Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I've Been Tagged

Well, I've been tagged by Jack Cobra, and I don't know exactly what to think of this whole thing. It's like a forwarded survey that you don't really feel like doing, but then you get bored one day and find yourself answering questions like "FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT THE OPPOSITE SEX?" and posting the answers in the bulletins section of your MySpace page. Not that I've ever done that.

The rules of the game:

A) Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

B) Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.

C) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

D) Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


I'm not certain that I'll be able to come up with seven facts about myself, but I'll give it a shot:

1. If you give me a word, I will instantly be able to tell you how many letters are in that word. And when I say "instant," I don't mean, like, ten seconds or something. I mean instant. If it's a word in English (sometimes Spanish, but no one has ever tested me on that one), and I've heard or seen it before, odds are I'm going to know how many letters are in it. You say, "tremendous" and I say, "10." Boom. Just like that. It's an impressive trick, and I do not know how to explain how I do it. Somehow, I just quickly see the word in my head, and I know how many letters it contains. It's a bit of an OCD thing, I think, because I find myself counting letters in words, and even sentences, in my head before anyone asks me to. I have a whole game centered around it, and it only occurs in my brain. I wouldn't be able to explain it here. The point is, I have this trick that's very hard to illustrate via the interwebs, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Or meet me in person one day and you can be the one millionth person to ask me how many letters are in "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (answer: 34, but I've had that number memorized for a while because I get asked so much).

2. If not for a failed depth perception test, I would be an Air Force pilot right now.

3. When I was twelve, I was driving a four-wheeler with my cousin Natalie riding behind me. I saw a rock in the dirt road, and swerved to avoid it. I lost control of the four-wheeler, and we flew off with the big bike rolling behind us. It landed on the left side of my body, with my cousin's ankle trapped underneath. She pulled her leg out and started crying as I yelled at her to help me. She couldn't, and I was starting to panic, too, so I just took a deep breath, pushed the thing off of my body with my skinny pre-pubescent arms and crawled out on my own. We walked home and drove back with family members to pull the thing out of the brush. Natalie had a cut on her ankle and I had a bruised knee, and my granddad made me pay him $1.25 for the only broken part on the four-wheeler.

4. I know a lot about television, particularly stuff that has aired since I was maybe thirteen or fourteen years old. Call it an obsession if you must, but if one day you're stuck wondering in which episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer we first meet Spike (answer: School Hard, in season 3), you'll wish you had my knowledge.

5. I'm afraid of groups of holes. Well, "afraid" is perhaps the wrong choice of words, but they really make me crazy. I can't look at clusters of things in general, but especially holes. I'm going to post a picture here to give you an idea, but you have to know that just looking for this picture nearly killed me.

RF4472131.jpg

6. Last night, after a security guard let us sneak by him into the after party, my girlfriend and I met Shelby Lynne. She talked to me about the Red Sox, which was pretty amazing, and then she signed an autograph for each of us. So, so great. I love her. This woman is a musical genius, no question, though trying to pin her down in a genre is damn near impossible. I kind of want to classify her as "pop jazz" but just using those two words makes me want to vomit, so please don't think of her that way. She's sold under the "country" label, but she's not always country. I don't know. Listen for yourself and see if you like it (the songs on that page are from her upcoming album of mostly Dusty Springfield songs). And, for those to whom this is important, she's pretty easy on the eyes, too (photo by Michael Lewis, stolen from Corbis).

OUT074817.jpg
7. Two of my favorite places in this country are Marfa, Texas, and Niceville, Florida.


The rules say I have to tag seven other bloggers now. Jack says he tagged me because I have "nothing else to do." I could be insulted, but I just spent a lot of time writing this, so, whatever. I'm not picking people for that reason. Frankly, I don't even know if I know seven other bloggers (and I can't tag Jack again), so here's what I have: Brian, Mike, Rickhouse, Lefty Malo.

That's four, and that's all I have. Sorry.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra

DATE: 11/01/2007 08:49:51 AM

Wow...

"If you give me a word, I will instantly be able to tell you how many letters are in that word. And when I say "instant," I don't mean, like, ten seconds or something. I mean instant."

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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine

DATE: 11/02/2007 11:34:22 PM

Wow, that dame is easy on the eyes. blondes see right through me, though.

I am in awe of your Buffy knowledge. I am re-watching season 5 and believe that Glory is not only the weakest and lamest of the villains she faces, but that the burgeoning romance with her and Spike is pretty thin. I think they were together because he was the only guy left that wasn't xander, and you cant give her to xander because you just dont give people things they want and because he was the voice of the author and Buffy cant connect with the audience through someone else, she wouldnt be the star anymore.

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AUTHOR: Erin

DATE: 11/02/2007 11:42:23 PM

I'm always proud of the Buffy knowledge, but mostly I know that it's only a result of having watched all the episodes about a hundred times each. I think anyone would know what I do if they did the same thing.

A lot of people disliked Glory. I didn't have a problem with her, though she was weak, but I had a problem with the pacing of the season overall. Glory seemed weak mostly because it just took so damn long for anything to happen. If she was so powerful, why didn't she just come get Buffy? Her character was a little thin for a 22-episode arc.

That said, when you get to the last two episodes of season five (you've probably seen it, but maybe others haven't), prepare to have your mind blown. "Weight of the World" is sort of slow, but I really like it, and then it leads into "The Gift," which often holds a place at the top of my "Top Ten Buffy Episodes Ever" list. So, so good.

This makes me want to just go watch the whole show again, starting from season one.

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AUTHOR: Tyler

DATE: 11/03/2007 05:55:41 PM

I'm a giants fan, but thanks for the post. Number 5 is very intriguing to me. I think i share your aversion to large groups of holes. Did high school cell biology and sponges do it for you? I know they definitely do for me.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Spurs Basketball '07-'08

I'm mulling over the possibility of covering the San Antonio Spurs on this blog, but I want you to know that if I do it, the coverage won't be nearly as in-depth as it was for the Red Sox and Dodgers. I'm just not willing to buy the NBA League Pass on DirecTV, because I only really want to watch one team play. I can't justify that money for just one team, so I'll have to deal with the nationally televised games and what I read online.

I can't give you much of a preview, either, except to say that you should expect the same thing from the Spurs this year as you've seen in the last few years. Stop Mike Lupica sees the Spurs finishing behind the Mavericks in the West, but I'm not so sure about that, even though there's no question I'm the least knowledgeable NBA person on this network. I think the Spurs finish ahead of the Mavericks and getting the number one seed, barring a strong run near the end of the season from the Suns. I have zero statistics to back this up, but I've watched this team play for a while now, and I liked what I saw in the championship run last year. Nothing has really changed this year, so why not a repeat?

The Spurs continuously get the shaft from the fans and the media because they're "boring." In this day and age, "boring" apparently means playing like a team and playing the game in a fundamentally sound way. Tim Duncan just signed a contract extension that will keep him in San Antonio through the 2011-12 season. You think he won't retire there? There's something to be said for a franchise that respects its players and its fans enough to keep a team intact for the long haul. And there's something to be said for the players who stick with the team, even if there's a chance they could get more money elsewhere. Maybe they're boring by today's short attention span standards, but I like to watch the game of basketball, not the game of Kobe playing a team one v. five. I'd rather watch the Spurs play any day of the week.

The Spurs are playing on national television tonight in a game that was going to be a lot bigger before Greg Oden's surgery, but I will miss the whole thing because I'll be seeing Shelby Lynne in concert. I'll be back tomorrow to wrap up the first game of the season, and then we'll see how I do with basketball analysis (hint: probably not so well).

Go Spurs Go!

COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra

DATE: 10/31/2007 02:53:58 PM

Yo, you are tagged, sorry. Go to my blog to find out what this is....

http://www.cobrabrigade.com/2007/10/ive_been_tagged.php

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AUTHOR: Smeghead52

DATE: 10/31/2007 04:13:09 PM

The Spurs are as exciting as watching paint dry but they play solid fundamental basketball. Also they play this thing called team defense which seems to be a bit of a challenge to the Mavs and Suns.

I'd like to see the Celtics and Cavs get better to make the Eastern Conference more interesting. What has the East Coast done to you NBA for the boring twaddle you give to an entire region of the country.

