Monday, June 25, 2007

Seattle welcomed home Junior... and they SHOULD have!

Good for Seattle fans! They gave Ken Griffey Jr a great ovation when he returned.

Old grudges buried... and just like the end of Annie Hall, only the good memories remain.

Thank goodness the schedule makers waited for now to have Griffey return to Seattle for this year...

The anger of his demanding a trade has subsided (and most of the venom directed to A-Rod anyway.)

Griffey has come back from multiple injuries to go back to being the hitter that at one time looked like a lock to break Aaron's record...

And he's done it without a trace of scandal.

Most importantly... he saved baseball in Seattle.

Remember what Mariner baseball was like before Junior?
I didn't think so.

Think of the Devil Rays, Royals and Nationals combined and that's what they were.
From 1977, their first year, to 1988, the year before Griffey's arrival, they were a laughing stock in bad uniforms and a dome.

No winning seasons in an era where no teams repeated.
Their lone highlight was coaxing Gaylord Perry out of retirement to win his 300th game.

They were so bad that even Dick Williams couldn't turn them into winners... and he put together a division champ in Montreal! They threatened to move to Tampa (remember when that seemed like a good idea?)

And then Junior arrived.
And soon they had their first winning season.
And soon star quality players started springing up around him.
Edgar, Big Unit, Buhner... and some young kid named Alex Rodriguez.

And then in 1995, they came back from a huge deficit behind the California Angels (not to be confused with the Anaheim Angels or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) won a one game playoff and then beat the Yankees in a mind boggling heart stopping 5 game series.

And Junior hit 5 homers in those 5 games... and dashed home with the winning run from first in the bottom of the 11th.

They didn't make the Series but suddenly winning in Seattle was no longer preposterous.

The Mariners made the playoffs in '97, 2000 and 2001 and contended in 1996 and 2002 and are making a run at it this year.

Seattle fans have had more than a decade of winning baseball and reason to hope.
They've also had the most famous names in the game in Mariner uniforms.

Gone are the days of calling Alvin Davis, Jim Presley and Dave Valle the big names.
The Mariners used to be so desperate they traded veterans TO Montreal.

Since Junior arrived stars like A-Rod, Big Unit, Ichiro and now King Felix have been Mariners.

Imagine a team like Tampa or Washington having a great run like that, even without a pennant!

It can all be traced back to Junior... who deserved that ovation!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The magic number is 81... thank you Rockies!

Nothing like having the magic number reduced when your team doesn't even play!

Clemens the savior didn't get it done today.

Who knows? Maybe the Rockies just saved Clint Hurdle's job.
Maybe the Rockies can go on a great run and make my
vow to write something about every team a little easier!

Either way, while I called for the Giants to blow up their team, I hope they can dig deep and win 2 against the Yankees this weekend.

As for the Sox?
Off to San Diego to play one of the best pitching staffs, and one with their new magic punching bag to boot!

Let's see that magic number in the 70s by Monday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Watch out Giants... don't become the Orioles

The Giants, much to my father's chagrin, are falling apart. They just lost all 6 games of their roadtrip, including three straight by my Red Soxand unless the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Padres all collapse, any hope for a meaningful 2007 is lost.

And any chance to get anything of value from their aging players is slipping away.

The Giants ad campaign might as well be "Hey! We're Bad... But We're Old!"

Actually the Giants don't have a problem selling tickets.
They have two things going for them.
Barry Bonds and beautiful AT&T Park.

And while they aren't going to the post season... Giant fans had a nice run. From 1997 to 2003 they made the playoffs 4 times are were eliminated on the last weekend 3 other times.

So they have a superstar chasing hallowed records, recent post season memories and an amazing stadium to go to.
What do they have to worry about?

The Giants need not look any further than the other team wearing black and orange for a scary Scrooge like look at the future.

The Orioles moved into Camden Yards... made back to back post seasons and filled the place with fans wanting to see the new park and wanting to cheer Cal Ripken.

And Camden Yards was filled, even when the team stopped making the playoffs.
And they kept veterans like Palmeiro, Brady Anderson and Will Clark too long when they could have begun a rebuilding process. Plus they let Mike Mussina walk to the Yankees instead of trading him in a losing 2000 season and getting something, ANYTHING, in return.

They never did rebuild. Ripken retired, and the Orioles slipped into irrelevance... and Camden Yards is stunningly empty these days.

It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see AT&T Park (or whatever telecommunications company will claim the stadium) being a mausoleum after Barry Bonds has gone and the Randy Winns and Ray Durhams of the world have stuck around.

When Steve Finley's 9th inning grand slam on the second to last day of the season eliminated the Giants in 2004, I thought "They should start rebuilding this team now... they aren't getting back to the World Series."

