-odds frontrunner for 2008 Rookie of the Year), and another top prospect. Then you have to negotiate a huge contract with Santana.

Now, before I rail against this deal, I want to say that I find the comparisons to Barry Zito to be absolutely ridiculous. Barry Zito is the Soft Cell of Major League Baseball: a one-hit wonder. After his Cy Young season (when he stole it from a more-deserving Pedro Martinez), his performance declined precipitously.

I wrote about it here several times, begging the Sox not to sign him. Zito got stupid money from the stupid Giants. Anyone signing Santana to that amount or even a little more wouldn't be stupid, per se, but if they also gave up 3 or 4 top prospects, then they'd be stupid.

But even with Santana being the best free agent, why not stick with the young, inexpensive talent you've groomed? Why would you give up so much for one guy? Especially a guy who has thrown as many innings as Santana has over the past five seasons. I don't understand this concept.

This team won the World Series in 2007 without Buchholz and mostly without Lester and Ellsbury. They have the chance to win even more games in 2007 with their current roster. I say go out and trade Coco for relief help and plug some of the smaller holes, like backup catcher, and leave the team as is.

I know that sounds complacent, but it's not like 2004, when the team was getting older; this team is getting younger and better. By trading away the future, you're only getting older again. And before you know it, you're the 2005 Red Sox again.

And no one wants that.

EDIT: May I also add that I don't believe the Sox are serious contenders for Johan. I think they want the Yankees to believe they are, so they release little tidbits to get the writers up in a tizzy. It's smart business for them to increase the price for the Yankees.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

That Guy Whose Contract is Outrageous

Posts have dried up a little here as I prepare to move into my new house. I've also been working on a fiction novel for a couple of weeks. But I have not neglected all the baseball news.

I almost enjoy the Hot Stove League more than the actual baseball season. If there was a fantasy Hot Stove season (cha-ching - money making idea!), I'd be all over it.


I look at these guys like Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews, Jr (both of whom have signed with the same team, incidentally) and I wonder why they'd want to be That Guy Whose Contract is Outrageous and universally hated because of it.

Sure, they're financially stable for the rest of their lives, but at what cost? Would you rather be Mike Lowell-stable, where you're making more money than you could imagine plus you're happy every year and contending for a title with people you like and respect? Or would you rather be Johnny Damon and get an extra $5-10 million - money for which you have no purpose - and be miserable because you've left behind your teammates and friends for an environment in which you don't belong? I mean, Johnny's clearly not happy, right?

I'd take the Mike Lowell deal. Or the Curt Schilling deal. Who wants to be Barry Zito? Or Darren Dreifort? Or - God forbid - Mike Hampton? Not I. Those guys will be punch lines for years, as well as marquee players in the Worst Contracts of All-Time articles and books.

I just wonder why a guy like Torii Hunter - who seems like a great guy, by all accounts - would want to do that to himself when he could be making really unbelievable money that wouldn't have blown anyone away. Say, 4 years and $60 million.

Maybe it's just my personality; I prefer staying out of the limelight for any reason other than my talent, knowledge, work ethic, and morals.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Signings

Teams must be flush with cash. They have to be. There's no other explanation for this. Or this.

And, since it's Thanksgiving, you can't get any sane analytical viewpoints about these signings anywhere. That's what I'm here for. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe these signings were announced today because these teams didn't want to be eaten alive by the local and national media. Ahhh, who am I kidding - the White Sox have dealt with having a moron, racist*, homophobic manager for several years - they don't care.

Onto the deals: Toriiiiiiiiii Hunter gets 5 years, $9 million from the Angels. Wait, sorry - that's what he's worth. He actually got $90 million. Ninety million.

This is a 32-year old guy whose OBP has hovered around .330 the last four seasons and actually sits at .324 for his entire career. Much like Gary Matthews Jr, who signed with the Angels last winter, Hunter peaked during a contract year right before he hits the downside of his career projections. Good work, Angels.

"They play the game the right way," Hunter said. "They play hard-nosed baseball." And they pay assloads more than anyone else.

Said Reagins (the Angels' rookie GM): "In the past, we said we're going to pursue every opportunity to make our club better. This was an opportunity. I had the support of some people around me, then I got aggressive." He had the support of the janitors. The execs are furious.

And then we move onto the White Sox, who just traded a decent pitcher for an aging, mediocre shortstop. Now they've signed a 31-year old middle reliever to a 4-year, $19 million contract. Read that again, kids.

Linebrink is coming off his worst season, which followed his previous worst season. In case you don't know trends, that's a bad one. He's averaged 79 innings per season over the past 5 seasons, which means he has basically pitched an inning in every other game. Not many can sustain that, and Linebrink is definitely showing signs that he is not one of those who can.

His ERA progression during those 5 seasons: 3.31, 2.14, 1.83, 3.57, 3.71.
And his WHIP: 1.40, 1.04, 1.06, 1.22, 1.32.
How about K/9: 6.63, 8.89, 8.55, 8.09, 6.40

I could go on an on. Every meaningful statistic follows this trend.

After (the Orlando Cabrera) trade Chicago general manager Ken Williams said, "We're not done yet. We're still out there trying to land some big fish.'' And by "big fish" he meant a 6'2", 200 pound aging middle reliever.

Next thing we know, David Eckstein will be signed to a 4-year, $36 million deal. Nah, no one's that stupid, are they?

*I may have made that part up.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mike Lowell... I Don't Know What to Say

Just go read this article. There are too many quotes to post in here.

Mike Lowell impresses me more and more. It's not often that you a) see a guy turn down an extra $12.5 million, and b) say he never really considered it because he doesn't need the money. Lowell turned down the extra money and year of baseball to stay in a city that he and his family love and for the better chance of winning more World Series.

How can you not cheer for a guy like that? He's a rare player in these days.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Lowell Resigning Saga Might Be Over

It looks like the Red Sox didn't flinch and it's going to pay off.

After all the reports of 4-year offers from other clubs, including the Yankees, Mike Lowell has reportedly agreed on a 3-year deal to return to the champs for under $13 million per season. This is a very smart and savvy play by the Sox, who could have easily caved to the pressure put on by Lowell and the Yanks. Four years would have been too much, but I thought they would have gone to 3 and $45 million. I'm impressed and happy.

Boston is Filled With Homers, Part II

The Boston Globe actually makes a good case for David Ortiz as MVP, actually, but I'm not sure I agree. I'd put him second behind ARod. The Yankees had no pitching and ARod was by far the best hitter, especially when the rest of the team was struggling out of the gate.

I hate him, but he's the AL MVP, like it or not.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More Cy Young Stuff

Boy, for a guy who's sick of all the Cy Young talk, I sure am posting about it a lot. You might recall a post 5 weeks ago where I changed my mind on Beckett for Cy Young, citing a Joe Posnanski blog post where he made a compelling case for Mr. Beckett. Now Posnanski has made another argument for adding the playoff totals to the regular season totals to factor into the Cy Young voting:
So let me clarify: I’m not saying or suggesting that three postseason starts are MORE important than the 34 in the regular season. I’m saying that I do not understand why we don’t count them at all. I’m saying it was a virtual toss-up between Sabathia and Beckett going into the postseason — it’s not like Beckett stunk during the season — but after the postseason there was absolutely no doubt which of them was better.

Sabathia in 2007 (total): 20-9, 3.44 ERA, 256.3 innings, 255 hits, 218 K, 44 walks.
Beckett in 2007 (total): 24-7, 3.00 ERA, 230.67 innings, 208 hits, 221 K, 42 walks.

That makes it a pretty clear-cut choice, doesn't it? The whole post, as always, is fascinating.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Phil Rogers Should Be Punched

I received an e-mail today from my friend Matt with the subject line "I wish I could punch this guy." After reading the article to which he linked, I couldn't agree more. In fact, I'd hold him down as Matt kicked him, then I'd call others over, have them read the article, and hold him down while they kicked him, too.

To sum it up, Phil Rogers attempts to make a case for John Lackey to be in the top 3 in the Cy Young voting. The merits of being top 3 and not the Cy Young aside, I can't really argue with Lackey being #3. But Rogers attempts to knock Beckett out of the top 3, and his reasoning is about as flimsy as they come (italics mine for emphasis):

For the sake of argument, I put together a simple formula to compare the top four Cy Young vote-getters. It ranks them among each other in victories, losses, ERA, innings and strikeouts. Because I think ERA is the most important, I've given it twice the weight. That formula gives Sabathia a slight edge over Lackey and a significant edge over Beckett and Carmona, who would be tied for third.

