Thursday, October 21, 2004
Be sure to also check out Twins Chatter today for a posting called The Race for the Ring. Baseball stuff with a Lord of the Rings feel to it. It's worth the read!
The Twins Geek encourages you to Keep the Faith.
It is funny how people can watch and see and hear the same things and think so differently, but Aaron Gleeman and I disagree on some topics frequently. Today, he writes his Game Notes from last night's Game 7. It's a great read. But he says he woke up thinking "Yankees/Red Sox", and I'm almost annoyed by the whole thing. He writes that he just can't make himself get into the Astros/Cardinals series, and I actually enjoy watching that series and feel that the better baseball is being played in it.
Also, you are going to want to check out the links at the left of my screen to check out some of the Yankees and Red Sox blogs. I'm sure both will be quite interesting today. Don't forget to also check out those for the Astros and Cardinals. Here is just a partial list
Curse Of The Bambino
Wait Til Next Year
Some Calzone for Derek
Replacement Level Yankees
Pride of the Yankees
Astros in Exile
Royalties and Cardinalate
Red Sox In, One More to Go
Good morning! Well, there was one Game 7 last night, and there will be another Game 7 tonight!
The Red Sox shelled the weak Yankees pitching staff all night on their way to an easy 10-3 win. I have to admit, I did watch the game in its entirety. However, after listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver say one too many stupid and inaccurate thing, the game moved to TV #2 in the living room, with the sound muted! What was the final straw, you ask? For me, it was how they were talking about how Mark Bellhorn was not a typical #2 hitter because he led all of baseball with 177 strikeouts. May sound like a small thing, but after listening to the guys talk in such pathetically glowing terms about players from both the Red Sox and especially the Yankees, it just didn't take much for me to want to mute them. The fact that Bellhorn led the American League in strikeouts was really sad for a 2 hitter. However, he was 18 behind Adam Dunn's new major league record 195 strikeouts was forgotten. Actually, this comment was made at other times in the series too. I just thought it was pretty funny that I couldn't stand Buck and McCarver by, the second batter of the game!!!
(And I'm sure you're all wondering what I was watching on TV #1 with the baseball game on TV #2... This is how much I'm annoyed by the East Coast bias and sick of the Yankees and Red Sox... I watched reruns of MTV's Made! Enough said!)
I can't stand the Red Sox. Seriously, I don't know that there is a more whiny organization in baseball. The final straw with them, for me, was when they lost out to the Yankees in their attempt to land Alex Rodriguez in the offseason. Their owner made a comment saying that baseball needs a salary cap to keep the Yankees from spending so much money. Well, the fact is that the Yankees lead the big leagues in salary. However, the team that spent the second most in 2004 was none other than those poor, helpless Red Sox.
Another thing that I can't stand about the Red Sox is all of the stupid Curse of the Bambino talk! Uggh! I just about get ill every time I hear about it! For the final time, there is no curse. Just poor managerial decisions, or player error, or bad luck have all played a role in them losing. Mistakes and poor performance, not a stupid Curse is what has kept the Red Sox from winning the World Series. A curse didn't pull Bill Buckner's glove off the ground in '86. A curse didn't wind-aid Bucky Dent's home run. And the Curse did not throw the fluttering knuckle ball that Aaron Boone hit into the left field bleachers in Yankees Stadium a year ago.
Oh, and I am also hearing people say that now that the Red Sox have beaten the Yankees, the "Curse" is over! No! All it means is that they beat the Yankees and get to go to the World Series. But the Curse has to do with winning the World Series, not beating the Yankees, or even getting to the World Series.
I used to think that there were so many of the Red Sox players that I just can not stand, but when I think about it, there is just one, Manny Ramirez. Yes, he is one of the Top 4 most pure hitters in all of baseball. But his arrogance and lackadaisicalness just get on my nerves. Maybe he is just aloof, and that's just his personality. But that is also the reason why in the past I have had problems with Cristian Guzman and his perceived lack of effort. Manny Ramirez can hit. No one can argue that. But he is absolutely horrible on defense! I don't know if there is a worse outfielder in all of baseball! But there are other bad outfielders, so it isn't that. However, generally those other bad outfielders at least make it look like they are trying. Anyway, enough on Manny Ramirez!
Doug Mientkiewicz. Dougie Baseball used to be one of my favorite Twins. He was incredible with the gloves and previous to this season, two of the previous seasons he hit .300 with lots of doubles. He produced much of the time. He was for quite some time the 3rd hitter in the Twins lineup. However, this year, he was horrible, and the Justin Morneau Era was more than ready to begin! When that decision was made, Mientkiewicz's true colors showed up. He got into fights/arguments with his teammates and coaches. Never being afraid to say anything, he took his problems to the media. Gardy even put him into the lineup, but he took himself out saying he wasn't into it mentally. By being so disgruntled, he put GM Terry Ryan into a bad position and because of that, he was unable to get much in return for Doug (although Justin Jones could be great down the road). One of the reasons he wanted out of Minnesota was because he didn't want to just be a late-inning defensive replacement and that he wanted to go somewhere that would appreciate what he does. Well, he found that team, the Red Sox appreciate what he brings to the table and Terry Francona does a good job of getting Dougie into games, as a late-inning defensive replacement. Hmmm... Recently, he was upset because he was batting ninth in the lineup for the Red Sox... OK, you hit like .240 on the season, how could he hit any higher for them?
