July 31, 2004

What Just Happened. From RedSox.com:
"The Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra, minor leaguer Matt Murton and cash considerations to the Cubs today as part of a four-team deal. Boston acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Expos and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz from the Twins. In a separate move, Boston got outfielder Dave Roberts from the Dodgers for Henri Stanley."
It's running slower than Doug Mirabelli to first base, but SoSH is the place for all the latest news. ... The general mood about the deal? Everyone -- and I mean every single poster -- thinks Theo got the fleecing of his life (and frankly can't believe (a) he'd pull the trigger on such a one-sided deal and/or (b) that that is all Nomar could fetch). There has to be some secret part of the deal -- some other players -- that we have not been told about yet.

The Red Sox have scheduled a press conferece for 6:00 pm. I can't wait to hear the rationale.
HUGE Deal! Details as they come. Right now, it sounds like a four-team deal: Red Sox, Expos, Twins, Cubs.

Nomar to Cubs
Lowe to Twins (will he pitch against the Sox tonight?!?)
Matt Clement, Orlando Cabrera, Doug Mientkiewicz to Red Sox
Cubs send Alex Gonzalez and a prospect to the Expos

Despite the rumors, this is still a dizzying turn of events. ESPN reports that Nomar is on his way to Chicago right now. ... The Yankees got Loaiza from the White Sox for Contreras and cash.

Tim Wakefield will start tonight.
The Deadline Nears. Excellent outing for Bronson Arroyo last night. I agreed with the decision to let him pitch the 8th inning. He had sailed through the 6th and 7th, throwing a total of 17 pitches and looking very relaxed. Whether he was actually fatigued, I don't know, but he hit a rough patch, allowing 3 hits to start the 8th before recording his 8th strikeout and being relieved. Boston pitchers did not walk anyone for the second straight game. The last time that happened was August 10-11, 2002 against the Twins.

I really like Arroyo, though one of the reasons for that may be that I seem to remember only his good starts -- like his 100-pitch effort against Toronto on May 15 or his 8 shutout innings against Texas on July 9. All of his bad outings vanish -- poof! -- from my mind as soon as the game is over. It may not be completely illusionary; right now, both Pedro Martinez and Tim Wakefield have higher ERAs than Arroyo. ... I'm having the opposite experience with Derek Lowe this season. All I recall are his meltdowns.

Johnny Damon agrees with me: "The only two that I think should have gotten suspended were Tek and A-Rod." Why was Kenny Lofton fined? Arroyo thinks Lofton may have punched him in the head. "I haven't seen the tape, but somebody punched me, and when I looked around he was the closest one to me." ... Scott Williamson had a rough outing with Pawtucket on Thursday. He retired only one of six batters, walking three, hitting one and allowing a 3-run double. Only nine of his 28 pitches were strikes. He did not have any discomfort, which is fantastic, though he will likely make another appearance with the PawSox before rejoining the big club.

Gabe Kapler's throw to nail Justin Morneau at third base leading off the 7th inning last night was amazing. The ball was hit off the wall and was rolling back toward the infield. Kapler's throw reached Bill Mueller on the fly and he was able to tag Morneau easily. Kapler: "Truthfully? I didn't think it was that good of a throw. I just kind of launched it. It just ended up in the right place." Kapler also had 3 hits and 2 RBI, and is filling in admirably for Nixon.

The latest news is that Randy Johnson is definitely staying in Arizona. The deadline ends at 4:00 pm and from the talk in the morning papers, it looks like both the Red Sox and Yankees are staying pat.
More Racist Shit From The Bush Camp. The Bush campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Dick Cheney during a rally this afternoon. The paper's managing editor was told the Secret Service needed to know the photographer's race so they could distinguish her from someone else who might have the same name. ... Hmmm, how many women named Mamta Popat do you think are running around Arizona taking pictures? ... The Star refused to provide the information.
Loyalty Oath. People wanting to attend a weekend rally in New Mexico for Dick Cheney are being told they must sign an endorsement for George W. Bush. The endorsement reads in part: "I, (full name) ... do herby [sic] endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States. ... In signing the above endorsement you are consenting to use and release of your name by Bush-Cheney as an endorser of President Bush."

Two bits of news. "The Census Bureau provided the Department of Homeland Security statistical data on people who identified themselves on the 2000 census as being of Arab ancestry. There is no indication that the agency requested similar information about any other ethnic group." ... "US civilian authorities in Baghdad failed to keep good track of nearly $1 billion in Iraqi money spent for reconstruction projects and can't produce records to show whether they got some services and products they paid for."

July 30, 2004

Unfinished Post. I had some internet connection problems this afternoon and wasn't able to finish my blog entry. Now it is shortly before tonight's game, so I'm just putting it up as is. It's long enough.

Brawl Fallout:
               Red Sox              Yankees

Suspended Varitek 4 games Rodriguez 4 games
Kapler 3 games Sturtze 3 games
Nixon 3 games

Fined Varitek $2,000 Rodriguez $2,000
Kapler $1,000 Sturtze $1,000
Nixon $1,000 Lofton $ 500
Schilling $ 500
Ortiz $ 500
Everyone involved thinks the punishments are too severe. ... Check out these quotes: Rodriguez: "I was on my way to first base and I got punched in the mouth by a glove." and Brian Cashman: "I thought we were a lot more peacemakers than the guys on the other side of the fence." ... That's some serious denial. Obey Pedro: "I never knew that provoking somebody into fighting was an act of self defense. I'll have to remember that the next time I'm in a bar and some guy inadvertently bumps me on the elbow and I say "fuck you" to him while I gesture with both hands for him to bring it on."

Francona on Rodriguez's claim that he was the victim in the brawl: "I'm not a lip reader, but I can read those lips. The word 'victim' wasn't coming out." ... Rodriguez: "I know on the tape it looks like my words were what started it. My words were strong and harsh, but they were just a reaction, a repetition of what had been said to me."

I think Watson's ruling is too harsh, also, and am having a tough time figuring why the Red Sox were more heavily fined. I would have suspended Varitek and A-Rod 2 games each -- and that's it. We still have no idea what Varitek said -- Jason hasn't elaborated and A-Rod has been coy. Of course, this whole incident could have been avoided if Rodriguez had simply shut up and trotted to first base. The pitch wasn't a fastball and it was not anywhere near his head. It was a run-of-the-mill HBP -- although it's quite possible the pitch was retaliation for Nomar's getting plunked the night before and Rodriguez knew that. But it clearly was not a pitch that should have started a brawl.

Karen Guregian of the Herald takes Tito to task for letting Pedro pitch in the rain in Baltimore, "risk[ing] injury on a slippery, muddy pitching rubber? Isn't this the same guy the Sox take great pains to coddle? Isn't this the guy they're completely overprotective of with the slightest hint of trouble? Isn't this the guy who, along with Curt Schilling, the Red Sox need most if they intend to get to the promised land?"

