October 31, 2010

"... You Hatchet-Faced Nutmeg Dealer"

From Reason, with sources for the ad copy.

Also: I could not care less about the Rally to Restore Sanity, but I love this sign:

October 29, 2010

Ortiz Wants To Stay, But Says He Is "Worn Out" By Boston's Negativity & "Other Crap"

The Red Sox have only three days after the end of the World Series to make their decision about picking up David Ortiz's $12.5 million option for 2011. (I thought it was five days.)

Ortiz, who turns 35 in November, said the parties will meet next week. Flo would like the Sox to rip up the option and come to an agreement on a multi-year deal.
I want to be back, and I want to be here for a longer period of time. I'm just a little worn out because of the negativity that I've dealt with the last few years. I don't think there's any baseball player that can deal with all the distractions that I deal with and play baseball. It's hard. I'm not a superhero. I'm just another human being, like everyone else. I've got feelings. I want to give this team another World Series, and dealing with all the other crap with people telling you you can't do it no more, or this and that, I have no room for that. ...

I just want to be able to play baseball and have fun, like I used to. That's where I came back to not wanting just one year, because I know it's going to be just the same thing. As soon as you struggle for a week, it's going to be the same thing. People saying you are old, saying you have no bat speed anymore. People talking all kind of crap. It's hard to avoid that because it's all over the place.
Of course, if Ortiz signs for two years -- there is no way on Earth the Sox would do more than that -- and he is again slow out of the gate, he'll hear puh-lenty of crap. Probably more crap than he did this season, actually, because people will be bitching that the team is on the hook for him in 2012, too.

In SoSH's poll/discussion, I went with the last choice: pick up the option (which may annoy Ortiz), play 2011, and re-evaluate next November.
Tim Wakefield says winning the Roberto Clemente Award for his extensive community work is the highest honour of his career:
Coming up through the Pirates organization, you knew what his legacy stood for. ... Roberto's legacy truly epitomizes how an athlete should act, not only on the field, but off as well. That's what I've tried to emulate throughout my career. ... This award ultimately is the highest accomplishment I think you can attain or the highest compliment that you can get from somebody, and I'm very honored and humbled at the same time to accept this award.
Peter Gammons says it is very unlikely that Victor Martinez will be in a Red Sox uniform in 2011:
I think Detroit is going to give him four or five years. And I don't think anybody else is going to give him four or five years to be a catcher. I'm not so sure Beltre will be back. I can't gauge that market. But I do think they will go very hard after [Carl] Crawford, I really believe that. And I think they will go hard after some relief pitchers.

October 25, 2010

Book Review: The Red Sox And Philosophy

The Red Sox and Philosophy: Green Monster Meditations (edited by Michael Macomber) is one of the latest books in Open Court's "Popular Culture and Philosophy" series, which "present[s] essays by academic philosophers exploring the meanings, concepts, and puzzles within television shows, movies, music and other icons of popular culture".

I liked this book and would recommend it (with some caveats), but I have also had a very difficult time writing about it. Macomber was kind enough to send me a copy back in the spring and I've been procrastinating ever since.

At some point, I convinced myself that I should combine my thoughts about this book with how my attitude as a Red Sox fan changed after 2004. And as writers will sometimes do, I could imagine only the finished product when I thought about working on it, and felt like I had to knock out the final product as a first draft. There are few better ways to prevent yourself from writing.

As a Red Sox fan of 35 years, I'm not a curious or casual observer of the team and its fans; I have strong opinions. As I read, I wondered if my opinions were clouding my assessment of the contributors. I was taking issue with an author's point of view and then being miffed enough to consider dismissing the entire chapter. I was taking offense at things that probably should not have been provoking offense.

Am I a smarter (or "better") fan because I don't make snide remarks about J.D. Drew? Should I look down on someone because her hat is a different colour than mine or he uses what I believe are irrelevant, out-dated stats? If someone expresses what seems like a dumb idea, should I "penalize" him for it in a review? And if I answer Yes to any of these questions, what exactly does that say about me? I'm not sure how fair this is. It probably is not fair at all. What makes me nod my head in agreement might cause you to roll your eyes.

Several of the 26 essays are exceptional, but I wished that everyone had dug deeper into their subject matter, though I understand that might not have as much appeal to a general reader.