Rogers then goes on to suggest that he could make a case for weighing ERA three times as much as everything else, which would knock Beckett to fourth in the rankings. As Matt said in his e-mail to me, "Evidently K/9 or WHIP don't matter. I laughed when he suggested weighing ERA three times as much as the other stats. Why don't we weigh starts at Jacobs Field or players over 300 pounds?"

Kids, if you're just learning the game of baseball, you need to know that victories and losses are the most overrated statistics for pitchers. ERA is also overrated, to a point. K/9 is the one statistic that is attributable almost solely to the pitcher, so it seems to be the most obviously important statistic that Rogers forgets, setting aside all the sabrmetric stats that I won't even get into, like WARP3, VORP, etc.

Like a lot of writers, Phil Rogers - who writes for the Chicago Tribune, by the way - is probably jealous of all the success our teams have had and he feels the need to attack our successful players. I'd never read a Phil Rogers article before because, as I recall, he tends to write about obscure minor leaguers who never pan out, and that bores me.

And speaking of stupid baseball fans and writers, I found some David Eckstein gems today and e-mailed them to FJM because they hate Eckstein much more than I do and are much funnier than I. Naturally, they jumped right on the opportunity and spewed their typical bile-filled hatred at Buster Olney, who is actually one of my favorite baseball writers, and ESPN.com readers.

Boston is Filled With Homers

Looking around the Internet at Red Sox blogs and articles, you'd think Josh Beckett had just turned in a 1999 Pedro Martinez-type season and then was robbed of the Cy Young by Victor (please call me Carlos) Zambrano. You can see examples of Homerism here and here, where Red Sox Monster compares the snub with Coco's for Gold Glove. You get the same thing on WEEI and WJAB.

Have people forgotten that WE WON THE WORLD SERIES? And Beckett was ALCS MVP, while Sabathia was atrocious. Beckett was very gracious when he finished in second, saying "the right guy won it." He knows it's not about regular season awards; it's about winning the World Series. Sabathia would gladly trade.

I don't understand the negativity right now. Who cares if Beckett didn't win the Cy? Stop bitching and enjoy all the success New England is having right now.

For the record, I flip-flopped on my Cy opinion. I originally said Beckett wasn't Cy, then said he was. Sue me.

Friday, November 09, 2007

David Ortiz Runs Like the Wind

Joe Posnanski always has some interesting nuggets in his blog, but today's blew me away when discussing the baserunners who lead MLB in bases taken (italics mine):
Bases taken (bases advanced on passed balls, wild pitches, balk, sac fly, defensive indifference steal).
DeJesus: 29.
Teahen: 22
– Well, here’s one advantage for DeJesus — he was helped by the fact that he was on base probably 30 more times than Teahen. Still, DeJesus was opportunistic — he ranked fourth in bases taken behind some pretty good runners: Grady Sizemore, Jose Reyes and Ichiro Suzuki. Fifth on the list, oddly, was David Ortiz. I should do a whole post on that. Teahen’s bases taken, by the way, are way above average too.
Wow. What do you say to that?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sox Pictures You Don't See Everyday

These just showed up in my e-mail and I felt compelled to share them here. If these have been publicized elsewhere, please let me know and I'll link it. They're dated back in July, so it's very possible. I apologize if I'm not giving credit where it's due. I thought these were pretty cool. Check out the cushy plane!

UPDATE: As Dan from Red Sox Monster points out, these photos appeared on Barstool Sports back around the All-Star break. I found the original post, but they only had 2 of the photos there. Anyone know where the others are from?




Fascinating ARod Breakdown

I just got done reading this article about giving ARod a massive contract and I'm floored. It's a great read and the comparisons to other players - particularly David Ortiz - are fascinating. I mean, you know Ortiz has been more clutch than ARod, but putting the numbers next to each other make it staggering.

I've spent a lot of the past 10 days wondering what I'd do if the Sox signed ARod and I just don't know. Do you stop being a fan after a lifetime of watching every game possible? After 2 years of blogging regularly about the team? After dozens of games sitting in the bleachers? After not missing a postseason game for 15 years and staying up incredibly late for most of them, even when you had to be up at 6am? After teaching your 3-year old son to say "Go Red Sox" and "Yankees suck!"?

I can't do that. But I don't know how I'll feel about the team. It will be extremely disappointing and it won't feel like the Red Sox that I love. I had similar feelings about Roger Clemens resigning with the team, except that would have only been for part of one season. ARod is a similar mercenary, but he wants a 10 year deal and will most certainly get 8 at a minimum.

Honestly, it makes me sick to think of the 2008 defending World Series champions bringing ARod on board. They don't need him and he will ruin their image.

How would Sox fans change their behavior towards him? What's our natural instinct now when we see him? We boo him. He doesn't something, whether good or bad, and we boo him. In his first game as a Red Sox, if he commits an error, we'd probably boo. Would we do that with any other new player? No.

I still think the only team stupid enough to sign him to a major contract is the Giants. See: Barry Zito.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fenway Ticket Prices Have Increased Slightly

Via Deadspin.com, ticket prices for upper box seats in 1984 were $7.50. In case you hadn't heard, they're slightly higher than that now.

I seem to recall - and don't quote me on this - paying $14 per ticket for the right field boxes back in 1998-2000, when I went to 2 games each summer. Those now go for $45. I sat in the loge boxes for $20-something and those now go for $85 each. Yowsa.

Add in $30 for parking and another $45 in concessions (a conservative $15 each), you're talking about $210 for 3 bleacher seats. Plus souvenirs.

I say good for the Red Sox. Supply and demand, baby! Charge what you can get.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Are You Sick of Reading About Mike Lowell Yet?

Another Pro-Mike Lowell/Anti-ARod site has come your way in the form of LowellYesARodNo.com. It is the best source of everything Mike Lowell right now.

You know how I feel about Lowell and ARod and who I think should replace Lowell if he decides to sign elsewhere. LowellYesARodNo.com links you to other bloggers who have written about the issue as well as "real" columnists.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

If Mike Lowell Signs Elsewhere...

I am well aware of how stupid it is to not want the best player in the world on my team, but that's the case. I hate Alex Rodriguez so much that I would not enjoy Sox games like I do now. That's just the way it is. I'm not going to change my position any time soon.

And you know how much I want Mike Lowell to be resigned. But what if he's not resigned? Who's going to man the hot corner in Boston? Someone's got to.

How about Jed Lowrie? Aside from his last name beginning with the same three letters as Lowell's, he's a very good minor leaguer in the Red Sox organization. From what I can find, Lowrie has never played third base but everything I've read says he's a solid to very good defender with very good arm strength.

How about his offense? In 93 AA games in Portland he hit .297/.410/.501 - the ideal Red Sox combination of power and get-on-base-ability. In 40 AAA games he hit .300/.356/.506, dropping only in OBP, but not significantly. For his entire minor league career he has walked almost as many times as he has struck out.

If the Sox fail to resign Lowell and can't get a suitable replacement on the free agent market, Jed Lowrie would be my choice for 2008 and beyond.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Since I Loathe ARod....

Tyler Kepner has written what I'm sure is a fantastic article. Unfortunately, being an ARod hater, I couldn't get past the second paragraph:
Since Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS — the night Boston began its epic comeback from three games down against the Yankees — (Alex) Rodriguez has come to the plate with 38 runners on base, over the span of 59 at-bats. He left every single one on base, going 0-for-27, right through the Yanks’ Division Series loss to Cleveland this month.
Wow. That's alarming. And quite fun to read.

Another Reason to Love Varitek

We took our son trick-or-treating the other night and had a great time, but it was nothing like the treat these kids got.

Of course, I'd imagine that if these kids are living in Varitek's neighborhood, they must be pretty well-off anyway. But even rich little kids are excited to see Jason Varitek, I'm sure.

Stand-up guy, that Jason Varitek.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Schilling's Postseason Alone Worthy of Hall of Fame?

Yesterday on WEEI Rob Bradford said that SI.com's Jon Heyman, who has a Hall of Fame vote, said that Curt Schilling's career postseason record of 11-2 by itself gets Schilling into the Hall of Fame.

Bradford understood Heyman to mean that Schilling's regular season record doesn't matter; he's a HOFer no matter what. Schilling could be 112-144 and be a HOFer because he's been dominant in the postseason. This is ridiculous.

Andy Pettitte is not a HOFer, but has a 14-9 career postseason record. Does that put him in the Hall? I don't think so.

