Monday, 29 October 2007
I think I
could get used to this.
this time. No running into the street shouting at the heavens in sheer,
ecstatic joy. No frantic phone calls to everyone I know. Just two glasses of
champagne, raised and clinked.
Red Sox are the
best team in baseball.
Red Sox have won the World Series. Again.
deserved it. From April until October, they stayed in first place. Surehanded
and steady, they fixed their gaze on the big prize. And, finally, clicking on
every cylinder, they won.
outscored the Los Angeles Angels, the Cleveland Indians and the Rockies by a combined score of 99-46 — the
greatest October run differential in postseason history.”
and beyond being really, really good, the Red Sox are good.
Lowell is a good guy. Gehrig38 is a
good guy. Jon
Lester is a good guy. Jacoby
Ellsbury is good guy. Manny
Ramirez is a good guy. Big
Papi is a good guy. Jason
Varitek is a good guy. Mike
Timlin is a good guy. Kevin
Youkilis is a good guy. Dustin
Pedroia is a cocky sonofabitch — but a good guy. Jonathan Papelbon is insane.
Also a good guy.
(A-Rod? Not a good guy.
Just ask Peter Gammons.)
was a terrific cap to an amazing season .
youthful core means we’ve got a hell of a shot to do
it again next year.
year after that. And then again.
really pretty great.
See you at
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???
Friday, 26 October 2007
So, yeah, I
found myself getting a little wistful last night.
Is this end
of the road for our very own blogging blowhard, our computer geek gamesman, our
It may well
be. And as annoying as he can be sometimes, I’m gonna miss Curt
because he makes for great press. Not just for that time he verbally
bitch-slapped me on a SoSH spring-training game thread after I wrote that he
was getting knocked around. Because he pitches great games (usually) when we
need him to. Because he makes Yankees fans shut up. Because he came here to
help us win a World Series and he did so in the first year — and might be doing
he’s done so far this October, he’s
probably going to the Hall of Fame.
Should we maybe keep
him around for one more year before he does?
people think so. Including me.
he won’t have to relocate and our state economy can reap the benefits once 38 Studios finally gets off the ground.)
At the very
least, it’s good to know that some guys will still be around next year,
whatever ends up happening this month.
Francona, whose bullpen management was impeccable last night, and who by
now has established his bona fides as the best playoff manager in a long, long
shadow warrior, Hideki
Okajima, whose astonishingly dominant two-and-a-third innings made it look
Papelbon, who is delightfully insane.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who bought
us all a taco last night. And who could perhaps give
some base-running advice to Matt Holliday.
for our speedy center fielder, “Tacoby
Bellsbury” seems like just the kind of nickname that might stick.)
column by Dan Wetzel about comparing his days as a Fenway concessionaire
with the current culinary offerings.
These days, Fenway Park
has an executive chef, Ron Abell.
chef? At Fenway? When I "cooked" here at my under-the-third-base
concession stand, our pretzel warmer didn't even spin. You had to rotate by
hand the previously frozen pretzels to get close to a 100 watt light bulb.
There are the
salads. And the clam chowder. And the chicken meals. And coffee stands serving
fancy drinks. (Back when I worked here they'd punish concession workers by
waiting for a blistering hot July afternoon, handing them a tray of black
coffee and saying, "go work the bleachers." Two areas of the park –
the Monster seats and high above right field – actually have waitress service.
And up in the
EMC Club, executive chef Abell and his staff serve up items such as Maine
Peekytoe Crabcake with Pickled Radish and Mache, Grilled Wild King Salmon,
Celery Root, Morels, Fine Herbs and Spring Pea Cannelloni, Calabro Ricotta,
even fancier next year.
has come a long way. Got an e-mail today from my friend Sean, who’d recently
dug out his ticket stub from ALDS Game
3 back in 1995. (Tim Wakefield took the loss that night. And Manny batted
seventh and played right field for the Indians.)
seats on the 3rd base line, under the roof. “Face value = $25. I'm almost
positive I didn't pay more than $40. That’s basically getting on the T, walking
over to Lansdowne, and paying the scalper in cash.”
Game Six (assuming one is played) in that same general area are selling
on StubHub for $2,223.00 each.
Thursday, 25 October 2007
So now we know
for absolute sure: eight days of rest do indeed make a baseball team rusty.
