Monday, October 29, 2007


You don't expect me to write now, do you?

I am so overwhelmed.

I'm sorry if this was a boring and dull World Series for you all.
I really don't care.

I am so happy tonight... my team is the World Champion... and I am not going to apologize that they won so convincingly.

No Curses... no metaphysics... no tributes to relatives long gone...

Just rooting for a good team who came through and won.

Was it more special than 2004?
Of course not... nothing will top that for emotion, surprise and an overwhelming of the senses.
The Sox had to topple the Yankees in a manner that had never been seen.

This time?
No Yankees, no old black and white clips...

It was actually more FUN this time and less about life and death.

Let's call them what they are... THE TEAM OF THE DECADE!
And oh yeah...


Man that looks good to type

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wait a second...

Pedroia hit a lead off home run in game 1... and Matt Holliday hit a 3 run shot tonight.

Those are the only 2 World Series homers so far?
Did the announcers mention that? I don't remember.

Man... I had to actually look that up.

It's not as sexy as launching homers... but I'll take double digits in runs 2 out of 3 games any day

Saturday, October 27, 2007


- Well we all wanted Dice-K to come through... but who would have guessed he'd be as damaging with the bat as with his arm?

You could almost feel Coors Field's collective shoulders slump when that single drove in two.
"Oh I get it... we're like those poor AFC teams from 1982 to 1997 that got their asses kicked every year in the Super Bowl."

Keep in mind these Denver fans are familiar with those routs with the Broncos getting killed in the Super Bowl 3 times in 4 years.

- When Okajima came in to relieve Timlin, I was thinking "If Okie gets out of this inning, he's the World Series MVP." JUST as I thought that, Holliday homered to make it a one run game.

- Maybe this is one of the liberations of 2004... or maybe this is the confidence (cockiness?) of knowing you are rooting for the better team... but that was the least stressfull 3 run home run to turn a blow out into a 1 run game I have ever experienced.

The home run left the park and I literally thought "No worries... we've got this."
No wonder the rest of the baseball world hates us.

- Hey Francona... I might be crazy for thinking this... but stick with this line up.
I think Ellsbury and Pedroia 1 and 2 is working. Call it a hunch. Call it going a combined 7 for 10 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBIs and most importantly making sure the tight 1 run game was a "getting out of hand" 4 run lead.

- It was a strange final score... because you are supposed to say "It was a 10-5 game but the game was closer than that."
But was it? It was a 1 run game for about a minute then it was a blow out again.

Again... solid confidence in a post 2004 world.
Pre Dave Roberts' steal and Fox would bust out the clips of the Babe, Enos Slaughter, Bucky Dent, Poor Buckner and Aaron Boone the second the ball cleared the fence.

Eh... we'll get those runs back.

Do you have ANY CLUE how nice it is to watch a sporting event where the supernatural isn't brought up?

- My co worker Kevin Hench has called this post season "Theo and Tito's vindication."

Theo's off season moves have come through...
J. D. Drew's slam.
Coco's defense (especially at the end of game 7)
Eric Gagne, save for his game 2 ALCS meltdown, has been the "save the bullpen" guy and it's worked out.
Dice-K winning game 7 of the ALCS and tonight's game.
Even Julio Lugo is hitting .400 in the series.

And Francona's in season moves have come through...
Resting Manny for a month to have him come back and dominate in October.
Not panicking when the Yankees were charging and Gagne struggling and putting Okajima on the shelf for 10 days.
Sticking with J. D. when everyone (including yours truly) called for him to be benched.

And tonight starting Ortiz and Lowell and both coming through.

- I was in Santa Monica when the Red Sox won in 2004 even though I was still living in New York at the time.
I am in Santa Monica now despite still living in the Bay Area.

Karma is good so far.
Let's end this tomorrow!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Other Boston teams won... bet you didn't know that

The Number 2 Boston College Eagles beat Number 8 Virginia Tech 14-10 in one of the best college football matchups of the year.
Matt Ryan did his best Doug Flutie impersonation throwing a winning touchdown with 11 seconds left.

Hey Boston! Isn't that great?

*Crickets... crickets.*

The Bruins won3-1 against the Blackhawks thanks to Phil Kessel's two goals allowing the B's to creep closer to the Ottawa Senators.

Isn't that great?

Anybody here?


- Well, I hope you are happy, America! You got an exciting game, a funky error that led to a run, great pitching, clutch 2 out hitting and a jaw dropping base running mistake.

And I got a Red Sox win.
So everyone should be happy... except Rockies fans.

Both of them.

- Let's talk about that baserunning mistake.
My co worker Kevin Hench and I wondered openly during the game if it was the worst baserunning mistake in World Series history.

Hench suggested Lonnie Smith in the 1991 World Series.
I said maybe Jeff Suppan in the 2004 Series against the Sox.

But I would argue that Holliday's was worse.

Smith was fooled by a decoy play... and Suppan was brutal but he is a pitcher and not used to be on the basepaths.

But Holiday was inexcusable.
Think of the scenario... 8th inning... the Rockies offense is dead.
But Okajima (who has been MIND BOGGLINGLY good!) is out and Holliday gets his 4th hit of the game.

Helton up, and despite the wretched showing by the Rockies bats over the first two games, they are one swing away from taking a lead in the 8th and possibly STILL leave Boston with a split.

And Helton has the pop to take it into the right field bullpen.

Then Holliday didn't just get picked off. He was picked off by what looked like 10 feet.
The first thing I thought was "Papelbon MUST have balked. I mean no MVP front runner could look THAT STUPID in a critical moment of the World Series."

And then I saw that nope... his amazing 2007 has been reduced to "I can't believe they picked him off!"

