Scattered notes (mostly on the jaw-dropping idiocy of ESPN2's Gary Thorne and Buck Martinez):
ESPN2 begins its broadcast with a solid five minutes of Manny bashing. Thorne and Martinez both agree that yes, Manny's knee has been an issue for the Red Sox all season, his knee has been bothering him, sure, etc., etc., etc., but "bottom line: we all know he could have gone" to the All-Star Game.
Martinez pronounces Papi's name wrong all night long: David OR-tiz. (like gettin' arrested by the PO-lease.)
Ramirez's first AB in the first inning -- he gets a nice hand, as always, but ESPN2 can't let it pass. Thorne: "They like Manny being Manny." ... Martinez: "Well, they've gotten used to it." ... The explanation that follows is that Sox fans didn't like Manny until a few years ago, but now that the Sox have been winning, they like him now. ... Remember: This is how other media and casual baseball fans get their Sox information.
Jon Lester is like Houdini at getting out of jams, but he's still throwing too many pitches. His count over five innings: 26-23-17 21-16 = 103.
Sometime around the third inning, Thorne admits that he now thinks players who DH should be considered for MVP. He talks about Ortiz's home runs and RBI and game-winning hits and says "He's just playing by the rules." ... I guess it was against the rules last year.
ESPN2 talks about Mike Lowell having a bad 2005 and Theo Epstein seeing a player he could get on the cheap. Theo supposedly said: "You can play defense. I believe in you." ... However, Lowell was a throw-in on the Beckett deal, the player we had to take to get the deal done. And as it turns out, Theo didn't even make that trade. It occurred during the time he was not with the club. So Thorne gets every aspect of the story wrong.
Martinez: "Manny has a game plan and he never deviates from it." So Ramirez never makes any adjustments at the plate? He just stubbornly sticks with his pre-conceived plan. Oooookay, Buck.
In the 6th inning, Buck explains: "We get the impression that Manny just gets in the box and is a free swinger." What do you mean "we", idiot? Manny has never been that type of player. And I thought you said earlier that Ramirez has a plan when he comes to the plate. So if that was true, he wouldn't be a free swinger then, would he?
In a game filled with praise for Jason Varitek's catching ability (any good pitch Lester made was described as "That's all Varitek right there."), Buck praises Tek's "ability to put the ball in play" after he singles in the 3rd inning. Jeez. If Varitek can't put the ball in play, he should be serving beers in the concourse.
Martinez: "The Sox have left 11 men on base this game." ... Thorne: "Obviously, the Red Sox are not used to that happening." Um, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
Thorne claims that the Boston papers don't write "Manny being Manny" anymore, they just write "MBM".
Ramirez makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch at the wall in left-center for the first out of the ninth. Martinez: "He made that look pretty easy, didn't he?" ... Thorne: "His knee didn't look to be a problem there." ... Afterwards, they try to take the high road, saying how Manny took a great route to the ball and he's a bit underrated in the field. Too late, assholes.
After Willie Harris gets picked off in the bottom of the ninth, Thorne channels Tim McCarver: "Boston had the Big Dig; that didn't proof to be very successful. Harris had the big lead; that didn't proof to be very successful."
Finally: Why didn't Papelbon come out for the 11th? He had thrown 18 pitches in the tenth. Why go to the shitty arms right away? Julian Being Julian. Another gut punch of a loss.
Feel free to remind ESPN that their announcers are ignorant and offensive.
Esteban Loaiza (6.43) / Jon Lester (3.06), 7 PM
Both New York and Toronto are off tonight.