What was Francona thinking? Guregian gives us the answer: "He said he spoke to the umpire between innings, making sure if Pedro had a problem with the mound, the game would be stopped to have the grounds crew take care of it. That was the extent of his concern." For what it's worth, Martinez defended his manager: "Was it worth the risk? Yeah. ... The thing was, I couldn't afford to slide. When I go through the full stretch, sliding cost me to pull (my hip) a little bit. But it wasn't too bad. I got out in time." ... Martinez's hip is still sore, but "Everything's fine, it's going to be OK. I ran on it, it remained a little tight, I threw a little bit, it didn't feel all that good. But with a little time, a little therapy, it will be OK." ... Francona added: "He did good. I think these things happen." ... Especially when you allow them to happen, you frigging idiot.

Trade News: The most important news is that Randy Johnson will likely be in Arizona and not New York. ... Several teams, including the Marlins and Padres, have inquired about Derek Lowe. The consensus is if the Red Sox do anything, "it will be minor." Sean McAdam reports on a couple of possible deals involving, Derek Lowe, Kevin Youkilis, San Diego's Brian Lawrence (P) and Jay Payton (OF) and Philadelphia's Ricky Ledee (OF).

If Scott Williamson's rehab assignment Thursday for Pawtucket went well, he will be activated from the disabled list this weekend. Pokey Reese is eligible to come off the disabled list August 4, but factoring in a rehab assignment for him, he probably will not return until the middle of August. ... Byung-Hyun Kim took the loss for the PawSox Tuesday, allowing two runs on four hits in four innings to Syracuse. ... Lowe has never fared very well in the Metrodome. In 9 games, he has allowed 29 hits in 18.2 innings and has a 7.23 career ERA.

Friday: Bronson Arroyo (3-7, 4.20) vs. Kyle Lohse (4-7, 4.87)
Saturday: Derek Lowe (9-9, 5.56) vs. Brad Radke (7-6, 3.69)
Sunday: Pedro Martinez (11-4, 4.15) vs. Johan Santana (9-6, 3.36)

July 29, 2004

19th Nervous Breakdown. "George W. Bush is withdrawing more and more from aides and senior staff, retreating into a private, paranoid world where only the ardent loyalists are welcome. ... Bush's erratic behavior and sharp mood swings led White House physician Col. Richard J. Tubb to put the President on powerful anti-depressant drugs ... but White House insiders say the strong, prescription medications seem to increase Bush's sullen behavior towards those around him. ..."

It's hard to say how reliable this is, but CHB (and I don't mean Shaughnessy) has published several similar stories over the past few months; plenty more here.

In a similar vein, if Americans are unhappy with low-quality/low-paying jobs, Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt, suggests: "Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?"

July 27, 2004

Why In The Hell Was Pedro Even Pitching The Seventh Inning? Read today's game stories and you'll get the picture -- the muddy mound, the rain-slicked mound, the wet pitching rubber, the constant drizzle. In the top of the seventh, Boston had taken a 12-2 lead and Pedro Martinez had thrown 83 pitches. There was absolutely no reason to send him out for another inning. But that's what Terry Francoma did, thus ruining my enjoyment of another Red Sox win.

Just like Baltimore's Todd Williams, Martinez had trouble keeping his footing on the mound. He later said that while pitching to Javy Lopez (who doubled), he "felt a little pinch in my right hip. I thought it was going to go away, but it continued to pinch. I tried to stretch it a little bit, and it felt worse." Martinez needed 9 pitches to get Karim Garcia to pop to shortstop. At that point, "Dave and Tito [and trainer Chris Correnti] came out and tried to take me out. I said, 'No, let me see if I can continue to actually get the couple of outs that I was supposed to get.'" Jerry Hairston and Larry Bigbie followed with singles before Martimez was pulled.

After the game, Martinez's hip was still sore, but he said he plans "to run the crap out of" the injury in the next few days.

Francona on the trip to the mound: "I just wanted to make sure he was OK. In a game like that I didn't want to leave him out there longer than he needed to stay out there." ... It's shit like this that make me seriously question Francona's intelligence. Leaving Pedro out in the pouring rain, nearing 100 pitches and working with a 10-run lead in the 7th inning is beyond moronic. ... And I was not alone in my annoyance. A very small sample:

"Someone stick a mirror under Francona's nose to see if he is still breathing!"

"It's a @#%$ huge deal if Pedro hurts himself. I was at the Hermanson non-game, and I don't want to see a replay here. Tito is a dolt."

"Now they run out thinking he MAY be hurt ... and LEAVE HIM IN THE GAME!"

"If Pedro slips and pulls something here though Terry may not make it to the end of the year alive let alone employed."

"If there is a better recipe for injury, I don't know what it is."

"Just a moron. Total buffoon running this team."

Trot Nixon isn't ruling out the possibility of missing the rest of the season. Jerry Remy's comments during NESN's broadcast last night were pretty ominous. The Red Sox are considering their options for right field. Sean McAdam mentions Boston has spoken with Colorado about Larry Walker.

Kevin Millar was named co-AL player of the week. His hot streak started after noticing Seattle's Miguel Olivo's open stance. "He looked like he was on a lot of pitches, so I went in the cages and I tried it and I liked it. That night I ended up getting three hits and I was like, 'Yeah, I like this stance.'" Here's a shot of Millar celebrating his award, courtesy of SoSH's Dennis Upperdeckersley:

Scott Williamson will throw a side session today, make another rehab appearance Thursday and likely be activated Friday or Saturday in Minnesota. ... Alan Embree said the Sox are being conservative and "a little paranoid" over an irritated nerve above his left elbow. ... Gordon Edes asks: "What does a 6-foot-10-inch pinstripe look like? Sooner than later, it appears, we are about to find out."

Howard Bryant in a Herald pay column: "Manny Ramirez and manager Terry Francona had a spat before the All-Star break, and the Sox slugger took himself out of the game immediately before the break and three games later in the week citing a bad hamstring. ... Upper management, never pleased with Ramirez outside of the batter's box, believed he was attempting to sabotage the season in a way similar to last season. ... Ownership, at this point, again believes Ramirez to be a major problem. ... One American League executive said Sox ownership underestimated the emotional turmoil of its players. ... Even in victory, there were speed bumps. In one of the wins against Oakland, Pokey Reese, upset at his utility role, groused at mop-up duty in a blowout. He eventually went into the game."

Another reason to love Nixon: David Heuschkel reports that "Nixon was upset ESPN baseball broadcaster Rick Sutcliffe mentioned on the air Sunday night that Nixon hurt himself during Saturday's brawl ... The statement was retracted after a Red Sox official informed ESPN it was inaccurate. Nixon, who said Sutcliffe apologized to him, couldn't resist taking a shot at Tim McCarver. 'McCarver does it all the time,' Nixon said. 'He might as well put a Yankees jersey on.'"

July 26, 2004

The Hits Just keep On Coming. Trot Nixon and Curtis Leskanic (right shoulder tendinitis) are on the 15-day disabled list, and Jason Varitek missed last night's game because of a sore right wrist. ... Andy Dominique replaced Nixon on the roster; Terry Adams took Leskanic's spot.