- Man... if this was Schilling's last game as a Red Sox, it was a nice way to go.
And yeah he is no longer the dominant ace... but he is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 4 starts this year. We'd take it.

- And man any love for J. D. Drew?
MY MAIN MAN is batting .571 in the series and stayed in the game when he got hurt!

How bizarre would it be if he became the World Series MVP after all the boos?
Don't get hurt... you might become a folk hero!

- Thanks Jacoby for the Taco

It's come to this for Sully

The office I work in is empty.

Except for me.
I am currently alone... sitting in the conference room... watching the World Series... by myself.

It would be sad, except I am too wrapped up in the game.
I can't drive now because I am too tense.
I don't want to drive from Toluca Lake to Santa Monica tense.

It's 2-1 in the 7th.
Let's go Varitek

(No reason to chant... chanting by myself would be very sad.)

I know this sounds insane but..

Tonight is a must win for the Red Sox.

Already people here at work think I am nuts for saying this, but the pressure of tonight's game is squarely on Boston and Schilling.

Hear me out.

The Red Sox gave the Rockies an ass whuppin' of historic preportions.
Granted. We all saw it.

But think about game 2. Let's say the Rockies win game 2.
Let's say Schilling is subpar like he was game 2 against Cleveland.

Or let's say Ubaldo Jiménez becomes the latest "unlikely World Series hero" with a solid game.

All of the above is possible.

Then what?
Then the Rockies would have to go into Denver on a high.
What team wouldn't want to go into Boston and split?
Especially on the heels of such a whuppin'.

They could say "Hey, we did what we needed to do!"
And then face Dice-K and Lester... in the thin air of Denver.

And spare me the "humidor has made it all even" theory. Yes, home runs don't fly out the way they used to during the Dante Bichette/Larry Walker/Andres Gallaraga years. But check out the splits of the Colorado hitters and you see their OPS and average are all much better... like 200 points better... in Denver.

And the Red Sox will be playing with either Lowell, Youk or Big Papi on the bench.
If they bench Lowell then you have Youk at third and Papi at first... globes would have sharper corners than that.

I'm saying... the pixie dust has settled on this Rockies team. The last thing you want them to do is feel confident right now.
Pressure is on Schilling.

Let's win this thing!

Hey Sportswriters... I GET IT!

Really... I get it.
The Red Sox are the Evil Empire now.
Red Sox fans are obnoxious.
We used to be lovable losers and now we are the big bullies.

I wrote about how the Red Sox are the Evil Empire and that we should embrace it.

But there is the insult that a bunch of these writers and even readers of this blog keep throwing at Red Sox fans and to me specifically which they think is a dagger to our hearts.

"You are becoming just like the Yankees."

As if this is supposed to make us feel like we've sold our soul...
As if we were supposed to feel like Luke Skywalker when he was in the Dagobah cave and saw his own face behind Darth Vader's mask.

We're now like the Yankees?


What do you think all those years of hating the Yankees were based upon?

NO! It was ENVY! Pure and simple. We wanted to be like the Yankees! We wanted to see our teams win the big game!
We wanted to see our team rip some other team's heart out!
We wanted to watch the Red Sox play in October with a swagger!
We wanted to see other teams gulp when the Red Sox show up!

And no... we weren't enjoying all of those years of losing.
No... we weren't thinking "Man, I hope we don't win the World Series because then we'd lose our identity as a team that always loses!"

I for one couldn't WAIT to shed that identity.

Everyone else seems to miss it. This season when the Yankees were creeping up every article said "Is this 1978 all over again" which was absurd because there was no Wild Card in 1978 and the Red Sox remained the best team in baseball for almost the entire summer.

And even last night in the midst of a 13-1 thrashing, FOX felt obligated to show the Buckner error.
As if FOX was begging the Red Sox to collapse again.

FOX... deal with it. The lovable loser days are over!
The Red Sox are the bad guys! They are the Gashouse Gorillas!

Sports Illustrated has on their website a gallery of the most obnoxious teams in recent sports history.
And they list the Bad Boys Pistons, the Testeverde Miami teams, the 1970s Oakland Raiders and Troy Aikman/Michael Irvin Cowboys along with the current Red Sox team.

I know that they were trying to insult the Red Sox and their fans in the process... but I couldn't help but smile and feel pride.
People remember hating those teams not just for their personality but also because they were good!

No team had a worse personality than the 1993 Mets, chucking firecrackers at kids and spraying bleech on reporters. But who HATES a team that goes 59-103 except Met fans.

People hate teams that are GOOD!
Who says "I Hate The Devil Rays!" or "Damn I hate the Columbus Blue Jackets!"?

I also had special pride that three of the teams they listed as obnoxious were the 1986 Mets, the Bash Brothers and Bronx Zoo Yankees... all teams that beat my Red Sox.

You never know when you'll have a team like this again... and I am sure Mets, Yankees, A's, Cowboys, Pistons, Hurricanes and Raider fans don't care you hated their team. They look at their team with pride.

Call us the bad guys!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


- Look, I don't care if that game bored you or not. I know it wasn't exciting... but I am a selfish man. I don't care about America being entertained. I care about the Red Sox winning... so knowing the game was over 1 batter into the bottom of the first was kind of refreshing.

- I was thrilled to see Yaz throw out the first pitch. While watching the game at my friend Julius Sharpe's home, we both noticed that Yaz looks like an old man now. Then we realized he wasn't a young man when we watched him. And then with some further reflection it dawned on us that WE are no longer young men. Julius is losing his hair and I am getting gray.

And neither one of us hit the triple crown, slammed 400 homers and 3,000 hits. So maybe we should cut Yaz some slack.