When Bonds went down to injury and missed all but one month of 2005, they should have been playing nobody but kids and trading veterans for young every day players. Seriously, did they think they were winning WITHOUT Bonds?

Instead they hung on to the Mike Mathenys, the Ray Durhams, the Moises Alous and Jason Schmidts of the world and rode them to a 75-87 record.

They lost big and they lost with old players! That should have been year one of the rebuilding.
This would have been year three!
And imagine how nicely the wonderful pitchers they are developing (Lowry, Cain, Linecum) would fit in with some young position players...

But noooooooo! They went for veterans again and this is yet another lost year.

They can't go back and change the lost opportunites of 2005 and 2006... but they can make 2007 a "bring up every minor leaguer and see what we've got" season instead of another "we might win with Barry THIS time!" debacle.

Clean house of veterans right now... while some might have any value.
Or else suffer the consequences of the Orioles:
Empty seats and indifferent fans.

The Magic Number is 82

Thanks to latest appearance of the extra terrestrial in Julian Tavarez's body, the magic number has been whittled down to 82.

And MAN this was a great way to win a game. 5 runs in the first, no stress the rest of the night, no manic trips to the computer or the XM radio for an update. I could spend time with my wife and kids and not be secretly fretting.

The bats are alive (I DARE you to walk Ortiz to pitch to Manny now!) and other hitters are waking up too!
How awesome was it they walked Varitek to pitch to Coco, only to have Coco hit a 3 run, game over before the Braves first at bat, shot?!

My God... what if Tavarez is actually becoming an effective starter? I mean not a "filling in the fifth starter role" good job but what if he is becoming an actually good starting pitcher?

He hasn't lost since May 11 and has pitched into at least the 6th in all 7 starts since then, including 7 innings in each of his last 2!

Day off tomorrow. Let's hope for some Colorado help tomorrow afternoon.
It's good to have a double digit lead back. Now to have the Yankees at .500 again!

The Padres may have made the best trade of all time!

The San Diego Padres traded backup catcher Rob Bowen for Cubs slumping catcher Michael Barrett. What may seem like a deal of essentially reserve catchers is actually a monumental transaction that may have reprecussions on the National League pennant races and may finally clinch a long in the works World Series title for the San Diego Padres.

Bear with me.

What is the only thing that Barrett has been known for this season?
Certainly not his stats!
No he is best known for getting into a fight with teammate Carlos Zambrano in the dugout and in the clubhouse. Actually let me rephrase that. A "fight" implies a struggle for both participants.

Zambrano beat the bejesus out of him.
Barrett had to go to the hospital with a busted lip, a bloodied face and basically resembled DeNiro in Raging Bull after the Sugar Ray Robinson

Up until that fight, Zambrano was having a horrible season... especially for an ace calliber pitcher in his free agent walk season.

Each lousy start was costing him literally tens of millions of dollars.
Before he beat the tar out of Barrett he was 5-5 with an ERA of 5.62.

He won his first 2 games after the fight... pitching into the 7th in the first start and then pitching 8 brilliant innings the next. And while he lost the third start, it was the best start of all. He took a no hitter into the 8th and pitched a complete game 2 hitter, losing 1-0 because one of the hits was a homer.

He has become an ace again!

The Padres were the team that won that 2 hitter against Zambrano and liked what they saw. And no doubt have a plan.

They don't need Barrett to start. Josh Bard is a capable starter.

No, they are going to use Barrett to improve their pitching staff... by lining all of them up and then let them the crap out of Michael Barrett.

It worked for Zambrano and if the Padres, who already have a deep and strong rotation and the best bullpen in the National League, can get even better... they might be unstoppable!

And let's face it... Barrett has been in the Majors since 1998. He's played on some forgettable Expos and Cubs teams. If management tells him "Your best way to contribute to the Padres title drive this year is to be a punching bag for our pitching staff" then by God he should exhale and take one for the team.

Or more like take 5 for the rotation and 6 for the bullpen for good measure.

Monday, June 18, 2007


The Number 86 means many things to us Red Sox fans.

There were 86 years between titles...

Oh yeah, 1986 USED to hurt.

But right now what it means? It's the magic number!
Beat up on the Braves this week!
Serves them right for leaving Boston

Because I know my dad reads these posts...

Because I know my dad, a lifelong Giants fan, reads these posts... I will NOT go on and on about how sweet the Red Sox sweep over the Giants was this weekend.

Instead I'll just say "How about that Bonds homer?!"

Now I get to go back to rooting for the Giants in the NL.

And hope the Giants get all of their losing out of their system NOW and start a big winning streak when the Yankees come into China Basin.