Scott Williamson allowed one run in .2 of an inning for Pawtucket, walking two, striking out one and throwing 20 pitches. He'll pitch Tuesday for Portland and hopes to rejoin the team Friday in Minnesota. ... Alan Embree has been battling spasms and tightness in his left triceps for about a week. ... Although Boston has two consecutive Thursdays off, the rotation will likely remain intact. ... "Yankee Bob" Watson says "you can best believe that" there will be some suspensions regarding Saturday's brawl, but not until Wednesday or Thursday.

Derek Lowe sounds like he thinks he's gone: "You guys all got me traded ... I'm just trying to enjoy the last Red Sox-Yankees game before I go elsewhere. ... If I'm the problem around here, well then we all need to move on. I don't feel like I need to go out and consistently prove that I deserve the ball the next 11 or 12 times during the year."

Kevin Millar: "I was in a coma the last two and a half months" -- before opening up his stance before last Wednesday's game. During the six-game homestand, he went 14-for-20 with 6 home runs and 11 RBI, raising his batting average 28 points in five days. He was 10-for-13 with four homers (all solos) and eight RBI against the Yankees. ... Millar is also Boston's emergency catcher. Tito: "He said he's not good at balls in the dirt. I said, 'I already know that.'" ... New York Post: "Kevin Millar's bat is nearly as unstoppable as his mouth."

Dave Anderson of the New York Times wrote the following sentence before the series began: "For Contreras, it will be another opportunity to embarrass the Red Sox for having been outbid two years ago by the Yankees, who lured him with a four-year, $32 million contract." Another opportunity? Shouldn't Contreras have embarrassed Boston at least once before he gets another chance? ... Lawrence Rocca, Newark Star-Ledger: "Contreras has a mental block against the Sox. He tried to explain away this latest disaster as just a bad night at the office, as a result of lacking physical control over his pitches. You don't have to be Dr. Phil to realize that's a load of hooey." ... For the record, the Cuban Con Man is now 0-4, 16.44 against the Red Sox.

Willie Randolph on the recent Red Sox-Yankees dustups: "It's still not the way it was before. There used to be a real disdain between the players for each other. ... [W]e expected to get brushed back. We'd get together in the dugout afterwards and talk about who to get back, and when to do it, and that was it. ... When I first came up Thurman pulled me aside and filled me in on the way it was. ... Guys came out of those pileups really battered and bruised. ... I get flashbacks still. My blood starts to boil."

Tonight: Pedro Martinez (10-4, 4.01) vs. Erik Bedard (4-4, 4.04), 7:05 pm
Tuesday: Tim Wakefield (6-6, 4.17) vs. Rodrigo Lopez (8-6, 3.61), 7:05 pm
Wednesday: Curt Schilling (12-4, 3.38) vs. Joe Borkowski (1-2, 4.03), 7:05 pm
What A Difference Two Games Make.

Mike Vaccaro, New York Post

July 24: "Schilling and Foulke were supposed to be the Red Sox' means of catching the Yankees this year. Better luck next year."

July 26: "Consider this a useful weekend of field research for the Yankees, who get on with the rest of their summer fully aware once again that the Red Sox ... are very much Out There. Lurking. Loitering. Waiting. They're hiding in the weeds, dangerous as a camouflaged rattlesnake."

Kevin Kernan, New York Post

July 24: "There will be no flags raised by the Red Sox this year. ... The AL East dresses in Pinstripes again. Even if the Red Sox make it into the playoffs as a wild card team ... they are in big trouble."

July 26: Boston's victory Sunday night "gave the Yankees another reason to fear the Sox come October. ... [The Yankees] figure to survive the AL East, but the way this pitching staff is performing, they have no chance of winning a World Series."

July 25, 2004

Quotes From The Battlefield. Bronson Arroyo: "I threw a sinker in there. ... It got him on the elbow pad. If I had thrown a strict four-seamer and hit him in the ribs, maybe it looks obvious. But the guy dives out over the plate and hits balls 500 feet to right-center, so I'm going to try to get in on him. ... I don't have good enough stuff to stay on the outer half all day, especially with a team like this."

Alex Rodriguez: "Usually I don't get that angry about anything. I get hit a lot, but I smelled something funny that I didn't like. ... I thought it was a little out of the ordinary to get back-to-back pitches inside like that."

Jason Varitek: "He was yelling at the pitcher, yelling a few things at Bronson. I told him, in a few choice words, to get to first base. Then it changed from him yelling at Bronson to us yelling at each other and then things got out of hand."

Rodriguez: "I don't remember what I said. I don't remember what I said to Arroyo, either."

David Ortiz: "I look up and I see Sturtze choking the (expletive) out of my guy. If the league is fair, they'll see I was trying to break it up, because I had a lot of chances to knock the (expletive) out of him."

Gabe Kapler, asked if he had a history with Tanyon Sturtze: "We do now."

Theo Epstein: "It had more intensity than most postseason games. This win and the way it happened should prove to be very important to us. It's hard to have a more meaningful regular-season victory. We've been kind of waiting to have this feeling all year."

Manny Ramirez: "That was the craziest game I've ever been a part of."

Bill Mueller: "I don't know if I've ever hit one out of the infield off (Rivera). It's a win against the Yankees, which is always nice."

Varitek was in the clubhouse: "I've never been that nervous watching a game. I almost jumped to the ceiling when Bill Mueller hit the home run."

The Gerbil, watching the game in Cooperstown: "All I looked for was Pedro. I never saw him. He was probably up in the clubhouse. That figures."

Sam Borden of the Daily News notes: "When the Yankees and Mariners fought in 1999, Rodriguez, then with Seattle, hung on the outskirts of the donnybrook, joking with Derek Jeter while punches were thrown around them."

What Else? The Red Sox acquired RH reliever Terry Adams from Toronto. He may be with the team tonight and will likely replace Baked Malaska in the pen. ... Scott Williamson will make a rehab appearance for Pawtucket today and Lenny DiNardo is currently rehabbing in Fort Myers. ... Derek Lowe says he is unfazed by the rumors of a possible trade to the Phillies. Still bothered by a blister on his right thumb, Lowe faces Contreras at 8:05 pm tonight.
George Bush Is Not A Complete Loser. Chimpy McCokespoon got another trifecta at the recent World Stupidity Awards, winning Stupidest Man of the Year, Stupidest Statement of the Year and his second consecutive Reckless Endangerment of the Planet award. ... The US was also cited for having the Stupidest Government of the Year. The awards were presented by the Main Organization Revealing Obvious Numbskulls.

One of my favorite (though overlooked) Bush quotes is this one: "It's very interesting when you think about it, the slaves who left here to go to America, because of their steadfast and their religion and their belief in freedom, helped change America." In Senegal, July 8, 2003.

July 24, 2004

The Game Of The Year. I'm speechless.