- I guess all of those collumnists who wrote stories about how the Rockies will not be intimidated by the World Series are writing their retractions. Scooby and Shaggy showed a stronger resolve. When I look into a hitter's eyes, the first name I think of should NOT be Don Knotts.

- You know it is a blow out and a lousy game when McCarver and Buck start talking about how nice it is that the bench players are getting in to play.

That's something Walter Matthau should be thinking when getting Lupus into right field, not the World Series.

- How pissed off were Rockies manager Clint Hurdle and pitching coach Bob Apodaca at Franklin Morales?

They brought in Morales, who started 2 playoff games this year, to basically eat up innings in a blow out.
I'm sure they were hoping for 2 or maybe 3 innings out of him.
They got two outs... seriously. Thanks for the help.

- Morales was Bob Gibson compared to Ryan Speier.
This was his assignment:

You have 2 outs and are facing the number 8 and 9 hitters.
We're losing by 9.
Throw strikes.
And he did. He threw 4 strikes.

Unfortunately for him he also threw 12 balls and walked the 8th, 9th and leadoff man... all with the bases loaded.

That has to be the worst middle relief performance in World Series history.
I mean you are already down by 9 facing Julio Lugo.
Why not throw it down the heart of the plate?

- You know it is a bad game when the highlight was Royce Clayton and Coco Crisp discussing Tacos.
If you haven't seen it enjoy... no doubt it will be the next Dane Cook Oct-TO-ber clip

Monday, October 22, 2007

We should let up on Paul Byrd

My dad got on me for being so cruel to Paul Byrd in one of my postings...

And I suppose he has a point.
I mean what could be suspicious about his situation?
He said he cleared it with Major League Baseball, the Indians were aware of it and his doctor had prescribed it... therefore there should be no questions.

And the fact that Major League Baseball said they didn't clear him for a medical excemption because they knew nothing about it, Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro was unaware of it and the doctor who prescribed him the human growth hormone was a dentist is totally irrelevant!

Seriously, what is fishy about that?

Kenny Lofton... king of pain

FOX showed a stat last night about how Kenny Lofton was part of the 2002 Giants who collapsed to the Angels, the 2003 Cubs who coughed up the series to the Marlins, the 2004 Yankees who remain the only Major League team to drop a 3-0 series lead (I can't remember to whom) and now the 2007 Indians.

They missed another brutal collapse:
The 1999 Division Series where the Indians were up 2-0 to a weak Red Sox team that only had Pedro and Nomar... who were BOTH hurt for game 3.

Also he was part of the 1996 Indians team that had the best record in the American League and somehow lost to the Orioles in 4 games... and part of the 1997 Braves team that won 101 games and blew the NLCS to the Marlins.

Look at the back of his baseball card and you see he's been a vagabond since leaving Cleveland after the 2001 season (when the Indians blew a 2-1 division series lead to the Mariners.)

Heck, even DHL makes fun of his being kicked around in those ads (that oddly he doesn't appear in.)

He is the Johnny Appleseed of post season folds.
Looking for that first ring (which it is mind boggling that he hasn't been on a champion with all of those different teams) I am sure he will sign with a new team for next season... and that team will probably make the playoffs.

And I hope the players on that team are practicing their thousand yard stare and get ready to mutter "How did we let that get away?"...

And Lofton moves on to the next town.

William H. Macy in The Cooler had better karma.

I woke up...


It wasn't a dream!

Man, I love this team!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I watch the game tonight at the home of Alec Sulkin, one of the brilliant writers of Family Guy. He declared it the closest 11-2 game in baseball history.

People glancing at it will say "It's a blow out... where is the drama?"
And we all know that our hearts were in our throat when:

1. Somehow Westbrook didn't get rocked. I turned to my friend Goldy at one point and said "Doesn't it seem like we are up by more than 3 runs?" Soon we were only up by 1.

2. Dice K falling apart in the 5th. How did Cleveland only score 2 runs off of him?

3. The Lugo dropped pop up turning into Lofton on second as the tying run with none out.

4. Pedroia and Lugo doing a double double clutch on a potential inning ending double play in the 8th.

5. Garko hitting that deep drive right after the aborted double play... that deep drive towards the triangle and where the bullpen juts out... that looked like a game tying 3 run homer with 2 outs in the 8th.

And yet, somehow they wiggled out of it all.
And I am exhausted.
Thank GOD the 9th inning wasn't close. I needed a brief respite.

Writers far more talented than me will write up the game.

But here are a few thoughts before I hit the hay.

- I will miss the shots of Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro during the game. Let me rephrase that... I will miss the shots of Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro's hot wife during the game. (I did a Google search and couldn't find a picture of her.)

- I asked Dice-K to be adequate... and he was just that!

- How often do you see the third base coach become the goat of the series? What exactly was Joel Skinner thinking holding up Kenny Lofton, one of the few Indians who could run, on that deflection to left? Manny wasn't even at the ball and there was a chance to tie the game.

Yeah yeah yeah... the score turned out to be a blow out. But the Red Sox were riding high when that inning ended without the run coming in. Who knows how their shoulder's slump or confidence falls back as the air is sucked out of the stadium with a tie game going into the bottom of the 7th.

You can just see Skinner putting the stop sign up already edited into the "Cleveland Sports Futility" montage.

- The double play to end the 7th inning will never get the credit it deserves for being such a huge moment in a playoff series... but it was. Without that double play, the Indians tie the game. Without it, there is no Papelbon in the 8th. Without it the Indians would take the momentum and maybe Betancourt doesn't cough up so many runs. Without it maybe the Red Sox would keep gripping the bat tightly like they did their last few innings against Westbrook.

Huge huge play.

- One person who will NOT underrate it's importance is Lugo, whose botching of that flyball would have fitted him with goat horns faster than you can say Tony Graffanino.