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AUTHOR: Jack Cobra

DATE: 10/31/2007 04:16:41 PM

It should also be mentioned that Duncan took less than the max. amount of money he could have had. The Spurs had actually given him a max offer and then showed him a presentation of what they could do with the money if he didn't sign the max contract. He ended up signing for $11 million less.

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AUTHOR: Erin

DATE: 10/31/2007 05:44:52 PM

I guess I'm crazy. I love watching the Spurs play, and I've never found it boring. And it's not like I grew up watching them, either. I adopted them in the same way my girlfriend adopted the Sox when we got together, so I think this is my fourth season being a fan.

Yeah, Jack, something about the way that team is set up in San Antonio really breeds the "team first" atmosphere. That's not the first time Tim has taken a pay cut to help keep the guys he wants on his team. It's just a good story, and it's one reason I am a really huge fan of this team, and the franchise as a whole.

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News and Notes

I'm sitting here watching the coverage of the Red Sox victory parade, waiting for Papelbon to do his promised jig. A few things of interest are happening in my sports world today, so here they are:

  • According to the reporters on the station broadcasting this parade (NECN), Manny Ramirez is nowhere to be seen. Sometimes the whole "Manny Being Manny" thing is a little tiresome, you know? Show up to the parade, man. You wouldn't be getting that paycheck without the fans who love this game, so stand on a float for an hour and appreciate them. Seriously.

  • Several outlets are reporting that the Dodgers are going after Joe Torre (Depressed Fan was the first to give me this news last night). Don Mattingly would likely follow Torre west and be a bench coach. I'm pretty sure no one in Los Angeles will have a problem with this. Most Dodgers' fans hate the Yankees like I do, but I think they can embrace Torre pretty easily, especially because it means Grady Little will be gone. I can't believe Little was ever allowed to manage a baseball game again after the 2003 ALCS. But the Dodgers took him on, and there aren't a lot of fans who have been happy with the results. Little doesn't seem like the type to lead a clubhouse that has a lot of young guys mixed with a few veterans. The Dodgers wanted Girardi, who would have been perfect, but Torre should be able to handle it better than Little. For my money, I would take anyone over Grady Little right now, and if he is gone, my opinion of management would improve slightly.

  • The comments section at Depressed Fan is throwing around the idea that this managerial move could mean Rivera would come out to Los Angeles, too. I don't necessarily mind Torre and Mattingly, though it will certainly be weird. But if Mariano Rivera comes out, that would just be too much. Takashi Saito is the Dodgers' current closer, and he's pretty damn good. He and Rivera are almost exactly the same age (Rivera is three months older), and I don't know if there's much of a difference in quality at this point in their careers. Rivera in his prime was untouchable, but he's not in his prime any longer, so I just don't know. Besides, I've been a Red Sox fan for a long time. Picture this--it's a game in April 2008, the Dodgers are leading 2-1 in the ninth, and suddenly the loudspeakers start playing "Enter Sandman" and Rivera comes out of left field. Talk about a bizarro world. And, to rub salt in that wound, the Dodgers are in the running in the Alex Rodriguez race. I don't

    know what will happen to me if Torre, Mattingly, Rivera and Rodriguez

    are Dodgers next year.


  • I suppose the only benefit to all these circumstances is that a lot of Yankees' fans are upset and uncertain over their team's future. That is a nice thing to see.

  • Two more notes about the World Series parade: Red Sox fans are screaming "Re-sign Lowell" at Theo Epstein as he goes by in the parade. I echo that sentiment. And, finally, the lady on NECN is an idiot. She refuses to admit that the crowd was not booing, but rather yelling "Youuuuk!" as the float with him on it went by. "I heard booing. It didn't sound like 'Youuuuk!'" Whatever, lady.



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra

DATE: 10/30/2007 02:38:45 PM

Imagine this....Rivera crossing over to the National League and facing a league full of hitters who have never seen his devastating cut fastball. Yes, he's older, but he's still one of the top 3 or 4 closers in the game.

18 saves, 2.52 era and a 1.09 whip after the All-Star Break this past season.

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AUTHOR: Erin

DATE: 10/30/2007 02:50:28 PM

I know the statistics are there for Rivera. From a Dodger fan's standpoint, Rivera would be just as good as Saito, if not a little better. But it sucks to give Saito the boot after such a great season.

Mostly, though, I'm against this only because of my emotional well-being, which will be unstable at best should this come to fruition.

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AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/31/2007 07:25:05 AM

Could the Dodgers afford to keep Saito and add Rivera and have a 'closer by committee' team? Imagine how effective that could be! You could conceivably have two guys with 20+ saves in a season. The Dodgers would really be a lights out team at that point.

Honestly with Torre and Mattingly as Dodgers, it makes me like them even more (that is, until they play the Phillies). Torre does a great job handling vets and invokes a lot of loyalty in his players. Mattingly would be along to take over once Joe rides off into the sunset. It will be really weird seeing both in another uniform other than the Yankees, but these are two good baseball guys.

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AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/31/2007 07:27:24 AM

PS... Did Papelbon do his jig?

And any wonder most folks think Manny is a big ass?

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AUTHOR: Erin

DATE: 10/31/2007 12:55:09 PM

Papelbon did do his jig.

I'll stand corrected on the Manny thing. I didn't see him in the NECN coverage that they showed on ESPN, but he was apparently there.

Out In Center Field has a great wrap-up of all things related to the victory parade. Check it out here:

http://www.outincenterfield.com/blog/2007/10/sox_get_their_parade_on.html#more

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AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/31/2007 03:34:41 PM

Do you really think the Dodgers will make a serious run for a-ROD? Somehow, I don't think it will be more than a half-hearted offer as I don't think they really want him.

What are your thoughts on Torre and Mattingly as your manager/bench coach? And what does Grady Little refer to when he said it was a mutual resignation, and that he 'had his reasons' for not wanting to come back?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Donate Your Taco

If you're like me, and there's no way in hell you're setting foot in Taco Bell tomorrow afternoon to receive the free taco that Jacoby Ellsbury won you, then might I suggest a charitable effort?

Visit this site for more information, and let's see if we can get Taco Bell (owned by PepsiCo) to show the good side of corporate America for once.


Thanks to Red Sox Chick for making me aware of this excellent idea.



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra

DATE: 10/30/2007 07:44:05 AM

Done and done....great idea!

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AUTHOR: Smeghead52

DATE: 10/31/2007 04:07:37 PM

We don't need Taco Bell's help with the promotion of obesity.

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Victorious

Well, I certainly expected that to take a little bit longer. As much fun as a sweep is for Red Sox fans, it's hard to believe anyone outside the "Nation" was even paying a little attention to this series, at least after the Sox victory in Game Two.

The scores of at least two of the games would lead you to believe that things got a little bit tense for a while there. Indeed, the 2-1 win in Game Two was a little bit dicey, but I'm telling you, I never thought we were going to lose it. And when Holliday hit that three-run homer off Okajima in Game Three to bring the Rockies within a run, I wasn't nervous. I left a comment on another blog, saying that the Rockies would not score again, and the Red Sox would win. They did, 10-5.

In Game Four, I was happy for Bobby Kielty when he hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in a World Series. That's the stuff you dream about when you're a kid. I didn't know it would turn out to be an important run, after Atkins hit a two-run shot to right off Okajima to make it 4-3, Sox (Surviving Grady points out that the first and last pitches Okajima threw in his rookie season were hit for home runs, but most everything in between was spectacular). But even after that Atkins blast, I wasn't sweating.

Jon Lester pitched amazingly well, the hitting was just timely enough to score runs when necessary, and the bullpen barely held on to the lead before turning it over to the heart of that 'pen in Mr. Jonathan Papelbon. And you were not going to tell Jonathan Papelbon that he wasn't going to win the World Series on Sunday night. He did it fine fashion, when the final batter swung and missed at a high heater. I love our closer.

I told you that I hadn't worried about the Cleveland series either, which was mostly true. I did worry about Game Five, but once the Sox won that, it was going to be very hard to bet against them the rest of the series. And, as has been the case in recent years, the ALCS was far more competitive than the World Series, so it seemed preordained that the Red Sox would finish off the Rockies. I just really thought the Rockies would pull off a victory or two before they left.

I don't want to hear anything about the eight-day layoff that the Rockies had. I know it probably sucked for them, but come on. This is the World Series! After a few swings in Game One, you get your shit together and you play to win. The best thing the Red Sox did in this series was pour it on in Game One, ensuring that even if the Rockies did find their sea (level) legs, it would prove to be a case of too little, too late.

