September 20, 2007

Twelve Off-Day Thoughts, Some Of Which Might Make You Feel Slightly Better

1. I hate the wild card. I accept it, as I accept the DH, but I hate the idea of it. Imagine this season if the wild card did not exist. Win the division or go home. Wouldn't that put an extra knot or six in your stomach?

2. But we do have the wild card. And so it is a virtual certainty at this point that both the Red Sox and Yankees will make the playoffs. So what exactly is being "choked away"? Not a whole hell of a lot, even if you subscribe to the "choking" theory -- and I do not. The dubious edge of home field advantage? Bragging rights for the AL East? I remember joking at SoSH about the Yankees proudly holding a 2004 AL East parade and wondering how many fans would have shown up for that.

3. There's not a whole hell of a lot you can do when your main rival plays .656 ball for four months (63-33). If the Yankees stay hot for another week and a half, well, bully for them. All we have lost is the massive cushion we built to prepare ourselves when the Yankees finally got their heads out of their asses. We are in first place and I expect us to be in first place on October 1.

4. Of course, if the Yankees do win the East, all you will read and hear about is how the Red Sox "choked away" the division, but since when have we given the time of day to misinformed media writing stuff that has no basis in reality? Since never, that's when.

5. As Newsday (and JtC, apparently) proclaims:


If you care about winning the East, yes, it's a race. As we expected way back in March. If you care about making the playoffs by any means necessary, then, there is no race. As we kind of expected before the season began. (Blame or give thanks to the wild card for that.)

6. We have nine games left. New York has 10. Both Boston and New York will be playing playoff baseball -- so what's the big deal?

7. The 1997 Florida Marlins finished the season 2-7 -- and won the World Series.

8. The 2000 Yankees lost 18 of their final 21 games -- and won the World Series.

9. The 2002 Anaheim Angels finished the season 4-7 -- and won the World Series.

10. The 2005 White Sox saw their 15-game lead on August 1 shrink to 1.5 -- and won the World Series.

11. The 2006 Cardinals were 7 GA on September 20, saw their division lead drop to .5 GA in only eight days (and with three games remaining) -- and won the World Series. (The 2006 Tigers were 10 GA on August 7, went 19-31, finished 1 GB the Twins, and won the AL pennant.)

12. Playoff bound teams fall into four categories:
Suck in September, dominate in October
Suck in September, suck in October
Dominate in September, suck in October
Dominate in September, dominate in October
What category do the Red Sox fit into? What about the Yankees? We have no idea. All we can do is watch the games (and live and die by their results). The games in September -- and the upcoming games in October.

73 comments:

L-girl said...

Excellent post, Allan! Thank you.

I'd like to clarify a few things I said in comments here yesterday.

Winning the division is extremely important to me. It's what I want most. That's how I feel, and I can't help the way I feel. It comes from within.

But I'm not so egocentric as to think that what I want and how I feel is what matters most. Of course I know - intellectually - that making the playoffs is actually more important to the Red Sox.

If the Red Sox don't win the AL East, I'll be crushed. But I'll get over it, and I'll still be on board. I have no intentions of boycotting the postseason if the Red Sox win "only" the wild card.

I'm not going to abandon my team because I didn't get what I want.

As Allan points out here, and as we all know, we're still in 1st place.

The only thing that's been lost is a comfortable cushion. We might still win the division, and we will still make the playoffs.

L-girl said...

I posted this in another thread, but permit me to repeat myself here.

I woke up this morning thinking about odds.

At a certain moment in 1986, what were the odds the Mets would win the WS? Almost none. At a certain moment in 2004, what were the odds the Red Sox would win the ALCS? Almost none.

Allan began his "odds" post with a statement about how anything can happen.

Baseball is a funny game. By the end of next week, we could be 4 games up, and win the division with room to spare.

This was an awful awful week, but we're still in the hunt.

redsock said...

The Yankees are looking for inspiration from a Boston team that unseated a New York team.

On July 5, 1914, the last place Boston Braves were 26-40, 15 GB the New York Giants.

From July 6 to September 5, the Braves went 41-12 and were in first place on September 8.

They finished the season on a 25-6 run and (playing their home games at Fenway Park) swept the Philadelphia A's in the World Series.

Can you hear the battle cry in New York: "Be Like Boston"!

~**Dawn**~ said...

Thank you times infinity. (Channeled my inner child here for a minute, sorry.) But I needed this reminder.

::deep breaths::

westcoastsox said...

Amen, brother

redsock said...