I am not saying Schilling isn't a HOFer; I think he's got one foot in the door. One more 15 win season and he's in. But to say that someone's postseason record puts them in is stupid. Bernie Williams would be in the HOF if that were the case.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scientifically Proven Fact: Lowell is Better Than ARod

Of course the bigger story is David Ortiz scoring just the 7th perfect score of all time, but I'm going with the ARod sucks angle. You knew I would.

ARod, after leading his position for 8 consecutive years, has lost his banner to our own Mike Lowell at third base. Was Mike Lowell really that much of a better hitter than ARod? No, ARod just sucked at fielding.

So clearly Lowell is worth a 10 year, $300 million contract and ARod will be lucky to get a 3 year deal.

Right?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween

Now that baseball season is over, the only thing left to determine is what to wear for Halloween.

Ohhhhhh.... SNAP!!

From Rob Neyer's chat today (Insider required):
Pat (NYC): Now, I'm really mad at A-Rod, because he's made even Peter Gammons cranky and curmudgeonly! Regarding Pedroia's sacrificing his scholarship at Arizona State, Gammons yesterday wrote: "The sabermetrics guys in their garages never understand these things". What's up with that? What did we do?

Rob Neyer: I don't know, Pat. Most of the sabermetrics guys I know think the world of Pedroia. You should ask Peter, the next time he does a chat.
It's funny because Gammons doesn't do chats!

But seriously, I read this blog post by the esteemed Hall of Famer Sir Peter Gammons and thought the same thing: he's getting cranky. He seems to have these biting remarks a lot lately about "sabermetrics guys" and I don't know where he's coming from. He seems to be turning into all the other old-time baseball writers, hating all the changes and advancements the game is making now, as if it didn't make similar advancements during their heyday.

Gammons has always been a "feel" guy, making educated guesses about awards and free agency, etc, based on feel instead of stats and facts. In my mind, he has become irrelevant. He hasn't and won't become Joe Morgan or Tim McCarver, but it pains me to read his material now and that's sad.

The Keep Mike Lowell Petition

I'm not big on petitions, but this one seems to be a good fit for me. It's the Keep Mike Lowell Petition and as of this writing there are nearly 8,000 signatures.

The write-up is nice and the only point I disagree with is that it's easy to win a Gold Glove. The GG is the biggest joke in baseball, which is why a guy like Derek Jeter has won 3 or 4 and why Rafael Palmeiro won one as a DH.

Mike Lowell should be in a Red Sox uniform. And I don't just say that because they just won a World Series. I was against re-signing Pedro, Damon, and Derek Lowe when the times came because they were all on the downside of their careers and/or injury prone - and, in Derek Lowe's case, overrated.

But Lowell seems to only improve with time and has been more durable than anyone. He thrives in Boston, which is a very hot commodity, and works extremely hard. He epitomizes the "dirt dog" mentality. Just look at his headfirst slide into home plate this weekend.

So Lowell is beyond peak age. So what? There should be exceptions to the rule. In a normal world, I don't think Lowell would command more than 3 years, $36 million. But this isn't a normal world. The problem is the Yankees - they just lost their stud third baseman, for whom they had set aside more than $230 million. They might throw $60 million at Lowell, causing a problem for the Sox.

The Sox will surely not sign Lowell for close to $60 million and no one should expect them to. And no one should expect Lowell to decline such an offer. Unlike Johnny Damon, Lowell never declared that he'd never wear pinstripes. If he chooses to go to New York, we should all respect that decision and applaud him when he's back in Boston.

Unlike Johnny Damon, he deserves that much.

(From Red Sox Monster)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

World Series Game 4 Random Thoughts

Before I get to the bullet points, I wanted to comment on ARod opting out of his contract, which was apparently just reported moments ago. I'm quite surprised about this - I thought he'd stay in NY after the season he had. But maybe 2007 was the big "eff you" year for him, like it is for the Patriots right now. "See what I can do?"

Personally, I'm thrilled about it; they've lost the best hitter in the game and there's not much out there with which to replace him. Mike Lowell? Could the Red Sox have a back door bid in on ARod, like they did with JD Drew last year? ARod has to have some serious offers if he opted out of $81 million plus the $150 million the Yankees were prepared to tack on to the end of that contract. I hope not.

Now if we could just get a crappy manager in NY, we'd be all set. Too bad Dusty Baker has already been hired elsewhere.

Onto the bullet points:
  • During the National Anthem, my wife said it best: "That's one big-ass flag!"
  • Fred Willard: Funny. Brad Garrett: Not. Seriously, Willard has been funny in everything he's ever done. Brad Garrett has only been funny in Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • BuckCarver made a big deal out of the infield grass slowing the balls down a lot and even mentioned that Troy Tulowitzki loves it for his defense. Is it possible that this is why he's known so much for his defense - he gets to more balls because their infield allows him to?
  • David Ortiz had a great pick on a bad throw by Lugo in the second inning. Youkilis was impressed.
  • Jon Lester is the man. He kept getting out of jam after jam.
  • Please, please stop playing that Taco Bell "rules to live by" commercial. Both of the guys are annoying and the whole concept is obnoxious and predictable. I actually mute the tv when it comes on. They finally cut the chick and the dog out of some viewings, but they still call them "rules" to live by, even though they only leave one rule in. These things annoy me. I know I'm not alone.
  • Another thing that needs to stop: the in-game interviews with the managers and pitching coaches. Do they ever say anything worth hearing. No, it just makes you miss key plays.
  • Wow, that was a fascinating story by McCarver about Hank Aaron's "nervous cough" before every plate appearance. Is this why McCarver gets the job? I mean, that story was awful.
  • I've said it before and I'll say it again: Mike Lowell is cleaning up right now. He is earning a ton of money for himself and I'm happy for him.
  • I love the music the Red Sox bullpen makes during every game. You could hear it throughout the game. Great stuff.
  • Lonestar, the band that sang "God Bless America," is garbage. Just awful. And yet 10 million of their albums have been sold. Country fans are idiots. And tone deaf.
  • Another gimmick on Fox: The DirecTV Home Run Cam. Basically, they just flash those words on the screen during a HR trot. Brilliant.
  • Bobby Kielty says: "Warm up? I don't need no stinkin' warm up!"
  • Huh. ESPN and I knew about ARod opting out of his contract before BuckCarver and Fox. Shocker. ESPN.com reported it at 10:50pm and I read the article at 10:52. Ken Rosenthal just reported it at 11:11pm.
  • Fox is of course making a huge deal out of John Henry typing on his Blackberry and smiling right after Rosenthal announced the ARod opt-out. I'm sure Henry has been text-messaging all game. A guy as rich and involved as he is probably text messages in his sleep.
  • Ugh. The thought of Lowell playing third base for the Yankees while ARod mans... umm... I mean plays.. the hot corner in Boston makes me sick.
  • Speaking of being sick, Joe Buck just announced that Eric Gagne is warming up next to Jonathan Papelbon. Not only does the prospect of Gagne entering game 4 in a save situation scare the crap out of me, I also don't want his bad mojo rubbing off on Papelbon.
  • I like the new nickname "Papajima." It's a keeper.
  • My son is 3 and a half years old and never gets out of bed in the middle of the night. He walked right out during the bottom of the 8th inning and climbed into my lap and went back to sleep. He must have known they were close! I hope he didn't jinx them.
  • I hate Joe Buck. "Garrett Atkins has not had an RBI since game 1 of the NLDS." Speaking of jinxes.
  • The prospect of Papelbon on the mound for the clincher has me downright giddy.
  • McCarver just pointed out that Buck said earlier that Francona would use Okajima "judiciously" tonight and that's exactly what he did. Judiciously means with good judgment. Are their managers out there who intend to use their pitchers non-judiciously? Oh, never mind.
  • Did you see that catch Jacoby made? Would Manny have caught that? That scared the crap out of me.
  • I love non-Yankee World Series celebrations.
  • More to come Monday morning after this has all settled in.
Rockies fans, you should be very happy with your team. They're young and very talented. I don't think 2007 was a fluke. Plus, I think the Rockies ownership has to spend some money this season to improve the weak spots.