The fact is, the Red Sox were just plain better. They were the best team all season, and they were the best team in the postseason. It just took a little wake-up call from the Indians to prove it, but prove it they did in the end. The pitching was far better, the hitting was unstoppable, and the Red Sox were just not interested in losing. If the Rockies' fans want some consolation, think of it this way--winning 21 out of 26 is pretty damn good, too.

Mike Lowell is your MVP, and he certainly deserved it. It could have gone to Papelbon, who saved three of the four games in this series, allowing no earned runs. And there could have been a case made for Jacoby Ellsbury, but I guess the sportswriters just decided that kid would get his awards in the future (since you probably just watched your 2008 Rookie of the Year tear up his first World Series), and so they gave it to the guy who was arguably Boston's MVP of the entire season.

Some guy named A-Rod and his minion thought this game would be a good time to announce something big, and the Fox guys went along with it, but I don't really care. I'm already sick of this story, and I just want A-Rod to sign somewhere and be done with it. How long do I have to wait before that happens? If you want my opinion on whether the Sox should go after him, I'll tell you. He is the best player in the game right now, sure. But I don't think he fits in the mold the Sox have created over the past few years. Since the 2004 team was dubbed "The Idiots," this team has been about playing loose and having fun, while getting the job done. A-Rod has just spent four years with a team who plays sort of the opposite of that (while still getting the job done), and he's clearly decided he doesn't care that we know he's really all about the money. I'm not saying the Boston players aren't about the money, too, but when you watch this video, do you really feel that A-Rod fits in with the current bunch of Sox (even if the two guys in the video might not be around next season)?

Meanwhile, we have a third baseman, and he was just named MVP of the World Series, for god's sake. I know he's not as good as A-Rod offensively, but he's pretty darn good. And Lowell is only a year and a half older than A-Rod, too, so it's not like we'd be re-signing some geezer here. If the Red Sox do go for A-Rod, and get him, the Yankees only option at third base would probably be to sign Mike Lowell. That just seems all kinds of wrong, doesn't it?

Now I'll get to read for a while that everyone hates the Red Sox, and Boston in general, for all the success. For the record, I hate the Patriots and I don't care even a little about Boston College. You can't include the Celtics in this list because they haven't done anything yet. Signing Garnett is not about some influx of success into the region. It's about having the money and bargaining chips to make it happen.

So, whatever. I'm not from Boston. I'm a Red Sox fan. And detractors can spend the next ten years telling me that this franchise is just a friendlier bunch of Yankees, but I'm not buying it. I don't care that we only spend about $50 million less than New York. There's no salary cap in baseball, right? Other teams could be spending that much, too. They just don't, so don't fault my team for using the money they have. I never cared about the Yankees spending the money. That's not even a little part of why I hate them, and it's not why you should hate them either. I won't get into that here, but I also won't hear any arguments about how these two teams are so similar.

Besides, you want to know the real difference between the two teams? One of them has won two World Series pennants in the last four seasons. The other has been ousted from the playoffs in the first round in three of those four seasons (and in four of the last six), and in the first of those four seasons, they lost in historic fashion in the ALCS. If you're a Yankee fan, you're probably yelling "26!" right about now. Good for you. You hold on to that.

Go Sox!


COMMENTS:


AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/29/2007 04:57:24 PM

I guess I'm weird. I hate very few teams and only a handful of players. I don't dislike the Sox, only a few players. And I should never say this coming from Philadelphia, but I like the Patriots. They assembled one awesome team this year. You could learn a lot watching their organization about success and building a dynasty, much like the Red Sox. I am envious of both teams.

As for the Sox, Lowell was a great choice for Series' MVP. The guy may not have A-Rod's talent, but he doesn't have the attitude and price tag either. It would be a huge mistake to bring A-Rod into the mix in Boston. He didn't win in Seattle, Texas or New York, despite being surrounded by top talent in his last stop. And who wants to negotiate with a guy who never cut it as a player and takes it out on every team he faces (Boras)?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Question

Is anyone watching the World Series right now? Do you hear that weird noise in the background? It sounds like Fox has a microphone inside a wind tunnel, and it's definitely not just a hum of the crowd. I know it's not my TV, because I heard it during the Colorado/Arizona games that were played at Coors Field.

Help me out. Do you hear it?


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine

DATE: 10/28/2007 02:43:30 PM

we have a friend who films games for a living, I have posted the question to him and am waiting for a reply.

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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine

DATE: 10/28/2007 07:44:20 PM

During baseball games there are a lot more mics used for broadcasting the game than for basketball or football. They have several mics on both dugouts and several in the booth. They also have mics planted int he dirt at all the bases and dozens in the crowd. My buddy was watching and he thought this,"the field mics may have been all on at the same time, and they are kinda sensitive. If nothing was going on around them it was probably the sound of the breeze combined from all the mics. There might be more audible wind at Coors Field too"

That was his guess, and I believe him, he does technical work on that sort of thing.

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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine

DATE: 10/28/2007 11:17:34 PM

evidently he believes condesation on the mics might be an issue too

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

No live blogging for Game Three of the World Series. I get a little bored and frustrated with the live blog, and it's made all the more annoying when I have no readers. After all, the idea with the "event blogging" thing is to open a thread and have conversations with people during the game. Sort of like being in a sports bar, but with people all over the country who I might not have conversations with otherwise.

I'm not whining. We're all busy, and I don't even know how many of you are watching this World Series. It's too bad, because despite the 2-0 Sox lead, it has a chance to be a good series to watch. Game Two was tight and exciting (that's what she said) and things promise to get a little more interesting when the Rockies return to the friendly confines of Coors Field. Expect scores more like Game One. There is a lot of unpredictability with the next two Sox starters (Matsuzaka and Lester), so I doubt many Sox fans are feeling as confident about these games as they were about Games One and Two.

If you're watching the game, I'm sorry that you won't have my unique insight and analysis. But, stop by late tonight or early tomorrow and I'll give you my complete thoughts on the game.

Go Sox!


COMMENTS:


AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/29/2007 12:57:45 AM

Sox were dominating tonight... Congrats, Erin!

(I really don't hate the team, only a few players....I save all my baseball fan hatred for the Mutts).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Whiplash

In 2004, after the Red Sox did the improbable by humiliating the Yankees and sweeping the Cardinals en route to their first World Series victory in 86 years, a funny thing happened. Red Sox fans everywhere were ecstatic, giddy, practically insane over the victory, and they showed it everywhere they went. And why not? As much as you're sick of hearing about it, this was a long-suffering fan base. They went through a lot to get to that magical time in 2004, and they were going to yell about it, damn it.

But there was some backlash. People didn't want to hear about the Red Sox anymore. Pundits wrote too many friggin' books on the subject, and fans of other teams were getting ready to crown the Red Sox the new "Evil Empire."

There was talk of bandwagon fans, of how "Red Sox Nation" suddenly seemed much bigger than it ever had before. Sure, that'll happen. A few people decided to go with the hot hand, and they picked the Sox, as no team was hotter at that time. I'm sure that's the first time that happened. I bet no one jumped on the Yankees' bandwagon at any point between 1996 and 2000, right? Another possibility is that fans who had seen one too many October disappointments finally felt safe to come out of the woodwork and show the Sox love. And so they did.

And now that Boston is halfway to getting their second World Series victory in four years, the backlash is present once again. Blogs everywhere are filled with comments from people seething with Red Sox hatred, everyone is sick of Fox's coverage of the Red Sox bullpen band, and even Jimmy Kimmel has seen fit to do one more unfunny thing in his career chock full of unfunniness.

I guess I bring this up because I don't get it. My team won the World Series in my lifetime, and that's something no Red Sox fan under the age of 87 could have said back in 2004. That's a pretty big fucking deal, at least for those of us who like baseball enough to consider its historic moments important. And, I'm sorry, but I'm going to celebrate it, and I'll celebrate the World Series victory this year, should it happen. If ESPN wants to run clips of me celebrating that ad nauseam, please explain to me how that's my fault. If Bill Simmons and every other Sox fan sportswriter out there wants to write a book about dying in peace, that's their deal, not mine. I'll just be in my living room, drinking pink champagne and screaming quite loudly (what I did after Game Four of the 2004 World Series). And you're simply not allowed to hold it against me.