Items 7-11 actually have no bearing on what the 2007 Red Sox will do -- as I know you know -- but they are examples of teams doing badly in the final weeks and then playing well afterwards. It is quite possible.

Tony said...

Another off-day thought, which might be a little-more team-specific:

This day off lets the team rest, and they really, REALLY need it. I think we all knew in 2004 that this was an old team with only so many runs in them before it'd be time to retool (which made winning the whole damn thing all the sweeter), and it seems like the bill might finally be coming due. This team is old. Wakefield, our #4 starter and a vital part of the pitching staff (as both SP/RP) has not looked good for a month. Schilling (our #3) has been off and on. The lineup has been struggling the past couple of games. Our Japanese exports have worn down as the season has progressed (not particularly good when one is the #2 and the other is the only reliable setup man in the pen). This team needs a break, and they're getting it, before heading into Tampa Bay. Hopefully the rest will do them good, Toronto might steal a game or two, and that magic number will finally move.

This team has been killing my sleep patterns, I won't lie. But they're still on track for October, where (as we all know) anything can happen.

curt said...

What a great post! Almost exactly how I feel at this point.

Somewhere in the last month or so I remember stumbling across an actual study of how teams did in the week or two leading up to the playoffs, then how they fared in them. There was virtually no correlation, IIRC.

The only thing I would differ on is the "I hate the wild card" statement. I'm enough of a traditionalist that I don't think I could ever say I love the wild card. It is simply a necessary hack to prevent gross injustice. Kind of like the infield fly rule.

The wild card becomes necessary once we go from "eight teams per league, no interleague play, winners meet in the Series" to "multiple arbitrary divisions with a high percentage of interdivision (not to mention interleague) play". Fact is, the wild card is usually better than at least one division winner, frequently better than the other two, and in once case was tied for best.

I think the integrity of the post season would be considerably compromised if the second or third best team was excluded, while lesser teams were given a spot in the annual crapshoot. Just my take on it.

Timmy Mac said...

I totally understand your point, and intellectually, I know you're right.

But so far, no one's developed a metric to measure the quantity of crap I'll take from my Yankee fan friends should the Sox not win the division, so frankly, all the stats in the world are cold comfort.

Mainecatwoman said...

You know, I wouldn't care about the division, if I thought they came by losing it legitimately. If I really thought they were putting their best foot forward to win those last few games and didn't, that would be one thing. Then I'd be very grateful for the wild card.

But the idea of almost deliberately tanking it because you think you suddenly can ramp it up for a few games in October-when you haven't really done that for a long, long time-makes absolutely no sense to me, and is anathema to the concept of "winner" in my mind.

Of course, I'm not certain that's the case, but from what I've been watching and reading, and from what I hear coming out of the mouths of the Red Sox organization, I think there's an excellent chance that it IS true. And if it is, that's simply unfathomable to me.

tim said...

I wanna get down on my knees and start pleasin' Jesus - I wanna feel his salvation all over my face.

james said...

Awesome work Allan. I feel better too.
Cartoon to maybe make you smile is up at:

http://macleodcartoons.blogspot.com/

tim said...

(From the game thread)

You should have heard the Toronto fans last night. That's another reason we have to win tonight, to keep Redsock and I from killing a few of them.

I hate that. There's so many fans in Toronto that are blissfully ignorant of baseball in general, and just rip on you for having the other team's colors on. Like the time earlier this season some idiot had the nerve to say shit during that series when Sox won each game like 9-2 (feat the SF seed incident).

Their team is 12.5 back, they're golfin' in a couple weeks - not that any of this matters to the moronic Toronto fans - they can have their little moment in the sun when the Jays get lucky and sweep Boston at a bad time, but come October we'll have something to watch while they devote their heart, mind and soul to the shittiest hockey team in the league - the Maple Laffs.

Fuck 'em in the a-nüs (as Borat would say).

tim said...

It really is a race, isn't it you Cunthat?

MattySox said...

I'm sort of with l-girl; I really want to win the division. I don't know why it means so much, but it does. And while it's comforting to know that other faltering teams have righted the ship in the playoffs, that, as you said, is completely irrelevent to whether or not THIS team can right its ship. I wish I could step back like some others around here and breathe deeply and have a good feeling. But I can't, so I go with it and die a little more each day. And I'm ok with that. I think. Good post, btw.

Jere said...

"Can you hear the battle cry in New York: "Be Like Boston"!"

