I didn’t get this going until late in the game, but some baseball thoughts, wrapped around the last three innings of the Indians – Red Sox battle.
Games sevens rock. And this has been a fine one, full of momentum swings, close calls, blunders, and clutch plays. In the first third, it looked like the Red Sox would run away and hide. In the middle third, it seemed like the Sox couldn’t touch Jake Westbrook and it was only a matter of time before the Indians took the lead. Then, Dustin Pedroia of all people lights up Rafael Betancourt and we’ve got a 5-3 game in the 8th, with Jonathan Papelbon coming in to try to get a six out save and send the Sox to the World Series. So I’m going to be a bit distracted by this terrific drama. Also, I think I ate one too many brownies tonight, so my stomach is a little upset.
In the wake of the Joe Torre firing/not firing in New York, I’ve been thinking about how there really aren’t any great managers anymore. Torre was pretty mediocre until he had the biggest payroll in baseball. The Fox guys keep telling us that Terry Francona is a great manager. I think he’s decent, but great? Growing up in the 80s skews my thinking, though. In that era, we had Billy Martin, Sparky Anderson, Earl Weaver, Whitey Herzog. Some might even say Tommy Lasorda was a great manager, although they would be wrong. Outside of Tony Larussa, who in today’s game can match what those guys did? I wonder if it is because baseball teams are so similar these days, leaving little room for managers to distinguish themselves. Billy Ball, Whitey Ball, The Oriole Way, and Sparky’s style were all distinct ways of playing the game. Today, everyone bashes.
Papelbon gets out of the 8th with a very loud third out. Fenway is going nuts.
I have to admit, I hate Roger Clemens, but I love the AT&T commercial he’s in. He doesn’t seem the type who would be willing to make fun of himself.
I said back at the beginning of the season that I really wanted Daisuke Matsuzaka to work out so the Japanese methods of training pitchers might be adopted here. You can’t draw conclusions from just one season, but so far he’s not scoring any big points for dropping the Baby the Arms technique we’ve been using in the States for 20 years. It seems like the key difference is that in Japan, pitchers pitch only once a week, where here they go every fifth day. I wonder if, going deeper into his contract, they will find a happy medium of the rigorous off-day workouts they use in Japan and the lighter training that is used here.
Back to managers for a moment, I wonder what the average tenure of a manger was from 1970-1990 compared to the post-strike era. It seems like managers staying in one place for ages is rare anymore, with only Larussa and Torre doing it recently. Was it any more common back in the day, which made it easier to think a manager was “great”? Or, is it just that since that was the era of the Dynasty and this is the era of different champs each year, that it’s harder now to reach greatness?
Seriously, I can’t believe Kenny Lofton is still playing. He’s pretty much never played for a team that I like, so I’ve never liked him. But I’m starting to respect the fact a guy who was in the 1988 Final Four is still playing major league baseball.
6-2 Sox, Mike Lowell scores on a JD Drew single. Ever since Mike Lowell arrived in Boston two years ago, there’s been talk of getting rid of him. Dude had a monster year, is continuing that in the playoffs, and seems to be loved by the Red Sox faithful. I don’t know if the Sox will resign him, but he’s going to make a lot of money this winter. In fact, he’s probably going to pick up a lot of that money that Eric Gagne has lost for himself in the past two months.
It seems like, since Theo Epstein brought a World Series title to Boston in his second year as GM, that the media has bought into the idea that he’s a genius. But, he apparently tried to move Lowell a couple times last year, keeps making the wrong move at shortstop, and Coco Crisp’s ass is now on the bench. And JD Drew is always a question mark. He’s made some fine moves along the way, as well, but it’s not as if he hasn’t had more than his share of whiffs.
Hjonhnhy Peralta and Casey Blake just ran into each other and let an easy pop drop for a base hit. Didn’t these things used to happen TO the Red Sox instead of FOR them? I still remember how weird those last four games of the ’04 ALCS were, when every single break went the Sox way. Apparently they still have some karma they haven’t cashed in from those 86 years of deposits.
Buck has mentioned at least twice tonight that there were four inches of snow in Denver today. It’s supposed to get very chilly and rainy here later in the week and if I remember right, weather moves west to east. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it snowed in Boston rather than Denver for the World Series?
Dustin Pedroia clears the bases. 9-2 Sox. I think Tommy and Timmy and Bobby and Davey and Sully can all start getting wicked drunk. The Sox are going to the Series again. And New England people are going to be even harder to take, between Tom Brady and the Pats and the Sox.
Who pitches the 9th, now? Why use Papelbon up seven? I say Wakefield, for sentimental reasons, but I assume it’s anyone but Gagne. Seriously, might they take away his playoff share?
Youkilis goes deep. So much for terrific drama, this is turning into game seven of the 85 World Series: it’s really only fun if you love the Sox or hate the Indians. It’s kind of embarrassing otherwise.
Sox outscore Indians 30-5 (so far) in the last three games. Talk about responding to the pressure of being down 3-1. “You don’t want to get Terry Francona down 3-1!”
So I guess you do use Papelbon up nine runs. I guess Francona figures it’s better to get those three outs quickly and avoid having to get Beckett up if Wakefield or Lester gave up a few runs.
Coco Crisp is a defensive replacement. And he combed out the braids, which I think we can all agree is a very fine choice.
Is Mark Shapiro’s companion (wife? girlfriend? friend?) incapable of facial movement?
OK, I kidded, but Coco just made a phenomenal catch to end the game. Easy to let that ball drop, and not risk injury, up nine. But that’s a hell of a catch.
That’s it. I’m off to bed. Oh, one more thing: KU is #9 in the BCS. Rock Chalk, bitches.