Today's game had it all -- a brawl featuring A-Rod and Varitek, 4 Red Sox errors (including 3 on three consecutive plays), New York taking a quick 3-0 lead, Boston coming back 4-3 (with 4 hits on four consecutive pitches in the 4th), Tito getting ejected, blowing the lead and trailing 9-4, cutting the gap to 9-8, falling back 10-8, and then winning the game 11-10 with a 2-run Mueller home run off Rivera in the 9th. ... And two perfect innings from Ramiro Mendoza.

Every batter Rivera faced -- all five -- hit the ball hard. ... If you missed it, don't worry. MLB is selling a download for $3.95. Well worth it. You'll get to hear Buck and McCarver crying at the end!

This game could really turn this team around. They played hard Friday, but fell short. Today, they stormed right back after both the fight and the Yankees' 6-run 6th and puts several runs on the board. ... I'm ready for a 20-4 run. I believe! How about you?

July 22, 2004

Someone -- Finally -- Says The Obvious. It's Gabe Kapler. From the Globe: "I think we need to battle a little bit harder. I think we've had a couple of instances recently where we've gotten behind in a game and have become semi-lifeless, and I think it's important that we show a little amount of tenacity right now." (And in the Herald) ... Kapler's words could have been a little stronger and if he was an everyday player, perhaps they would have been. The question is what is this team going to do about it?

Fans need to vent and get back on the horse. ... Day-night doubleheader today. According to redsox.com, lefty Abe Alvarez is up from Portland (AA) to make his major league debut against Rodrigo Lopez at 1:05 pm; Tim Wakefield/Dave Borkowski at 7:05 pm.

Afternoon lineup:

Bellhorn 2b
Mueller 3b
Ortiz DH
Ramirez LF
Garciaparra SS
Nixon RF
Millar 1B
Varitek C
Kapler CF

The Yankees arrive tomorrow and if the Red Sox don't get their act together fast, it's going to be one ugly weekend.
The 9/11 Commission Report. Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official Government Edition. ... PDF files are here.

July 21, 2004

Share Your Vodka And Brownies With Me. Boston's 9-7 victory over Seattle yesterday was a perfect example of what I was talking about when I wrote that this team can infuriate me even when they win.

I met my YLP* Laura on July 20, 1985 (!), so we spent the day out in the city together for our anniversary. I taped the game, we avoided bars with possible sports scores updates, and watched it when we got home. ... I got all nostalgic (for 2003) when they scored eight times in the 4th, but then Lowe and the bullpen let the Mariners creep slowly back into the game. And frankly (Mr. Shankly), as Seattle closed the gap to 9-7 in the 8th and Foulke let the first two guys get on the bottom of the 9th, I fully expected the Red Sox to lose. And since I knew the game was already over (the team was likely flying back east as I was watching), I was really curious (morbidly so) how it would happen.

Seattle had the winning run at the plate three times: Boone, Edgar and Jacobsen. But the Real Foulke emerged in the nick of time, striking out all three batters (he got Edgar looking on a picture-perfect fastball on the inside corner). ... Boston won the game -- and I felt nothing. No joy, no satisfaction, barely any relief.

Random things: NESN continues to miss pitches because it shows too many goddamn commercials; Sox fans missed the first pitch of the tops of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 8th (all Boston batters). ... In the 9th, Trot Nixon had about as good a chance of hitting Mike Myers as I would have. Totally overmatched against the sidearming lefty. ... Tito has 0% confidence in Mendoza. With Embree in serious danger of pissing away the game in the 8th, he refused to go the pen again. ... For solace and commiseration, an excellent alternative to the vacationing Soxaholix is Surviving Grady.

Pedro goes bird hunting (and his mates will treat Bedard like a pinata) at 7:05 pm.

*YLP = Yankee Loving Partner

July 20, 2004

Another Foulking Loss. Many fans are calling this morning's 8-4 choke to Seattle the worst of the year. Perhaps it is. My low point was Edgar's pinch-hit game-tying home run in the 9th. ... After Boone's ball sailed well over Manny's head and the left field fence at 1:44 am, I shut the TV off, quietly filled in my scorecard and went to bed. Where I dreamed that we weren't relying on Derek Lowe to stop this nearly three-month-long skid.

Lots of ifs in this one: If Arroyo starts the 8th, perhaps the pen survives the 9th; if Nomar was quicker getting to Ichiro's grounder up the middle to start the 8th, perhaps Embree finishes the inning; if Mueller makes a decent throw to second on Winn's grounder, perhaps the Mariners do not score their 2nd run that inning.

Hell, if Boston could have scored more runs (bases loaded, 1 out in the 1st, Nomar GIDP (but hey it was on the 2nd pitch (he hacked the first one foul, which came after Villone hit Mueller and walked Ortiz and Manny; nice patience, Nosmarts)); 1st & 3rd with 0 out in the 4th, Millar foules out and Kapler lines into a DP; leadoff double in the 5th, but Bellhorn dies at third) ...

Last year, this team made me hopeful even on days they lost. This year, even when they win, they piss me off. I need a drink ... and the cabinet is empty.

July 18, 2004

Treading Water. The Tigers beat the Yankees this afternoon, so a win against the Angels would be most appreciated. Going 1-3 in Anaheim is not acceptable. ... When is this team going to realize that a winning streak will not just magically happen -- they have to bear down, stop mailing in their at-bats when they are behind by more than a couple of runs and battle for a full 9 innings every day. ... The fact that they are tied for the wild card does not lessen my annoyance.

Curt Schilling says his right ankle feels better than it has in two months and he plans to pitch this afternoon (on 9 days rest) without an injection of Marcaine. ... Schilling and Pedro Martinez will fly back to Boston tonight rather than accompany the team to Seattle for a two-game series. ... Schilling discusses his first half-season in Boston, the fans and the media. He also calls Newsday's Jon Heyman "an idiot and a liar."

Terry Francona said he's not using Manny Ramirez as the DH against the Angels because it would force David Ortiz to play first base and weaken the infield defense. I think Manny's bat makes up for any possible lost fielding prowess -- c'mon, is Millar really than much better than Ortiz? Manny refers to himself now as "a pinch-hitting specialist." ... Ortiz and the Red Sox wait to hear "Yankee Bob" Watson's ruling. ... Did you know that Johnny Damon and Mark Bellhorn played together on a high school all-star team in Florida?

According to Gordon Edes, Alan Schwartz's new book, The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics, "present[s] the evolution of baseball statistics and the vital role they played practically from the time the game was invented." ... Schwartz says Boston is the model of how a team can integrate both the traditionalists and the number crunchers: "I'm very impressed by the Red Sox. Everybody keeps an open mind, which is immensely powerful."
Strike Up The Band. "So let me get this straight: The army, confronted with the fact it doesn't have enough musicians to play at all the soldier's funerals, looks at that problem and comes up with this solution -- hire more musicians. You know I'm not a military man but it seems to me that those guys might want to start thinking outside the coffin on this one. Maybe less dead people. It's a thought." Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

This past Thursday, Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL) spoke out about the 2000 election debacle, the GOP and HR-4818, a bill that would provide international monitoring of the November presidential election. "I come from Florida, where you and others participated in what I call the United States coup d'etat. We need to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Over and over again after the election when you stole the election, you came back here and said get over it. No, we're not going to get over it and we want verification from the world."