When Casey Blake and Jhonny (sic) Peralta botched that fly ball in the exact same spot where Lugo and Manny converged, I'm sure Lugo sighed in relief again.

And you know Casey and Jhonny (?) were thinking "They are going to show this clip for a long long time to illustrate our flop, aren't they?"

- The series MVP could have been Manny, but Beckett was the right choice. He pitched like an ace and ask Eric Wedge how his two aces fared.

- Beckett joins Reggie Jackson, Steve Garvey, Orel Hershiser, Dave Stewart and his teammate Curt Schilling as the only guys to win a post season MVP for two different teams. Hershiser and Beckett are the only ones to do it in both leagues.

Sadly I didn't have to look that up.

And on that note, I am going to bed.
I hope that when I wake up, the Red Sox will still be A.L. Champions

No need to be magical... just medicore

OK Dice-K... you listen to me and listen good. (Someone please translate this for me!)

We all thought you were going to be a dominant ace.
Heck, I even equated you to Gandalf.

You don't have to be dominant... you don't even have to be great... or even good.
Just be medicore.

I'd take 6 innings 4 runs (a 5.00 ERA) and I think every Red Sox fan would too.
The bats are on fire and the bullpen is so deep that I think even Luis Tiant and Smokey Joe Wood can give the Sox an inning each.

Pitch a game good enough to win... and like J. D. Drew, nobody will remember your up and down regular season.

I know it is a weak rallying cry but it is good to have goals!

Paul Byrd has injected God!

Byrd, who wrote a book about how his faith in Christ has helped him from cheating, failed to make it clear that by "Christ" he meant $25,000 worth of HGH and needles.

The apologists have come out saying "He needed it for a condition!" (Soon to be the go to for HGH users to replace "I thought it was flax seed oil.")

And what HMO does he have that doesn't pick up some of the $25,000 he owes on the prescription?

And the conspiracy theorists saying it was released on the eve of Game 7 of the ALCS and George Mitchell has ties to the Red Sox.

Now if the Red Sox win and it is announced that Matt Holliday, Todd Helton and Kaz Matsui are on the juice, I'll listen.

But none of that changes the fact that he bought $25,000 of HGH and has been kinda sorta quiet about it.

Isn't it always the loudest Bible thumpers who are hiding something?
If I were the FBI I would put a tail on anyone who proudly professes their love for Jesus.

That's not a call for our conversion... that's a public "Are we cool Jesus? Sorry for F---ing up so badly!" plea for mercy.

Oh well.
I hope it isn't a distraction.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


J. D. Drew gets the big hit in the clutch?

Julio Lugo doubles home two?

Francona isn't overly loyal to Crisp, puts in Ellsbury who drives in a run (and was robbed of a potential triple by Grady Sizemore?)

Eric Gagne throws a 1-2-3 nine pitch 9th inning (where he only threw two balls?)

It's the Bizarro World Red Sox!

Some of you will just never get Manny

I've been getting a lot of e mails from Yankee friend fans as well as grief on my favorite Yankee blog for being such a Manny fan.

"He's classless! He's a punk! He's like the bully in the playground!"

First of all he's not the bully in the playground!
He's an idiot savant... possibly brain damaged... it's like Charly from Flowers from Algernon could hit .320 with 50 homers in a season.

But I hear that stuff all the time from people who don't root for him.
But now they are getting on his postseason performance.


You mean the post season where he is hitting .421 with 2 homers and 9 RBI in the ALCS. If you are more of an OPS guy, he has a .992 OPS for the ALCS.

This was after hitting .375 with 2 homers and 4 RBIs in the Division series including a walk off and had a 1.740 OPS versus the Angels.

"What about that play when he was just standing at first base after thinking it was a home run?"

That play you are referring to?
You mean the game winning hit in a potential elimination game?

I got heat for saying this before...
But Manny is HILARIOUS

He is the cross between Gilligan and Joe DiMaggio.

Yeah while it is happening, you gulp.
And then you see the team win... because of Manny... and you hit him with a hat the way the Skipper hit Gilligan with his hat.

If he acts like a self centered lunatic...
and has an OPS approaching 1.000 after 6 games...
than I don't want him to change a THING!

"What about the interview where he said Who cares? It's not the end of the world if they lose?"

Oh, you want him to play with wreckless intensity? Like the Yankees did? How did that work out?

I hope his next interview he says "Are we even still in the playoffs? I didn't realize that" and wears a uniform 10 sizes too big and is caught reading an Archie and Jughead comic book in left field... while going 3-4 with a HR and 2 RBI.

"How do you find his behavior acceptable?"

Acceptable? They are the most fun to happen all October.

(Or as Dane Cook would say Oct-TO-ber.)

How did the face of Red Sox nation become Dane Cook? It makes me long for Ben Affleck

"I wouldn't want him on MY team! (In this case it was referring to the Yankees)"

Really? Are you HONESTLY saying you wouldn't trade Manny's 2007 post season for ANY Yankee's performance (Jeter? A-Rod? Posada? Matsui? Giambi?) and the only downside is he might be brain damaged?

Yankee fans would LOVE Manny if he was doing this for the Yankees in the post season!

When David Wells was pulling his stuff but winning ballgames he was beloved.

And I don't recall Manny giving up on his team in the postseason the way Wells did in 2002 and 2003

And Manny isn't kicking, cursing, charging the mound, tearing the place apart or throwing bats at Mike Piazza...

Seriously... if I said one single Yankee could put up his numbers in the clutch this post season in exchange for him acting like a retarded M.C. Hammer, you wouldn't say "OK fine."

"You just don't get it, Sully!"