And we also
know that the Boston Red Sox have not missed a beat.
a way to get started.
out the side in the top of the first: BANG-BANG-BANG.
a home run to kick off the bottom of the first: KAPOW.
And for the
rest of the game, all game long, top of the inning, bottom of the inning,
didn't matter. An absolute, all-out assault.
fastball,” said Josh Beckett. “And there’s another. And another. Think you can
didn’t stand a chance.
for runs and margin of victory in a series opener.
hits. Eight doubles. Thirteen Runs.
not forget the contributions of Iron Mike
and our French-Canadian
friend. Maybe it was my
little pep talk that motivated that 1-2-3 eighth? As my co-worker Jon
Garelick put it: “Hey, 12 runs and it’s a new ballgame. He saved our asses.”)
by Fenway. (Although, I think they kinda were.)
to be intimidated by what we did to them.
Yup, it was
streak. But it’s over now.
We’re the Boston
@#%$ Red Sox.
people are rooting against us. Bring
on the haters.
the Sons of Sam Horn Game Thread for
his own start within minutes of the final out last night. Gehrig38’s got a nice little win streak
of his own right now.
Only he can
ensure that it continues.
Monday, 22 October 2007
Curse of Kenny Lofton lives.
his bête noire last night,
with a little help from his friend, and an unintentionally friendly third base coach.
He got Lofton
to fly out in the third.
in the fifth, Kenny’s buddy Manny nailed him trying to stretch a single into a
we’d soon discover, the beginning of the end. And the Tribe can’t
say they weren’t warned.
to my share of big Fenway games, but I’d never been there for the postseason
until last night. And lemme tell you, I’ve never heard the place howling with
blood lust like it was after Manny gunned down his speedy little friend at
I’ve never felt the air constrict with the simultaneous inhalation of 38,000
people like it did after Lofton was safe at first after Lugo’s horrifically ugly butter-fingered
bobble in the seventh. It was an uneasy silence that was only amplified once
Gutierrez singled up the third base line and Lofton blazed toward third — and was held there. (He didn’t seem at all happy about it.)
So, yeah, let’s
just say that Casey Blake’s DP on the very next pitch was the most therapeutic release
of massive nervous energy I’ve ever felt at a sporting event. Deafening.
So good to
know it’s not just because I’m a playoff neophyte.
Bob was waxing Valley Girl this morning, as well he should:
that tense! ... Omigawd, what a ballgame, what a glorious night at Fenway, what
a way to enter the World Series.
after ensuring that the score would not be knotted up at three, our young dudes
decided that a slim one-run lead was insufficient. So Ellsbury reached on
shaken Blake’s two-base error. Lugo
advanced him to third with a sacrifice. And then Dustin Destroya clocked one
into the Monster seats. A bat was flipped. And four bases were stepped upon. Euphoria. Utter and complete.
was not alleviated entirely.
Okajima — who’d relieved his countryman after Dice-K turned in five workmanlike
innings, and who is sharing well-deserved plaudits back Far East — came out for the eighth.
And he quickly let two guys on.
those guys were.
And so it
was ordained that Lord Papelbon would have record six outs.
And so it
is written that he entered an elimination game with men on first and second and
And retired the heart of the Indians order on eight pitches.
Après ça le
Mikey Lowell doubled and Drew singled
him home. Tek doubled, and JD headed for third. They put Ellsbury on
intentionally. And then Dustin did it again, sending all three of ‘em home with
a double to deep left.
the bleachers might collapse.
bounced on off the Coke bottles three pitches later, it was officially a
laugher. Time to uncork the Korbel. (As Red
so sweetly puts it: “With All Due Respect to Ryan
Garko, Champagne Tastes Much Sweeter at Home.”)
Coco entered the game, deservedly, to do what he does best: make amazing, highlight
Peralta singled to center. Kenny Lofton lined out to
Manny. Then Covelli fielded the final two outs. Spectacularly.
Papelbon showed us how he plans to scare little kids this Halloween.
game. What a game! So rewarding in so many ways. Tense and exciting at first, then just silly enough toward the end to prime us all for Dirty Water. Dice-K got a nice
little jolt of confidence. (The first Japanese pitcher to win a playoff game!) Okajima held the line. Papelbon recorded six outs
with 16 pitches. And in a series where Buck and McCarver talked and talked
about the lethal heart of our order, we put up 11 runs with Ortiz going 0 for 5
with a two strikeouts and Manny quiet after a single in the first.