I am not accountable for what the media chooses to report, and I am not an "asshole" for celebrating an incredible victory. And if you want to blame someone for the fact that you have to see me and my ilk celebrating all the time, or that you are forced watch the bullpen band play their brand of music, then blame the national sports media who keep showing it to you. These men we watch on the screen are playing a game for a living, and some of them find unique ways to make it even more fun. They're not doing it for the cameras, but the cameras are pointed at them anyway. As a Red Sox fan, I think they probably show the bullpen too often during these games, but it wasn't my decision to put them on the screen, and you have to admit that sort of thing is right up Fox's alley in terms of sports coverage.

Meanwhile, my team is up 2-0 in a World Series that a fair amount of people thought they had no chance of even playing. I'm not going to call them the underdogs by any means, but they had to achieve a pretty big comeback to get here (much like 2004), which only helped to illustrate why they were the best team in baseball all season. And if they win it all, I'm going to cheer. I won't be alone, and every major sports outlet (not just ESPN) will probably tell you about it. A lot. Deal with it.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/28/2007 07:37:18 AM

When the Sox won the Series in 2004, I was happy for them. I like seeing the underdog win as do a lot of folks.

But yeah, there has been a definite backlash since then. Somehow, the Sox morphed into what people often hated about the Yankees.

I'm not sure if it's because of all the press talking about a dynasty, overexposure or if it's directed at a few personalities.

Then there's the overexposure... ESPN has a lovefest whenever they talk of the Sox. You get tired of hearing what a young genius Theo is, how J.D. Drew is worth his salary and the whole Schilling bloody sock thing and all that. And the idiot running the steroid investigation just so happens to be affiliated with the Sox and a huge Sox fan. (Is that why no Red Sox are ever mentioned in the same breath as steroids?) The leaked info. on Paul Byrd, for example, I suspect comes from Mitchell himself, and you have to question the timing on the information's release. Who else would have had that information and qhy release it just prior to Game 7?

Then there's a few select players who are just jerks.....Ramirez, Gagne, Beckett, Drew and most of all, Schilling. Ramirez opens his mouth, he sounds like a jackass. "No big deal if we don't win it this year?!" I'm sure the Red Sox faithful loved that one, Manny.

Gagne is only a rented player, but the taint of steroids is all around him. Then there's Beckett..... Arrogant enough when he was a Marlin to admit that he throws at people's heads. He has the talent to back up the arrogance but it's hard to like an asshole.

Then there's J.D. Drew. I won't even get into my Philly hate on him... just ask former teammates and managers the guy played with about him. He's injured more than he plays with sissy injuries (never a broken bone, torn tendon or anything serious), brings a pitbull for an agent to the table, and signs for far more than he contributes and leaves every team with a bitter taste in their mouth.... just ask Tony LaRussa. Then after scorching team's wallets, he spouts about what a wonderful Christian he is. Yeah, right.

And most of all, the mouth, Schilling. If Schilling was a military commander in battle, he'd probably be killed by his own troops. ANALysts seem to hang on every word that comes out of that idiot's mouth, and if I hear what a valiant warrior he is one more time, I'm gonna puke. And his spouting off about steroids... he was on a Phillie team with a lot of users, picked up three to five mph on his fastball when he was traded there from Houston, and gained a lot of weight... does that sound like a case of 'he who smelt it dealt it?' (Thanks to Brian of Depressed Fan for that observation).

So while people might not hate the Sox, they dislike the overexposure of certain players and the lovefest of coverage they get. They've become what people used to hate about the Yankees... a team with a huge payroll that buys mercenaries and has guys who are jerks that become the 400 lb. gorilla of the MLB.

-----

AUTHOR: Erin

DATE: 10/28/2007 12:08:44 PM

I never think of Manny Ramirez as a jerk. Quirky, yes. But jerk? No. I still like the guy, regardless of all his antics (which are often hyped up too much by the media anyway).

Love Beckett. Can't help it. He's leading us to a World Series victory, and I love it. I'd sure hate him if he was playing anywhere else, but he's not.

The rest of them, fine. I don't like Curt Schilling as a man. I just want him to shut up and win games. I don't know anything about Drew's personality, and I'm actually surprised to learn that he has one.

The steroid thing is weird. But other than Giambi, no one on the Yankees has been accused, either. Posada had quite a prolific season this year, didn't he? I'm just saying, everyone can look guilty under the right light.

But, again, none of this can be blamed on the fans. We didn't put Mitchell in charge, and we didn't ask for a timely leak of news (if you ask me how much I think that really affected the Indians, though, I'll tell you--none). And if our players are linked to steroids, that's really going to suck. It will make it hard to be a fan, for sure. But, in general, the steroid issue has made it hard to be a fan overall.

And until baseball has a salary cap, why not let the teams spend the money they can afford? The difference between the Yankees and Red Sox payrolls is still equivalent to the payrolls of about ten teams in the league, but, yeah, it's still a big payroll. I'm all for a salary cap, but you can't really fault a team for using the money that's out there to get the players they want. I've never called New York "the best team money can buy" (especially because they weren't even the second best team in the league this year).

Anyway, my point is that the fans are allowed to root for their team. And it's absurd to fault them for that, especially given the circumstances of the last win. And if people don't want to hear about it, they can turn off the TV when the Sox coverage comes on. Despite what you may think, it's not 24-hour coverage everyday.

Back when N'Sync was all over the radio, I really hated them. But I liked to listen to the radio. So, when an N'Sync song came on, I changed the station or turned down the volume. Somehow I was still able to listen to hours of radio a day.

-----

AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/29/2007 12:29:30 AM

Congratulations, Erin on the Sox victory! That was the most dominating WS victory I think I've seen.

I'm not a Sox hater, it just so happens that the players I hate who have done something to the Phillies are all Sox. Beckett deliberately threw at Phillies' heads as a Marlin and laughed at it. Schilling ripped management (which deserved it) and the coach and players (and some players who didn't deserve it). And Drew, well, he and his agent can go to hell.

But even though practically every player I dislike happens to be on the Sox, they won the Series, and they deserved to win. That is the best pitching staff in baseball right there....I'm envious. They are one helluva team.

Did you hear the talk of the mercenary A-Rod opting out and possibly going to the Red Sox? What do you think of that? Do you think he'll be the jinx he was in Seattle, Texas and NY when playoff time comes?

-----

AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/29/2007 12:29:54 AM

Congratulations, Erin on the Sox victory! That was the most dominating WS victory I think I've seen.

I'm not a Sox hater, it just so happens that the players I hate who have done something to the Phillies are all Sox. Beckett deliberately threw at Phillies' heads as a Marlin and laughed at it. Schilling ripped management (which deserved it) and the coach and players (and some players who didn't deserve it). And Drew, well, he and his agent can go to hell.

But even though practically every player I dislike happens to be on the Sox, they won the Series, and they deserved to win. That is the best pitching staff in baseball right there....I'm envious. They are one helluva team.

Did you hear the talk of the mercenary A-Rod opting out and possibly going to the Red Sox? What do you think of that? Do you think he'll be the jinx he was in Seattle, Texas and NY when playoff time comes?

Worldwide Leader?

World Series Game Two. Biggest sporting event of the week, maybe, but certainly the biggest of the night. The game has just ended, and ESPN puts up their cover story. Only problem is, they got it wrong. Look, I'll show you:

Picture 1.png

Do you know what's wrong with that picture? I'll give you a minute.

Okay. Mike Lowell did not hit a two-run double. When Mike Lowell hit his double, the score was tied at one. The game ended at 2-1. I don't think they took any runs away in this game, so ESPN has a problem. Lowell's double scored Ortiz from second, and that's it.

Do you think anyone from ESPN even watched the game?

Oh, wait. In the time it took me to write this, the error has been corrected. Look for yourself:

correction.jpg
I'm glad they fixed it, but it should have never been there to begin with, so step it up ESPN. This is the World Series.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra

DATE: 10/26/2007 12:21:12 PM

My initial guess was that the World Series logo wasn't on his hat. Damn me for trying to think outside of the box.

-----

Thursday, October 25, 2007

World Series, Game 2, Live Blog Edition

I will be live blogging tonight's game, to the best of my ability. It might get slow when my girlfriend cooks me a delicious pasta dinner, but otherwise I'll stick with it.