I guess you are right
I don't get it.

I want my players to play great baseball, put up big numbers, hit in the clutch and be entertaining.

I guess somewhere I missed the point

Oh well. It's MY loss

Do you have any idea how fun it is to root for a potentially insane Man Child while he is hitting playoff home runs with Predator's hairstyle and a uniform that makes him look like the batboy in The Natural?

Trust me... it's fun.
Manny being a nut is a small price to pay (if it is a price at all)



He could be my favorite current Red Sox player. He is a legend whose name will send chills of joy down the spine of Red Sox fans for generation!

What do you say?
I called his signing the worst move I could remember the Red Sox making?

Yeah... what's your point?

I created a whole elaborate payment system for him implying he was an uncaring heartless and gutless player?
I'm not sure I see the relevance.

I said umpires had a special responsibility to not blow calls involving J. D. Drew because his doing something positive was so unlikely that we can't afford to let one slip away?

That I identify him to my wife as my least favorite player in all of baseball?
Where is this going?

All that is swept away now.
It's what you do in October that people remember!

Do Red Sox fans remember that Dave Henderson was a backup outfielder for the Sox who didn't even arrive in Boston until mid August of 1986 and only started 7 regular season games for the Sox?

Nope. They remember the game 5 homer and some even remember the World Series homers.

How many Red Sox fans in 2004 really knew who Dave Roberts was when the playoffs started? He was a 5th outfielder (Gabe Kapler usually came in for defense before Roberts). Now he is as beloved as Paul Revere.

When you mention to a Yankee fan the name Aaron Boone, do they think of a guy who spent only 2 months with the team and was batting .125 in the ALCS before being benched? Or do they remember a certain home run that will earn him standing ovations at old timers games for generations to come?

Bucky Dent, Gene Tenace, Darrell Porter, Francisco Cabrera, Scott Speizio...
All defined not by a disappointing season but by October heroics.

If the Red Sox win game 7 and go to the World Series... nobody will remember the lousy season J. D. Drew had. They'll just remember the slam that set the tone for Game 6.

I've been wrong before (see my love for the Gagne trade when it happened) and I will be wrong again.

So let me say it loud and proud...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Josh Beckett - American Bad Ass!

Folks... that's what an ace is supposed to do!

Not just win a game... but diffuse tension.
Grady Sizemore gets a maddeningly weak pop fly turn into a double leading to the Indians loading the bases with no outs?

No problem... a double play and a quick out and the inning is over.
Julio Lugo gets in the way of a routine ball to Pedroia? No worries... inning over with no runs.

The greatest was the so called bench clearing incident with Lofton.
Lofton tries to pull a Willie Mays Hayes with the bat on ball four, but it's called a strike.

Next pitch is a lazy pop up to Manny... Beckett yells something at Lofton, who drops F bombs all the way to first before running to the mound.

I have ESPN News on now and they are showing the clip of Lofton running up
to Beckett and the completely interchangeable talking head said "Lofton
and Beckett go at it."

No they weren't.

Lofton was jawing and had a bunch of umps, Indians and even Mike Lowell
holding him back.

Beckett was just standing there, not caring, with an expression of "are
you done yet?" Watch it as an ump comes up to Beckett expecting him to
rush to Lofton and Beckett gives it a little shrug as if to say "Don't
worry. I don't give a shit about him."

Later when Lofton's dribbler want under his glove... no worries. He got out unscathed.

They even wheeled out his ex girlfriend to sing "God Bless America"... whatever. Josh has moved on!

There's something about an ace that is such a bad ass. Clemens, Pedro and Schilling had that quality in their prime.

Now we have to find out what he yelled to Lofton!

Joe Torre quits... a Nation mourns

All during the round the clock coverage of Torre turning down the Yankees offer, I was reminded of Princess Diana in the tunnel or John John and his missing plane.

It was less of a manager saying goodbye and riding off into the sunset and more like a funeral where the departed was allowed to give their own eulogy.

Unless Brian Cashman or one of Steinbrenner's nitwit sons actually read this blog (and if you do, please post on the comment section) nobody reading this will ever know what was happening during that meeting in Tampa. And we will never know if Torre's public appearance as a sympathetic figure is as insincere as Ellen's recent plea to that animal shelter.

But one thing that was clear during that hour long fascinating press conference... the Yankees lost the manager best equipped to be the manager of the Yankees.

I am not talking about line ups, in game strategy nor handling of pitching staffs.
Most major league managers not named Grady can do that or defer to their coaching staff.

I am talking about handling the beast of the New York media... which is hard to comprehend unless you see it first hand.

Someone as experienced as Randy Johnson couldn't understand it when he arrived... when he thought he could strong arm a camera man and say "I told you to back off" and expect that to fly in a town with two 24 hour sports radio stations, four regional sports TV networks and daily backpage wars in the newspapers.

Watch him have every news outlet eat out of his palm that day. They came out to Rye, for God's sake!

He was humorous, introspective, gracious to the Yankees, careful not to step on the toes of his potential successors, all the while remembering the first names of reporters and giving them a knowing smile or look after 12 years of interaction.

There was a reason Suzyn (sic) Waldman cried that last day. This guy knew the importance of having the press not take an anti management stance but rather an active pro Torre stance.

And it was fascinating to see how he seamlessly slipped in his grievances without ever falling to the level of anger.

This smiling humble man who reminds me of my grandfather on the Italian side of my family was able to make it clear without changing his tone that the deal was insulting, Randy Levine was the enemy and he was in no hurry to return to the Bronx... even sending an assistant to clean out his office.

A lesser man prepared for the media onslaught (Mattingly? Girardi? LaRussa???) would have either cowered back or lashed out.