World Series Game 3 Random Thoughts

I really hope the Sox finish the series off tonight so I can start going to bed at a reasonable time again. Onto the bullet points, which are limited due to my exhaustion:
  • McCarver says at the beginning of the game that the Rockies have only moved runners alone with a hit in 2 games in this series - games 1 and 2. Huh. He must have chosen his words wrong, but I can't figure out what he could have meant.
  • Seriously, can we just eliminate the Keys to the Game and the Scouting Reports? They are stupid and pointless.
  • And while we're at it, how about the DirecTV Diamond Cam? Another stupid gimmick that does nothing for me.
  • Troy Tulowitzki continues to look awkward at shortstop. I know the statistics show that he's by far the best SS in the game, but I haven't seen it yet in this World Series.
  • Where can I get some of those red arm gloves Youk was wearing on the bench?
  • One of the funniest fan signs I've ever seen in the stands: "Big Papi eats big boogers." It doesn't get any better than that. Then Fox follows that up by showing a woman holding a sign that says "My Favorite Holliday." Lame.
  • And then they show a fan wearing a Stormtrooper helmet that covered his entire head and it had the Colorado Rockies logo on it. Super lame. I hate Star Wars fanatics.
  • The Rockies intentionally walk Manny to get to Lowell with the bases loaded. Just ask Troy O'Leary - it's never a good idea to walk the bases loaded.
  • Manny's slide at home appeared to have been the best and smartest slide ever by Manny. But it looked like the ump got the call right.
  • I can't wait for the Joe Buck Show. I'm sure it'll be just as successful as John McEnroe's show.
  • Buck and McCarver keep surprising my this postseason by avoiding the obvious baseball cliches. In game 3 they neglected to give us the "Daisuke is helping his own cause" after Matsuzaka drove in 2 with a single.
  • My friend can have Okajima for his manfatuation; I'll take Jacoby Ellsbury. This guy is a stud.
  • McCarver on Ellsbury and Pedroia: "The tablesetters tonight have also brought the entree and dessert! Hahaha!"
That's all I've got for random observations from game 3. But let me just say that this team could be a force for a long time. They have the money to go out and get the big free agents and they keep infusing the team with young talent each year from their development system. The team is run extremely well.

Go ahead and complain about Lugo and Drew and any other bad free agent signing, but this team has a lot more guys to be excited about than to hate.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Funniest Thing I've Seen All Day

Check it out.

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Terry Francona and the management team look like geniuses (genii? Why do some words change like that but others don't? Like anus - shouldn't it be ani? I wonder about these things) right now. They rested Okajima towards the end of the season and now he's become the amazing, lock-down closer we came to expect during the first half of the season. They stuck with Dustin Pedroia during his horrible early season slump and he's going to be Rookie of the Year and one of their postseason MVPs. They stuck with JD Drew through his whole bad season and now he has 11 RBI in 12 postseason games.

Speaking of Drew, I think people can stop calling him "Nancy" now. On a cold October night, he got nailed squarely on the ankle bone by a pitch, shook it off, and got right back in their to produce a couple more hits. The guy is on fire right now.

Received the following e-mail from my friend who said he was developing a man-crush on Okajima back at the end of April: "Oki Man-crush update: Infatuated." Agreed.

Saturday night's game is going to be painful to watch, knowing that I should be there, sitting behind home plate.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Game One Was a Mild Success

Well that was a massive beatdown. I’m not sure anyone saw that coming. I actually went to bed after the 7-run 5th inning. Even Eric Gagne couldn’t blow a 13-1 lead.

Speaking of Gagne, has anyone noticed that he has now thrown consecutive perfect innings after the game 2 collapse in the ALCS? I still don’t want him pitching in a close game, but it’s still good to see.

Man, for all the hype Troy Tulowitzki received for his defense, he looked awfully awkward out there in game 1. I can’t be the only one who noticed. There were a couple of line drives that he appeared to time his jump wrong on and he had a ball go into his glove and go back out for a base hit. That should have been an error. Those rallies could have ended earlier if he had made some more plays.

Please, please don't compare Pedroia to Eckstein. The only things that make them similar are their size. Pedroia as a rookie is 10 times the ballplayer Eckstein has ever been. But be prepared for the comparisons, since Eckstein was World Series MVP last year. I'm sure McCarver and Buck will look past the facts and make some comparisons. And I'm sure it'll piss me off.

So far so good for the Sox. This is very enjoyable. I wish I had more time for more thoughtful posts, but I’ve been so busy with helping my mom move lately. Enjoy the games and I’ll try to do a Random Thoughts post for game 3 Saturday night.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The World Series Red Sox Blogger Roundtable

Since the other two were so successful, Red Sox Monster has decided to do another blogger roundtable, this time with just two participants - SoxNest and me.

I am currently riding an unprecedented streak of correctly predicting the winners of each series and the number of games the series will go down to, so I have a lot riding on this one.

Enjoy!

This Stuff Will Never Get Old

I Hate the Colorado Rockies Organization

My friend Matt called me the other day to see if I wanted to fly out to Denver for games 3 and 4 this weekend. I wasn't so sure I wanted to spend that much money and use the last of my vacation time this early in the year, but I decided what the hell, it's the World Series.

On Monday we waited out the Ticket Debacle on coloradorockies.com for 3 hours before they announced that everything had crashed before more than a few hundred tickets had been sold. Seriously, they couldn't have announced this earlier?

On Tuesday my cousin Michele, who is married to Matt, sat in the virtual waiting room on coloradorockies.com for only 40 minutes before she got in to buy tickets! She picked our seats, in section 134 right behind home plate! Only $250 per ticket, which is an absolute bargain if you've seen the prices on stubhub.com.

That's when things went to hell.

After picking the seats and everything else, the website crashed. No confirmation. Nothing charged to her credit card. Panic time.

Michele went back to the virtual waiting room and got back in fairly quickly. Things were looking up. The seats weren't nearly as good - somewhere in right field - but hey, they're World Series tickets. But it crashed again.

(This is where you hear the telltale Law and Order "dun dun!")

After getting back into the virtual waiting room again, Michele called the Rockies "customer service" number listed on their website and waited for nearly an hour before getting through to a completely useless rep. He told her there was nothing they could do. He was not sympathetic and didn't seem to care that the organization he worked for had completely screwed up the biggest event in their history.

Shortly thereafter, the virtual waiting room announced tickets for games 3 and 4 had been sold out.

So this begs the question: was there a conspiracy? Some say yes - the Rockies were crashing the orders for people who lived outside of a certain zone or for those who lived in New England, so Coors Field was filled with mostly Rockies fans. I think that's silly and ridiculous - there's no way the Colorado Rockies are that smart. I think they're incredibly stupid.

The high of having your tickets behind home plate for the World Series of your favorite team and then the low of having them ripped out of your hands - twice - sucks a big one. I hope some other Sox fans got their tickets and will send me pictures that I can post here. Let me know at redsoxstatsguy@gmail.com.

EDIT: Apparently others had the same problem (last 2 paragraphs):

Meanwhile, Ryan Krug, 29, of Boulder left empty handed after bringing a printout of the tickets he had come close to buying on the Web site. He said the slow moving site timed out after he entered his credit card information but he said team officials told him he couldn't get tickets because he never got a confirmation number.

"I guess I'll frame those," Krug said, holding up the papers. "And watch it on TV."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Johan Santana to the Yankees?

Rumor has it (Insider required) that the Yankees may be prepared to trade Melky Cabrera, Ian Kennedy, and Chien Ming Wang for Johan Santana.

Interesting idea, except that you can’t be sure anymore what you’re going to get from Johan. After logging more than 225 innings in each of the previous 3 years and then 121 prior to the All-Star Break in 2007, Santana registered a 5-7 record and 4.04 ERA in the second half. I know – he killed my once dominant fantasy baseball team. (Well, him and losing Erik Bedard.)

Santana is obviously the cream of the free agent crop, but could he be tired? Could he have been masking an injury? Add to that the cost: 2 of your projected starting pitchers in exchange for one. With no other good starters available on the open market this fall, unless you’re interested in an aging Curt Schilling, which might actually make sense.

The other rumor mentioned by Rob Neyer in that blog entry was that the Yankees are about to throw a ton of money at Jorge Posada. Great. I hope they do. Posada will be 37 next summer and has about 1400 games at catcher. That’s huge. Jason Varitek has about 1200 and he seems pretty much done. I’m pretty sure the Sox won’t be throwing the money at him when his contract is up after 2008, and he’ll be the same age then as Posada is now.

By the way, rumor has it the Yanks are looking at a 3-year deal for $40 million for Posada. Wow.

How Will Wakefield Fare in Denver?

With Tim Wakefield probably in line to pitch game 4, Buster Olney brings up an interesting question in yesterday's chat (Insider required):
Wakefield's knuckler... If anybody wants to send in Wakefield's career numbers in Denver, I'll post them, but in general, the conventional wisdom on knucklers is that thin air is bad and thick air is good.
That got me looking up the stats. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned elsewhere yet since I've been too busy to read much, but here goes.

Basically, the answer is that Wake does not have any history at Coors and not much history at the old Mile High: 9.2 innings pitched. 0-2 record. 9.31 ERA, 2.38 WHIP, and a .386 BAA. Yikes.