And hopefully this will start a little momentum for the Sox too.
I want the best record in baseball to be better and the biggest division lead to be bigger!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Magic Number.... 88

One for every key on the piano!

Dice-K up tonight.

And if Tom Glavine can use his 78 years of experience on Tyler Clippard... the Sox could whittle it down to 86.

86... does that number have any significance with the Red Sox?

What a difference a day makes!

Look at this picture from the Associated Press.
Doesn't it look like Big Papi is giving a high five to the bat boy?

That's Dustin Pedroia! The appearent 3 foot 8 inch representative of the Lollipop League who woke up our offense with a 5-5 night including a home run.

I am loving it. The bats woke up and somehow Julian Tavarez once again became a dominating big league pitcher.

The Dave Roberts ovation was nice.

The win was even nicer.

Coupled with the Yankees loss... even nicer than that.

The lead... back to 8 1/2

Friday, June 15, 2007

Savior test #2

Well... we saw how Clemens could do against a Triple A club in The Pirates.

Let's see how he does against the Mets.

By the way Mets, try to actually show up. Your lead has shrunk even faster than the Red Sox. Please don't pull a Diamondbacks and not show up!

The magic number has been stuck on 90 for a little bit too long!

There had better be a HUGE standing ovation for Dave Roberts!

I'm sure a lot of attention will be placed on how the Red Sox fans will treat Barry Bonds when he comes to the plate for the first time at Fenway.

Here's how the fans should be reacting:
They should be standing and cheering when Bonds comes to the plate.

But they shouldn't be cheering for Bonds. They should be STILL cheering for Dave Roberts.

The Roberts standing ovation should last his entire at bat, through Randy Winn's at bat, through Ryan Klesko's at bat... if it is a one-two-three inning, they should be standing and applauding when he goes out to center field. When the bottom of the first is over they should stand up and applaud when he comes back into the dugout and be STILL standing when Bonds comes up as the clean up batter.

The applause should be as loud as if the PA announcer said "Ladies and Gentlemen! PAUL REVERE!"

Both guys helped Boston with their speed late at night.
Roberts was probably more personable.

(What, was I supposed to go the whole week without bringing up the 2004 post season?)

Giants/Red Sox... father vs. son

A son and father face off this weekend. A father/son rivalry hasn't been this intense since The Empire Strikes Back!

My dad is a rabid Giants fan... has been since they were in the Polo Grounds.
I live and breathe the Red Sox... and haven't abandoned them even when I lived in the Bay Area for a Giants/A's World Series and lived in New York for a Mets/Yankees World Series.

The Red Sox and Giants face off...
And it should be an interesting weekend here in the Bay Area. Not sure if I should even watch them with my dad or not.

Both teams are desperate for hitting.
My God these could all be 2-1 games!

Both teams also need a win...
Although my dad keeps reminding me "I thought you never needed a winner after 2004! I need a winner now!"

And dad used a bit of passive agressiveness last night that I don't think Vader would ever use. He said "If you love me, you'll root for the Giants this weekend."

Man. Vader never tried to pull that off. He just chopped off Luke's hand.

Zito vs. Tavarez tonight.

I predict a 5-3 Sox win.
May the Force be with us!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

OK, I'm officially worried

Thanks a lot Diamondbacks.
Seriously... thanks for showing up and getting swept by the Yankees.

So the lead is now 7 1/2... 7 in the loss collumn.
So basically they are a week behind the Sox.

Right now all Sox fans have to cling to is the fact that the Yankees winning streak (now at 9) can't last forever...
and that the insane slump the Red Sox are in HAS to end soon.

Oh yeah, and the Red Sox STILL have the best record in baseball and the biggest lead of any division leader.
But that's nitpicking.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This is why you jump out to a 2 week lead!

People have been asking me if I am nervous about the Yankees creeping up and the Red Sox blowing a 14 1/2 game lead.

First of all, as I wrote earlier, there was no way the Red Sox were that good and no way the Yankees were that bad.

And since taking 2 of 3 from the Sox at Fenway, the Yankees have been unstoppable.
And today they made it 8 in a row... a team rising from the dead.
A team that everyone wrote off blazing a longer than a week winning streak and slashing that lead nearly in half after the Red Sox loss tonight.

And guess what?
The Red Sox STILL have the biggest lead of any division leader.

And do you know what will happen if the Red Sox lose every game next week and the Yankees win every game next week?

The Red Sox will STILL be in first place.

The Yankees are doing a nice job beating up beatable teams (the collapsing White Sox and the entire National League) and I do admire that they have made it above .500.

(Start with modest goals I guess.)

Any team with that many veterans starters and that shaky a middle relief corp will come back down to Earth.

And not even the biggest Yankee fans you will ever meet will admit that the Wild Card will come from the runner up of the Central.