As people who attended the Stadium in the late 80s like myself, did you an L often think, when Daryl Boston came up for the Yanks, about how you technically COULD start chanting "Boston Sucks" at him?

(Similar to Sox fans reluctantly chanting Reg-gie for Reggie Jefferson a few years later.)

This was a really good post. The way I see it, we've already blown it--and by it I mean the only thing you can get by winning a division when you know the second-place team will make it anyway: a good, long chunk of post-clinch time at the end of the season to rest and prepare. Then again, under the Sox' thinking, they've been in "post-clinch (of the playoffs as opposed to division) mode" for quite sometime.

You'd think I of all people would be in the "division or bust, don't let those pigs steal OUR division" crowd, as L and my girlfriend are. But, the World Series is way more important. No parade for division winners, indeed. Let the Yanks be the Atlanta Braves of the 2000s. Win division after division, but always watch someone else take home the real crown.

L-girl said...

But so far, no one's developed a metric to measure the quantity of crap I'll take from my Yankee fan friends should the Sox not win the division

I don't even live in NYC anymore, and my baseball friends are mainly Allan and the people on this blog, and I still relate to this a million times over.

Hang in there, Timmy Mac. We're still in first place.

L-girl said...

As people who attended the Stadium in the late 80s like myself, did you an L often think, when Daryl Boston came up for the Yanks, about how you technically COULD start chanting "Boston Sucks" at him?

I absolutely did. :)

redsock said...

Win division after division, but always watch someone else take home the real crown.

At Jacobs Field, during our midwest baseball trip in 1999, we saw a huge display on the outfield wall that read: "Era of Champions" -- with the years of the team's first-place finishes in the AL Central on it.

L and I still make jokes about that.

That's what the MFY have had since 2001: Their own "Era of Champions".

L-girl said...

Their team is 12.5 back, they're golfin' in a couple weeks - not that any of this matters to the moronic Toronto fans

Last night I got into it a little with one of those morons.

Your team has been eliminated! They haven't even been in the playoffs for 15 years! We are in first place! WTF are you gloating about????

It's pointless, of course, but I had to let off a little steam. After that I went back to ignoring him. He continued shouting himself hoarse, sounding like everyone's worst stereotype of a Yankees fan. And this from a friggin Blue Jays fan. Bah.

redsock said...

But so far, no one's developed a metric to measure the quantity of crap I'll take from my Yankee fan friends should the Sox not win the division

For me, I've taken decades of shit, lived through 2003, and then I lived through 2004 -- and nothing anyone ever says can hurt me anymore.

Let 'em yak until they are blue in the face. Deep down, they know the truth. 2004 made me forever bulletproof.

nixon33 said...

yeah thats the greatest thing about 2004.
WE MADE FUCKING HISTORY...and against the FUCKING YANKEES. they can never take that away from us.
so what about the div if we lose it, i still want it, but in the end...it'll be like a-rods MVP last year, meaningless.

redsock said...

And by "2004 made me forever bulletproof", I don't mean I'm blase about anything now or in the
future.

But I know I will never again feel the depth of 2003's pain and so I feel free to gloat and taunt whenever I feel like it. Who cares -- I'll never suffer like that again. It's impossible.

I have no idea if this makes sense to anyone else, though.

L-girl said...

I'm sort of with l-girl; I really want to win the division. I don't know why it means so much, but it does.

Because we were in first place all year and not winning it is a loss. Despite the wild card, it would be a grave disappointment and a loss.

I'm sorry to rain on anyone's optimism, but "they don't give parades for division titles" seems a very hollow, silly cliche to me - seems as silly as chants of 1918 and the Blue Jays fan last night yelling "Wait another 86 years!"

If we win the division for the first time in umpteen years, we should be damn proud and happy.

If we win the AL pennant but don't win the WS, we should be damned proud and even happier.

Allan, last night you were chiding that Jays fan for juding a team based only on WS wins. Isn't "they don't give parades for division titles" the same thing?

It's not only about parades and rings and every Red Sox fan should know that. Winning divisions and pennants does mean something.

If they don't, then not making the postseason is the same as getting to the WS and losing! And you know that's not the case.

To those who say that winning the division doesn't matter, I call one huge enormous bullshit.

tim said...

It's pointless, of course, but I had to let off a little steam. After that I went back to ignoring him. He continued shouting himself hoarse, sounding like everyone's worst stereotype of a Yankees fan. And this from a friggin Blue Jays fan. Bah.

