Monday, October 30, 2006

Congrats Cards

A belated congratulations to the St Louis Cardinals - they beat the Detroit Tigers Friday night to win the World Series. I wish the Tigers had put up more of a fight - well, they at least won one game. They did much better than many had anticipated - and they look to be a force to be reckoned with for next year. As a matter of fact, that AL Central Division looks pretty tough.

But the Cards. After losing so badly in 2004, it was nice that they could win. And to win in their home stadium - that's maybe one thing that would have made our victory in 2004 complete. To win in front of your own fans must be the ultimate WS experience.

LaRussa is deserving of the victory, too. He is really one of the best coaches in the game, and long overdue for a world championship.

But if I have to listen to or read one more story about "little" "spunky" David Eckstein, I might hurl.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy anniversary

Has it really been two years since that glorious night of October 27, 2004?! Was is just two short years ago I was pacing around the house, nervously nibbling on anything in sight, scaring the cat with my shouts and groans? When I was lying on the floor, sobbing with delight and relief?

Although I hope that we will one day soon repeat those victory scenes, I can't imagine they will generate the emotions that 2004 did. That's not a bad thing - those were glorious days for which we can cherish the memories. And I can't imagine another version of the BoSox generating the feelings I have for that '04 team. Just seeing them playing today - even if for another team, even not playing as well - makes me feel so good. I'll always scan the box scores, looking for Bellhorn or Millar or Roberts - and always be interested in how they did the night before.

I think I may have to break out the Game 4 DVD tonight - it's raining and miserable here, and the thought of curling up with that next to the first cozy fire of the season...hmmm!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

He's my Tiger

I've decided that Jim Leyland is my favorite Tiger. He could be the new Berra - he's always got a classic line. Asked how he spent the rain delay last night:
And all that sitting can be at least as hazardous to a manager's health as to his starting rotation. Asked what he did for three hours Wednesday, while he was waiting for baseball officials to figure out whether they were going to play, Leyland replied: "I smoked about a carton. It was probably one of the worst days of the year -- for my lungs."

Asked about the Kenny Rogers "Smudgegate" scandal:
"I'm not going to chew yesterday's breakfast," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm not going to comment on it."
He's cool!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Oh, Eric

In that wonderful winter of our content - 2004 - I would sometime while away the time until Spring Training by watching the Best Damn Sports Show (desperation will drive you to all sorts of insane time killers). One week, Kevin Millar guested - oh, how glorious! And also on the show were Barry Zito and Eric Byrnes. In my delirium over KM, I somehow became delusional - and thought Byrnes was charming and kind of a hottie.

Luckily, my sanity returned sometime during the spring of 2005 - and I realized my error. Still, part of me kind of followed him as he journed around the league, although when he went to the D-Backs this year, he fell off my radar.

Until, that is, the other night. I tuned in to "Baseball Tonight" and there he was. And - OMG - what the hell has happened to him?? I always thought he looked a little like Spicoli from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," but now he's acting like him too!
And now he's migrated over to the Fox Pre-Game show. Interesting contrast to Jeannie Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy. Last night he was clearly hopped up on something - animatedly rambling on about things that he was reading from his notes - he didn't even look over his notes discreetly, it was blatantly obvious.

The fellow over on Roar of the Tigers had it right. He saw Byrnes strolling around prior to the broadcast:
ha ha, oh eric byrnes, the long black jacket is incapable of classing up that dead echidna on your noggin
In case you've never seen one, here is an echidna. It's native to Australia - I snapped this photo when I visited Syndey two years ago:You've got to admit, there is a slight resemblance! Although I think the echidna might offer more insightful commentary.

Who's your tiger? I'm not quite sure yet - I'm kinda partial to Jim Leyland, really. But whoever your favorite is, you can look like them! The Detroit Free Press offers this page - where you can download and print a mask of your favorite Tiger. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Foxxx - aargh!

Only five minutes into the World Series broadcast last night - and I was ready to put in the earplugs. Buck and McCarver are sssoo iritating. They never shut up - it's a constant wall of chatter, most of it nonsensical. And talk about homers - of course, considering that both have a history with the Cardinals, not surprising. Man, it makes me long for DO and RemDawg...

What did surprise me was that this was the first World Series game won by St Louis since 1987! That's pretty amazing.

This afternoon, surfing the channels, I came across an old HBO special, "Reversing the Curse of the Bambino." It was originally done prior to 2004, all about the supposed curse of Babe Ruth. (I never believed in it - it was just a way for Dan Shaughnessy to sell some books). This was the revision they did shortly after the Sox won the WS - and it was fantastic. They interview a core group of fans throughout - but the best part is when they discuss the '04 season and it's wonderful results. None of the interviewees can speak at a certain point - it's just raw emotion written on their faces. I was boo-hooing myself!