Marcus Giamatti ("What Binds Us Together") is the book's leadoff hitter. His father was a diehard Red Sox fan and his son understood early on that
This was a duty ...a lifelong quest to rise above and persevere. ... To be a true fan ... takes commitment. Total and complete. It takes faith -- faith that one day it will pay off. And if for some reason it doesn't, then the journey -- the process -- is the pay off.
Sander Lee opens his essay, "Why Are They Our Red Sox?": "Why do normally sane adults root for the Boston Red Sox?" His answer:
[B]ecause we choose to. My wife sometimes asks me why I allow myself to feel bad when the Sox lose. She accepts that it might be fun to feel good when they win, but why torture myself when they lose? There's no good way to explain the pleasures and pains of the true fan to those who choose not to enter the magical realm of sports.
John McHugh ("Grady Little, the Impartial Spectator, and My Short Fuse") thinks it is odd to get so riled up by simply watching the Red Sox, when we aren't actually doing anything. But that's the problem, isn't it? We are helpless, at the mercy of these players and the fickle luck of the game.

McHugh cites the stoicism of Epictetus, who believed we should focus only upon the things we can control -- our actions and reactions. That seems like a very Mannyesque way of seeing the world, though Nolen Gertz ("On The Genealogy of a Rivalry") draws a connection between Manny and Nietzsche.

In "Why Red Sox Fans Are Moral Heroes", one of the book's best essays, Karolina Lewestam and Orla Richardson write about the fan's unyielding commitment, her sense of loyalty despite the unpredictability of future events. In a world dominated by hip irony, that vulnerable state of being is "disturbing and obsolete".

But every fan remains blind to the future, so what makes Red Sox fans so special? Depending on the length of our relationship with the team, we have suffered more than most, I suppose. Still, there is a sense of Red Sox exceptionalism in many of these essays and I have to admit it annoyed me.

Corey McCall wonders if "The True Red Sox Fan" exists. He cites Immanuel Kant and talks about the idea of the enlightened individual who can construct his life -- think for himself -- and give his life meaning as he defines it.

He wonders if post-2004 fans are "less worthy" than us older farts who have paid more than our share of dues. It's a question that also comes up in Stephanie St. Martin's provocative exploration of the pink hat, "In Sync With Pink?". Her basic ideas -- we all follow the game at our own level and anyone playing the "superior fan" card is guilty of the same behaviour as the cellphone putzes behind the plate -- are solid, but the piece does not gel quite as well as I hoped.

St. Martin initially says the pink hat was created "to make sure that everyone can be a Red Sox fan, including women", but six pages later, she claims, "The pink hat isn't about women -- it's a bandwagon thing."

Why can't a woman wear a traditional cap? And as much as the term "pink hatter" has come to mean an ignorant follower of the team, it is also unmistakably sexist. Girls wear pink and boys wear blue.*

* Did you know that up until the 1950s, pink was for boys and blue was for girls? It's true. Ladies Home Journal explained: "The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."

I am guilty of some of what St. Martin describes. Like many fans, I see my cap as a symbol of my fandom. It is weather-beaten and dirty; it shows the scars of being a diehard. I finally had to replace my old cap a few years ago -- the bill soaked up so much sweat that it never got completely dry (actually quite disgusting) -- but I was not looking forward to putting on a crisp, clean hat. And that hesitancy was mainly because of how I thought it might look to others. I did not want to be confused with someone who had just discovered the team.

In "Wicked Faithful", Patrick Tiernan wonders, when we use religious terms like belief and faith to describe our connection to the Red Sox, what are we keeping faith in? He draws upon William James and Joseph Otto to put forth the idea that our faith is not merely a set of beliefs, but a mindset, an innate disposition, something we are in, not something we have.

From David Roochnik's "The Art of Losing":
Losing is a vastly more complicated experience than winning ... Loss is complicated because it includes both itself and what is not itself. ... Victors relish being who they are; losers feel the pain of who they are not. ...

[R]ationalization [is] a way to defuse the hurt. We diminish the importance of the game only because we were on the losing side. ... "It was only a game." ...

Victors are not driven to become reflective. ... They have no need to think. ... [The Yankees] treat loss as an insult, rather than the life-lesson it is.
Rory E. Kraft Jr. ("Forgiveness, Virtue, and Red Sox Nation") looks at our tendency to evaluate people by the actions they take, seeing them as an extension of those actions. This is why J.D. Drew gets criticized for stuff that mainly exists in fans' heads while Josh Reddick can actually say he is now a better hitter because "I stopped caring so much" and everyone pretty much yawns.

I also enjoyed Kevin Maguire's "What Kant Would Have to Say About Jon Lester's No-Hitter", in which he floats the idea that, since Kansas City had almost no chance of winning that game, "there may have been an obligation for the Royals to make less of an effort".