But that is a seriously small sample size and it all happened prior to 2002. So read into it as you wish.

EDIT: This is a moot point now, as Wake has been left off the Series roster.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fun Rox/Sox Comparison

From Buster Olney's blog today (Insider required):
The Rockies' No. 1 starter is Jeff Francis, who has a striking resemblance to the lead character in the movie "Napoleon Dynamite." Boston's No. 1 starter is Josh Beckett, who is building a case to be ranked among the greatest postseason pitchers of all time, with a record of 5-2, 1.78 in October.

Boston's No. 2 starter is Curt Schilling, who is ranked among the greatest postseason pitchers of all time. Colorado's No. 2 starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, has been in the big leagues about three months.

Tim Wakefield
, Boston's likely Game 4 starter, pitched in his first postseason game in 1992. Franklin Morales, who might start against Wakefield, was six years old.

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has played in 49 postseason games. Colorado catcher Yorvit Torrealba has a total of 28 career at-bats in the postseason.

Todd Helton
is the most experienced member of Colorado's lineup -- and the Rockies nearly moved him to Boston on the eve of spring training in a salary dump.

The Rockies have had more workouts in snow (one) than they've played actual games (zero) the last eight days.

In Games 1, 2, 6 and 7, the Rockies will probably choose their DH from this group: Ryan Spilborghs, Seth Smith, Cory Sullivan and Jeff Baker. And Boston's designated hitter is David Ortiz.

Heading to Denver

Another miraculous comeback by the Sox. Okay, so it wasn’t miraculous. I think that word is overused. But it was certainly against the odds.

So the Sox are headed to Denver and I’m very close to getting tickets for games 3 and 4 out there this weekend, which would be the greatest event of my sports fan life. It’s all I can think about right now.

The best part of the win last night was Papelbon’s “come hither” look to Varitek after the winning catch; he got down on his knees and beckoned Varitek with his hands, all with a psycho look on his face. We’ve come to expect nothing less from our closer. This guy is the best.

And did you see that catch Coco made? To the deepest part of the park! He looked to be taking the wrong route to the ball, but he got there anyway. And Ellsbury made a very good catch in left, too. What a great game.

The biggest dilemma for the World Series is deciding whom to bench in Denver. Do you bench one of the greatest postseason hitters of all time in David Ortiz, or do you bench the hottest hitter on the team in Youk? I think they both need to be in there. How about playing Youk in left or right and taking JD Drew out? I don’t know; I haven’t given it much thought and I (thankfully) don’t need to make the decision.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Josh Beckett is Your New Mr. October

Forget about "icing" Josh Beckett by having his ex sing the National Anthem and God Bless America. Josh Beckett is quickly becoming the next Mr. October. And the Red Sox already had the next Mr. October in David Ortiz!

It's extremely difficult to compare a pitcher to a hitter, so you have to take this with a grain of salt.

Reggie Jackson, playoff career in 77 games:
.278/.358/.527, 18 HR, 48 RBI, 4 World Series titles.

Josh Beckett, playoff career in 9 games pitched, 8 of which were starts:
5-2 record, 1.78 ERA in 65.2 innings, 73 strikeouts, 0.72 WHIP - yes, you read that right, 1 World Series title.

And Beckett's numbers are far more impressive when you consider they've come during the steroid era and his numbers are dramatically better than his career regular season numbers. Reggie's are only slightly better.

And to add to the argument:
David Ortiz, playoff career in 46 games:
.327/.429/.612, 11 HR, 38 RBI, 1 World Series title.

You tell me who's better.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Don't Piss Off Josh Beckett

I’m not sure how long they dated for, but Josh Beckett’s ex-girlfriend is singing the National Anthem and God Bless America during tonight’s game. I have a feeling we’re going to see a big statement game from Mr. Beckett tonight.

 

Should be interesting!

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pedroia's (Alleged) Slap

I wrote an eight-paragraph post this morning and one of those paragraphs is getting an awful lot of attention:
Someone was kind enough to anonymously post a comment on last night's post, reminding me of something I wanted to mention. Pedroia's slide into first (picture here) was just about as bush league as ARod's slap of Bronson Arroyo in 2004. And yet, Fox didn't even mention it. I was appalled.
That was it.

Yankees fans have taken it and run with it. It was featured on at least a dozen prominent Yankee blogs and forums and used as a crutch for Yankees fans to hold up their waning love for ARod.

Look, I was appalled at the lack of mention by Fox. I was appalled by the play. But that was it. It was just as bush league as ARod's hit, but the situation was nowhere near as serious. In 2004, the Yankees had frittered away a 3-0 series lead down to 3-2 and were about to lose that game. They were down 4-2 in the 8th inning with Derek Jeter on first base. When ARod slapped the ball out of Arroyo's hand, I believe Jeter scored on the play and I definitely remember ARod made it to second base. So now they were only down 4-3 with Sheffield up and a man in scoring position. And all the momentum.

So the umps call ARod out, call Jeter back to first base, and the momentum is gone. The Yanks lose 4-2 and go on to lose the series. Pedroia was the first batter of Tuesday night's game. No one was on base. No one would have scored on the play.

Do I think Pedroia tried to slap the ball out of his hand? Yes, but it also wasn't as blatant as ARod's. All I was saying with my post was: Yes, I hate ARod and think he's bush league, but I see the same things happening with my Red Sox from time to time, like Manny's home run stylings.

I know Yankee fans and bloggers will probably excoriate me now, but this is how I feel. If I had felt as strongly as they wanted me to feel, it would have gotten its own eight paragraph post, not just 1/8th of a post.

Francona Wants Sox to Remain "Consistent"

I went out for lunch today and managed to listen to Terry Francona's interview with Dale and Holley on WEEI. It disturbed me, to say the least.

Michael Holley asked Francona (all paraphrases) "Terry, what do you say to the critics who say your loyalty to your regular players is stubborn and will prevent this team from advancing?" to which Francona replied, "We need to stay consistent and just play" and of course more, but you get the point.

"We need to stay consistent and just play."

This, from the manager of a team who has just lost 3 straight games in the ALCS and is on the brink of elimination. Nothing is working right now offensively. When I used to be a salesman I lived by the old adage "If you keep doin' what you're doin', you'll keep gettin' what you're gettin'." This applies perfectly to the Sox right now. If Francona keeps trotting out the same lineup and keeping things "consistent," he'll keep getting the same results.

As a salesman, when something that had previously worked stopped working, I changed. I adapted. I altered my sales strategy. Things don't last forever, and that includes sales strategies and successful lineups. I was an extremely successful salesman because of my ability to adapt; not just from sale to sale, but within a sale. Francona needs to start adapting within a game instead of from game to game or series to series.

Or we'll be bringing back the old nickname "Francoma."

On the Brink

I ended up watching the first 3 innings before I nodded off last night, but I didn't take any notes like I typically would.

Someone was kind enough to anonymously post a comment on last night's post, reminding me of something I wanted to mention. Pedroia's slide into first (picture here) was just about as bush league as ARod's slap of Bronson Arroyo in 2004. And yet, Fox didn't even mention it. I was appalled.

Also, McCarver's scouting report on Paul Byrd said "Guts match stuff." What the hell does that mean? I can't even speculate on this.

Wake was mowing them down through the first 3, making me a believer. I was in the Pitch Wake/Rest Beckett camp, thinking Beckett on regular rest would be best. I felt that Beckett on short rest may have given a small edge over pitching Wakefield last night, but it wasn't worth the risk.

I am also firmly in the Bench Drew and Coco/Start Jacoby and Kielty camp. Coco and Drew are done. They're awful. Is Francona only keeping them in out of loyalty? And to whom? Loyalty to the players or to Theo Epstein? It's infuriating. Francona did such a great job all year and now he's turning into Grady Little.

I should be back with more Random Thoughts from game 5 late tomorrow night. I'm all rested and feeling better.

EDIT: I also wanted to comment on Manny's "heroic" home run. What was he thinking, raising his hands and not running, as if his HR was the series-winning shot? They were still down by 4 or 5 runs! Someone's going to hit him in the face to teach him a lesson. He's making a habit of this and people, including Red Sox fans, are getting sick of it.

SECOND EDIT: This entry has received a ton of pub due to my view on Pedroia's play. A lot of people are coming from a Yankees Fans forum on livejournal.com, but I am unable to view what's been said. Can someone please fill me in? Send an e-mail to redsoxstatsguy@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Random Thoughts Post Tonight

Sorry, but I'm not feeling well enough to stay up and watch the whole game tonight. I will post something first thing Wednesday morning, including my take on Beckett not pitching game 4.