And if you missed "Lost" - or aren't a fan (shame on you), here's the great scene from two weeks ago. One of the Others is trying to convince our hero Jack that they have contact with the outside world and tells him what news he's been missing since they've been on the island. Bush has been reelected, Christopher Reeve has died, and the RS won the World Series. Jack greets the last with disbelieving laughter, scoffing at the mere notion. So the Other shows Jack the video of the final out - Jack's reaction is simply perfect. Enjoy!

Friday, October 20, 2006

This day in history

So, it was just two years ago tonight that the stupid curse was finally put to bed. Yes, hard to believe that it's been two years since the Red Sox completed their comeback win over the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS. Good times...

From today's news, a new poll by AP-AOL Sports on the state of baseball in America was released yesterday. According to their findings, only 32% of Americans consider themselves to be baseball fans. 48% are hoping that Barry Bonds falls short in his efforts to break Hank Aaron's home run record.

But this is my favorite statistic: while the Yankees are the "team that most fans root FOR (14%), they are also the team that is most rooted AGAINST (by 40%!). [The Red Sox are cheered for by 95 - that's third behind the Braves - against by 7%]

Clearly they polled those with excellent taste!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Random quiz results

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Manager merry-go-round

It seems like the big drama of the "hot stove" season so far is in the area of management. We've already seen Macha fired in Oakland, Showalter shown the door in Texas, Dusty Baker canned in Chicago, Filipe Alou gone from San Francisco, and Girardi shown the door by the Marlins.

So now the hiring season starts! Sweet Lou Piniella signed this week with the Chicago Cubs - intriguing. Bruce Bochy from San Diego might be looking at the Giants. Girardi looked like a shoo-in for the Cubs - there's now talk he might be bench coach for the Yankees (and likely Torre's replacement if Steinbrenner freaks out).

Bob Ryan had a great column in yesterday's Boston Globe about all these managerial changes. He talks about "friction" is given as the reason for Macha's firing, firing despite the fact that he led the A's to the ALCS. It seems like there can't have been too much friction if they were winning. Ryan talks to Tony LaRusso, probably one of the greatest managers working today. Even LaRusso only has one World Championship to show for all his years of excellent work. Yet he's found his fit in St. Louis.

I guess that's the point I was trying to make about Joe Torre the other day. He is a great manager - Hall of Fame, no doubt. But I'm not sure he's the right manager for THAT particular group of players in New York. He couldn't get them to bond as a team - heck, even Idiot Damon couldn't get them to bond. It's clear that their Front Office is giving Torre one last chance to pull that World Championship out of his hat...but one has wonder how patient they're going to be with him....

Edit: thanks to my friend Kelly for this link to an article by Bob Klapisch - written before Torre was taken out of the firing line. I add it - because of the anecdote about Damon trying to get the team to bond.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Congratulations, Tigers!

Well done, Tigers! Fantastic finish to a great series yesterday - Ordonez hits the game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. They've got a week off until the World Series starts next Saturday.

Favorite sign: "There are no A's in *World Series*"

When I heard Jim Leyland say this at the post-game presser, I couldn't help but think of the Yankees:
``I think early on in spring training we had a lot of good players. We didn't have a good team,'' Leyland said. ``And today I can make the statement that we've got a good team, and that's the thing that I'm proudest of.''
You can say all you want about how fantastic Joe Torre is (or was), but that's one big thing he was never able to accomplish this year. He never made that bunch of overpaid all-stars into a TEAM.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I knew there was more to this...

Great article which explains the weird psychic powers of my iPod!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Two fun photos

Two pictures that are making me quite happy this morning! Actually, this first is from yesterday's NY Daily News --

Yes, the Yankee loss to the Tigers on Saturday is still making me happy. I believe the term being used throughout RS Nation is "schadenfreude" - which means revelling in the misfortunes of others. I wish the Sox hadn't lost, but the Yankee loss is still fun. Especially since so many so-called experts had them as absolute favorites.

And now all the finger-pointing has begun. The article above just reiterates something I've been saying for a while - that there is no clubhouse leadership from Captain Intangibles. He has been quoted several times as saying it's not his job to unify the team, to promote an atmosphere in the clubhouse that is conducive to bonding. Well, if that isn't the Captain's job, what is? You can argue the he led by being clutch, by example even. But look at Tek. Yeah, his numbers offensively took a huge dive this year. But look what happened to the team when he was out - they took a total nosedive. I didn't see the same thing happen when CI missed a few games.