Yeah, they'll do that. Like the way they would yell '92! '93! at Timlin, and I would casually look over and say "Oh, isn't that the last year they weren't complete shit?" Of course they would keep rambling on and showed their true knowledge of baseball when they referred to the "dump" the red sox play at. Because the Skydome is oh so fucking great. *rolls eyes*

Jere said...

"no one's developed a metric to measure the quantity of crap I'll take from my Yankee fan friends should the Sox not win the division,"

Maybe I'm just saying this because this year I'm out of the NY-area for the first time in my 32 years, but seriously, if the Yanks win the division, and then lose in the first round while we win--or, Jesus, if we beat them in the ALCS a few weeks later--would there be anything in the world they could say to us? I'm not worried about that at all.

And like Allan said, "2004." I'm still in total disbelief that any Sox fan after that has fallen back into, Oh no, the Yankee fans will give me shit. For them to ever be able to, they'd have to beat US after being down 3-0, only they'd have to do it in a way that was MORE impressive than the way we did it to them. And then sweep the best NL to win the World Series. Until that happens, I'll proudly stand up to any shit a Yankee fan tries to give me.

Jere said...

"If we win the AL pennant but don't win the WS, we should be damned proud and even happier."

This can be done without winning the division. I hate that it's like that, but it is. If I could sign up for, "you must win division to win pennant," I would. Baseball was better that way.

nixon33 said...

To those who say that winning the division doesn't matter, I call one huge enormous bullshit.

i dont think anyone really thinks that "it doesnt matter". i just think people (and our team on verge of blowing the div) are just trying to justify losing the div, or trying to convince themselves that it doesnt matter to soften the blow...or using that the try and cope.
im sick of the yankees reign of the east.

Jere said...

What I'm saying is, Laura, I totally would agree with you--in the pre-wild card world.

L-girl said...

I dont think anyone really thinks that "it doesnt matter". i just think people (and our team on verge of blowing the div) are just trying to justify losing the div, or trying to convince themselves that it doesnt matter to soften the blow...or using that the try and cope.

Thanks Nix, I was about to write exactly this.

Many fans have downsized their expectations as a way of coping.

There's nothing wrong with that. We each have to do what we have to do.

It just doesn't work for me. I still want the division more than anything.

nixon33 said...

It just doesn't work for me. I still want the division more than anything.
amen.

L-girl said...

See, unlike Jere and Allan, I don't hate the wild card. I thought I would, and in theory I did, but in reality I enjoy the races (and therefore the excitement) it creates.

However, I do not want the wild card. If that's what we get, it will be a paltry, sneak-in-the-back-door, you totally blew it but you get to go to the playoffs anyway because of a silly technicality, win.

Which will not happen because we will win the division.

L-girl said...

If that's what we get, it will be a paltry, sneak-in-the-back-door, you totally blew it but you get to go to the playoffs anyway because of a silly technicality, win.

Just to clarify, I wouldn't think that every season. It's specific to this season, because we have been in first place all year, with the best record in baseball, the division completely in reach.

tim said...

However, I do not want the wild card. If that's what we get, it will be a paltry, sneak-in-the-back-door, you totally blew it but you get to go to the playoffs anyway because of a silly technicality, win.

I tend to side with curt on this one - I personally think it will be a "Well, you didn't win the division but you're still a better team than Cleveland and LA so why not?" (if we get there...if they finish with the shittiest record of the playoff teams, that's a different story)

I have no qualms with the wild card, I think it's decent enough...of course, I can only vaguely remember the years without it but still, I like the extra round of playoffs and there's really no way to get that without creating two extra divisions in each league which would be crazy. I think that the two divisions per league thing will be bad with expansion, so really without the wild card you're looking at either setting up 4 divisions in each league or going back to 2 and eliminating the DS'. Fucking expansion.

redsock said...

Allan, last night you were chiding that Jays fan for juding a team based only on WS wins. Isn't "they don't give parades for division titles" the same thing?

No. I was thinking of those people/fans who boast about the MFY East dominance as something to crow about. BFD. (Similar to what you said about Atlanta when I called them, and not the Yankees, the Team of the 90s.)

If some Red Sox fans puffed out their chests and boasted about the team's ALDS crown in 2003, Yankees fans would ridicule the hell out of them. And rightly so.

Winning the division x number of years in a row is certainly impressive -- and I'd like Boston to finish in first place as often as possible -- but it would feel hollow if the Sox kept winning the East and then getting eliminated in the first or second round. It would be great to always make the playoffs, but only doing that would get tiresome. I wouldn't brag about it that much -- especially if the Yankees grabbed a few wild cards and a championship during the same time period. And Yankees fans would be ragging on us for only getting as far as the East title.