I wrote my thoughts on tonight's game in the last post, but here are the basics: the Sox need to continue the hot hitting, and with Jimenez they basically have to wait for him to lose control. He can throw hard, but he's erratic. That's perfect for Boston's hitters, so they should take advantage. Schilling needs to get the Rockies to swing early and often. The bullpen is fresh thanks to Beckett's performance last night, and Friday is an off day, so the arms are there if Francona needs to go to them. Look for Schilling to give the team six good innings, and then depart with a lead, handing it over to Okajima and/or Delcarmen, and then Papelbon, depending on the score.

If you are reading, feel free to comment. I feel so alone when no one is paying attention to these live blogs. This is the World Series, people. Show me some love!



  • Right after Buck tells us that he thinks the Rockies can hit Schilling tonight, Schilling hits the leadoff batter, Taveras, on the hand. Runner on first, nobody out.
  • Matsui flies out to center, then Holliday rips a ball down the third base line. Lowell knocks it down, but Curt took his sweet ass time running to third to cover the bag, and Lowell made a shitty throw that allowed Holliday to move to second. That was not pretty. Second and third, one out for the Rockies.
  • Helton grounds out to first, but the runner scores from third. Two outs. 1-0, Rockies
  • Atkins grounds out to third to end the inning. Schilling really has no one to blame but himself for that run scoring, since he hit the guy and then dragged his fat ass over to third base to cover. Not the best start, but it's still only one run. Let's see how Jimenez looks in the bottom half.
  • Pedroia swings at the first pitch and flies out to left. Kind of a dumb move for Pedroia, if you ask me. Everyone and his/her mother knows that Jimenez struggles with control. You can't take a pitch? You're not a home run hitter, Pedroia, despite last night's heroics. Take a pitch, try to get on base. We need to answer the Rockies, not go down in order here.
  • Youk flies out to center. Certainly a different start as compared to last night's game.
  • And Ortiz grounds out. Great.
  • Schilling is not fooling anyone thus far. Hawpe leads off the second with a single to center. I'm already starting to wonder how short Schilling's leash is tonight.
  • Tulowitzki strikes out on a splitter in the dirt. Good out, since that runner on first has to stay there.
  • Double play, 6-3. Excellent.
  • Jimenez is doing pretty well so far, and he gets Ramirez to ground out to third to lead off the bottom of the third. I don't really feel like the Sox are working the count enough, but I would really like to see them try. After all, we saw the Rockies' bullpen last night, and it sure would be nice to see them again.
  • Lowell grounds out to third when Atkins ranges far to his left to pick up the ball. Nice play. Two outs.
  • Drew gets nailed by a pitch on what appears to be his right ankle. He is in some pain, since it looks like it just hit bone. Yikes.
  • That made a nasty sound, but Drew is heading to first base. We'll see how that affects him later in the game.
  • Fox is ridiculous in its coverage, but perhaps nothing is more queer than the "Getting to Know..." feature. For instance, Varitek enjoys listening to Dave Matthews Band and Barenaked Ladies. Thanks a lot, Fox.
  • And perhaps as punishment for those musical choices, Varitek strikes out looking to end the inning.
  • Spilborghs strikes out looking for the first out of the top of the third. That was a nice pitch on the outside corner. That's what we're looking for from Schilling tonight.
  • Taveras grounds out to third. Two outs.
  • Matsui strikes out looking on a pretty sweet pitch on the inside corner. He's "settled in" as Buck keeps saying, and that's a very good thing. Three innings, 44 pitches for Schilling, and he's faced ten batters. 4.40 pitchers per batter, which is too many, but so far so good anyway. We'll see what happens as the game progresses.
  • Ellsbury watched a 93 mph fastball from Jimenez go by on the 2-0 count, which is interesting. If the guy can hit 100 on that fastball, maybe you should be swinging when it's a little slower. Ellsbury grounds out to second. One out.
  • Lugo also grounds out to second.
  • Pedroia walks on four pitches. See? There's the Jimenez we expected to see. The Sox have a runner at first with two outs. They scored about eleventy runs with two outs last night, so I'm looking for a little more of that magic tonight.
  • Inconsistent strike zone for the home plate umpire tonight. Seems like that's been happening a lot in the playoffs, huh? So much for the best of the best. When are computers just going to take over the strike calling in this game? I'm not kidding about that, by the way, but it doesn't matter, because none of you are reading this anyway.
  • Jimenez throws a ball that goes about three inches over Youkilis's head. Scary.
  • Youk gets to a 3-2 count, and gets ball four. Two on, and here comes David Ortiz.
  • "Outside corner" is such a loose translation in this game. How hard is it for an ump to see whether the ball actually catches the plate? I would guarantee that 90% of "outside" pitches don't come near the corner, and that's pretty absurd.
  • Ortiz hits a ball that looked really good off the bat, but it curves just foul. I'll admit it, I did yell a little when the ball left the bat. Straighten it out a little, David.
  • The home plate ump calls out Ortiz on a check swing. Decent call, but disappointing end to the inning. Jimenez has now thrown 44 pitches through his three innings, just like Schilling.
  • Jimenez has faced eleven batters, which means the Sox are seeing fewer pitches than the Rockies so far. Not the statistic I want to see. But, Jimenez threw 25 pitches in that last inning and faced five batters, which means an average of five pitches per at-bat. So, that's a good sign. I'm not double checking any of these numbers, because you people don't deserve it. So there.
  • Holliday gets a single up the middle. Runner at first, nobody out.
  • Helton hits a ball to deep center, but it's just a long out. It's only about 379 to the wall where that ball was hit, so in places like Dodger Stadium, that's just a routine fly ball. That makes me feel better about watching it.
  • Atkins flies out to left field. Runner still at first, but now there are two outs, just like that.
  • Hawpe pops up to Lugo in shallow left.
  • Holliday took six pitches to lead off the inning, and then Schilling only had to throw three more pitches to get out of trouble. That's pretty crazy. Four innings, 53 pitches. Fourteen batters faced, and that average pitch per at-bat looks better now, as it stands at 3.79, down from that 4.40 after the last inning.
  • I like what Curt is giving this team right now, but his offense has got to back him up. You can't win 13-1 in Game One of the World Series just to lose 1-0 in Game Two. That's not right.
  • Jimenez throws a nice pitch inside that jams Ramirez, who pops it up to third base. One out, nobody on. Could someone please break up this no-hitter please? Seriously, a no-hitter in the fifth inning after the team with no hits pounded out seventeen the night before? Not good. No-hitter, no-hitter, no-hitter. I want to keep writing it until it changes, so I can send some negative mojo Jimenez's way. Let's go, Sox! Stop this no-hitter!
  • Fox just showed a Sports Illustrated cover from 1978. Clint Hurdle, in a KC Royals uniform, is on the cover. Does the SI cover jinx apply thirty years later?
  • Lowell works a walk, and now Drew is up, gimpy ankle and all.
  • Drew lines a single into right, and Lowell decides to go first to third. That was a little scary, but he just beat the throw. First and third, one out. No more no-hitter.
  • Maybe that SI jinx does work this far into the future. Varitek hits a fly to deep center, and Lowell scores from third. That nice baserunning from Lowell just really helped his team. Drew also moves to third, with Ellsbury at the plate. The game is tied, 1-1.
  • I love the Red Sox bullpen and the band they have going out there. It's fun, and I'm sure the fans of opponents think it's stupid, but I don't care. These are grown men playing a game for a living. As far as I'm concerned, they can have as much fun as they want, as long as they also do their best in the game.
  • Ellsbury walks, and Jimenez is getting a visit from the pitching coach. What is the coach telling Jimenez? "Don't worry. Lugo is up to bat." I kid. Lugo had a great night last night, so maybe I'll give him a little credit.
  • Let's see Ellsbury steal and give all of us a free taco.
  • Lugo lines a ball down the third base line, but the ump emphatically declares it foul. The replay shows he was right, but that sucks. Two runs would have scored there. Like I said to Ortiz earlier, just straighten it out a little bit more Lugo.
  • Ellsbury does steal the base, and all of us can head to our participating Taco Bell on October 30 to get the free taco. I personally wouldn't eat that stuff even if they paid me, but to each his own.
  • Geez. Jimenez just threw a ball that Lugo just ducks under. I mean, it's less than an inch above his helmet. That was close. It would have loaded the bases for Pedroia, but that's okay. Lugo's gonna get this done for us. Full count now after a ball outside.
  • Lugo swings at what was likely ball four, and hits a weak grounder to first base. Inning over, but the Sox have tied this game.