And Kenny Lofton, who’s played on a bazillion different post-season contenders, has somehow
found his way to squads whose playoff dreams ended prematurely. Bucknahs
Bum Ankle from Sons of Sam Horn crunched the numbers.
He has been a member of the following teams:
- 1995 Indians: Only team to lose a World Series clincher
on a one-hitter.
- 1996 Indians: Lost two games in the ALDS with leads in
the eighth and ninth innings.
- 1997 Braves: Lost to wild-card Marlins in six NLCS
games, including the Eric Gregg game, in which Livan Hernandez capitalized
on the umpire's huge strike zone.
- 1998 Indians: Blew a 2-1 ALCS lead, losing three
straight to the Yankees.
- 1999 Indians: Blew a 2-0 ALDS lead, losing three
straight to Boston.
- 2001 Indians: Blew a 2-1 ALDS lead to Seattle, losing two straight.
- 2002 Giants: Blew a 3-2 World Series lead to Anaheim, including a
5-0 lead in the seventh inning of Game 6, losing two straight.
- 2003 Cubs: Blew a 3-1 NLCS lead to Florida, including a 3-0 lead in the
eighth inning of the infamous Game 6 Bartman Game, losing three straight.
- 2004 Yankees: Blew a 3-0 ALCS lead to Boston, the first team in history to
lose four straight games needing only one win to advance.
- 2006 Dodgers: Swept by Mets in NLDS.
question has already been asked: Did we win it? Or did they lose it?
historic victory? Or just another Choke?
Yeah, as the estimable Charlie
Pierce writes, the Indians “came to Boston
wrapped so tightly they made Mitt Romney look like Wavy Gravy.”
World Series t-shirts were surely bad mojo.
And this Paul Byrd business
could not have helped.
skulduggery afoot when it comes to the Red Sox and PEDs? Is Selig’s “steroid
sleuth,” the former
Senator from Maine and current Director of the team, up to no good? The New
York Times says there’s no proof — even
as it amplifies the mutterings the “Indians fan blogs ... abuzz with conspiracy theories about leaks and motive
and a destiny undone.”)
This much we know to be true: as Bob Ryan points
out, we outscored the Indians by a 30-5 margin after losing Game Four.
I’d say the
answer speaks for itself. Bring on that purple-wearing team from Denver.
in the park, once our lead became insurmountable, a chant arose from the
right-field grandstand. “Yankees suck! Yankees suck!”
Disgusting, I thought. Embarrassing. It never goes away! You’d think by now we’d have learned
But then I
listened more closely. They were actually chanting something else:
“ROCKIES SUCK! ROCKIES SUCK!”
dumb. In addition to being patently untrue.
pitching staff is good but its mortal. That lineup, however, is potent.
to bench one of our big bats in Denver
is gonna be interesting.
nothing of other X-factors, like what that high-altitude air will do to the
knuckleball (assuming Wake makes a start there).
not be a Cardinals-esque cake walk. “I can assure you,” says Big
Schill, “every one of us knows that this is going to be a hell of a
fine. As long as the outcome is the same as this one.
to the World Series. Again.
time, we’re “baggage
I like the
sound of that.
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
I was mad
at the Sox for letting little Danny
Vinik throw out the first pitch before Game One. It was in bad taste and
showed poor sportsmanship — not to mention reeking of nepotism (his dad is a
minority owner) and perhaps encouraging fan interference. And I wondered whether it
might bring bad karma down upon our heads.
from the series standings, it appears it may have.
it’s my turn to razz the Indians for
their own little bit of snarky gamesmanship: inviting Josh
Beckett’s ex-girlfriend, Danielle
Peck, to sing
the National Anthem before the do-or-die game he’s starting tomorrow night.
Yeah, yeah, she’s from Ohio. But is it too much of a stretch to assume they also hope her very presence will rattle
our boy? Prove 'em wrong, Josh.
reader fastballfan99 for the tip.)
we’re bashing Cleveland: the fireworks and the little white hankies are incredibly lame. But someone should really tell their fans to lose the minstrel
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
One way I feel, enunciated pretty perfectly by Rough Carrigan in Tuesday's tragicomic game thread:
"It's times like this that I ask myself what the hell I'm doing spending so much time following this stuff."