Anyway, enough on Doug. He is rippable, but I still appreciate what he did for the Twins. But Mientkiewicz is part of my final rant on the Red Sox. Actually this rant deals with both the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Red Sox, with their payroll, can afford to trade for the likes of Doug Mientkiewicz and Dave Roberts and have guys making money on their bench. The Yankees had Tony Clark and Kenny Lofton on their bench. What would the Twins have done if someone making $15 million was not on the disabled list heading into the postseason? They'd at least have him on the postseason roster, right? These teams can afford to make big mistakes because of their money. I mean, they paid to have Travis Lee on their roster this year! That is the difference, in my mind, between the teams willing to spend and the teams that are unwilling to spend (ie the Twins, and I won't call them a small market team despite their choice to act like one - which I have no problem with). But as I have said all along, the Twins did not lose because of the payroll discrepancy. Paying huge money doesn't assure you anything, and I would think that the Yankees are all believing that now.
But there are some things I do like about the Red Sox. At the top of that list is none other than Big Papi, David Ortiz. He is a former Twin whom the Twins chose to let go of (again, I don't blame them, I would have done the same thing at the time, and he would never have become this kind of player had he stayed with the Twins) following the 2002 season. He was always a clubhouse favorite for the Twins. Reading stories in the paper made him seem to be quite a character. Clearly, he was a leader for that young Twins team and brought them together. You just won't hear me say a bad thing about him. I think last year, he brought together a very fragile Red Sox team. You saw players, including Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez, hugging each other and I believe that was directly related to David Ortiz. To see him playing as well as he has the last two years is just great for me. He should finish in the top 4 or 5 in MVP voting again this year. He was named the MVP of the ALCS after knocking in 11 runs. He hit another homer last night in the first inning which gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead. I am definitely happy for him.
I like Johnny Damon. I had to do a double-take a few weeks ago when I looked at his 2004 stats. .304/.380/.477 with 20 homers and 94 RBI out of the leadoff spot! What an incredible year. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz get a lot of mention for AL MVP, but Johnny Damon should be included in the conversation. He is their instigator! One impressive stat that I did hear while watching and listening to the first two batters of the game was that Damon led the league in 2-strike his. He walked 76 times and struck out just 71. I love a hitter who puts the ball in play with two strikes. Unless you have Adam Dunn-like capabilities, just put the ball in play and make something happen!
I like Orlando Cabrera. What a great replacement for the vastly over-rated Nomar Garciaparra (at about 1/3 the price)! Bill Mueller and Trot Nixon are very good. I continue to be more and more impressed with Jason Varitek all of the time and his all-around game. I really, really like Pokey Reese. He, to me, would be a great replacement for Cristian Guzman at SS for the Twins next year. No, he's not much of a hitter, but neither was Guzzy. And, he is incredible with the glove!
I was very happy for Derek Lowe last night. After a really awful regular season where he went 14-12 with a 5.42 ERA, he pitched great last night in the biggest game of the year. He went six innings of one hit ball. And then another of my least favorite ball players came in, Pedro Martinez. The move made no sense with Lowe pitching so well, but Terry Francona went to Martinez for the seventh inning and he got hit around for two runs while hearing the chants of "Who's Your Daddy?" cascading down around him.
Now, I really didn't care who won last night. If I had been forced to pick a team to cheer for, I would have chosen the Yankees just because of my dislike for the Red Sox. But it doesn't hurt my feelings to have the Yankees lose either. I mean, I love seeing it show that spending money alone does not win. Granted, we didn't learn a lot since it was the also high-spending Red Sox that beat them, but that's ok.
What will the Yankees do now? Clearly their weak spots are 2B and CF. Of course, you have to assume they'll give Carlos Beltran a blank check, or at least a contract that has blanks for the # of years and dollar value. That will take care of CF. Bernie Williams would then presumably take over the DH role with Jason Giambi hopefully coming back to full health and putting up typical numbers from the 1B position. Second base is the question mark. Miguel Cairo is not a bad ball player, and if he's hitting 9th, that not bad at all. However, if he isn't a great hitter, you'd like to think he could field, and well, he's anything but stellar there. My guess is that the Yankees will try to make a trade. They need to unload a few players, including Kenny Lofton, and maybe they can get a 2B in return. I guess I would prefer that they just give the job to minor leaguer Robinson Cano (and no, not just because I own his rights in a fantasy baseball keeper league). I would think that the Yankees would want to once again start using some younger guys and develop a new wave of talent.