It's not only about parades and rings and every Red Sox fan should know that. Winning divisions and pennants does mean something.

If they don't, then not making the postseason is the same as getting to the WS and losing! And you know that's not the case.


Judging the worth of a team by the number of championships it has won is little more than yelling "Count Duh Rings!" This is kind of a new way of thinking for me -- or a shift, anyway.

As you always say, a fan supports her team no matter what. And standing up for them in tough times is even more important. Anyone can be a fan when everything is wonderful. The people who don't stick around during bad times are the bandwagon, front-runners we hate.

If 2004 had not happened, I would still be a diehard Red Sox fan until the day I died (and maybe longer?). I didn't a World Series championship for me to stay loyal.

Baseball is about losing. That's what happens most of the time to most teams -- either during the season or in the playoffs. So if you judge your team by its W-L record (or # of championships), you'll be disappointed most of the time.

And the fact that the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series means nothing for the 2007 race. Same thing with Boston's 1915 title. No effect on 2007. Doesn't matter.

Some random Yankees' titles -- 1923, 1939, 1961, 1977 and 2000 -- cannot help them in 2007. And any fan who uses those past titles to bolster his argument that the 2007 Yankees are "better" -- the stupid 26-6 blather -- is not just talking apples and oranges, he's talking apples and sparkplugs.

curt said...

To those who say that winning the division doesn't matter, I call one huge enormous bullshit.

Hi L-girl,

Just want to make clear that I'm not one who says that. Just as you're not saying that winning the WS doesn't matter. And which one each of us considers more important doesn't really matter either.

If the strategies for achieving both ends were identical, most of this controversy would evaporate. Problem is, to give a better chance at the one, it's sometimes necessary to put the other a little more at risk. And there's the controversy.

Winning the division matters. A lot. Some non-BS fans (myself included) feel the World Series matters more. Some don't, that's ok.

redsock said...

I think that the two divisions per league thing will be bad with expansion, so really without the wild card you're looking at either setting up 4 divisions in each league or going back to 2 and eliminating the DS'. Fucking expansion.

I would like two divisions of 7 or 8 teams in each league. ALCS, NLCS and WS. The AL and NL had 8 teams each for about 70 years -- why not do that again (though with 4 groups and not 2)?

And while I lean towards the traditional in many things, I would support radical realignment of the two leagues if it did away with the wild card.

I'd love the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox in the same division. Love!

...

Not having the wild card was what made 1978 so historic. It was all or nothing. As it stands, 2007 is not all or nothing.

tim said...

And while I lean towards the traditional in many things, I would support radical realignment of the two leagues if it did away with the wild card.

I'd love the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox in the same division. Love!


No doubt - but we're talking radical realignment, which is another discussion...with the way things are structured right now, it's probably the best we've got.

I don't know how much I would like to see AL and NL teams mixed though.

Jere said...

"because we have been in first place all year, with the best record in baseball, the division completely in reach."

This is exactly what my gf says. But we have to realize that teams absolutely play to make the playoffs, not to win the division.

Again, if winning the wild card allowed you to only play in some lesser playoffs where you could get a consolation prize, I'd be right there with ya. Or, hell, even of the wild card team had to win MORE games than anyone else to win the World Series, but they don't.

And when you say people are trying to cope by saying the division doesn't matter--I'd be thinking the same thing now if I were a Yankee fan: Just get in, no sense throwing our ace and all our regulars out there on the final day of the regular season when we're in anyway, and we can save them for two days later when the playoffs start.

L-girl said...

Some random Yankees' titles -- 1923, 1939, 1961, 1977 and 2000 -- cannot help them in 2007. And any fan who uses those past titles to bolster his argument that the 2007 Yankees are "better" -- the stupid 26-6 blather -- is not just talking apples and oranges, he's talking apples and sparkplugs.

Yes, of course.

But one is looking at one season, and the other is looking at an entire franchise.

Looking at the franchise's history and overall record can be a source of pride, and that's perfectly legitimate.

It's also a way of ragging on somebody when you got nothing else. That's why after 2004, we get "count the rings" (etc). It means, we blew it, we suffered the biggest loss in baseball history, so we will fall back on history to make ourselves feel better and give ourselves something to throw at the opposition.

There's nothing wrong with that. But if there is something wrong with that, then "2004 makes me bulletproof" is wrong, too.