According to this report: "Those comments drew an immediate objection from Republican members of the House. Leaders moved to strike her comments from the record. The House also censured Brown which kept her from talking on the House floor for the rest of the day." ... Ain't democracy wonderful?

July 17, 2004

This Is 'Joy Of Sox' Blog Post #666 -- Really. On Friday, George W. Bush met with a group of Old Order Amish during his visit to Lancaster County, Pennslyvania. According to the Lancaster New Era: "At the end of the session, Bush reportedly told the group, 'I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job.'" ... The question is: Who Would Jesus Torture?
Four More Wars. The upcoming final report by the 9/11 Commission will contain new evidence of contacts between al-Qaeda and Iran. According to a senior US official, "the Commission has uncovered evidence suggesting that between eight and ten of the 14 "muscle" hijackers -- that is, those involved in gaining control of the four 9/11 aircraft and subduing the crew and passengers -- passed through Iran in the period from October 2000 to February 2001." ... Of course, the hijackers also "passed through" more than a dozen states here in America and spent most of their time in Florida.

And look -- right on schedule -- there is noise in today's UK Times about "the US [mounting] a concerted attempt to overturn the regime in Iran if President Bush is elected for a second term. It would work strenuously to foment a revolt against the ruling theocracy by Iran’s 'hugely dissatisfied' population." [Psst, to read story: username "googles21" - password "googles"]

In November and December 2003, Tony Blair claimed that "the remains of 400,000 people [had been found] in [Iraqi] mass graves." That information was used in one of the invasion's justifications-du-jour and was cited in the US's report, "Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID." But guess what? ... It was a lie. ... The actual figure of 5,000 bodies is horrific, but the Pentagon has admitted (as reported in Bob Woodward's latest book) the US killed at least 30,000 Iraqis in the first few weeks of the invasion alone.
Hot Head. Last night's game featured perhaps the worst home plate umpiring I have ever seen. Matt Hollowell blew 30-40 pitches -- easily. I was noting a lot of them on my scorecard with a "?!" or "missed" or "blown" but it was happening so often, I got tired of doing it. He was inconsistent throughout the entire game, but he seemed to squeeze Pedro particularly tight. The box score shows that Jeff DaVanon walked on four pitches in the 2nd inning, but balls 1, 2 and 4 were obvious strikes.

Batters on both sides were annoyed, but it was Boston and David Ortiz who blew a gasket. Ortiz was called out on a pitch that was under his armpits -- it hadn't been called a strike for anyone all night -- and after being ejected, he went nuts.

Terry Francona (and Dale Sveum, Ron Jackson and Bill Haselman) did a damn good job of keeping Ortiz from charging Holloway. I think he would have slugged Hollowell if he had gotten loose. When he was back in the dugout, Ortiz threw two bats toward the plate. They came awfully close to hitting 3B umpire Mark Carlson and 1B umpire Bill Hohn. "I did something wrong," Ortiz said afterwards. "I apologize to the fans, the umpires and the manager."

Looking back over my scorecard at Ortiz's at-bat in the 3rd inning:

Ball 1
Ball 2 - My note says the ump blew this call; it was a strike.
Called strike 1 - This pitch was worse that the previous one but it was called a strike.

Ortiz just stood in the box looking completely befuddled, like he had no idea what the zone was. It was a complete guessing game. His next time up -- in the 5th -- he singled to right center on the first pitch so the ump didn't make any calls. Then came his AB in the 7th (where the first pitch, called a ball, should have been a strike).

Will Hollowell bear any blame for what happened? I doubt it. I can't recall seeing this guy call a game before -- I'm sure I have though (if you Google his name, you'll find he has been involved in several ejections in the last year) -- but he is in no way, shape or form, up to the standards [sic] of a major league umpire. There are roughly 250+ pitches thrown in every game and the plate ump will miss some of them, but when he misses several dozen, something is very wrong.

Pedro had his best velocity of the season, hitting anywhere from 94-96 in the first two innings. After Erstad doubled in the 4th, the next Anaheim batter to hit a fair ball was Erstad again, in the 6th. In between was: K, K, BB, K, K, K, K, BB. The first strikeout in that sequence was to DaVanon. Martinez threw five straight changeups before getting him looking with a fastball on the inside corner. Just cruel. ... Because he pitched the second game of the Angels series, Martinez will not face the Yankees next weekend in Boston. ... Tim Wakefield will pitch one of the games in Thursday's doubleheader against the Orioles. For the second game, Frank Castillo may be recalled from Pawtucket or Portland's Abe Alvarez could make his big league debut.

Two teams:
          AVG  R/G   OBP  WIN%

Team A .303 6.2 .376 .667 [108-54]
Team B .258 4.9 .344 .439 [ 71-91]
A is the Red Sox at Fenway; B is the club on the road. Art Martone has more.

Trade Talk: Jeff Horrigan writes: "According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox have expressed tepid interest in acquiring Randy Johnson ... their chances of landing the Big Unit are being assessed at only 1-10 percent." But while rumors of a trade have slowed to a trickle, the Diamondbacks will be scouting the Sox's AAA and AA teams. ... Peter Gammons says Johnson will approve a trade to only the Yankees or Cardinals, although the AP says the Red Sox, Cubs and White Sox are on that list as well. ... Gordon Edes says the Cubs remain hopeful of trading for Nomar, but since that would be contingent on Boston getting Johnson, they feel their chances are "50-50." ... And the Yankees may make a bigger push for Johnson now that Mike Mussina is on the DL and Kevin Brown was hit hard in a AA rehab assignment.

Trot Nixon thinks MLB's new crackdown on excessive pine tar on batting helmets is a joke. "That's the biggest laughingstock [sic] I've ever heard of in my life. ... What next? When I slide headfirst and get dirt on the 'Boston' on my jersey, are they going to make me change my jersey? ... It would be a different story if John Henry or Larry Lucchino or Theo, the team ownership had come to me. And if the fans had say they didn't like it, that it was ugly, I'd pay attention to that. ... It's almost as if Bud Selig is saying, 'I'm bored, let's do something, let's stir up something.'"

Out Of Town: Chicago Tribune: "Nomar Talk Not Dead" ... Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle: "The Boston Red Sox were buried by the New England media after being swept at Yankee Stadium three weeks ago, and relations haven't improved much since then. ... Don't be fooled, A's fans. This is how it works in Boston. The Red Sox will win the wild-card race, comfortably, with a late-summer surge. That leaves only one option -- win the West outright -- for Oakland."

Wakefield/Colon at 10:05 pm.

July 16, 2004

Angels 8, Red Sox 1. I missed the first three innings of last night's game, so I didn't see Derek Lowe get himself into and then out of various types of trouble. Lowe threw 95 pitches in the first 4 innings and in each of those frames, Anaheim left 2 men on base.