Matthew Konig is the lone Yankee fan on the roster. He mentions Schopenhauser's philosophy of pessimism and how success only creates a new dissatisfaction -- an idea that reminded me of what David Foster Wallace expressed about the room service on his cruise vacation.

Okay, the complaints.

Joel W. Cade ("Thou Shall Steal! How the 2004 Boston Red Sox Reconciled Faith and Reason") misrepresents Moneyball right away. Everything he says about sabermetrics is wrong. He writes some very strange things about the 2004 team. I swear he thinks it's crazy that wins are directly related to a team's ability to score runs. And he actually refers to "statistics crunched by sabermetricians in their basements".

Jonah P.B. Goldwater ("Bill James and the Science of Red Sox Religion") says some wonderful things about James: he "instigated a baseball revolution" and his work is "a mix of daring hypothesis, meticulously collected data, and acerbic wit .. [with] the detachment of ego that's essential in the search for truth."

But Goldwater also says James is in the business of predicting the future, claims the "new science of Sabermetrics threatens to eliminate the unique, the magical", and this scientific way of looking at baseball -- as opposed to "common sense" -- by James "and his ilk" doesn't accept the notion of unique events at all (though at times it is hard to figure out where he is merely stating what some people think and where he is giving us his own opinions). He sums up by saying these "Jamesean statistics aren't statistics meant for the fans, if by 'fan' one means someone who enjoys the game most when unexpected and seemingly miraculous events occur." Those abstract stats "seems to ruin what's most special for many people" about baseball.

I cannot give these ideas a bigger finger than the one I'm giving them right now.

Weaver Santaniello ("Breaking the Mold: From Ruth to Ramirez") looks at five Boston players who defied convention and had antagonistic relationships with the fans and/or the media: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Bill Lee, Jim Rice, and Manny Ramirez. Most of the essay is great: Santaniello places the sale of Ruth in the context of Kant, he sees TSW and Lee as existentialists, and notes that all Rice wanted to do was "do his job and go home". Then he ruins his entire enterprise by abandoning the facts and relying solely on his opinion regarding Ramirez, after presenting the previous four players in a neutral light. (He also claims that Sox fans fear a new curse because we traded Manny.)

At least five writers get the history of Bill Buckner wrong, by saying that it was not until 2008 (or maybe 2004) that Red Sox fans showed forgiveness for his sins in 1986. However, Peter Gammons wrote in Sports Illustrated that Buckner was given a standing ovation at a rally in Boston two days after the Red Sox lost Game 7. They also cheered him on Opening Day in 1987 and a couple of years later, as well.

McHugh claims Boston got Curt Schilling by throwing the most money at him. ... Kraft quotes an expression as "Manny to be Manny". ... Joseph Ulatowski ("We Believe"), in noting that Sox fans "treat players who have chosen (albeit unwisely), to abandon us very well" and mentions Nomar Garciaparra -- who did not choose to leave Boston. ... Then there is one essay about which my notes say "this is a fucking mess".

Roochnik also got my blood boiling by writing:
[N]ever forget those dark and haunted days before October 2004. We were special then. Never forget the strange sensation of being cursed ... We understood ourselves back then. ... Maybe when the Curse ended something weirdly valuable was lost as well.
Unfortunately, with so much discussion of faith and fate, even after 2004, the CHB's Meal Ticket gets mentioned quite a bit (under its more well-known moniker, which I have decided never to type or say again), and that soured several essays for me.

Overall, though, I enjoyed reading these essays and I would love to know if some of the writers here have written more extensively about philosophy and the Red Sox.

I'll give the last words to Erin E. Flynn ("Blursed!" (a combination of cursed and blessed)), writing about 2004:
We experienced a bliss that can only be born of impossible disappointment. ... The curse turned out to be a blessing, a necessary condition of the impossible joy that dawned with Roberts's steal of second, overwhelmed us in the rout in Game Seven and culminated in the sweep of the Cardinals in the World Series. ...

2004 couldn't have been what it was without reference to these other events [bad stuff like 1986 and 2003]. ... Hence no team could've done precisely what the Red Sox did in 2004. We experienced something that no other fans could've experienced. ... The suffering itself took on an entirely new significance. It suddenly had a purpose for me, a gift that made possible the singular bliss we felt as the Yankees crumbled and the Red Sox ascended. What else, after all, could a blessing be?

October 24, 2010

Sprawl In Williamsburg?

The Red Sox may bring Fenway's right field fence anywhere from six to nine feet closer to the plate for 2011 in order to widen the bullpens.

The Fenway bullpens are 21 feet across. MLB recommends that bullpens be 27 feet wide, though it is not a strict rule*.