Another way I feel, paraphrased, pretty perfectly, from KFK in 2004:
"Don't let us win tomorrow night. This is a big game. They've got to win because if we win we're going to Fenway on Saturday and Schilling will pitch Game 6. Don't let the Sox win this game."
Lightning can't strike twice ... right?
Doesn't matter. It's a fait accompli.
And, anyway, what we really need to do tonight is hit.
Byrd is very good. But he's not untouchable.
Put Jacoby in the lineup. Work the count. Avoid DPs at all costs. And DO NOT let balls hit you when you're running the bases.
We must be patient and methodical in a way that we weren't last night.
Monday, 15 October 2007
we’re gonna need Dice-K
to come up big tonight.
And I don’t
have a problem telling you that that scares me a little bit.
But y’never know with this
So let the
chips fall where they may.
can happen, right?
We all knew
this series was gonna be close. So heading to the Jake with one game apiece is certainly
not the worst thing in the world.
be nice to be playing the rest of the series with a full 25-man roster is all.
but you shant be pitching in a Red Sox uniform again, I think.
If you do, then
something is screwy.
suppose I can’t blame Tito for going to the guy on Saturday night. What were his options? (Besides, maybe, trying to squeeze a little bit more from Timlin, who only threw 12 pitches in the eighth, before going to Papelbon.)
should lie with anyone who decided Gagne should be on the postseason roster in the
first place. He’s deadweight. Totally unable to contribute anything meaningful.
And that’s been apparent for a long time. He single-handedly cost us a bunch of
games in the regular season. And now he’s doing the same thing in October. No
one can be surprised.
And I can blame Tito, I guess, for going
with Lopez instead of Lester next.
Trot can’t hit lefties, right? Right. But Lopez, as most everyone knows by now
except his manager, is no LOOGY. In fact, he’s the opposite: lefthanders are
batting .293 against him, righties just .176. And so I suppose I shouldn’t have
been too surprised when Christopher
Trotman Nixon — who really can’t hit lefties — stepped to the plate in
his old stomping grounds and, on the second pitch, singled to center to break
um, a bunch
of other runs scored.
should’ve gone deeper.
And yes, it
was pretty remarkable that mediocre Tom Mastny got all three of our big guns to
go down quietly in the 10th.
But it just
sucks to have an extra-inning game end
we can hit Sabathia and Carmona, effectively neutralizing what’s supposed to be
their biggest strength. (Wish we could’ve made
it count, though.) We tagged two runs off “Raffy
Left” on Saturday. And If Ortiz and Ramirez were punchless in the 10th later that
night, they were unstoppable — literally
— on Friday. Mikey Lowell
is having a hell of a series. The good
pitchers in the pen have been throwing well. And Beckett continues to amaze and
the two best teams in baseball, and we all knew it was gonna be a long series.
Just need Mr.
Matsuzaka to pitch
like he knows he can tonight.
would be nice if Jake Westbrook could pitch like he did last
“The best thing will be if there's no bugs on the field, of course."
Friday, 12 October 2007
What he said. I could not agree more.
And I can only hope this lame, short-sighted stunt does not bring us bad karma.
is this: for alarmingly large chunks of
an average day, I am a moron.”
Hornby, in the intro to Fever
Pitch — y’know, the book
about football that was later adapted into that movie about baseball?
interviewed Hornby for this week’s paper. Read it here, where you can
also listen to a clip of the author talking about the Farrelly Brothers flick
and the Red Sox’ World Series run.)
He’s talking, of course, about the nature of obsessive fandom: the amount of time a sports junkie spends
each day thinking about his team, about their past glories and, hopefully,
future triumphs. It can be all-encompassing, blotting out brain space that can
and should be used for other, more important matters. Especially on big game days.
sorta feel like a moron today. I’m finding it difficult to think about much
else besides where I'll be at 7:10 p.m. And if you’re reading this, I'll bet you can relate.
gonna be one hell of a series.
bashers in our lineup.
aces on their staff.
hurlers on ours.
teams are stacked. This is the de facto World Series right here.”
A lot of pundits are picking the other team. And that’s fair.
their work cut out for them.
Boston in six. That’s been my prediction
And the computers
simulations would seem to bear this out.
we could be wrong.
This much I
know: I can’t @#$% wait.
Tuesday, 09 October 2007
Bronx is Burning!
moments of delicious schadenfreude last night.