  • Jimenez has now faced 16 batters and thrown 65 pitches. That's 4.06 pitches per at-bat. That's not bad. Let's keep it going with the top of the order when we get to the fifth. For now, it's up to Curt to keep this a tie game.
  • Right now, I am going to eat my dinner. I'll update in a few minutes.
  • I'm back. Raise your hand if you noticed I was gone.
  • Schilling pitched a nice top of the fifth, in case you were wondering. Tulowitzki walked after seeing seven pitches, then Torrealba was out on a sac bunt. Spilborghs struck out looking, and Taveras grounded out. Once again, Schilling gets around a leadoff baserunner.
  • Jimenez, meanwhile, is officially dealing. In the bottom of the fifth, he got Pedroia to ground out, Youkilis to fly out, and then walked Ortiz. Two outs, runner at first, Manny Ramirez up.
  • Ramirez hits a hard ball just past the dive of Atkins at third base. Now it's first and second, two outs, with Lowell coming up to bat. Again, let's get some of that two out magic. Please?
  • This kid Jimenez has only given up two hits, but he's walked five Red Sox batters. Five! You're supposed to pay for wildness like that, yet so far the Red Sox have not punished this rookie.
  • Okay, make that three hits. Mike Lowell just rips a ball down the third base line, and Ortiz scores easily from first. 2-1, Red Sox
  • Ramirez moves to third on Lowell's hit, and Lowell moves to second. Second and third, two outs, and the night is over for Jimenez. Jeremy Affeldt is coming in to the game. Affeldt threw eleven pitches in his one inning of work in last night's game, giving up one hit, which was a single to Lugo. It would be okay with me if he gives up just one hit tonight, too, before recording an out.
  • Affeldt is throwing the same pitch over and over to Drew, and Drew hasn't swung yet. It's a little annoying, but he better make up for it on the 3-2 count.
  • He does, as he works the walk, and the bases are loaded for Jason Varitek. Varitek's approach to the plate prompts a move from Clint Hurdle, who comes in to remove Affeldt in favor of Herges. Herges went 1.1 innings last night, walking one and striking out one. No runs scored on him. Varitek was going to hit right-handed, but Herges is a righty, so I'm guessing Varitek will turn around.
  • Varitek is indeed batting from the left side, and he flies out to left field to end the inning. But the Sox are in the lead now. Let's see how Schilling responds.
  • Matsui pops up to Lugo for the first out. I was behind on my TiVo because I rewound for a few seconds last inning. I'm also following all the stats on MLB.com, and that site told me about the out before I saw it on the TV screen. I was so confused, until I realized I was behind live TV. But, don't worry. I have fast forwarded, and everything is okay.
  • Holliday gets his third hit of the night, a grounder between third and short. Runner at first, one out.
  • Todd Helton is at the plate. He's never been to the postseason until this year, he's finally here, and he's been hitting .188? Is Fox right about that? That's crazy.
  • Apparently, MLB.com is still ahead of live TV somehow. It knew that Helton worked a full count before Fox showed it tot me. What's going on there?
  • Helton walks, and Schilling has runners at first and third, one out. Here comes Francona, and he's bringing in Okajima to face Atkins and Hawpe, both lefties. Looks like I was close with my earlier prediction of Schilling going six, departing with the lead, and handing the ball to either Okajima or Delcarmen.
  • As they've said with every game Schilling has pitched in the postseason, this could be last game Schilling pitches in a Red Sox uniform.
  • Oops. Apparently Atkins is a right hander. MLB.com had it wrong at first, so don't blame me.
  • Atkins hits a slow ground ball to Youkilis at first. All Youk can do is get the out at first, so both runners advance. Runners at second and third, two outs for Brad Hawpe.
  • OKAJIMA!!! Awesome, awesome, awesome. Hawpe strikes out swinging, and Okajima comes through big-time. Fear the Okie-Dokie, Rockies. Fear it!
  • Ellsbury takes a nice low pitch from Herges and deposits it in center field. The kid can hit, my friends. Maybe he'll steal another base. Do we get another taco if he does?
  • Lugo bunts back to Herges, who probably had a play at second, but didn't take it. Lugo is out at first, and Ellsbury is safe at first for Pedroia.
  • Anyone else think that Matt Herges looks really creepily old for his 37 years? The dude is freaking me out whenever they go to a close-up.
  • Pedroia grounds out to shortstop, which advances Ellsbury to third. But, there are two outs. On the other hand, Kevin Youkilis is up to bat.
  • This will be at least a nine-pitch at-bat for Youk.
  • And on the ninth pitch, Youk gets a walk. Great, great at-bat there. Ortiz is coming in, and the Rockies are going to their fourth pitcher of the night, Brian Fuentes to face Big Papi with runners at first and third and two outs. Fuentes did not pitch in last night's game.
  • Ortiz gives the ball a decent ride, but his fly ball is ultimately just a loud out. The score remains 2-1 after six innings.
  • Okajima is still in the game to face the bottom of the Rockies' lineup in Tulowitzki, Torrealba and Spilborghs.
  • Tulowitzki flies out to right field. One out.
  • Okajima is just mowing 'em down, fellas. Nice, nice inning once again as he strikes out Spilborghs looking. Five batters faced, five outs. And it only took him eighteen pitches. Sweet.
  • Holy crap. Boyz II Men is singing "God Bless America," minus one of the four guys who was in the band back when they were successful. Am I in sixth grade again?
  • Torrealba grounds out to Lugo. Two outs.
  • My sister just called me to note that Joe Buck, in a little taped package about Boston sports, said, "Whether it's the White Sox in the series..." I rewound, and sure enough, that's what the bonehead said. Nice going, Buck. We know you hate the Red Sox, but give me a break.
  • I missed almost all of that bottom of the seventh while walking my dog, but here's what happened: Ramirez grounded out to shortstop, Lowell flied out to right field, J.D. Drew singled to right, and Varitek struck out. Heading to the eighth, and Joe Buck seems to think Okajima will continue to pitch, this time against the top of the order, which has a switch hitter and two righties.
  • Taveras strikes out looking to become Okajima's third K in six batters. Jesus, this is a big performance from this guy.
  • Holy God, this is just nasty stuff. Matsui strikes out, and Okajima is about to hear it from this Fenway crowd as he exits to make way for Papelbon. Makes sense because Holliday, a right hander, is coming up, but it's still pretty hard to see Francona remove the hot hand.
  • For Okajima: seven batters faced, four strikeouts, on 28 pitches. And all with just a one-run lead, and he came in with two runners on and only one out. If the Sox can hold on to win, they should find a way to credit Okajima with the win.
  • Papelbon nearly got beaned by a hard liner up the middle from Matt Holliday. I have no idea how that didn't hit Papelbon. And Pedroia stopped the ball by rolling over his left wrist, which just did not look pretty. I bet he stays in the game, though.
  • The Rockies have five hits tonight. Holliday has four of them. Here comes Helton.
  • Holy crap! I nearly just had a heart attack! Helton comes to the plate, and Papelbon throws over to first, catching Matt Holliday sleeping. Youkilis applies the tag, and the inning is over. Holliday was out by about three feet. That was a HUGE play, and big gaffe from the apparent 2007 NL MVP.
  • The Red Sox bullpen may play music and be lighthearted at the beginning of the game, but when it gets to crunch time, they will murder your children while they sleep if it means they keep runs from scoring.
  • We come back from commercial and Christ, my heart is still racing from that pickoff move at first. I hope the first batter hits it right over Holliday's head.
  • McCarver officially creeps me out by quoting the part from "Sweet Caroline" when Neil Diamond says, "Reaching out, touching you." It was McCarver's way of trying to link the pickoff to what happens during the middle of the eighth inning of Fenway, but I'm about ready to make up some sex offender notices and send them to neighborhoods all over Boston.
  • Ellsbury flies out, and then Lugo is called out when the ump rules that his bunted ball hit Lugo while he was outside the box. McCarver thinks it's a good call, so I'm instantly inclined to believe the Red Sox were just robbed.
  • Manny Corpas is coming in to face Pedroia. Fifth pitcher for the Rockies tonight.
  • I just want to note that they showed the reaction from the Sox dugout after that pickoff move, and you could see and hear Francona yell, "Yes!" That's literally the most emotion I've ever seen from Francona.
  • Pedroia welcomes Corpas with a single roped to right field, and now Youkilis comes up with a runner on and two outs. The ninth would be much more relaxing if we could get a few more runs here.
  • Youkilis grounds to second, and Pedroia is forced out.
  • Papelbon will be facing the middle of the Rockies' order in the top of the ninth, with Helton, Hawpe and Atkins coming to the plate. They are a combined 1-8 with one BB tonight.
  • Helton strikes out swinging on a 98 mph fastball. One out.
  • Atkins flies out to Ellsbury in center. Two outs.
  • Hawpe strikes out swinging, and the game is over. Red Sox win, 2-1
  • Schilling gets the win for his 5.1 innings, four hits, two walks, four strikeouts and one run. He improves to 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in his postseason career. That's bad ass, folks.