But Joe has known what to do here from the start. When he replaced another popular Yankee manager whose leaving was treated as if the sky was falling (the immortal Showalter) Torre guided the team with ease.

Of course three things helped:

1) He was from Brooklyn

2) His brother needed a heart transplant during the World Series and rooting against him seemed like you wanted Frank Torre to die.

3) He improbably beat the Braves in the World Series.

There was no stopping his legend after that.
And who knows how much crap he stopped coming into the clubhouse from George and company?

His teams always seemed calm and focused, even during his biggest regular season crises (the terrible starts of 2005 and this season.) The knuckledraggers who kept saying "we need someone with some fire" during those times should remember it was Torre's lack of outward fire that probably kept the team cool and let them into the playoffs.

How did the firey Ozzie Guillen fare when things got bad this year?

He probably sandbagged front office pressure away from the players in ways we will never know. The fact that players who clashed with Torre (especially Jeff Nelson and Jim Leyritz) have been singing his praises all during ESPN's coverage.

You can't help but feel bad for the next guy in there...
They won't be as saavy in the press as Joe and they won't have the obvious bluster of George to deal with. Joe is leaving as the pressure from above no longer comes from the comical George but the Machiavellian Randy Levine.

I'll make a safe bet:
When the next Yankee manager gets fired... there won't be 24 hour coverage of his press conference!


He flew down to Florida to basically enact the last scene of The Front.

"I don't recognize the right of this group of owners to treat me like this... and further more, you can go f--- yourself."

I almost expected during this madness that the Yankees let out white smoke if Torre was hired and black smoke if he was fired. But this is the way that he goes with dignity 100% intact.

Not fired, left on his own and making the Yankee brass (who will never find a manager to handle the players, media and boss in the way that Torre did) look like chumps.

He needs to do one more thing.
He needs to get Rudy's seat at the stadium... the one next to the dugout.
And he needs to sit there every home game.

And everytime the new manager screws up, sit there... shaking his head... mouthing the word "terrible!"

But he won't do that. He's got too much class.

But by turning this down we found out Joe can say... to quote Rodney in Ladybugs... "I've got a lot of balls!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stay calm... there is no need to panic

Seriously... everyone chill.

Yeah we're down 3-1.
We need to win 3 in a row or we're DEAD!

Where have I heard this before with the Red Sox?

Oh yeah... 1986.
Down 3-1 to the Angels. What happened?
Dave Henderson's homer happened... and suddenly the Red Sox were on fire and the Angels were a mess. Sox win the pennant and go on to unspeakable misery in the World Series against New York.

What about 1999?
Down 2-0 in the best of 5 series. Pedro is hurt. Nomar has to sit out. The team is dead... then Valentin homers in a 6 run 7th inning and the Sox win game 3. Then the Sox scored 23 runs (23!) in game 4... and then the final game 5 was an out of control slugfest until Pedro Martinez came back, threw 6 no hit innings and Troy O'Leary of all people hit two homers driving in 7.

Sox win... and lose the ALCS to New York.

How about 2003?
Down 0-2 and during my wedding... Trot Nixon homers in extra innings to give the Sox a game 3 win. Big Papi has his first Big Papi moment against then A's pitcher Keith Foulke and wins game 4... and then the Sox win a wild game 5 in one of the most underratred do or die games in the Wild Card era.

Sox win... and lose the ALCS to New York.

And you know 2004.
Down 3-0 and Rivera on the mound the Red Sox put on a surreal comeback complete with stolen bases, Rivera blown saves, Papi's walk off homers and walk off bloop singles, ground rule doubles that prevent runs, Wakefield's knuckler, Schilling's sock, A-Rod's slap, Bellhorn's newly found power, Lowe's newly found dominance and Damon saving the best for last.

Sox win... and with no New York teams left, win the World Series.

And now 2007.
Beckett pitching.

Are you seriously telling me that all good sports karma is in CLEVELAND now?

One win at a time... we've been here done that!

Can you imagine if we went back in time?

I'm not even talking about a big trip... just a month back.
If I told the baseball world on September 19th what would be happening, they would think all hell had broken loose.

And in a way it had.

Back on September 19th, the Yankees had closed to within 1 1/2 of the Red Sox and looked like they were going to be unstoppable in October.

The Red Sox had lost 2 of 3 at home to the Yankees, were on the verge of being swept by Toronto and had everyone screaming 1978.

The Angels were cruising and had tied the Indians for the best record in baseball. The consensus that facing the Angels in the first round would spell certain doom for either the Red Sox or the Yankees and it was the Indians who was the preferred first round opponent.

Meanwhile in the National League, the Diamondbacks had homefield advantage in the standings, but were tied in the loss column with them were the Mets and the Padres. Surely the Diamondbacks with their no name offense and starting staff would come back to Earth and the Padres and Mets were the safe pick to meet in the NLCS.

Only a game separated the Cubs and the Brewers and programmers at TBS were salivating at the prospect of a Cubs/Mets NLCS for their maiden voyage of playoff coverage.

The Rockies had a modest 3 game winning streak, but the last two were against the Dodgers. Most people saw those games not as a sign the Rockies were competitive but rather that the Dodgers couldn't get out of their own way. My God, even the ROCKIES were now ahead of the Dodgers in the standings.

And now look at it...
Both the Angels and the Yankees whimpered out of the playoffs. The Angels didn't even put up a fight, while the Yankees avoided a sweep because of a Johnny Damon homer only to be mauled in a 6-4 elimination loss at home that was not as close as that score would indicate.

The bumbling Red Sox did NOT cough up the division and the scared Indians stormed into the ALCS... where they very well may slay the two economic giants of Boston and New York en route to an unlikely pennant.