Just something I found interesting. The Yankees starter was Kevin Brown. In 2003, he was 14-9 with a 2.39 ERA and 185 strikeouts. He got just four outs and was credited with five runs allowed. Javier Vazquez came in. He got six outs and allowed another three runs, not including the three credited to Brown when Johnny Damon hit a grand slam on the first pitch that Vazquez threw. In 2003, Vazquez was 13-12 for the Expos, with a 3.25 ERA and 241 strikeouts. He was even an All-Star for the Yankees, this year! Next in for the Yankees was Esteban Loaiza and he actually pitched three scoreless innings. He was an All-Star representative of the White Sox in 2003 and again this year. Last year, he was 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA and 207 K. And these were the guys that the Yankees basically were left with to throw in Game 7. All have been very good pitchers, and all could again be good pitchers. Things just weren't working for them this year, and it all came out last night as they were thrashed.
In either case, one thing is for certain, the Red Sox will host Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday night. We don't know who their opponent will be. Tonight, Roger Clemens will start for the Astros against the Cardinals' Jeff Suppan in the NLCS's Game 7.
I feel really bad for the Cardinals and Astros. Because of the incredibly pathetic (yet completely understandable based on ratings potential) east coast bias, this NL Central series is not getting the attention it deserves. It has been a great series. There have been great offensive performances and great pitching. Some of the big names (Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman and of course, the aforementioned Carlos Beltran) have come up big while some no-names like Brad Lidge and Brandon Backe have made names for themselves.
And maybe that is really the big issue at hand for me, the whole media attention so focused on New York and Boston that cities and teams like St. Louis and Houston are virtually ignored. It is really going to annoy me next week when we have to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver gawk about everything Boston. And they'll give little cutesy lines about the NL team that you know they only read in the media guide. They won't know the non-star players, many of whom have played such an important role. The NL Champ will be treated like a second rate organization, and I think that's what bothers me. The fact is that the Cardinals had the best regular season in all of baseball, and the Astros are probably the best team in baseball right now. But would anyone know that? Not unless you're in the St. Louis or Houston markets, or are as into all of baseball like myself and many people who will read this.
I guess there is just one more thing that I am sure of. Whoever wins tonight's NLCS game and meets the Red Sox in the World Series is the team that I will be cheering for.
If I can answer any questions or comments on any of my rant, or if you would like to further comment on any of this, please e-mail me.
I just wanted to mention one baseball topic that came out yesterday that was very exciting to me. Major League Baseball and XM Satellite Radio reached an 11 year, $650 million deal for the satellite provider to carry baseball games staring next season. 16 additional stations will be on the standard program list that all subscribers receive. With 30 teams, there could, at most, be 15 games on any day. The 16th channel will be additional baseball programming, including historical, classic games.
I have mentioned here before that I love the XM Radio. I have had it now for almost two years. There are currently 100 stations available including many music genres, talk radio and sports stations. Adding all of the baseball games makes it an even better investment for me! And, XM claims that this won't increase their current $9.95 price per month.
Now, this is almost coming across as an advertisement for XM Radio. But I really don't want that to be the case. You see, I own a number of shares in Sirius Satellite Radio, the competition. Why did I buy stock in Sirius after I bought my XM system? I know. I know. But really the reason was because at that time XM shares were over $12 per and the Sirius shares were just under $3. (if you're curious, Sirius (SIRI) is at $3.78 and XM (XMSR) is at $29.16) I figured that these are really the only two companies that provide this. So, it seemed like a good company at the time. Anyway, Sirius has similar deals with the NFL and NBA. Sirius also just agree to pay Howard Stern $500 million to be exclusively on their system.
The other baseball topic that I wanted to quickly mention was that the Seattle Mariners selected Mike Hargrove to be their next manager. They signed him to a three year deal after letting Bob Melvin go a month ago. My thoughts? Well, it's just another retread getting another chance. Hargrove has had some success in the majors, particularly in Cleveland in the '90s. But I guess I'm someone who likes to see new blood in these types of jobs. You see the same thing in other sports. Lenny Wilkins keeps getting coaching jobs in the NBA. Bill Fitch used to too, and he's the all-time losingest coach! Bill Parcells keeps getting NFL coaching jobs. It just seems like GMs and ownership like to go with an old name rather than giving new people a chance. I prefer to see guys move up from the minor leagues to get to manage. I am also happy that a guy like Ozzie Guillen was given a chance in Chicago. Let's be honest, if a person is intelligent and knows the game of baseball, they can win, given the right players. I just want to see new guys get a chance. That has worked well the last two times the Twins have named a new manager. First it was Tom Kelly and then Ron Gardenhire.
And that is it for today! Have yourself a wonderful Thursday! If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future topics, please e-mail me.
Back to Archives Home