Great game for the Sox. They've now proven they can win a blowout and a close one. It was important to win this one and not let the Rockies steal one at home, and I cannot say enough about the pitching in tonight's game. Schilling, Okajima, Papelbon, all amazing. The Sox now hold a 2-0 lead in this series, and they head to Colorado to face a team that has now proven that they might at least have a little bit of pitching (at least in the form of Ubaldo Jimenez). Coors Field will be loud and crazy, and there is still the question of what Francona will do with the DH situation for the next three games. But, for now, we celebrate this win and enjoy the day off.

I hate to agree with Joe Buck and Fox about anything, but my player of the game is the same as theirs. It just has to be that way, and I'm sure you won't disagree.


Player of the Game:
Hideki Okajima (2.1 IP, 0H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks)

World Series Game 1

It's hard to watch a game like this and not feel supremely confident about Boston's chances in this series. But I'm trying to keep things in perspective. This did, unfortunately, only count for one game, and the Sox have to come back out on Thursday and do the same thing.

There's talk about how "rusty" the Rockies are after an eight day layoff. I guess that's possible. MLB might have some questions to answer because of their scheduling changes for this year's series. Jeff Francis hadn't pitched in eleven days when he took the mound last night, so maybe he was rusty. But, when Curt Schilling took the mound in Anaheim, he hadn't pitched in eleven days. And all he did was go seven innings, giving up six hits and no runs. So, you know, rust doesn't affect everyone the same way.

I'm not entirely willing to accept the layoff as the biggest reason the Rockies suffered on Wednesday night. Watching the game, it simply looked like they were a team that was being outplayed in every way. Little leaguers versus the big boys. I'm sure it didn't make for very compelling television for anyone not in the Red Sox fan base, but I was certainly glad to see things go down the way they did. Anyone holding delusions of a Rockies' sweep was quickly shut down by Josh Beckett. And those who think the Rockies will win it in five have to try to remember that Beckett will take the hill again in Game Five. You think the rust will be worn off by then?

The Sox jumped all over Jeff Francis early and often. Pedroia took the first pitch Francis threw and planted it just on top of the Green Monster for a home run. One pitch, and the Sox had the lead. The Sox would go on to add sixteen more hits over the course of the game, scoring thirteen runs (six of them off Francis, seven of them off bullpen whiz Franklin Morales) and making the Rockies look really, really bad.

The Red Sox set a MLB record by scoring 10+ runs in three consecutive postseason games. Every member of the starting lineup got a hit, and all but Mike Lowell got at least one RBI. Five guys had two RBI each. The Sox got eight walks to go along with those seventeen hits, and the Rockies were forced to use six different pitchers as compared to Boston's three (Beckett, Timlin, Gagne). Keep calling the Rockies the hot team. The Sox seem intent on proving you wrong.

Beckett, meanwhile, was just as filthy as he's been all postseason. He struck out the first four batters he faced, on his way to nine strikeouts in his seven innings of work. He threw 93 pitches, and it looked so easy that he probably could have thrown 180 without breaking a sweat. His only blemish was the second inning, when he allowed two doubles, the second of which drove in a run. The game was only 3-0 when he gave up that run, so it was a little worrisome, but Beckett never allowed the Rockies to feel like they were going to come back in this game. And by the fourth inning, it was 6-1, and Beckett was cruising.

Schilling takes the hill on Thursday night. He's a great postseason pitcher, as we've come to know. He's done very well in two of his three starts this postseason, and I think he'll do well again against the Rockies. Here's why: in Anaheim, he was aided by the fact that the Angels seemed willing to swing away. Schilling faced 27 hitters and threw 100 pitches over seven innings. Each hitter saw 3.70 pitches per at-bat. In his 4.2 innings in the first start against Cleveland, he faced 22 batters and threw 85 pitches, which means each guy got 3.86 pitches per at-bat. Doesn't seem like a huge difference, but I think it is for the pitcher. And he faced a lot of batters for just 4.2 innings. In his second start against Cleveland, which was Game Six, when the Indians were probably starting to panic a bit, and therefore pressing a little in the batter's box, Schilling faced 26 batters and threw 90 pitches, an average of 3.46 pitches per at-bat. That's way down from the other two games, and the two lowest totals came in games he won.

I don't know the actual stats, but Colorado feels like a team that isn't intent on working the count. That works to Schilling's advantage, as he'll try to keep them from seeing too many pitches. He wants them to swing at splitters in the dirt and fastballs off the plate. The Angels were willing to do that in the first game, and Schilling ran into trouble in the first Cleveland game when Cleveland decided to wait for the right pitch and then jump all over it. In the second Cleveland game, Schilling benefited from a team that was desperate to win, and therefore seemingly willing to swing at pitches not in the strike zone. If Schilling can get the Rockies to do that, he'll be in good shape.

It also helps that, since he's now a fly ball pitcher, he's not starting Coors Field, where those fly balls become dangerous. I don't know. This is my version of analysis. We'll see what it means comes Thursday night. There's a chance I'll be live blogging, but I don't know. Check back later for an update.

Go Sox!


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine

DATE: 10/25/2007 05:42:29 PM

hey erin, sorry to change the subject, but I just read an early post that begs the question, "are you a dixie chicks fan or acountry music fan?"

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AUTHOR: Erin

DATE: 10/25/2007 06:59:47 PM

Both, though I don't find myself enjoying a lot of new country. Some, but not most of it that's out there. I prefer old stuff, like Loretta Lynn (though her newer album, Van Lear Rose, is amazing, too) and newer stuff that sounds older, or at least sounds more like country than pop.

Dixie Chicks are big in my world, and have been since they first came out, and of course I love them even more for their political stance.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series

This is certainly shaping up to be an interesting series, if you believe the pundits. Some are willing to go out on a limb and pick the Rockies. The reasons for this pick are many--the Rockies are super hot, Manny will trip over himself in the outfield, the Rockies are successful against right-handed pitching (and the Sox have no lefties), the DH factor, et cetera.

Okay, so let's deal with these issues.


HOTNESS

First of all, yes, the Rockies are hot. But that can easily be neutralized with a good Game One from the Sox. And there are several things working for the Red Sox in that Game One. First of all, it's at Fenway. And yeah, the Rockies played in Fenway back in June. But, please. Fenway in June is a hell of a lot different than Fenway in October. And the Red Sox have a certain pitcher going for them in one Mr. Josh Beckett. Perhaps you've heard of him. Beckett will shut down the Rockies in Game One, guaranteed.

And, let's not forget that the Red Sox are pretty hot, too. They just made a comeback that only ten other teams had done in a best-of-seven series in Major League Baseball. Not bad. They outscored the Indians 30-5 in the last three games of the series, and their starters were fabulous. It's not 21 wins in 22 games, but then again, the Rockies have only had to play National League opponents to get those wins. The Red Sox might have won 21 of 22 if they got to play, among others, the Dodgers, Padres, Diamondbacks and Phillies, too.

Winner:
PUSH



HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

Technically, the Red Sox have home field advantage, thanks to the American League win in the All-Star Game. In case you weren't convinced that the All-Star "this time it counts" rule is absolutely insane, consider that the Rockies' final record was 90-73, which means they finished six games behind the Red Sox. But if the National League had won that All-Star Game, the Rockies would have four games at home instead of the Sox. Let's go back to having records decide things, okay?