It's massively hypocritical for RS fans to say "count the rings" is meaningless, then say "the Yankees can never hurt me again because of 2004". 2004 protects us because it's part of our shared history as Sox fans. NYY fans' history does the same for them.

Both are irrelevant to the present, but both are meaningful to the fans.

Yankees history is important to NYY fans, RS history is important to Sox fans, and there's nothing wrong with either.

L-girl said...

Winning the division matters. A lot. Some non-BS fans (myself included) feel the World Series matters more. Some don't, that's ok.

Curt, you act as if losing the division but winning the wild card would somehow guarantee the Sox a ticket to the WS - and conversely, if Francona played to win the division, he would by definition burn out the whole team and we'd fall on our faces in the DS.

I know you're not coming out and saying that, but that's the underlying assumption.

Do we really think that playing all-out to win the division would create such a liability that we wouldn't be able to continue? That's an assumption, and we have no way of testing its validity.

L-girl said...

But we have to realize that teams absolutely play to make the playoffs, not to win the division.

I realize it. And I don't think our team needs that or deserves it.

And when you say people are trying to cope by saying the division doesn't matter--I'd be thinking the same thing now if I were a Yankee fan

Sure you would be. Your team was chasing the Red Sox all season, and had huge stretches of flat-out sucking when any postseason play seemed completely out of reach. So of course the w/c would look mighty great. It all depends on your perspective.

I can respect your perspective, and you can't help how you feel any more than I can help how I feel (and neither of us need to help it, it's all fine).

It's just that, as I said earlier, it just plain old doesn't work for me.

ish said...

I think someone's gotta show the TEAM this post! That would be awesome. They'd go out and FLATTEN the Rays!

Jere said...

I've been killing Tito all year for the resting of players, acting like we were already in and didn't need to play hard. But there comes a time when, if you can afford it, you should rest people up for the playoffs-which is when you have to win.

"I don't think our team needs that or deserves it. "

If we'd clinched the division two weeks ago, would you be mad if we'd been resting up players, setting up the rotation for the playoffs, etc.? Would the players not deserve that?

"And when you say people are trying to cope by saying the division doesn't matter--I'd be thinking the same thing now if I were a Yankee fan


Sure you would be. "

Well that's what I mean--a Yankee fan wouldn't be accused of using that to cope with the fact that they might not get the division, but we are.

redsock said...

It's massively hypocritical for RS fans to say "count the rings" is meaningless, then say "the Yankees can never hurt me again because of 2004".

My comment is a personal statement. I do not expect all RS fans to share it.

CTR is a macho boast and a putdown of another team. It's bragging about the size of your dick.

...

Sidebar: I remember you were surprised/shocked/amazed how quickly I came out of my 2003 shock (a month later when the Schilling/Thanksgiving stuff was going?) and was beyond pumped for 2004.

Part of that excitement was knowing that the absolute worse was over.

Bartman said...

It's the curse of Willie Mo, nada mas.

redsock said...

But we have to realize that teams absolutely play to make the playoffs, not to win the division.

That's been MLB's main selling point of the WC.

Yet I still hate it. Though I've been making a similar point all day.

redsock said...

BTW: This is why I love my blog and its core of commenters! At a time when most Red Sox fans (to judge by unreliable online polls) are out on the ledge, we can have an intelligent, though-provoking discussion that does not and will not (and not just because I won't allow it) devolve into bickering and insults.

redsock said...

ish, were you the guy who promised himself he'd avoid all Sox stuff today? :>)

L-girl said...

If we'd clinched the division two weeks ago, would you be mad if we'd been resting up players, setting up the rotation for the playoffs, etc.? Would the players not deserve that?

Obviously I would think that was fine because we had already clinched.

Well that's what I mean--a Yankee fan wouldn't be accused of using that to cope with the fact that they might not get the division, but we are.

But we're not agreeing.

I'm saying it depends on your perspective.

If we had been in 2nd place all season, being 1.5 GA would feel fantastic. Having had a comfy lead all season, 1.5 GA feels paltry. It's not all the same.

Woti-woti said...