But as a Red Sox fan, I won't get nervous until the Yankees get to within a week of the Sox.

Thank God they got off to the big lead.

Beckett goes tomorrow. Try to lower that magic number to 89 or 88.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

That didn't take Brad Lidge long!

Well, Brad Lidge was putting up great numbers after being banished from the closers role, and the Astros said "I'm sure he's up to the task of being a closer again! Let's give him the ball in the 9th now."

It didn't take long to show he isn't.
He let up a 9th inning home run to Mark Kotsay, who prior to that at bat was tied with me for homers.

It was his third save chance of the year.
He has blown every chance.

He is undoubtedly a talented pitcher.
So was Calvin Schraldi... and Mitch Williams... and Byung-Hyun Kim.

And all of them were traumatized by post season meltdowns.
Maybe Kim can ressurect himself in Florida where even Armando Benitez flourished!

But it is time for the Astros to trade Lidge.
While there is still a chance for them this season.
The Astros are 7 1/2 games out, but this division is so bad that a little run can get them back in it.

But you can't have a closer that makes everyone hold their breath the nanosecond he takes his warmup jacket off.

Yes, it began with the Pujols

It was an unbelievable ass whipping of a homer and one people will talk about for a long long time.
Yeah, the Astros won the pennant the next game... but did you notice that Garner brought in Dan Wheeler to close the pennant, NOT Lidge?

And before you label this as cheap arm chair psychology... remember what he did in the World Series right after the Pujols home run.

He let up a walk off home run in World Series game 2, deflating a terrific ninth inning comeback by Houston. Who hit the homer? Scott Podsednik, who had exactly zero regular season homers.

Game 4? The White Sox on the verge of a sweep but the Astros holding on with the score 0-0 in the 8th... Lidge loses that too.

So he loses 3 of his last 4 appearances in the 2005 post season... not a good record.
Then the next year dails his ERA up over 5 and loses his closer job.
Now he has let up more Mark Kotsay homers than has saved games this year.

Trade him Houston... now!
He's your Benitez. Get your Gummy Bears for him and move on!

I am going to count this as my Astros posting.
I've written about the Red Sox, Yankees, Devil Rays, Orioles, Pirates and now Astros...
Who is next in my goal to write about every team

Man I love winning the first game of a series!

As I said earlier, you live by the knuckler and you die by the knuckler.

Today we lived.
Man, sometimes Wakefield seems like the most dominating force on the mound and sometimes he seems like the guy tossing up fat pitches during the home run derby.

Winning that first game of the series is sweet.
Win one of the next two... keep winning 2 out of 3.

Magic number down to 90.

Schilling tomorrow.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'll always take 2 out of 3 on the road

Sure, a sweep would have been nice, but going on the road and beating a first place team 2 out of 3 times (including a come from behind extra innings win) is something I'd take every time.

The encouraging thing about the past week, despite losing 3 in Oakland and yesterday's loss, is the pitching has been still solid. For some reason I get more discouraged when the sox lose 9-8 than when they lose 2-1.

Rockies are coming into town.
Then it is the Giants...

Next weekend will be interesting as a Red Sox fan in the San Francisco Bay Area and a rabid Giants fan for a father.

But first, let's take 2 from the Rockies.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Some interleague series make sense geographically (think Yankees/Mets, Cubs/White Sox.)
Some interleague series have intrigue because of recent events. (Having a Cardinals/Tigers rematch series.)

But besides the A's/Giants Bay Bridge series and the Reds/Indians All Ohio Series, it s tough to find any natural match ups for this weekend.

We here at Sully Baseball will try to find the angle for each series.


The "I'm sure there are some Yankee fans still mad about the Bill Mazeroski home run" Series


The "This would have been a World Series rematch if Carlos Beltran took the bat off of his shoulders in last year's playoffs" Series


The "These two played in a recent World Series that you don't remember" Series


The "Remind me why we thought it was smart to put Major League Baseball in Florida" Series


Um... this one is tough.
I'm dubbing it the "Hey! You have a nice new stadium and a lousy team? ME TOO!" Series


The "Man, 1980 was a long time ago" Series


The "Did you realize the Twins' franchise originated in Washington... You don't care, do you?" Series


The "I like David Eckstein but can't remember which team he plays for now" Series


The "Wait, this is interleague? I thought they were both American League teams" Series


The "Let's compare Mariano Rivera post season meltdowns" Series

(I can never resist sneaking in a 2004 post season reference)


The "Which uniform from the late 70s and early 80s was worse?" Series


Oh boy... this one is tough... the um...
Oh hell it is the "We've got to play each other eventually so let's get it over with" Series

So there you have it!
Every interleague series has a natural history and intrigue behind them.
You just need to look hard for it!