Anyway, Coors Field is big, and a lot of people seem to think that will give the Rockies a huge advantage. The number one reason seems to be that Manny Ramirez is the worst outfielder in the history of the world, and he will fall down before he ever catches even a routine fly ball. But here's the thing about Manny--he's not nearly as bad as you think he is out there in the field. He plays shallow in left field at Fenway because he can. He knows how to play the caroms off the Monster, and he uses that knowledge to his advantage. But, when he goes on the road, it's not like I cringe every time a ball is hit to left field. I'm not saying he's going to make some diving catches like Ellsbury will probably be making in center, but Ramirez how to play baseball, and he'll do what he can. All this talk about him being a liability is absurd, and I think Manny will prove that more than once in this series.

Yes, Coors Field is big, and, yes, it will probably take some getting used to for the Sox defense. But I like what that thin air will do to balls hit by Ramirez and Ortiz and Youkilis and Lowell, so I'm willing to take a little trouble with the defense.

And, let's not forget that, should this series go seven games, four of those games will be played at Fenway. The first two will be there, and I have no doubts about Boston's ability to use the crowd to their advantage, especially considering the young players that Colorado will be fielding (particularly the pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez, in game two). They will be affected by the crowd, and the Red Sox will jump on them early.

Winner: Red Sox


PITCHING

At some point during the Indians' series, Fox put a graphic up to tell me that the Red Sox were hitting well over .400 against left-handed pitching during the postseason. There. That ought to tell you what I think about the fact that the Rockies are sending out a left-handed pitcher in Game One. I don't know what the number is officially, but I don't think the Sox offense is afraid of anyone at this point. Show me a pitcher who throws the ball with his foot, and I'll show you some Red Sox hitters who will embarrass him.

As for the Rockies' success against righties, please. We're talking about the National League once again, right? I like the Rockies' pitchers. I think they're pretty good, but I also like the big game pitchers that the Red Sox are sending out for the first two games (Beckett and Schilling). I realize they're right-handed. I also realize that the Rockies beat them at Fenway back in June. I don't care. Beckett will do whatever it takes to win a game, and Schilling's best asset is knowing his own limitations. You can't say enough about the experience factor these two guys bring to the table.

Winner: Red Sox


DH FACTOR

This is probably the only point of concern I can see with this series. I personally don't like the DH rule at all, because I like the idea of the pitcher having to hit. But, that's a story for another day. And for the middle three games of this series, the Red Sox will have to lose either Kevin Youkilis or David Ortiz, because they can't both play third base. Youk can play third, but that takes Lowell out of the equation. Depending on the matchups with the Rockies' pitchers, I can see Francona taking Lowell out of one of the games in Colorado, just to keep Youk in there. Kevin Youkilis is the hottest hitter on the team right now, but David Ortiz hasn't been too shabby, either, and he's the hero of this team in the postseason in recent years. Hard to see him being taken out of a game. I'd say he'll definitely play the first two games in Colorado, since the Rockies' pitchers in those games are right-handed. If there is a Game Five, I guess Francis would start, so maybe Ortiz is pulled in that one.

It's not nice to think of losing Youkilis, Ortiz or Lowell, but they can't all play at the same time. The Rockies deal with this situation all year, so they obviously have the advantage here. I'll give it to the Rockies, but I don't think it will be a huge impact on the series. I'd rather have any two of those three on my team than Helton and Holliday, so I think the overall advantage will go to the Sox. But, because the Sox aren't used to not playing without these key guys...

Winner: Rockies


I don't know what other issues are out there, but I can't think of any reason to pick the Rockies. They led the National League in a lot of categories this season, and they are a hot team, but they're coming up against the best team in the American League, which was the better league all around this season, and that has to be taken into account.

Assuming the Red Sox can win Game One tonight in Fenway, the Rockies' streak will end and it will be hard to refer to them as "Destiny's Darlings" any longer. I don't think the Red Sox will sweep, but I think they'll win. I'm having a hard time deciding whether they'll win in five or six, but I'm leaning now to choosing six, if only because I like to see a team win the World Series on its home field.

I will not be live blogging Game One. I will be watching at a bar, mostly so that I don't have to listen to Joe Buck or Tim McCarver. I might be able to live blog Game Two, but I'm not sure. I'll be back after the game with my analysis, though, so be prepared.

Go Sox!


ADDENDUM: I just want to add that on paper, and according to all logic, my prediction should come true. But, this is the postseason, and anything can happen. If that "hot" factor for the Rockies can magically hold, then they have a shot to really win this whole thing. Obviously, that would suck for me, but I'm not so blind with Red Sox love that I can't see the real possibility that it goes the other way. I think Game One is going to be a telling game, so stay tuned to see what happens there.



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Brian

DATE: 10/24/2007 05:21:51 PM

But if the National League had won that All-Star Game, the Rockies would have four games at home instead of the Sox. Let's go back to having records decide things, okay?

Actually, records haven't decided that for a long, long time (if ever). The A.L. and N.L. alternated years before the current system was instituted, just as arbitrary as having the All Star game decide it, if not more so.

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AUTHOR: Erin

DATE: 10/24/2007 06:00:23 PM

In that case, we shouldn't "go back" to it, we should just start it.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh My Goodness

How can I possibly write something that can convey how I feel right now? It's just downright impossible, but I'll give it a shot anyway. When I walked into the Dixie Chicks concert tonight, the Red Sox were up 3-2, and my sister was texting me updates. I had a radio, but it didn't work inside the theatre, so I was antsy, to say the least. But by the time the Chicks got to "Wide Open Spaces," the Sox were up 11-2, and I was dancing in my seat for all kinds of reasons.

I never wanted to say it, because I still somewhat believe in jinxes, but I never doubted that the Sox would win this series if they could just get game five in Cleveland. I knew that if the Indians couldn't close it out on their home field, they would have a hard time winning this thing. I knew that the Indians only needed to win one to move on, but it didn't matter. If it went back to Fenway, it was all over. And the Sox removed any doubt by just demolishing the Indians in two straight games on Saturday and Sunday. The two teams finished tied for the best record in baseball, but there was never a doubt in my mind that the Sox were the better team. If you think they didn't prove it by coming back from this 3-1 deficit, then you're crazy.

They did it in all kinds of ways, with the offense going crazy (and not just Ortiz and Ramirez), outscoring the Indians 30-5 over the final three games. 30-5! That's just insane. And that was facing elimination in every single game. And, on top of that, the pitching buckled down and just made me proud. The starters, in these last three must-win games, were just flat out phenomenal. 20 IP, 5 ER. That's just brilliant, my friends. And the bullpen? Please. They went seven innings over those three games, and gave up zero runs. You want to see some amazing performances under some big-time pressure? Witness your 2007 American League Champions, the Boston Red Sox.

I won't recap the game, because you'll be seeing it all over ESPN and every other sports outlet for the next few games. But how about all the heroes of tonight's game--Matsuzaka, Okajima, Pedroia, Papelbon. Awesome.

Oh, and Kevin Millar threw out the first pitch. Red Sox fans (including me) loved that, of course, but I wouldn't be too happy if I were a Baltimore fan right about now.

You guys? The Red Sox are going to the World Series. And that means I got one of the two teams correct when I made my predictions earlier this year. Not too shabby.

Tomorrow morning, I go online to try to buy some World Series tickets,

because I will be in Denver for at least one game if it is at all

possible.

And to answer JJ's question in the comments section of the last post--no live blogging of this game, because I was at the concert. But, I will most definitely be live blogging every World Series game I do not attend.



NOTE: I stole the picture up there from Surviving Grady, which is an awesome site.


COMMENTS:


AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/22/2007 06:51:13 AM

Dice-K supposedly is learning English, and said he had to 'atone' for his previous post season performances. I'd say he did a good job doing that last night. If he pitches like that for two more games, you could say he was a success and the gamble on paying him a truckload of money paid off.

So Congratulations to the Sox! They didn't give up, even when everyone thought they were buried at 3-1 in the series.

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AUTHOR: Smeghead52

DATE: 10/22/2007 12:57:16 PM

The Red Sox have, for a second time, won a series after a 3-1 deficit. But considering where the Indians were last year to get into the ALCS was an improvement.

Ram Man and friends should win but then all of the Rockies opponents should have beaten them so far.

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AUTHOR: The GM

DATE: 10/22/2007 01:01:34 PM

How should all of the Rockies' opponents beaten them?

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AUTHOR: Erin

DATE: 10/22/2007 01:11:12 PM

Third time the Red Sox have done it, actually. They were down 3-1 to the Angels in the 1986 ALCS.

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AUTHOR: JJ

DATE: 10/23/2007 05:00:55 AM

Is Beckett getting the ball for Game #1?

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