I see the Wild Card as simply the result of a business decision, the logical outcome of expansion leading to each league being divided into 3 Divisions. A 4th team is needed to even out the World Series tournament (a term I really hate). The team that finishes the regular season in first is still the best to me, even though the unbalanced sked. and interleague diminishes this claim. Every time I think of the Braves winning, what, 13 straight, I think, WTF were the Mets, Phillies et al doing all those years? In the late 90's, the WC did seem like a consolation prize for the Sox because the Yankees had real good teams and we had shitty owners and a few good players. The new ownership group took over and I feel now we are even with the Yanks. The Sox have the huge New England market all to themselves (plus however long bandwagon nation lasts). I want the AL East and the best record. Just about every poster has mentioned 'post season' and 'crapshoot' in the same sentence. Obviously, I also want to win the crapshoot, but winning the regular season would make it that much sweeter, especially after leading since mid-April. I did not thing the Sox were 'blowing' it until this week, I knew that once the Yanks got healthy, they'd be tough. I still can't fathom how other teams can't hit Pettitte and Fat Billy, but so be it. The Yanks have played better since June, and that's it. We now have to get healthy (and lucky) for the crapshoot, while hoping that the Yankee karma circle returns to its April mode.
BTW, the timing of my sister's visit turned out to be very good. I could not have stomached being in a dome full of fair-weather, loud-mouth Blow Jay fans screaming their pathetic chants while the Sox get swept. Mercy. Also, I'm not looking for much help from the Jays in Yankee Stadium. Their good pitchers seem to wet their pants when they get there.

L-girl said...

This is why I love my blog and its core of commenters!

We are all so great :)

Ish is right, someone should show the team this post. Maybe they've already seen it.

L-girl said...

We are taking advantage of the day off to get out of the house tonight. That is, to go out somewhere where people won't be yelling at us as our team melts down. So no one will be around to mod for a few hours.

When we come back, we should be feeling fine. $5 martinis to the rescue!

L-girl said...

Woti, great post!

Bandwagon nation indeed :)

We missed you at Skydome but I'm glad you were visiting with your sister. I'm sure you had a way better time than we did.

nixon33 said...

hahaha, ish, couldnt resist, eh?

redsock said...

Yep, it was ish!

At Threadsox, last night at 10:39 pm:

"I'm going to make a concerted effort to make tomorrow a non-baseball day. We'll see, because I really don't do much else. But I'm interested in seeing if I can do it. No JoS, No ThreadSox, no anything."

Amy said...

Great reassuring post, Redsock. You know how I count on you to cheer me up, and I do feel better.


But so far, no one's developed a metric to measure the quantity of crap I'll take from my Yankee fan friends should the Sox not win the division

Yeah, and I live with one and have parents and a brother and lots of NY friends who live in NY and in MA who will be gloating. Lucky for me, my husband knows better than to gloat; he is the nicest Yankee fan I know. We have not discussed baseball at all this week. It's the only thing that works.

I want the division badly, for all the reasons you all stated. But I will settle for the wild card and hope we still been the Yankees in Round 2 (assuming they get there) and then win the WS.

If we all need a day off, imagine how the players feel!

Woti-woti said...

Thanks, I got to watch the games though since she's still got her old buddies here. I had the TV muted the whole time, plus the lag with MLB-audio was real bad. I just kept playing CDs and fuming. Actually, once I got the injury updates, the music was just as informative as anything I'd get from Buffy anyway.

Amy said...

That should have said BEAT the Yankees, not BEEN.

(An edit function would be nice, especially for those who are not the best typists.)

Amy said...

But I know I will never again feel the depth of 2003's pain and so I feel free to gloat and taunt whenever I feel like it. Who cares -- I'll never suffer like that again. It's impossible.

I have no idea if this makes sense to anyone else, though.


It makes perfect sense to me. After Aaron Boone's home run, I wasn't sure I could watch baseball ever again. When the 2004season started, I realized I had no choice; I had to watch. When we won in 2004, I knew I would never, ever be as down about losing again. It healed those wounds. I know I will be disappointed if things don't go as well as we liked, but I have those thoughts of 2004 to cushion the blow.

The Omnipotent Q said...

Terrific post, Allan. I wrote a similar post today on my site, giving you proper credit. Thanks.

The Omnipotent Q said...

BTW, we won't go back to four divisions, simply because the Wild Card has proven so successful, as it made more teams late season contenders and has put more fannies in the seats later in the season. We'd have more irrelevant games now if there were no WC. It's all about the money...

Joe said...

Is it possible that the Red Sox management does not care about winning the division, and is therefore resting Manny, Dice-K, Youkilis, Hideki Okajima, etc?

I'd like to think so.

curt said...

Do we really think that playing all-out to win the division would create such a liability that we wouldn't be able to continue? That's an assumption, and we have no way of testing its validity.