But that is as predictable as the sunrising compared to the National League.
The Mets and Padres... both the consensus picks for the NLCS... both tied in the loss column for home field advantage... both missed the playoffs entirely.

And the Colorado Rockies became a juggernaut that is envoking comparisons to the Big Red Machine.

Can you imagine if I went back a month ago and said the Rockies... a third place team on the verge of slipping back to fourth with San Diego and Arizona on its schedule... would become an unstoppable force?

If I said "Man, can ANYONE beat the Rockies or are they just going to win this whole thing outright?" I would be institutionalized.

Such is baseball.

And such is my desire to bend time and space to talk more baseball!

Sorry folks... I've been working but now I'm back!

Both of my faithful readers have written to me wondering why I haven't posted the last few days.
Truth be told it HASN'T been because the Red Sox are on the verge of elimination.

In fact more humorous postings come from dispair than from joy.

Truth be told I have moved from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles area to work as a producer and writer on the new sports series "Sports Unfiltered with Dennis Miller."

It is a great new gig and it means I have to read sports and think up goofy stuff about sports... which I've been doing since the late 1970s.

Here's the difference: Now I'm getting PAID to do that!

It will be on the Versus Network, which unless you are a bullrider, cyclist or my hockey obsessed friend Ritch Duncan, than you have never heard of Versus.

It should be a fun gig... but I will not neglect you Sully Baseball readers.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Alright... no more wondering if everyone will play

In a previous post, I encouraged Francona to let Alex Cora in a game.

I guess this came from the benchwarmer in me who hates to see a guy not play at all in the postseason.

Well, I would trade that sentiment right now in exchange for Youkilis' ball to drop and win the game in the 10th.

OK... Cora got in... so did Lester.
No more compulsive roster checking from Sully.

Win those 3 games.
And for God Sake don't EVER bring Gagne in again!

There is something just wrong about losing a playoff game to Trot Nixon

Borderline cruel.

Man, like every Red Sox fan I thought Youk was going to single home Ellsbury after fouling off 4,818 pitches.

And like every Sox fan I was praying Papi or Manny would launch one before Gagne came in.

Well... you didn't think it was going to be easy, did you?

Now it is up to Dice-K or Wakefield to win a game in Cleveland.
It's a series now!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Well... at least my dad is happy the Rockies won

I told my dad that I was rooting for a 7 game NLCS, thinking he would agree with me. My dad is a big Giants fan and follows the NL West closely, so why wouldn't he want the Championship Series to come down to a Game 7 showdown.

So I was surprised when he said to me "I want the Rockies to sweep."

At first I thought he was getting swept up in the feel good story of the Rockies winning 19 out of 20 games.

But then I remembered... there are some baseball names that should never be mentioned in the prescience of my father. (And I'm no different... just try to say the words "Don" and "Zimmer" with me in the room and watch me turn red.)

Well, the Diamondbacks have one of those people for my dad.
My dad has been a loyal Giants fan since before the days of Willie Mays. He hasn't seen the Giants win a World Series since 1954 when he was... well... a lot younger than he is now.

The Giants had no better chance to win it all than 2002 in the World Series with the Angels. The Giants blew a 5-0 lead in a potential clinching game 6 but there was still a game 7 to play. Dusty Baker had two pitchers to chose from for game 7:

14 game winner Kirk "Woody" Reuter, who pitched 6 solid innings in the Giants' game 4 win.

16 game loser Livan Hernandez who got clubbed in game 3 by the Angels.

Guess who Baker chose? Yup, Livan.
His decision was partly based on his "big game background" and he was indeed the NLCS and World Series MVP for the Marlins in 1997.

But his 15 strikeout performance in the NLCS was aided by the fact that Eric Gregg's strikezone 14 feet wide and 28 feet high.

And his World Series MVP was a joke. Yeah he went 2-0.... he also had a 5.27 ERA. Safe to say he had a lot of run support.

But Livan got the game ball... and from the first inning it looked like a horrible idea.

In the first inning he walked two, let up a sacrifice and got out of the inning without a run only because David Eckstein was caught napping and doubled off at second on a line drive to center.

Anyone watching the game saw he was wild and getting hit hard. It was the luckiest scoreless inning. I thought "OK, bring in Reuter and have him pitch NOW!"

Even McCarver and Buck were commenting "They can't keep Hernandez in here much longer."

The Giants scored in the second on a Sanders sacrifice fly and now there was a lead to protect.

Livan coughed the lead up the very next inning. The score was 1-1 after 2... and it was clear to anyone watching that the Angels were literally licking their chops walking up to the plate.

For some reason that historians, philosophers and poets for generations will never be able to figure out... Hernandez came out to start the third. He didn't retire a batter.


And thus his night ended. Angels led 4-1.

The next inning Reuter started.
He pitched 4 innings of 1 hit shut out baseball.

Game 7 of the 2002 World Series ended 4-1... just as Livan Hernandez left it.
Hernandez record in the 2002 World Series?
0-2 with a 14.29 ERA.

My dad has never forgiven Livan for his miserable performance and keeping the Giants from their best chance in 40 years to win a World Series in San Francisco.

Which brings us full circle back to the 2007 NLCS.
Guess who the game 3 pitcher for the Diamondbacks is?

Livan Hernandez.

And my dad wants a Colorado sweep.

Grudges die hard.


Look, I am not passionate about the D'Backs winning the series.

And looking at the empty seats in the stands, it's clear nobody in Phoenix is passionate about the series either.

But look, when two teams that I don't care face off... I want the series to go seven games. So I will always root against the team that won the night before.

Look, I know the Rockies are a great story. But I want a seven game series.
And right now the Rockies are winning by one run in the 9th inning... and I want a little drama. Is that too much to ask?