But anyway---

Here's the other thing that's making me happy today:

Yahoo! The tentative 2007 schedule! No times or anything of course, but for my future planning purposes and daydreams, this is awesome. And what makes me happiest? Seeing those games vs. Baltimore at the end of July/beginning of August! I had almost come to terms with the fact that I probably wouldn't get to any games at Fenway next summer - it looked like they'd be away the whole time I would be in New England. But now - yahoo!! I can slip up there for a game - or two! Life is good!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Go Tigers!

As my shirt says, I support two teams - the Red Sox and whoever is playing the Yankees. So today that was the Tigers. Okay, I went to UofMich, so I kind of feel some allegiance to the Tiggers. But I wasn't sure they could overcome their last week or so. They were seriously slumping.

But Kenny Rogers overpowered them last night, putting the Tigers up 2-1. And today, they came to play! The beat the Yanks, 8-3 tonight. The Yanks' vaunted "murderer's row" apparently left their super powers at home.

There's part of me that reveled in the victory. A-Rod really embarassed himself - fielding errors, strikeouts. One poster on SOSH speculated that Steinbrenner would have him traded by noon tomorrow. You have to think that's probably going to happen. As it was, the Yanks' classy fans were all over him, booing him and taunting him. It can only get worse for him after this post-season series. He did not produce in the clutch (struck out with bases loaded last night). Heck, he didn't produce at all.

Paul O'Neill on the YES postgame just recalling flying home in 1995 and knowing that most of the guys on the flight would be gone by Spring Training. He's saying the same is going to probably happen here. Jeter, Damon - they'll be back. But you know the auction block will open up on the rest of the lineup. But, they've got an incredible offensive power. There's nothing they can improve there. They need pitching - hello, don't we all?

So the two big off-season trade rumors and speculation will be Manny and A-rod. A straight-up switch? I will be violently ill if ARod ends up on the Sox. He's vile, and I cannot abide him. I'd rather put up with Manny and all his little idiosyncrasies than having to suck it up and pretend to like Slappy.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"The Green Fields of the Mind "

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

--A. Bartlett Giamatti, "The Green Fields of the Mind"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Good bye Trot?

Rain Delay thoughts

Waiting for the last game of the 2006 Red Sox season to start. There's a rain delay right now - and the weather radar doesn't look promising. In some ways, a washout would be the poetic end to the season. It would leave the final record at 85-76. Not the ending we'd envisioned during those heady early days in July. Or at the end of that 12-game winning streak.

And talk about downers. How about the realization that we're going to have another few weeks of the Yankees to contend with. Man, I really hate them...

But enough of that! Let's look at some of the better parts of the 2006 season. I'm going to start off with the top 5 Red Sox moments that I witnessed in person:

1. Undoubtably, the top moment for me was July 31st. I had great field box seats right behind home plate, so close to the action. And it ended in an incredibly dramatic fashion: with two outs in the 9th, David Ortiz hit a 3-run homerun to win it. What a thing to be a part of - it was, quite simply, awesome. Awesome!

2. Just two night later, August 2nd, I was sitting out in the bleachers in dead center. The game came down to 2 outs in the 9th inning, Sox losing 5-4. People were starting to file out - and this one guy in the front row told every one that walked by, "they're coming. Back they're going to win. You're going to be in your car on the drive home, listening on the radio and kicking yourself for leaving early." And he was right! Indians closer Fausto Carmona hit two batters, walked Youk to load the bases. Everyone in the Park is saying, come on Loretta, just let us get to Big Papi. Instead, Loretta hit a ball off the Monster to win it. Incredible!!

3. I was in Atlanta for the series in June, and saw Mike Lowell (be still my heart) make an incredible catch on the 16th. Caught a laser shot by catcher Brian McCann to end the game. Wow!

4. The other highlight of that game on the 16th was seeing Jon Lester get his first victory in the majors. It's a shame the way the season ended for him - and we're all praying that he comes through his cancer treatments and has his health restored. But those games we saw him pitch showed us why he was one of the top prospects. He has such potential! And the greatest moment was at the end - closer Jonathan Papelbon (himself a rookie phenom) handing the game winning ball to Lester. Cool!

5. Just being a part of the Red Sox crowds at all the games I went to is the other great memory from the year. The crowds in Atlanta were so overwhelmingly pro-Sox, some of the Braves players were even complaining about the invaders in the local papers. As much as I love going to Fenway, it is really fun to go to away games, too, especially if you're a Sox fan. They always draw a huge crowd. And the players are incredibly accessible in away parks. The players were all over the Ted signing autographs - even Manny Ramirez. I know that they could never do that at Fenway because it would be bedlam - but it was a real treat. And, having the chance to sit in the Monster Seats was also way cool. Just wish we could have a) caught a HR ball and b) won the game!

More later on my favorite moments from the season....