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Monday, September 26, 2005

Back home

Well, I was right and wrong about using The Kids. They performed well and did not perform well, but my guess is that Tito will now use them again.
Three in a row from Baltimore at this time in the season, when they pretty much HAD to win three in a row, is a good sign from the Sox. No quit, no recriminations, no whining. They played well enough to win, against a team with admittedly nothing to gain - and Tejada looks like he is already thinking about the offseason, especially yesterday - but I am of the opinion that the wins are important anyway because of what would happen if they lost.
Toronto will not be so easy - they are tougher, have a better lineup and pitchers who can make life miserable for the Sox. The Sox have to win five of the next seven games - they can afford one loss to Toronto and one to the Yankees. That is not the way they will approach the games, I believe, but that is the way the fans will see them.
Let's hope they play - and win - them one pitch at a time.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Snub Palmeiro

for the HOF because he is a disgusting low life human being for trying to throw Tejada under the bus. A teammate? Represented by the same agent? What a loser human being. Seems like baseball reporters were right about the guy: solely a me-first/what are my stats bum.
Someone should develop a Viagra for character and shove it down Palmeiro's throat. Might make him a decent human being for up to four hours at a time.

The lineup

My choice for a starting lineup for the remainder of the season:

Damon - assuming he can play; otherwise start Millar (ugh) and lead off with Graffinino (assuming he can play) or Cora
Renteria - who else can move to short at this point in the season? a default selection
Ramirez - whine about his baserunning, field play, etc., after the guy finishes the season with 40/140 and gives them the offense they need - he also protects Ortiz
Graffinino (if he is healthy) - better leading off but not better than Damon; use Cora in situations where he has been successful against opposing pitcher or if Graffinino cannot play
Olerud/Millar - choose which one based on opposing pitcher; always use Olerud to finish close games at first

Starters are what they are but use Papelbon in selected spots for selected batters/situations, and the same for Hansen. Throw Timlin in an inning when no one is on base, use Hansen, Papelbon, Myers, Bradford to get out of the 8th with men on base and let Timlin start the ninth.

Hope opposing managers do not choose to walk Ortiz too often.

Hope Graffinino/Cora do not get hurt any more.

Hope Tito actually uses the bet players he has.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Does last night's game matter?

In my view, yes. The Sox lost to a team they should beat in a late-season game, entirely because of bad pitching, and bad pitching will keep them from the post-season.
The Sox have played 30 days in a row at a very bad time in the season - the home stretch. I think they are more than tired - I think they are exhausted. One day off will help, but probably not be enough to fully restore their energy and focus.
There is no way to tell what will happen, how they will do, from here on out in the last 10 games. They do not play well against Baltimore or Toronto, so that works against them. They play the Yankees pretty evenly and their last seven games are at home, which are in their favor. The day off may help their defense and their hitting, but not their pitching, which looks pretty pitiful right now. No Foulke, it looks like, and unless they are willing to risk pitching the kids from the minor leagues in close games that really matter, I don't see them making the playoffs.
But then, I did not see them getting out of NY last year either.
This is going to be a very bumpy ride.
But keeping this in perspective, it does not compare to the ride for the people in the JetBlue flight last night, nor to the ride the people fleeing the Texas coast are in right now, nor to the ride the evacuees in Texas and Louisiana are in for from H. Rita. Cheer for the Sox, sure, but pray for the people who are in real trouble now.

John, as usual, is wrong . . .

about my knowledge of baseball, my writing, and his energy level, but I respect his opinions - there is no one I know who really cares more about baseball, with a small "b," than John. His endless summers of trips to ballparks near and far are testament to that. He means what he says about the better experience of watching baseball up close, in small parks, where you can see players' faces, identify pitches, enjoy the between-the-innings entertainment (John really likes the frisbee-catching dogs), and take pictures of old ballplayers who show up now and then to hawk the games.
I, too, love games up close and have seen more than my share, for free, even as close as the first base coach's box, during my son's 10+ year journey from t-ball through Cal Ripken seasons and district and state tournaments, to Babe Ruth, AAU (where we never played a home game in 2+ years but saw lots of nice and not-so-nice fields from St. Louis, MO, to Providence, RI, to Hudson, MA), and most recently to high school and then American Legion baseball.
Of course, there is nothing more riveting than watching your child play a sport - and nothing more agonizing, rewarding, exhilerating, frustrating, painful, and satisfying - and as a mere observer, not a participant, I do nothing to deserve feeling any of those feelings!
He hit two home runs in a game last Sunday - the other team collected the balls (we were playing another away game) - and pitched two shutout innings. I pocketed the balls and he never looked at them again - he was thinking about his pre-calc homework waiting for him at home and his girlfriend in college. The days of crying after losses is long over, as is the lingering excitement after winning. Life is now tempering the importance of the games but he still loves to play and be with the other guys on his team and is willing to work at it in between everything else that matters to him.
I will still call and talk to John, and we will, I am sure, catch some minor-league games again next summer - more, I hope, than this year - but the man simply loves baseball, even though, as a lifelong Sox fan, I think he is more hard-nosed about the Old Town Team's performances than I am.
I will do well to do half as well at this alone as he has.