* - What is strict and unambiguous, however, is Rule 1.04(a): "Any Playing Field constructed by a professional club after June 1, 1958, shall provide a minimum distance of 325 feet from home base to the nearest fence, stand or other obstruction on the right and left field foul lines, and a minimum distance of 400 feet to the center field fence." At least seven parks are in clear violation: Yankee Stadium and parks used by the Orioles, Rays, Astros, Pirates, Giants, and Padres. MLB has done nothing about it.

Larry Lucchino, on the pens:
They're among the narrowest in baseball, if not the narrowest. It makes it hard for two guys to warm-up. It does have other effects in terms of reducing the depths of right field, which is among the deepest in baseball.
The proposal must be approved by the Massachusetts Preservation Society.

According to Ballparks.com, the distance to just right of center field, into the triangle, used to be 550 or 593 feet in the early 1930s (though I think this was the distance to the back wall of the old center field bleachers, where a batted ball could have conceivably ricocheted.) The distance to the right field foul pole has changed many times, going from 313.5 feet in 1921 to 358.5 (1926), down to 325 (1931), back up to 358 (1933), then down to its current distance of 302 (1942).
Theo Epstein says the bullpen is his #1 priority this winter. "We never had that third reliever step up ... [but] the history of high-paid, non-closing relievers with long contracts is not pretty". Epstein added that it would be a "disservice" to think that "injuries were the only reason" the Red Sox failed to make the playoffs.

October 23, 2010

2010 World Series: Giants / Rangers

The 106th World Series begins on Wednesday night in San Francisco. And some time between October 31 and November 4, one city/region will celebrate a championship for the first time.

The Giants last won the World Series in 1954, when they still played at the Polo Grounds, in upper Manhattan. Since then, they have made it to the Fall Classic three times, losing in seven games to the Yankees in 1962, being swept by the A's in 1989, and losing in seven games in 2002 to the Angels.

The Rangers have never played a World Series game.

Longest World Series Droughts
102 years  Cubs (1908)
62 years Cleveland (1948)
55 years Giants (1954, as New York Giants)
49 years Rangers (Never, began 1961)
49 years Astros (Never, began 1962)
P.S. The Cubs haven't won the NL pennant in 65 years.

Also: Of San Francisco's seven post-season wins this month, six have been by one run. The scores:
NLDS: 1-0, 4-5 (11), 3-2, 3-2
NLCS: 4-3, 1-6, 3-0, 6-5, 2-4, 3-2
Schedule (time are EST)
WS1  Wed 1027  Rangers at Giants, 7:30 PM
WS2 Thu 1028 Rangers at Giants, 7:30 PM
WS3 Sat 1030 Giants at Rangers, 6:30 PM
WS4 Sun 1031 Giants at Rangers, 8:00 PM
WS5 Mon 1101 Giants at Rangers, 7:30 PM
WS6 Wed 1103 Rangers at Giants, 7:30 PM
WS7 Thu 1104 Rangers at Giants, 7:30 PM
Game 3's start time is the earliest for a World Series game in 23 years. In 1987, the Cardinals and Twins began Game 6 at 1 PM.

October 22, 2010

Schadenfreude 103 (A Continuing Series)

Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
Joe Girardi won't have to change his uniform number next season.
Mike Lupica, Daily News:
The end of it for the Yankees, the end of a four-game sweep that just happened to take six games, was the bat on Alex Rodriguez's shoulder against a kid closer named Neftali Feliz. It was 6-1 for the Rangers in Game 6 by then. The Yankees hadn't just been beaten. They had been bounced around most of the last week, Arlington to the Bronx and back, and finally been embarrassed. So there really was no need for A-Rod to take the bat off his shoulder. The Yankees had stopped playing an hour ago. ...

This wasn't as bad an AL pennant defense as we got from the Yankees in 2004, when the Red Sox came back from 0-3 down. It was bad enough. ...

One out away. A-Rod. Of course. Of course it had to be him. Took a called third strike. They paid him $252 million once to put the Rangers in the World Series. Now he had.
The Yankees hit .151 (8-for-53) with RATS, and after the eighth-inning gift-wrapped rally in Game 1, it was 5-for-47, .106. New York hit .201/.300/.370, with a 6.58 ERA and 1.673 WHIP.

In Game 3, the Yankees had the fewest baserunners they have ever had in a post-season game. Last night, they set a record for the fewest hits in a post-season elimination game in team history.Joel Sherman, Post:
... here we were last night, when the old shortstop was Jeter, the cornerstone cracked. He is 36. He couldn't get to the ball in the hole much any longer [a statue already before he ever reaches Monument Park]. He managed to hit a low-impact .231 in the ALCS. ...