Thanks for reading!

Remembering Game 7 of 2003 ALCS

As painful as this may be, this is the best job I've ever read about recalling the dreaded game 7 in 2003.

I've read a lot of blog posts about it and no one seems to get every detail right like that one does. No one remembers how lights-out Timlin and Williamson were and how both were ready to come in for the 8th.

The writer does forget to mention that even Pedro himself thought he was done - I recall him shaking his teammates' hands after the 7th (and 100+ pitches).

And anyone who watched the Sox that season as religiously as I did knew - knew - that when Grady came out to visit Pedro in the 8th, Pedro was not getting pulled. Grady pulled this garbage all season, costing the Red Sox innumerable wins. I was watching the game with my father-in-law, who is not a big baseball fan at all but knows the basics, and when Grady stepped out of the dugout he said, "There, he'll pull Pedro now." I immediately replied, "No, not Grady. He'll talk to him, pat him on the ass and go back to the dugout." My FIL was shocked when I was right.

That link is worth a read, no matter how painful it is to recall it.

Another Bad Headline

This is Dusty Baker related, but I'm actually not Dusty bashing this time. It's another ridiculous headline on ESPN.com:

Baker wants to restore winning aura to Reds

No kidding. Here's how I expected his introduction to go:

Reporter 1: "Dusty, what are your goals in your first season as Reds manager?"
Dusty: "You know, nothing different from last year. Business as usual."
Reporter 2: "But don't you want to improve on anything? Don't you want to win?"
Dusty: "Let's not get our expectations too high here, folks. I mean, seriously. This is the Reds we're talking about."

Then he goes on to talk about how he wants Adam Dunn to stop walking and clogging up the bases.

Seriously, though - who comes up with these headlines? Do Reds fans actually think to themselves, "Wow! Dusty really wants to win!" and then click on the link to hear his quotes?

Time For a Change


A famous band once sang:

When it's time to change
You need to rearrange
Sha na na na na na na na na
Sha na na na na

That song couldn't fit better with the current situation the Sox are in. It's time to put Jacoby Ellsbury in the lineup. As I so eloquently put it in last night's Game 3 Random Thoughts entry, JD Drew sucks. And Coco Crisp isn't much better. I'd be happy (and I'm sure I'm not in the minority here) if Jacoby replaced either of those guys.

After Manny, Ortiz, and Lowell, the Sox are something like 0 for 276 this series with negative 12 RBI. They need a change. And a spark. Jacoby Ellsbury is the man to provide it.

Don't tell me you disagree.

And on a side note, how about a rainout tonight to allow Beckett to pitch games 4 and 7?

Monday, October 15, 2007

ALCS Game 3 Random Thoughts

Ugh... abbreviated version tonight:
  • Joe Buck, Master of the Obvious: "If they don't bring Mike Lowell back next season, they'll have a definite hole over at third base." Unless, of course, they sign someone else.
  • McCarver goes back to his crap from a previous game, which I blogged about in a previous game. He says Mike Lowell never used to go up the middle or to the opposite field, which I pretty definitively proved otherwise.
  • After Manny fakes a tagup and Lofton has a nice throw to the plate, Lofton looks at Manny and gives him the Dikembe Mutombo finger wag. That made me laugh.
  • Sox had Westbrook on the ropes early with the bases loaded and no outs, and they failed to score a run. They suck.
  • Those Dane Cook commercials about the NLCS are a little late.
  • Trot Nixon is a fatass. He always had a gut in Boston, but man is he fat now. He looks like a beer league softball player.
  • Why was Manny credited with a hit when his "hit" hit Ortiz? It should be more like a fielder's choice. Strange rule.
  • Apparently Tim McCarver didn't get the memo that the gyroball doesn't exist.
  • Hafner gets pissed about a strike call and can be clearly seen saying "That was f***ing s**t." (This is still a family blog) McCarver says, "You could read Hafner's lips - he said that was outside." Was Timmy being funny?
  • FoxTrax SUCKS. That stupid gimmick is ridiculous. Fox always has that stuff.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods is not located at dicks.com. Trust me.
  • Youk needs a headband.
  • What's up with the catchphrase for the Indians? "It's Tribe time now"? That's horribly lame. How about TRIBElieving? You know, like Try Believing? Of course, if the Sox win, we'd turn it into Tribe Be Leavin'. But hey, it's better than It's Tribe Time Now. What garbage.
  • JD Drew sucks.
  • Top 9. Varitek up. McCarver: "Borowski really needs to make Varitek hit to get on here." He even repeated it. Is McCarver trying to come up with a new way of saying the pitcher needs to throw strikes?
  • I'm sticking with my Sox in 7 prediction. It's not the end of the world to be down 2-1. See ALCS, 2004.

A Mediocre Steve Phillips Chat

Steve Phillips: The Rockies continue to roll, and it looks like the Indians will make it interesting. What's on everybody's minds?

RSSG: Should my 3-year old son get a flu shot this fall? I’ve heard they’re very beneficial, especially for a kid his age, but then you hear about all the people who get the flu shot and then have the flu for a week. What a conundrum! Oh, is this the wrong chat for this?


Chris (CT): Steve, is Daisuke going to get it done tonight? Will he stop nibbling and throw strikes?

Steve Phillips: I'm looking for him to have a good outing, but I also think Jake Westbrook will pitch well. The game will be decided by the bullpens, I think, which we have seen will create an interesting matchup, as both teams' bullpens are effective. I can't imagine Eric Gagne getting the ball, though, in any critical situation for the Red Sox.

RSSG: We’re all “looking for him to have a good outing.” Does that mean he will? Can you guarantee it? And why would you ever think Westbrook would have a good outing? Sox players sport something like a .977 batting average (okay, maybe a little lower, but not much) against him in the last 3 years. And it’s not like he pitched particularly well against the Yankees, even though he didn’t give up many runs and got the win.


Bernie (Boston): Hi Steve, it seems to me the only thing that can cool down the Rockies might be their own torrid pace. If they sweep, they would then be sitting around for quite a while--what do you think?

Steve Phillips: I tend to agree with you that having eight or nine days off may not be the best thing for a hot team. That being said, nothing seems to be stopping the Rockies at this point. I'm sure they would rather keep playing heading into the World Series, but I don't expect they would want to take a couple of losses and risk not getting into the World Series. Either way, they're going to be a very tough team to beat.

RSSG: This was a good point from our own Bernie and Steve actually gives a good answer, even if he veers into the stupid for a moment.


Steven (Indianapolis, IN): What are your thoughts on the Reds choice of Dusty Baker as their next manager?

Steve Phillips: I've always been a big Dusty Baker fan, as he is his players' biggest cheerleader. He can build players up, which is important to maximize their potential. He will only be as good, though, in Cincinnati, as the pitches he has on the roster. Hopefully they'll upgrade the pitching this offseason and give him a chance to win.

RSSG: Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that Dusty Baker is an awful manager. Except Steve Phillips, who thinks Dusty will be good because he’s a good cheerleader.

Steve Phillips: Having worked with Dusty at ESPN, I like him even more now than I did before. I think he is a thoughtful, intelligent baseball man, and a great person.

RSSG: A good cheerleader and a great person. Great. Look for 100 wins for the Reds in 2008!


Jacob (Amherst): Is Clint Hurdle lucky or has he actually progressed into being a good manager? Every move he makes seems to have paid off during this stretch.

Steve Phillips: I think Clint Hurdle is doing a very good job managin his team. He's trusting his players and trusting the matchups, and the results certainly are there. I've known Clint for a long time dating back to his days as a minor league manager with the Mets. He's come a long way and I'm happy for him and his family that he's having success.

RSSG: At one point late in the season, the Rockies were 76-72, a mediocre team. They’ve now won 20 of 21. A lot of that is luck. But they’re God’s team, so they have that going for them, which is nice.


Colin (Yonkers): Steve, as a Yankee fan, should I be worried about Hal and Hank?

Steve Phillips: I wouldn't worry just yet. I think it's a good sign that they're willing to take the time to hear the front office staff's opinion before rushing in to any decision on Joe Torre. This first decision will tell a lot about who they are and how they will run the Yankees in the future. I think the right decision for the Yankees is to keep Joe Torre. It'll be interesting to see their perspective.

RSSG: Steve, can you give us any insight on why you think Joe Torre is the right manager for the Yankees? I mean, they haven’t advanced past the ALDS since their epic ALCS collapse in 2004 and haven’t won a World Series since 2000. Why shouldn’t they go with someone else? And if they did, who would you choose?