Laura (may I call you Laura?),

That's kind of my point, at least as to assumptions -- though I do think you may be charicaturing my views a wee bit, making them out to be "if we do A, then we guarantee B". Of course there are no guarantees. I am talking about risking something to improve the chances at something else.

So, given the assumptions (non-verifiable, of course) and the personal valuation of various outcomes (division / WS) that I think Tito (and presumably Theo) hold, I find most of his decisions to be well-conceived, not the result of congenital idiocy (*ducks*).

I think this discussion is about more than not pulling Gagne two batters sooner. Hell, Bot may have given up his slam then instead of the next day.

Do we really want to not let Manny get as healthy as possible? Do we really not want to set the rotation and give a few extra days rest? Wouldn't it be a good idea to rest Flo too, before he can't even do his funny little shuffle run and is reduced to Kirk Gibson mode? I don't think a Gene Mauch-like pull-out-all-the-stops panic will help achieve either goal.

MFY are firing on all cylinders right now, but we know that won't last forever. Sox are a bit banged up and playing dry right now. That too will end. I'm thinking in about 12 days.

October may yet be fun. With a division title, I hope, but even without it.

ish said...

hahaha, ish, couldnt resist, eh?

Yep, it was ish!


...I'm gonna be screwed come November.

nixon33 said...

wow. im watching YES right now and theres an ad thats the yanks version of "soxtober" and its said Expectation: 27th championship. well they just jinxed themselves, just like brazil did in the last world cup when they had their 6th championship star printed on the inside of their jerseys to represent the championship that year that hadnt been won yet.

L-girl said...

(may I call you Laura?)

Yes, please do, as that's my name.

though I do think you may be charicaturing my views a wee bit, making them out to be "if we do A, then we guarantee B". Of course there are no guarantees. I am talking about risking something to improve the chances at something else.

Right. I understand. I was charicaturing a bit, but I think you've toned down a bit too - or perhaps my hearing has toned down - or likely both.

I find most of his decisions to be well-conceived, not the result of congenital idiocy (*ducks*).

I'm not sure if that's directed at me or in general.

I really like both Francona and Theo. Given that no manager or GM makes only perfect decisions, and given no one can see the outcome of a decision before it's made, I generally feel they have given us far, far more than they have lost us, by any measure.

I'm not sold on the idea that they are managing purposely just to get into the playoffs without caring about the division. That's the assumption these arguments are based on, but I don't necessarily buy it. I don't necessarily not buy it - I just don't know.

I don't really do the post-mortems and second-guessing.

I'm just clinging to hope.

L-girl said...

Amy, I've been thinking about you and your husband, how you are coping. Not talking about it is very smart.

We have often wondered how we would have gotten through 2003 and 2004. In 2003 I was still in the closet - no one knew about my conversion except Allan - and friends were calling to ask if we were still speaking to each other, was anyone sleeping on the couch, etc.

We had a no-gloating rule, but Allan only used it when it was convenient for him.

L-girl said...

im watching YES right now and theres an ad thats the yanks version of "soxtober" and its said Expectation: 27th championship. well they just jinxed themselves

They've done that every year since 2000. So maybe jinxes do exist?

Amy said...

L-girl, thanks for your concern. We really just do not talk baseball. (We do manage to talk about everthing and anything else.) That's why the blog has been so good for me. Someone to talk to while I am in the house, even if only through cyberspace. (Outside the house, most everyone we know is a Sox fan, since we are in MA.) Last night we had to go to this charity dinner, and we sat with two friends who are Yankee fans. They tried to get Harvey going with them about the Yankees, trying to get me razzed, and he refused. So we're doing okay so far. 2003 and 2004 were just awful, and we have worked hard to avoid that again. (I keep telling him to find a Yankee blog, but he hasn't figured out the blogging thing yet.)

redsock said...

We had a no-gloating rule, but Allan only used it when it was convenient for him.

Pffft.

curt said...

Laura,

I'm not sold on the idea that they are managing purposely just to get into the playoffs without caring about the division.

I agree. Once again, though, I don't see it as either/or. I think everyone cares about the division. I just think TPTB are willing to compromise pursuit of that objective just a bit to balance it with the other objective that everyone (I think) also cares about. And for the most part I'm OK with that.

I think you've toned down a bit

Most likely. Remember, I was also struggling to cope with the same emotional trauma that triggered this thread. I'm feeling a bit better now.

L-girl said...

I really like both Francona and Theo.

Although of course I wanted to Tito's head on a stick this week. In case that wasn't obvious.

****

Amy, I'm glad to hear it. Good man, Harvey!