* A-Rod and
Abreu hitting solo homers in the seventh and ninth, just enough to inflate hope
but not enough to get the job done.
* Captain Clutch
grounding into a decidedly tangible double play.
* Paul Byrd
defying the naysayers and pitching five workmanlike innings.
of faux pas”
Borowski, whose last three years against the Yankees have yielded a 16.20 ERA and
.400 BAA, getting Posada to go down
* Shelly Duncan weeping.
* The closing
of NYYFans.com to non-members
* Newton homegirl (and former
BLOHARD!) Suzyn Waldman crying
on WCBS radio after a visit to a solemn Yankee clubhouse.
(A stark contrast to
her wacky behavior earlier
Kay, demonstrating the quintessence of sore loserdom, opining, without a
shred of objective evidence, that “the Yankees are a better team” and that “this
is not a series the Yankees should have lost.”
in the first round for the third year in a row.
And the fun
doesn’t stop there!
yourself a favor and listen online to Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN today at 1 p.m.
year’s opening montage is any indication, you will not regret it. Chris Russo
is gonna scream himself hoarse. (Well, hoarser than he usually is.)
elimination day! It's a Holiday!”
the Yankee fans? WHERE .. ARE .. THE ... YANKEE FANS!”
one I feel bad for is Joe
Torre. About to get the axe after what’s probably the best-coached season
of his career. He’s a class act, and a good guy, and doesn’t deserve this. But
at least he’ll land, somewhere, on his feet.
meantime, on to Cleveland!
Which 30 Rock
reminds us, is better than New York.
Monday, 08 October 2007
since the Yankees were not kind enough to allow four Division Series sweeps
this weekend, we’ll have to just wait and see who’s up next.
Trot. Just when I thought you might put a nail in their coffin with yr homer off the Texas Con Man in the second, you have to go and allow a bases clearing single? Thanks
little reminiscing about the past few days can’t hurt.
the lead up to this series, when everyone was saying that things were shaping
up for us because Manny was back, I was skeptical. We
didn’t really need another singles hitter. We needed power.
power is back.
from yesterday’s winning
pitcher: “Manny and David were just unreal for three straight games. Since
I’ve been here I’ve never seen nor heard Manny look and feel this locked in. In
a season he made it clear he struggled in, from day 1, to see him find it now
is incredibly reassuring. David? Well he just keeps being Big Papi. His ability
to ease back and relax when it seems everyone else’s tenses up has to be one of
the reasons he’s become that go to guy.”
It’s worth remembering,
of course, that Manny’s majestic blast might not have been possible on Friday
night without some pitch-perfect
managerial decisions. (Abetted also by the anti-Bartman:
a name, for the record, that I coined in the upstairs bar in Redbones as soon as the catch was made.) Tito pulled Dice-K not a moment too soon. Then he made
the right bullpen moves at the right times and the guys rewarded him by pitching with precision
and keeping the game winable.
did Schilling. It wasn’t quite Beckett-esque, but it was more than enough to
make those back-to-backers stand up.
seven-run eighth was almoust laughable. Gagne-proof,
So now, we wait.
Put me down for
Indians in four. I want the MFY gone. Done. Kaput. Because I don’t think my
health, physical and mental, can withstand another seven-game Sox/Yan ALCS.
we look at the stats. And we say “Holy Crap!”
| Notes from an irrational Red Sox fan. Mike Miliard with news, views, analysis, and rants about happenings on-field and off.
|October, 2007 (20)
|September, 2007 (13)
|August, 2007 (16)
|July, 2007 (13)
|June, 2007 (12)
|May, 2007 (19)
|April, 2007 (36)
|March, 2007 (18)
|February, 2007 (6)
|January, 2007 (6)
|December, 2006 (7)
|November, 2006 (2)
|October, 2006 (5)
|September, 2006 (12)
|August, 2006 (21)
|July, 2006 (19)
|June, 2006 (29)
|May, 2006 (29)
|April, 2006 (48)
|March, 2006 (23)
|February, 2006 (8)
|January, 2006 (8)
|December, 2005 (7)
|November, 2005 (6)
|October, 2005 (11)
|September, 2005 (17)
|August, 2005 (18)
|July, 2005 (17)
|June, 2005 (14)
|May, 2005 (18)
|April, 2005 (16)
|March, 2005 (26)