Buzzmaster: Sorry folks, we are having some technical problems. The chat will resume shortly.

RSSG: Sorry… I guess I created too much thinking for Steve.


Grant (NYC): Steve, Can you explain how the "playoff share" system works? Since I have no real stake in the game when it comes to the NLCS, I am pulling for the Rockies because they voted to give a share to Michael Coolbaugh's widow.

SportsNation Buzzmaster: The players on each team get a percentage based on where their team finished. The players vote as to which players and staff get shares of the allocation. Some get 100 percent, while players who came in at the trade deadline, for instance, get voted a percentage by their peers. The Rockies made an extraordinary gesture that speaks volumes as to their character.

RSSG: The 2004 Red Sox voted a playoff share for just about everyone who was involved with the 2004 season, including Pedro’s little friend. And yet they’re universally despised outside of RSN.


Steve (Hopkinton, MA): Steve, Does the post season stats for Manny finally make the Sox appreciate him and stop trying to trade him?

Steve Phillips: Well, Manny is a tough one because he does do things that can disrupot the chemistry of a team because he often times wants to be treated by different rules. But he is not malicious in anything that he does and in my opinion is well worth the headaches that come with him. He is one of the best hitters in the history of the game, and the numbers prove that. He is a first ballot Hall Of Famer. The time that he missed during the season this year, may actually be the difference between the Sox winning the series or not. He looks very fresh and is locked in at the plate. The Red Sox and their fans will probably never fully appreciate his greatness because of his quirks. That king of appreciation will probably take place 20 years from now when fans look back on all that he has done.

RSSG: I’d love to be King of Appreciation. How great of a job would that be? You’d just be doling out happiness all day.

As for Manny, I don’t believe we’ve seen any trade rumors for Manny for quite some time now. Everyone appreciates Manny; it’s just that he doesn’t always hustle, he always has phantom injuries, and he’s a terrible fielder. He’s always hit well, including in the postseason (WS MVP, anyone?). Steve’s answer is stupid.


Brian (Hartford, CT): Because Beckett only threw 80 pitches in Game 1 through 6 innings, there was talk of him being able to take the ball on short rest in game 4, and again on full rest for game 7. If the Sox lose tonight, what is the likelihood that they will get desperate and actually consider this an option?

Steve Phillips: I would be very surprised if they bring him back on short rest. He is a great pitcher, but history indicates that even great pitchers coming back on short rest tend not to be succesful. It is not like the Red Sox have a slouch pitching in Game 4 as Wakefield had a very good season this year. If think their best chance is to go with Wakefield in Game 4 and bring back a fresh Beckett in Game 5, regardless of tonight's outcome.

RSSG: A “very good” season for Wakefield? I seem to remember his final numbers being average at best. Yes, I just looked them up and he was below average. In fact, his post-All-Star ERA was 5.25 and he allowed a .283 avg during that time. But I agree with Steve’s answer, overall.


Justin (USC): I read youropinion that the Mets and A-Rod are not a fit?? What then do the Mets need to do and whom do you see them going after?

Steve Phillips: The Mets need pitching help and outfield depth and a second baseman. Beltran, Reyes and Wright are the core, Gomez and Milledge can be used as some sort of rotation in the outfield, but I think they need a veteran presence there. They may try to resign Alou, but there are always health issues there. But the Mets' failures are more a result of their pitching. Delgado had a tough year but I expect him to be better in 08. Reyes trailed off a bit, but I think he will learn from this year and put together an entire season next year. It looks like Glavine will not be back. And there are questions as far as El Duque and Pedro. The Mets should be patient, however, and see how the Santana situation plays out.

RSSG: Yes, lots of obvious stuff here. But all Steve offers is they should “see how the Santana situation plays out.” Yeah, Johan will fix all of their problems. That’s all they need.


Mikey, Wildwood, NJ: Please tell me the Red Sox don't get ARod. Papi-Arod-Manny in the middle of their line-up, even for a year, with their pitching would be a Yankee fan's nightmare.

Steve Phillips: The RedSox are an interesting canddiate there, because at some point they are going to be free of Manny's $20 million salary. That is a pretty big line item, that would certainly eat up the majority of Arods salary. It would make a very interesting dynamic in the rivalry. I do not beleive it is part of the grand plan. But Theo has been unconventional in the past. I believe that the Gaints, Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, and Cubs are more likely suitors.

RSSG: This might be a record for spelling errors in one answer for Steve. He’s right about the teams who will pursue ARod the most, but he forgets the biggest one: the Yankees! And just because the $20 million would “eat up the majority of ARod’s salary” doesn’t make it a good investment.


Patrick (Brooklyn, NY): Was this just an off-year for Matsui or do you think he's on the decline?

Steve Phillips: I think Matsui was nagged by a lot of injuries this year. To some extent it impacted his performance. Keep in mind that he did hit 25 HR and drove in 103 runs. His second half was .298 14 HR and 50 RBI. His season was not that far off from his career averages. He is still a good clutch hitter and a threat in that lineup. The real challenge for the Yankees next year will be finding time for both Damon and Matsui with Giambi at DH.

RSSG: Finding time for Damon? The guy is done. They’ll be lucky if they can’t find time for him.


Mike (Columbus, OH): Who do you think is going to win tonight? What kind of game will it be?

Steve Phillips: I think the Red Sox will win a 6-4 type game. I suspect it will be decided late in the game against the bullpen.

RSSG: See, I think it’ll be more of a higher scoring game, like a 10-7. I can’t say who will win. I honestly have no clue. But I also think the starting pitchers will decide it. Both guys are completely unpredictable.


Travers, SF, CA: Any chance Andruw Jones ends up in SF as they're only power for next year?

Steve Phillips: I think there is a chance. I think the Giants will rebuild and they have a major slot in their budget and they need power. A center fielder that can cover a lot of ground is critical in that park. It is a good backup plan if the Giants cannot land A-Rod.

RSSG: I’d love to see 2 of the most overrated players go to SF in 2 of the worst contracts in the history of baseball. What a great story that would be! And Andruw doesn’t cover all that much ground anymore. Do some research.


Ernie (Ann Arbor): A life long White Sox fan. What can I expect this Winter as far as moves go?

Steve Phillips: I think the White Sox will be aggressive. Kenny Willaims tends to target certain players and do whatever he can to close the deal. It will be an active offseason as they try to retool the pitching and offense. Expect the unexpected as Williams tries to bring back some excitement to White Sox fans.

RSSG: “Expect the unexpected” has to be the dumbest saying ever. And I love how Steve puts a little jab in that the White Sox need to retool pretty much the entire team.


Howard(Columbia SC): Could you see the Yanks trading Wang & Cabrera to Minn for Santana and then signing Rowand for CF

Steve Phillips: That is not enough for Santana. I am much more willing to talk is you offer me Wand and Canoe. Otherwise I will shop around and find the most desperate team in the mix. Who knows what the Red Sox are willing to do. I will call and find out especially now that I know the Yankees have interest.

RSSG: Good call. Who knows what the Sox are willing to do? I do. I don’t believe they’ll attempt to acquire Santana. Their young pitching is so good that they’d prefer the young guys locked up for 6+ seasons. Their starting pitching is already so strong. I love Johan, but they won’t go after him.

How Happy Were Indians Fans to See Gagne?

Joe Posnanski, quickly becoming my favorite baseball blogger, offers this little nugget (very end of the entry) about watching Saturday night’s marathon:

I will also say this — all game long (because of my Cleveland paranoia) I was sure the Indians would lose Saturday. Absolutely sure. It was that feeling in the pit of your stomach, and it was there for all 73 hours (time actually stands still when Rafael Betancourt pitches, so it was even longer than 73 hours) … UNTIL … Eric Gagne came in from the bullpen.

A few years ago, I went to the Olympics in Greece when my oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was only two years old. I was away from her for three weeks, and it was awful. For three weeks, I thought about how much she was changing, how much I was missing, how bad a father I was, how desperately I missed her. And then, finally, the Olympics ended, and I took the long plane ride, and then another, and finally I arrived at the airport, and I walked on the concourse, and there she was, mt Elizabeth, and she ran into my arms and shouted “Daddy” and it was just about the best feeling I’ve ever felt.

Yeah, that’s just about how happy I was to see Eric Gagne.

Well, Joe, that's about how happy we'd be to see Borowski in a close game. Okay, maybe not that happy. Maybe Cleveland doesn't have a reliever as bad as Gagne.

Whatever...