I am sure TBS agrees with me.
They have 6 more games worth of Frank TV promos to show!

Hey Terry... let Alex Cora play

Before the playoffs started, I listed the players on the active rosters with 10 years of big league experience and no rings.

The Cubs had the most and they will start next season ringless as well.

With Julian Tavarez mercifully not on the Red Sox post season roster, the only active player on the Boston roster with 10 years in the show and no ring on his finger is Alex Cora.

I know he isn't a beloved local All Star like Todd Helton or an oft traveled solid veteran returning home like Kenny Lofton... but he's a nice role playing infielder who has filled nicely in second and short during the year.

How about letting him play a game, Mr. Francona?
Look, far be it for me to complain about ANYTHING this post season... especially with the Red Sox 4-0 so far and winning each game by an average of 7 to 2.

But let him in one game... as a pinch runner. Hell tonight, Papi got a double in the 8th. Why not bring in Cora to run then? Or in the 9-1 clincher against the Angels, have him play shortstop in the 9th?

I know this sounds odd, but this is coming from a guy who sat on the bench all through high school... just waiting for a blow out for me to make a pinch hitting appearance.

Maybe I feel for Alex sitting on the bench while the team steamrolls.

Maybe he doesn't care.
I guess when your team is winning every game by 5 runs, you need things to root for.

Man... that was almost TOO easy

Look, I'm not complaining... but that was such a sound ass whuppin', such a one sided crushing, that by the 6th inning I almost turned the game off to let my sons watch Thomas the Tank Engine.

Of course we all bought into the hype of game 1. The two top Cy Young Award candidates were squaring off. The Cy Young pretenders Wang, Lackey and Escobar all flopped and now the big two were poised for a classic duel between Sabathia and Beckett.

And Hafner homered in the first and every Red Sox fan gulped in unison.
And the only way the night could have gone worse for Cleveland was if the river caught on fire and the Browns moved again.

I talked to a few of my Red Sox fan friends after the game and asked "Was there anything negative about the game?"

They all had the same response... Eric Gagne.
They were unhappy with Eric Gagne.

And yes, Gagne didn't look good letting up two hits and a walk in the 9th inning.
But folks... he was the mop up man. His job was to be a warm body on the mound in a 10-3 game.

And guess what? Along with those 2 hits and that walk, he struck out 3 and didn't let up a run.

So if the only bad thing you have to say about a game was the mop up man's scoreless 9th inning in a 10-3 win wasn't as smooth as you wanted, guess what?

It was a pretty good game.


Hey, people of Arizona!

You have a baseball team in the NLCS!
People in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Milwaukee would be sawing their arms off to have their team in the NLCS.

What's the deal with the empty seats?

I heard on Dibble and Kennedy that the fan base isn't behind the team yet.

You've got 90 wins and homefield advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
If you don't sell out game 2, I say the D'Backs should be kicked out and we fly the series to Wrigley Field!

I don't care how new your fan base is, when you have a LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES GAME in your home park, you should not be able to get tickets after the first pitch is thrown by coming up to a ticket window and saying "Two Please."

Try coming up to a ticket window in Fenway or in Cleveland and ask for two please.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

FOX can't be happy

A week ago I tried to figure out what matchup Fox wanted for the World Series and ranked them by desirability.

Want the good news first, Fox?
The two worst match ups for getting national attention are thrown out.
No Rockies/Angels nor Diamondback/Angels World Series to contend with.

Now the bad news?
The 7 best ones are thrown out the window too.

A lot of the postseason juice would have revolved around "Are the Cubs going to do it?"

Now if "it" meant "not even show up and be out of the playoffs before the Wrigley fans got even buzzed" then yes... they did it.

And any hope to get Yankee haters and Yankee lovers all across the country glued? Nope. They are toast.

You have two old school AL franchises, although, the Major League movies not withstanding, the Indians don't have a national audience.

Fox had better hope the Rockies start building up some interest (although TBS putting the games on at 11PM eastern isn't helping matters.)

The third worst match up (Indians/Diamondbacks) is still in play!

Guess what... the playoff system works!

I don't want to hear any complaints about how the baseball playoffs aren't fair.
I already covered how there is more variety in the playoffs than in the NFL but let's take a look at the 4 teams left in the playoffs.

You have the two teams tied for most wins in the AL (Red Sox and Indians) going for the AL championship.

And then you have the two teams tied for the most wins in the NL (Rockies and Diamondbacks) going for the NL championship.

That's pretty cool!
We are assured the best teams are playing, thus not having another year where the regular season was rendered near obsolete.

And for the myth that only the highest payroll teams can win... there is only one team, the Red Sox in the top 22 payrolls.

Think about that... after all the bitching and moaning about how small budget teams can't compete... 75% of the remaining teams are from the bottom 8 payrolls.

And the remaining one is the new Evil Empire.

Boston! Before you get too excited!

Nobody is more thrilled about the Red Sox sweep of the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim in Orange County than me.

But don't think the Angels are going to be this easy.

Their best offensive weapon isn't hobbled and forced to DH.
Their second best offensive weapon isn't injured.
Their third best offensive weapon doesn't have pink eye.

And the Indians Cy Young candidate actually can pitch a big game.

Please keep that swagger going... but there's no way you are going to keep this team from scoring in all but two innings!

Cleveland! Before you get too excited...

Congrats on beating the Yankees... but rest assured things will be different in the ALCS.

Your pitching has been great, but don't expect the Red Sox to bat 6 for 28 with runners in scoring position.

And I might be wrong, but our games 1, 3 and 4 starters won't go for 8 innings... combined!

I'm not trying to take anything away from your win, Indians.
But there's a bigger challenge on the horizon!