His final game of 2010 felt like an endless loop of the season: Three meek groundouts and, in conceivably his last Yankee at-bat, being overmatched and struck out by Colby Lewis.

Jeter was the little engine that couldn't ...
John Harper, Daily News:
It was another bad decision in an ALCS full of them for Girardi.

Good thing for him these aren't the days of Hurricane George, when Boss Steinbrenner just might have fired a manager for a series like Girardi and the Yankees had against the Rangers. ...[H]e appeared awfully tight when the Yankees struggled in September, and that seems to be an ongoing issue.
Mike Vaccaro, Post:
Girardi’s penchant for autumn over-managing only cost the Yankees one game last year, when they already were comfortably ahead of Anaheim in the ALCS. This time, it probably cost them the season, or at least a legitimate shot at Game 7. Four times, Girardi ordered intentional walks last night: They should have a program at Betty Ford for that addiction.
I don't know how you measure any of it. It all stinks. It's no fun to be in this position. It's no fun sitting here after a loss. We take this extremely serious. It stinks.
Before the game:Nope!

Rangers Win AL Pennant

Yankees - 000 010 000 - 1 3 0
Rangers - 100 040 10x - 6 7 0
Colby Lewis (8-3-1-3-7, 102) made sure there was no doubt about this game and Neftali Feliz capped the night by striking out former Ranger Alex Rodriguez to win the pennant.

After 39 years in Texas and 50 years of existence, the Rangers are finally going to the World Series. Game 1 will be Wednesday night in either San Francisco or Philadelphia.

Gammons: Jays To Hire Farrell As Manager

October 22, 2010, Gammons update:
Told I may be preamture on John Farrell , that Alex Anthropolous last night still considering Demarlo Hale. Decision very soon
Peter Gammons says the Blue Jays are set to name Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell as their manager for 2011, but Toronto General Manager Alex Anthopoulos says "we haven't made any decision".

On Thursday, Gammo tweeted: "Three GMs today insisted John Farrell will get the Toronto job".

CSNE's Sean McAdam says the list of possible managers is down to three: Farrell, Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, and Cleveland first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. Jays third base coach Brian Butterfield may also be a candidate.

Richard Griffin of the Star notes that Farrell, who was Cleveland's director of player development from 2001-06, worked with current Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava in 2002.

October 21, 2010

Panda & The Freak

The Giants will try to win the National League pennant at home tonight, as Tim Lincecum matches up with Philadelphia's Roy Halladay in a rematch of Game 1. San Francisco won that game 4-3 -- and lead the series 3-1.

In 2008, The Baseball Project -- Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, and Linda Pitmon -- released Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails, an album of baseball songs. (Here they are playing "Ted Fucking Williams".)

They have been releasing new songs as they write and record them at Broadside Ballads ($1 each). "Panda & The Freak" was recorded about two months ago at Maxwell's in New Jersey.

October 20, 2010

Six Years Apart

Wednesday, October 20, 2004Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Possible YED!, 4 PM
And: Go Giants!

Schadenfreude 102 (A Continuing Series)

George A. King III, Post:
Measure the toes, initial the tags and clear space in the morgue. The Yankees are nine innings away from self-inflicted baseball death. ...

Etch A.J. Burnett on the pinstriped tombstone, because he is an easy target. But make sure to include relievers Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain, a lineup that has gone limp and manager Joe Girardi's decision to stick with Burnett in the middle of a 10-3 loss to the Rangers in Game 4 of the ALCS last night at Yankee Stadium ...
John Harper, Daily News:
[C]onsidering that Burnett was pitching for the first time in 17 days, it was surprising to see the manager put his righthander in a situation where one mistake pitch could prove so costly ...

... after all the debate about whether Burnett should pitch, after a season in which so much went wrong with him on the mound, this seemed to be a night when Girardi would go get him before anything big could go wrong.
Joel Sherman, Post:
[Girardi] invest[ed] trust in his least trustworthy player, A.J. Burnett. After a postseason spent running away from the erratic righty, Girardi stuck with a pitcher with a pretty pronounced loser gene long enough for Burnett to lose. It was Mismanagment 101: Rely on the Unreliable. ...

No one could think it was a good idea to have him on the mound at that moment: tying run in scoring position, go-ahead run on first, season on the brink. ...