Amelie Benjamin's Headline Choice

I like Amelie Benjamin a lot. Besides being very attractive in a cute, bookwormish kind of way, she seems to know her stuff. That’s why I hope she didn’t make the choice of the headline and subheadline (whatever that’s called) on this article.

“He’s ready to step forward.” No kidding. He’d better be. I’d hate to see a headline that read “He’s not sure he can handle it” or “He’s concerned about straining his groin.”

“Matsuzaka next in line, hoping to meet challenge.” Even more crap there. Someone else must create the headlines, like the Editor or Headline Creator Guy.

Game 4’s headline will read “Wake hopes to pitch well.”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dane Cook Parody on SNL

I trash Dane Cook and those "There's only ONE.... OCTOBER!!!" promos quite often, as you know if you read this blog often. Saturday Night Live apparently feels the same way, as does the rest of America. Here's the clip, which is hilarious.

(Via The Big Lead)

More Dusty Baker Bashing

I did plenty of Dusty bashing in one bullet point in last night's ALDS game 2 post, but Rob Neyer had this gem during his ALDS game 2 chat:
Michael (connecticut): breaking news.. dusty baker was named reds manager ..

Rob Neyer: (11:21 PM ET ) It's true. My condolences to Reds fans. And Homer Bailey's pitching wing.
It's always good to see respected mainstream writers bashing the same guys I do.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

ALCS Game 2 Random Thoughts

Again, straight to the bullet points:
  • Eric Karros was pretty darn good in the pregame booth. Kevin Kennedy: not so much. And Jeanne Zelasko, please exit stage left and take Dane Cook with you.
  • I've never noticed sweat stains under a baseball players armpits before, but Schilling was sporting some serious pit stains while he was warming up. Don't tell me you didn't notice.
  • James freaking Taylor doing the lineup intro for the Sox? That was awful. You wanna talk about awkward tv, that's right up there. "Batting 5th: Mike Lowell. Nice guy." He stammered more than a 7th grader with acne asking the hottest girl to dance.
  • Leadoff batter Dustin Pedroia strikes out on a ball that bounced at the plate. My first thought: "Shit." Looks like a tough night against Carmona (pronounced "Camona" for the first few innings by McCarver).
  • McCarver: "Carmona, wearing #55, the speed limit." Only for old people like you, Tim.
  • McCarver tries to make some analogy of Youkilis being an 8-hole hitter, hitting in front of the pitcher, but fails to mention that it's an analogy. It was quite confusing and wouldn't have even made much sense as an analogy.
  • Prior to this game, Ortiz has reached base in 29 of 35 plate appearances. Wow.
  • "'Til Death" is still on tv? I had no idea. And those commercials with Brad Garrett smiling at the camera are creepy. He was hilarious on "Raymond," but I can't stand to watch him in anything else.
  • McCarver is talking about which teams Schilling might sign with in the offseason and says he "could go back to the Dodgers." Strange, I didn't know Schilling had ever played for the Dodgers.
  • Joe Buck praised Casey Blake's beard for a solid 2 minutes. He just outcreeped Brad Garrett.
  • JD Drew grounds out and McCarver says, "You might call that an out, but it was a good approach." Yes, I might call that an out.
  • Did anyone else notice something white poking out from under Carmona's uniform on his shoulder? Strange...
  • Why does Fox's audio keep going in and out? They suck.
  • Dane Cook. Ugh.
  • Coco on first, Lugo at the plate. McCarver states matter-of-factly that Lugo will be bunting here. I immediately roll my eyes. This guy doesn't know anything about baseball. Coco Crisp is one of the best baserunners in the league and the Red Sox hate "productive outs." They bunt once in a while, but they will almost always send Coco instead of bunting. Sure enough, Coco steals.
  • Again, I have that desire to rent Transformers. This is getting strange.
  • Manny: 3 bases loaded at-bats, 3 walks.
  • McCarver: "Mike Lowell drove in more RBIs... errr, runs... than any other Boston third baseman." The way he worded it was funny, as if there were a lot of other 3B this season. I'm pretty sure he meant in Boston history, but whatever. Lowell also had more RBIs than any other Boston player this year.
  • No Stephen King sighting through 3 innings. Did he get run over on his way to the park?
  • McCarver and Buck couldn't tell Daisuke and Okajima apart during a shot of the bullpen. They probably wouldn't be able to tell apart CC Sabathia and Kenny Lofton, either.
  • Sox are up 3-1 and they're talking about Mark Shapiro saying this weekend that silence at Yankee Stadium is very satisfying, to which McCarver says, "And it's silent here right now." Huh?
  • Of course, next batter Jhonny Peralta immediately silences Fenway with a 3-run homer.
  • So is Carmona's sinker soft and light or hard and heavy? I can't remember.
  • Joe Buck made a "more cowbell" reference? Could he be more hip than we thought? Nahhh....
  • I miss Travis Fryman. I collected all his rookie cards, thinking they'd be worth something some day.
  • Manny up, 0-2 count. I turn to my wife and say, "Home run. Right here." Next pitch: "Boom. Gone." Then Mike Lowell. Me, again: "Boom. Gone." My wife pretends to throw a grenade at me and says "Boom. Gone. Nope, it didn't work."
  • Fox played "Dirty Water after the 5th inning?!? I immediately wrote on my notepad: "Dirty Water jinx?"
  • McCarver makes a lot of "factual" statements that are not based on any fact. They're his opinion that he tries to pass off as fact. Tim McCarver is the biggest tool in broadcasting. That is a fact.
  • Okajima warming up in the bullpen during the 6th. McCarver: "It would be a rare feat for Okajima to come in during the 6th inning." The dictionary defines "feat" as "a notable achievement." Interesting.
  • Joe Buck is obsessed with the sound the ball makes off the bat on a home run. He thinks it makes a different sound. If you close your eyes and just listen to a game thinking that, you'd think there were a lot of home runs. The ball makes that sound on foul balls, line drives, ground outs, etc.
  • Dane Cook: "You wanna see one team all after one cause? The Rockies!" Apparently the Red Sox, Indians, and DBacks are all after individual achievements and not the World Series.
  • I'll leave this one up to FJM. They always do these things better than I.
  • McCarver tries to explain why Victor Martinez setup outside late. Something to do with Manny's periphery seeing Martinez's shadow. Whatever.
  • Game still tied 6-6 in the 8th. Papelbon warming up. McCarver says, "You're probably sitting at home wondering if Papelbon has ever had a 6 out save." Well no, Tim, we're not, because if he were to come in right now he would not be in line for the save. McCarver then says, "No. He has never had a 6 out save." You are correct (or, more accurately, Fox's statisticians are), but Papelbon pitched at least 2 innings on 7 different occasions in 2006 and 4 times in 2005.
  • Good Lord, Dusty Baker signed with the Reds. Good luck with your young pitchers, Reds fans. Do these teams not follow baseball history? Do they not Google new hires? Come on, 4th result down is a little website called "Fire Dusty Baker." The 6th is "Dusty Baker's racist remarks." 7th is a different "Fire Dusty Baker." And that's just the first page. Ahh, hell, I'm just going to leave this up to FJM again. That's a lot of good reading on FJM's Dusty Baker tag. I highly recommend it. Adam Dunn is gonna have to go because he "clogs the bases" with all those walks.
  • Hey, JT is still here! Justin Timberlake, you ask? No, James Taylor. Joe Buck has taken to calling him JT. Definitely hip.
  • 12:10am. Need to be up around 6am. No nap times available all day Sunday. Top 9. Game tied, 6-6. Arg. Need sleep. I hope Cleveland brings in Borowski in the bottom of the 9th.
  • My Pats/Cowboys prediction: Pats 38-10. No joke.
  • Earlier in the game, Fox showed a graphic showing Travis Hafner's nickname, Pronk, came from being a "half project, half donkey." Now Joe Buck says, "half prospect, half donkey." Which is it?
  • Wedge just removed Hafner from the game as the game heads into extras and replaced him with Josh Barfield. Seems like an odd move. We'll see.
  • Barfield immediately steals second and McCarver tries to compare it to the steal Dave Roberts had in game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. Stupid, stupid Tim McCarver. The Sox were down a run at that point in the game and down 3-0 in the series.
  • So now the Indians are without their best hitter, assuming the game continues after the 9th. Stupid move.
  • I love how McCarver pronounces it "Ellsberry." It's so endearing.
  • 10 pitches so far to Youk in the 9th. You get the feeling that he's thinking, "I do this all the time. I'm going to win this battle. I could do this all night."
  • Nope. 12:45pm. I need sleep. What kind of Sox fan am I, right? Go ahead and ream me out in the comments. I hope this game goes 18 innings so I look like the smart one.