Lowe began the 4th by getting Vladimir Guerrero to tap back to the mound (1st pitch). Jose Guillen poked a seeing-eye single past both Lowe and Mark Bellhorn into right center. Darrin Erstad doubled to the left center, giving the Angels a 2-1 lead. At that point, Alan Embree got up in the bullpen.

Should the pen have been up early? That's a tough call. Clearly, Francona hoped Lowe could complete the 5th -- that seems like the least a starter can do. And Lowe had been pitching out of trouble. He rebounded to get Jeff DaVanon looking for the second out. Benji Molina took a strike before singling to left field. Kevin Millar (whose piss-poor fielding "skills" led to the Angels' first run an inning earlier) made a weak throw home and Anaheim had a 3-1 lead. At that point, Francona went to the pen.

It seems logical to me. And I was pleased that he called on Embree. It was only the 5th inning, but this was the time to bring in one of the better arms to keep the game close. There were plenty of times earlier this year when Francona would bring in one of the rag arms, with predictable results. Unfortunately, Embree didn't get the job done. After Adam Kennedy singled, David Eckstein doubled and Chone Figgins singled, Boston trailed 6-1.

Some fans bitched about another slow hook from Tito, but (with the caveat that I did not see Lowe's entire start) I didn't see it that way. If there was any slow hook, it was on Embree. The entire bullpen was rested because of the All-Star break and should have been used. Anaheim tacked on a couple more runs in the 6th and won easily. ... I was wondering when the Red Sox batters would start mailing it in, hacking away with no plan, looking like they want nothing more than to get the game over with. I'd say they started in the 7th, when Anaheim was ahead 8-1. Nomar Garciaparra began that inning by popping up the first pitch (surprise!) foul to first base.
One final nit: Mark Bellhorn singled to start the 9th. With lefty David Ortiz batting, the Angeles were not holding him on. But Ortiz saw four pitches (he flew out to left) and Manny Ramirez saw 3 (he also flew out to left) and Bellhorn made NO move towards second. If part of the rationale for taking second in that situation is to stay out of the double play, why wait until there is two outs before taking the base? ... Just another example of stupid baseball from the Red Sox.
Pedro/Escobar at 10:05 pm.
Book Review. Mark Robinson recently reviewed my book at his Phillies blog I'm Not An Athlete:

"What's great about this book is that it talks about Babe Ruth before he became the greatest thing since sliced bread. 1918 marked the end of two eras -- the Red Sox winning ways (they haven't won a World Series since, in case you haven't heard) and Babe Ruth's career as a pitcher. Throughout the season, he battled the team's manager, Ed Barrow, trying to get time in the field in addition to his starts as a pitcher because he loved hitting so much. Eventually Barrow started to give in and the rest, as they say, is history. Another interesting aspect of this book (which actually seemed sort of tacked-on at the end) was the supposition that the 1918 series was fixed. The case doesn't seem as clear-cut as what happened the next year with the fabled Black Sox, but it's interesting to read about nonetheless."

July 15, 2004

Strap Yourselves In. The break was nice -- as was seeing Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz go deep (making sure Games 6 and 7 of the World Series will be played in Fenway Park) and watching Fat Billy become the first pitcher to allow the cycle in one All-Star Game inning -- but now, it's back to business. There are 76 games left to play -- 76 mini-seasons.

Despite myriad injuries to key players and a 33-32 record since the end of April, the Red Sox remain atop the wild-card standings. Anaheim, their opponent for the next four games, is 1.5 games behind. However, I'm not buying into this focus-on-the-wild-card crap, not in mid-July. I truly believe the Yankees can be caught. It won't be easy (they are 7 games up), and New York will have to go into a bit of a tailspin, but it is possible. ... Boston won't win all of those 76 games, but I want to see them fight like hell through every single one of those (at least) 684 innings. That's where I'm at right now.

Two midterm reports -- RSN hopes the performance on the recent homestand continues. The Sox hit .373, winning four games by 7+ runs; their fifth win (in those six games) came in extra innings after blowing a 7-1 lead. Johnny Damon has hit safely in 16 consecutive games (.436). ... David Ortiz: "We need to play better on the road (18-23). [W]e've lost some real killers on the road. If we want to have any chance, we have to start winning more on the road." ... They get their first chance tonight.

The Red Sox activated Ramiro Mendoza from the disabled list this afternoon and sent Kevin Youkilis to Pawtucket. Mendoza had been rehabbing in Pawtucket for the last 30 days, so he needed to be activated or released by today. I'll miss Yook, but he'll get to play every day (and perhaps get some 1B experience (though my gut tells me he'll be part of deadline-trade)). ... What can Mendoza do? Probably nothing -- and honestly, I'll take not harming us as a plus -- but I'm sure the Red Sox didn't want to simply dump him by the side of the road and end up paying his salary if he was back in the Bronx, happy as a clam, getting outs in October.

Re Randy Johnson -- We're in for 16 days of rumors and I don't know how closely I'm going to be following them. All reports indicate that nothing of substance will happen until the end of the month. Skimming today's papers we see that:
  • There are five teams making a play for Johnson: the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Cubs and White Sox.

  • Art Martone thinks that Johnson-to-Boston is unlikely. The biggest reason? Johnson's unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause to come to the Sox. Art: "People familiar with Johnson's thinking say his preference is to join the Yankees and that he'll refuse a move to Boston. ... The Yankees desperately want Johnson ... but have very little to offer Arizona in return. ... In the end, the deciding factor may be how badly Johnson wants out of Arizona."

  • The Globe: "[O]ther sources familiar with the deal indicated yesterday he'd prefer to go to the Yankees, followed by the Angels. ... [Johnson's agent Alan] Nero also believes there is a strong possibility Johnson will remain with the Diamondbacks."

  • An American League source says the Red Sox are not shopping Nomar Garciaparra and that Theo Epstein has made that clear to Garciaparra. However, there were reports earlier this week that Nomar would be part of a three-way deal with Arizona and the Cubs.
Derek Lowe faces Jarrod Washburn at 10:05 pm.

July 11, 2004

"No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up." -- Lily Tomlin. If you dared to express your nagging concern that the Bush administration, fearful of losing the White House, might be planning (or looking for a way) to suspend (or even cancel) the November election, you'd be laughed at, branded as a tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy wacko. ... Right? ... Well, guess what?

Michael Isikoff, in the upcoming issue of Newsweek: "American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call 'alarming' intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack ... [Tom] Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place."

And this Reuters headline -- "US Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack" -- was posted this afternoon. ... This story first broke back on June 25: "The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission." (Also here) I notice that the idea of canceling the election has been dropped from the original story (probably best to keep that part hush-hush for now).