Girardi had given a baseball arsonist matches and the Yankees season went up in flames.
Mike Lupica, Daily News:
That makes it 25-5 over the last three games, Yankees down 1-3 now, trying to somehow find the character to begin the greatest comeback in the history of the team Wednesday. Big guy pitching Wednesday. Go big or go home. ...

The Yankees had a chance to put this game away in the middle innings. Didn't. ...

The Yankees try not to ... watch the Rangers celebrate a pennant at this Stadium the way the Red Sox did at the old one six years ago. ...

The Yankees have not just been beaten three straight, they have been embarrassed. ... The Twins put up a better fight in the three games of the division series than the Yankees have put up against the Rangers over these last three games. ...

The Rangers are having all the fun in the world. Still have one more game to win. The game the Yankees never got off the Red Sox after being up 3-0 in '04. ...
Sean Brennan, Daily News:
With their season teetering on the brink of oblivion, the Yankees' long-shot odds of rallying from a 3-1 deficit got a little longer when Mark Teixeira [0-for-14 in the ALCS] likely went down for the remainder of the playoffs with a hamstring strain Tuesday night. ...

The injury was diagnosed as a Grade 2 hamstring strain that will keep him sidelined for six to eight weeks.
The fruitcake who ran onto the field at Yankee Stadium Monday [in the top of the fifth inning of ALCS 3] wanted to confront A-Rod out of crazed jealousy over the star infielder's romantic relationship with Cameron Diaz ...

Grim LeRogue, who legally changed his name from Joe Rogan, was carrying five pictures when he made his mad dash -- including one of Rodriguez with an X scrawled across his face and a gun pointed at his head. An apparent threat was scribbled across the picture: "You have to go bud, you've ruined too many of our white queens." ...

LeRogue, 33, of The Bronx, also has a soft spot for Osama bin Laden. A picture he carried of the al Qaeda head bore the inscription, "I will serve you," and described the terrorist as his "master." ...

[LeRogue] has managed to finish writing a 700-page novel "about a ninja or something" that he's self-publishing next month, [his mother] said. "He told police he wanted publicity" for his tome ...

October 19, 2010

Schadenfreude 101 (A Continuing Series)

In Game 1, Rangers manager Ron Washington gumped away a win that he had nestled securely in his back pocket and the New York media acted like the Yankees had done something heroic by simply accepting the generous gift.
Friday, October 15
Yankees - 000 000 150 - 6 10 1
Rangers - 300 200 000 - 5 7 1
After that demoralizing loss, I expected Texas to curl up into a little ball of goo and whimper until their official elimination finally came, but they attacked the Phranchise early in Game 2 and romped to a 7-2 win.
Saturday, October 16
Yankees - 000 101 000 - 2 7 0
Rangers - 122 020 00x - 7 12 0
With the series tied 1-1 and everyone insisting that Lee in Game 3 = an automatic W, the tabs started to panic.But this is baseball. Nothing is a sure win. Nothing!

Joel Sherman, Post, before Game 3:
... you know, there is not an actual law that states the Yankees can't beat Lee ...
Lee walked calmly out on the Yankee Stadium mound on Monday night and threw eight shutout innings, allowing only two hits and one walk, while striking out 13!
Monday, October 18
Rangers - 200 000 006 - 8 11 0
Yankees - 000 000 000 - 0 2 0
The Yankees' three baserunners were the fewest they've ever had in a postseason game and the 8-0 loss was the worst post-season shutout in Yankees history. Thousands of loyal fans gave up and went home before it was over.In a must-win Game 4, the Yankees' season rests on the not-so-broad shoulders of A.J. Burnett. ... Rut Roh, Rankees!New York now needs to win three games in a row to avoid facing Mr. Lee in Game 7 in Texas.

October 18, 2010


You may have seen Daniel Nava looking at an index card while playing left field this season. Author and Rounder Records founder Bill Nowlin asked him about it:
Yeah, that was just a little thing that we have, just something that RJ [first-base coach Ron Johnson] would help us ... that would help us to know where to play guys and stuff like that. That's all it was. I would just look at it and make sure I was positioned right. It just makes life simpler so he doesn't have to constantly wave me - this place, this place ... the index card is about outfield stuff, for outfield positioning. I'm sure that guys like Mike Cameron don't need it. They haven't mentioned anything, like this is what we do for all rookies, so I don't know, but it's something that I definitely took and tried to use as best I can, because I knew that would help me.
September 12, 1990 in Baseball History: Yankees starter Steve Adkins did not allow a hit in his debut, but he walked eight Rangers, including five in a row, before being relieved after 1.1 innings (1.1-0-3-8-1, 50). Adkins's major league career would be over in less than a month. That game reminded me of Kevin Mmahat's start for the Yankees against the Red Sox at Fenway on September 25 of the previous year: 1.2-4-5-5-0, 60. Mmahat's next appearance would be the last of his career (four games, 7.2 innings).
The Sporting News, in an August 6, 1942 editorial, supports segregation in the major leagues, stating that members of each race "prefer to draw their talents from their own ranks and both groups know their crowd psychology and do not care to run the risk of damaging their own game".
In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that American professional athletes used to think of Toronto as a backwater. But no more! Now it is
a road trip just about every pro athlete looks forward to. Some say the city has a cool, international vibe that increasingly stands out. ...