If I've learned anything about the Bush Cabal, it's to never say: "Oh, but they wouldn't do that!" It's common knowledge now that they milked 9/11 for all it was worth, enriching themselves and their friends with billions and billions of dollars. And they have the blood of nearly 1,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis (who were no more responsible for 9/11 than you or I) running through their oily hands. ... The question is not whether the Bush Cabal would take advantage of another terrorist attack, but would they do it again?
While I Was Out. Three big stories:

1. Derek Lowe's Head. On Thursday, when Lowe was asked by the Boston media about his confidence, he went off on a "discourse" (or "rant") that lasted somewhere between 12 and 20 minutes. A bit of Lowe's comments:
"Why is it that when other people pitch bad, it's because they pitched bad, but when I pitch bad, it's because of something mental? ... So what is it when I pitch well? Luck? When I won 38 games over the last two years, was that luck? [When told about his body language on the mound when things go bad -- lowering his head, shrugging his shoulders, looking upset, he said] What, I can't show emotion? It was OK for me to show emotion against Oakland last year because we won, but it's not OK now? I've been here seven years and people still don't understand what I'm about. ... When Pedro pitches a bad game or Curt or anybody, they pitch bad. I pitch bad and I'm a mental Gidget. ... The bottom line is, I'm pitching like shit. If you want to say that about me, fine, but don't talk about what I'm feeling inside, because you don't know."
[1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; a "mental Gidget"???]

Lowe did say that his on-mound confidence has been an issue with Red Sox management since he joined the team in mid-1997. Also, Mets scouts were on hand watching him pitch against the Rangers.

2. Johnny Damon's bat. On Friday, Damon had four hits (including 2 solo home runs) to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. In this torrid stretch, Damon is 30-for-67 (.448) with 19 runs scored, 5 home runs and 10 RBI; his average has risen from .286 to .319. ... Jason Varitek: "Our caveman is pretty awesome." ... Damon says this streak rivals his performance for Kansas City in July 2000, when he hit .436 -- including collecting 15 hits in a 4-game stretch -- and scored 20 runs in 27 games.

3. Randy Johnson. Theo Epstein called the Unit-to-Boston rumors "Internet BS ... There's nothing going on with Randy Johnson, zero." ... On Friday, Sean McAdam wrote that "several baseball sources familiar with Johnson's thinking say the All-Star's 'clear preference' is to be dealt to the New York Yankees" (I love that phrase "familiar with Johnson's thinking"). Despite his public stance of not wanting to leave Arizona, Johnson has allegedly been privately frustrated with the direction of the Diamondbacks.

Who could the Red Sox trade for Johnson? ... Saying that Johnson would not come to Boston is premature. ... Curt Schilling will meet up with Johnson at Tuesday's All-Star game (and their wives will apparently sit together), but he won't play salesman. "RJ is not going to go somewhere just so he can be locker-mates with somebody." Meanwhile, the Yankees are on high alert regarding Boston's interest in Johnson.

Etc. Lenny DiNardo went on the 15-day disabled list and Joe Nelson, signed as a walk-on during spring training, is now with the club. Tim Hamulack was designated for assignment. ... Kevin Youkilis and Mark Bellhorn are taking grounders at first. ... Byung-Hyun Kim is in Pawtucket, but he may not be set to return just yet. ... Scott Williamson received a cortisone shot on Thursday after having his right elbow strain and nerve impingement re-evaluated.

Ellis Burks underwent surgery on his left knee and is expected to be sidelined until nearly September. I think his career is over. ... Two stories from last week about the Sox and chewing tobacco. ... Shooting down some rumors, Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane says he will not trade Roger Clemens. ... Barry Zito wonders if the Sox are stealing signs.

Pitchers in Anaheim after the All-Star break: Lowe (Thursday), Pedro Martinez (Friday; 8 days rest) Tim Wakefield (Saturday) and Schilling (Sunday; 9 days rest). Schilling will thus be in line to open the three-game series against the Yankees on July 23 at Fenway Park. Bronson Arroyo will start the first game in Seattle.

July 10, 2004

The Bats Are Back.

And given half a chance, the pitching has also been fine. Five straight wins with a gaggle of runs -- 21 hits (including 5 home runs) tonight. With the regular lineup back, all is well.

July 6, 2004

It's Like A Baby New York. Out of town -- in Philadelphia for the week (seeing the Phillies-Mets on Thursday). So nothing here until Saturday. ... Go Sox!

July 5, 2004

Notes. I was pretty surprised yesterday when Bobby Cox walked Nomar intentionally to pitch to Manny with the bases loaded and no outs. So was David Ortiz, who yelled out to Ramirez: "'Don't they have cable here in Atlanta? Don't they see you're hitting .340?' He just looked at me and gave me a gesture like, 'I'll take care of it.'" ... Manny crushed a two-run double to right-center and when he got to second base, he was waving his arms, making sure Ortiz and Pedro had seen his big hit.

Nomar's bat is heating up; he went 7-for-13 in Atlanta. ... While Theo defends Tito and Nomar, the Sun Sentinel has more info on the Marlins' possible interest in Garciaparra. "The most likely trade bait would be shortstop Alex Gonzalez, a longtime favorite of Boston owner John Henry. If the Marlins thought Garciaparra could (or would) move to first base, they might be willing to part with Hee Seop Choi instead. ... Red Sox scouts Bill Lajoie and Murray Cook were at Pro Player Stadium for the recent series against Atlanta, when [Brad] Penny and [Carl] Pavano started on consecutive days."

Tuesday's game may be the very first time that the Red Sox have their full lineup on the field. ... Barry Bonds became the all-time walks leader with 2,191, breaking Rickey Henderson's record yesterday in San Francisco. ... Tony Massarotti sez: "First things first: Lowe's gotta go" ... The starting assignments for the Oakland and Texas series -- which will take us to the All-Star break -- look like this:

Tuesday - Wakefield v. Zito
Wednesday - Pedro v. Redman
Thursday - Schilling v. Harden

Friday - Arroyo
Saturday - Lowe
Sunday - Wakefield
Mail Bag. From Joe Blow [commiesarelosers@yahoo.com] on July 1: "How'd ya like the 13th inning tonight?? Good luck to the Red Sox in their chase for the wild card, they're going to need it! Oh, and what happened to the Red Sox this series is also going to happen to John Kerry in a few months as well. The Red Sox and commies are losers. So get used to it, you fucking loser."

I'm assuming J-Blow did not enjoy himself this past weekend. The Mets! Ha! ... I do want to applaud him, however, for spelling each word correctly.
A Difference Of Opinion? On The 4th Of July? In America? As Dick Cheney might say, no fucking way. ... "Two Bush opponents, taken out of the crowd in restraints by police, said they were told they couldn't be there because they were wearing shirts that opposed the president." This happened at a public rally.

From The Declaration of Independence: "He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation; ... For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury; ... He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation." ... Sound familiar?

July 4, 2004

The Wonder Of It All. Big Win. Mirabelli with the GS and Curt Schilling with the CG. Tito: "[H]e understood the situation. He intended to finish that game from pitch one. And there was not one point where it looked like he wasn't going to finish that game. We desperately needed to win tonight." ... Johnny Damon: "That was absolutely needed. (Schilling) told us before the game he was going to go nine. He knew the bullpen needed rest. He knew how huge this game was, and he stepped up."