[plus] the plentitude of cheap concert tickets ... convenience of the must-be-19 drinking law ... relatively libertine gentlemen's clubs ... the tentacles of the tabloids and gossip Web sites rarely extend this far into the frozen north* ...

Knicks rookie Toney Douglas: "It's something different – it's another country."
* - If Toronto is "far into the frozen north", what the hell is Seattle?
On September 22, Jose Lopez of the Mariners hit three home runs - 30% of his season total of 10. SABR member David Vincent - the man Jayson Stark calls "the Sultan of Swat Stats" -- shared a list of players who hit fewer than six home runs in a season, but had three in one game.
Four HR In Season With 3 In One Game
Guy Hecker August 15, 1886 (#s 2-3-4)
Darnell Coles July 5, 1994 (#s 2-3-4)
Bobby Estalella September 4, 1997 (#s 1-2-3)

Five HR In Season With 3 In One Game
Jack Manning October 9, 1884 (#s 3-4-5)
Tom McCreery July 12, 1897 (#s 1-2-3)
Clyde McCullough July 26, 1942 (#s 3-4-5)
Bill Glynn July 5, 1954 (#s 2-3-4)
Roman Mejias May 4, 1958 (#s 1-2-3)
Freddie Patek June 20, 1980 (#s 2-3-4)
Patek's game was a 20-2 win for the Angels at Fenway.

October 17, 2010

After 10+ Years, Yankee Fans Agree To Stop Homophobic Song

Filip Bondy, Daily News:
The Bleacher Creatures say they will no longer chant homophobic remarks from the rafters of Yankee Stadium after a YouTube video reveals their antics.

The Yankees and representatives of the Bleacher Creatures have come to an agreement to end a long and unfortunate tradition: the taunting of visiting fans in the right-field stands with the lyrics, "Why are you gay?" sung to the "YMCA" song played between innings in mid-game.

A YouTube video filmed by a fan went viral recently, showing Yankee fans in the bleachers serenading a visiting fan with the song, while photos were superimposed in the film of young gay adults and teens who had committed suicide. The Yankees were understandably upset with the homophobic chants and the images associated with them.

After a meeting on the subject, several core Creatures agreed to police their own area and put an end to the tradition, which had upset many fans.

"It's all done," said one long-time Creature, who had never participated in the ritual. "All of it. We're going clean. We didn't like the way the Bleacher Creatures were being looked at. That's not us."
You have been singing the song for more than ten years. That is you.

In less than 10 minutes, I found eight different videos of the song: Late 1990s, Summer 2006 (this one, which has been on YouTube for four years, is particularly menacing), two from May 2007, July 20, 2007, July 3, 2008, May 18, 2009, and October 7, 2009.
Also: Freddy Sez: "I'm Dead"

October 16, 2010

Binary Linescore

I have been wondering about the highest score of a game in which each half-inning had either 0 runs or 1 run. A binary linescore, in other words.

In looking at linescores from the 1920s, I found this American League game from September 6, 1927:
St. Louis - 011 111 011 - 7 15  1
Cleveland - 100 010 101 - 4 12 1
11 runs! I imagine that would be hard to top. (Has there been a game with eight one-run innings?)

Also, I like this one from September 16, 1923:
Giants - 111 111 400 - 10 12  1
Cubs - 002 103 000 - 6 14 3
Has a team ever scored one run in each of the first seven innings?

10 Runs On 16 Hits

I was born on October 16, so I like it when I see a team has scored 10 runs on 16 hits. Sixteen hits seems like a "reasonable" number of hits for a 10-run showing, so it must happen with some frequency.

Or does it?

I looked at a few random seasons, thanks to Baseball Reference's Play Index. In any given season, I searched for games in which a team scored 10 runs, then sorted them by the number of hits.

1920: 64 times
17 hits -  6
16 hits - 11
15 hits - 9
14 hits - 9
13 hits - 8
12 hits - 9
11 hits - 3
1930: 97 times
17 hits -  8
16 hits - 13
15 hits - 18
14 hits - 14
13 hits - 17
12 hits - 7
11 hits - 7
1963: 65 times
17 hits -  3
16 hits - 7
15 hits - 7
14 hits - 10
13 hits - 15
12 hits - 11
11 hits - 5
1990: 89 times
17 hits -  7
16 hits - 12
15 hits - 7
14 hits - 11
13 hits - 14
12 hits - 12
11 hits - 9
2004: 151 times
17 hits -  7
16 hits - 19
15 hits - 33
14 hits - 26
13 hits - 28
12 hits - 12
2008: 116 times
17 hits -  5
16 hits - 12
15 hits - 16
14 hits - 23
13 hits - 17
12 hits - 17
2010: 118 times
17 hits -  6
16 hits - 9
15 hits - 20
14 hits - 17
13 hits - 21
12 hits - 10
1920-2010: 7,649 times
18 hits -  207
17 hits - 436
16 hits - 745
15 hits - 1011
14 hits - 1214
13 hits - 1226
12 hits - 1001
11 hits - 728
It would appear that 10/16 simply catches my eye like a shiny penny.

Most and fewest hits for a team scoring 10 runs (in nine innings)?

23 (here & here) and 4 (here & here)

October 14, 2010

Salty Signs For 2011; McDonald Has Surgery

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 25, avoided salary arbitration and signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract for 2011. ESPN reports: "The contract will pay him $750,000 in the major leagues and $250,000 in the minors."

Three players are still eligible for arbitration: Jacoby Ellsbury, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon.

Darnell McDonald had surgery on a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb on Wednesday. McDonald suffered the injury during spring training in 2010 and played with it all year. It did not bother him, however, so the team's medical staff did not find out about it until his end-of-year physical. The Microwave should be ready for spring training.

October 13, 2010

Eight Prospects With Peoria In AFL

The Arizona Fall League began its season yesterday. Eight Red Sox prospects from AA and A are playing for the Peoria Javelinas, including pitcher Casey Kelly, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, and shortstop Jose Iglesias.

The others are pitchers Jason Rice, Seth Garrison, Eammon Portice, and Daniel Turpen, and outfielder Juan Carlos Linares.

Peoria lost its first game (box), but Linares went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, and Iglesias and Lavarnway each had a hit and an RBI. FWIW, Koby Clemens is also on the team.

Peoria plays 32 games over the next five weeks. Kelly is expected to throw a total of about 35 innings.

I love the logo for the Phoenix Desert Dogs:

October 12, 2010


Game 1 - NYY @ TEX  Fri 1015  8:00 PM
Game 2 - NYY @ TEX Sat 1016 4:00 PM
Game 3 - TEX @ NYY Mon 1018 8:00 PM
Game 4 - TEX @ NYY Tue 1019 8:00 PM
Game 5 - TEX @ NYY Wed 1020 4:00 PM
Game 6 - NYY @ TEX Fri 1022 8:00 PM
Game 7 - NYY @ TEX Sat 1023 8:00 PM
Game 1 - SFG @ PHI  Sat 1016  7:30 PM
Game 2 - SFG @ PHI Sun 1017 8:00 PM
Game 3 - PHI @ SFG Tue 1019 4:00 PM
Game 4 - PHI @ SFG Wed 1020 7:30 PM
Game 5 - PHI @ SFG Thu 1021 7:30 PM
Game 6 - SFG @ PHI Sat 1023 3:30 PM
Game 7 - SFG @ PHI Sun 1024 7:30 PM
Day by Day
Fri 1015  8:00 PM  ALCS 1 - NYY @ TEX

Sat 1016 4:00 PM ALCS 2 - NYY @ TEX
7:30 PM NLCS 1 - SFG @ PHI

Sun 1017 8:00 PM NLCS 2 - SFG @ PHI

Mon 1018 8:00 PM ALCS 3 - TEX @ NYY

Tue 1019 4:00 PM NLCS 3 - PHI @ SFG
8:00 PM ALCS 4 - TEX @ NYY

Wed 1020 4:00 PM ALCS 5 - TEX @ NYY
7:30 PM NLCS 4 - PHI @ SFG

Thu 1021 7:30 PM NLCS 5 - PHI @ SFG

Fri 1022 8:00 PM ALCS 6 - NYY @ TEX

Sat 1023 3:30 PM NLCS 6 - SFG @ PHI
8:00 PM ALCS 7 - NYY @ TEX

Sun 1024 7:30 PM NLCS 7 - SFG @ PHI