July 3, 2004

Fahrenheit 1918. This Soxaholix entry is the best yet. Flat-out brilliant.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine. Honestly, what else is there to do? Doesn't it seem like the last Red Sox win was about 2 months ago? These recent losses have passed from infuriating to heartbreaking to absurd. (In fact, things are going so badly that I think Jim Donaldson has a point.)

Where do we go from here? Well, this glutton for punishment is going to swig some more of Terry's Kool-Aid -- "When we do good, it will feel that much better." -- and get back on the Bus. With any luck (or perhaps a lot of luck), we'll be shaking our heads in November about that crazy week back in early July that had us at our wits' end.

Scott Williamson went back on the DL (radial nerve impingement of his right forearm) and Anastacio Martinez was recalled from Pawtucket. Bill Mueller is back and Cesar Crespo was designated for assignment (yay!). ... ProJo: "Francona, though, said he thought about batting Garciaparra for Crespo in the 13th. But the Sox already had scored on Manny Ramirez's homer for a 4-3 lead, so Francona held out Garciaparra. Crespo hit into an inning-ending double play." ... Boston dealt for two pitchers: LHP Jimmy Anderson (from the Cubs) and RHP Brandon Puffer (from the Padres). ... More soap for the opera (Schilling v. Williamson).

Several fans are wondering why -- in 25 innings of baseball over 2 nights -- Lenny DiNardo did not even warm up? ... Finally, the Seattle Times reported Friday that the Red Sox are talking to the Mariners about a deal for 1B John Olerud and possibly some bullpen help (Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Ron Villone).

Schilling needs to pitch deep into tonight's game (and win it, if possible (wouldn't that be something?)) because the pen is fried. Foulke, Embree and Timlin have all been worked like mules lately.

July 2, 2004

We Still Believe ... Thanks to Rudy and Retrosheet:

July 2, 2004
Boston Red Sox: 42-35
(8½ GB Yankees in AL East -- 2 GB Oakland in Wild Card)

July 2, 2003
Florida Marlins: 43-43
(11 GB Atlanta in NL East (4th place) -- 5½ GB Phillies in Wild Card)

July 2, 2002
Anaheim Angels: 47-34
(4 GB Seattle in AL West -- 2½ GB Boston in Wild Card)
Odds & Ends. Yankees broadcaster Jim Kaat had a long conversation with Francona before Thursday's game and reported that Garciaparra asked out of the lineup. Garciaparra denied that he had asked out. ... Bill Mueller is scheduled to come off the disabled list today in Atlanta. ... David McCarty's stolen base last night was his first since May 17, 1998. ... RHP Pedro Astacio was signed to a minor league contract.

On Wednesday, Newsday's Jon Heyman said that Varitek and Schilling had "a half-serious confrontation" -- that Varitek had scolded Schilling for not showing up at the pitchers' meeting before the Yankees series. According to Varitek, it was all a joke and Francona called it "irresponsible reporting." ... There are also reports that Schilling had a heated exchange with Scott Williamson after Williamson left Wednesday's game with tenderness in his right forearm (and went back to Boston for an MRI). When asked, Schilling offered no comment.

Friday, 7:35 pm: Bronson Arroyo (2-7, 4.68) vs. Jaret Wright (5-5, 3.77)
Saturday, 7:05 pm: Curt Schilling (10-4, 3.24) vs. John Thomson (6-6, 4.69)
Sunday, 1:05 pm: Derek Lowe (6-7, 5.47) vs. Mike Hampton (2-8, 5.55)
As The Sox Turn. I am not heartbroken over last night's loss. It was one hell of a game and, honestly, the trainwrecks of Tuesday and Wednesday hurt much worse. The Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 hole, they shut the door on potential game-winning rallies by the Yankees in the 9th, 10th and 12th innings, they didn't make any errors, Pedro drilled Sheffield in the back, and Foulke-Timlin-Embree pitched four innings of 3-hit shutout ball. Even Leskanic did well before running aground with 2 outs in the 13th; his K of Bernie to end the 12th was masterful.

So what's the deal with Nomar, pouting on the bench by himself during the insanity of extra innings? I went to bed right after the game, so I missed the through-the-night rumors about a possible trade. If you have a few hours, here is the SoSH thread -- 100,000 views in 15 hours. Yeah, we're nuts. The rumored deal?

Red Sox get: Odalis Perez and Carlos Delgado
Blue Jays get: Cesar Izturis and minor-league pitcher
Dodgers get: Nomar and Kim

I would do that deal yesterday! As much as I wanted Nomar around when the Red Sox won it all (during the A-Rod soap opera last winter, it just seemed wrong to have a possible parade without #5), I have to agree with the poster who called the Nomar/Red Sox relationship a bad marriage. The two principals have clearly grown apart and there doesn't appear to be any chance of a reconciliation.

And that catch of Nixon's popup and dive into the seats by Jeter was incredible. Of course, we know he did it only because Pokey had made a somewhat similar tumble on Lofton back in the 5th and he didn't want to be upstaged. ... It pains me somewhat to say it, but the contrast between Jeter's face first header into the crowd (judging from how quickly he was swollen and bruised, he must have hit the metal arm rest between two seats) and Garciaparra's clear indifference during the most exciting game of the year was very telling. And incredibly disheartening.

July 1, 2004

Habeas Corpus and Harry Frazee. Eric Alterman has a rundown of Monday's historic Supreme Court rulings. He quotes Eric Rauchway, a history professor at University of California, Davis, who believes the decisions are "the most significant and sustained rulings on [habeas corpus] since Milligan, possibly ever."

Rauchway has also written about Harry Frazee, the sale of Babe Ruth and the Broadway play "No No Nanette". Glenn Stout's research for "Red Sox Century" seemed to prove that any link between these three things is part and parcel of the Curse hokum perpetrated by the CHB and repeated ad nauseum by the sports media (including ESPN's Chris Berman last night), but Rauchway, in looking at newspaper accounts of Frazee's business dealings in the mid-1920s, sees a connection.
Bush's Military Records. Paul Lukasiak has written what looks like the definitive analysis of George W. Bush's military records (as part of the AWOL Project): "An examination of the Bush military files within the context of US Statutory Law, Department of Defense regulations, and Air Force policies and procedures of that era lead to a single conclusion: George W. Bush was considered a deserter by the United States Air Force. ... However, Bush's desertion from the Armed Forces thirty years ago is not terribly relevant. Lots of people make mistakes in their early twenties, and those mistakes do not necessarily reflect on the character of individuals when they are in their fifties. What is relevant is Bush's continued lies about his service, and his insistence upon presenting his service in the US Military as "honorable". It was not. Bush simply blew off his last two years of required service, and was able to get away with it because he came from a politically influential family. There is no other explanation for Bush's records. None."
Team Photo.