PhilSox Blog: October 2007


Looking Back

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


How else could I begin? Two days after the Sox second WS sweep in four years and I'm still feeling a bit euphoric, a bit sleep derived, and, yes, still a bit high!

My first thoughts on this fantastic season relate to how different it is from 2004.

In 2004, the Sox were a group of veterans, some more seasoned than others.
In 2007, they were few favorites, a few imports, and those awesome rookies!

In 2004, we had a Sox team that skidded into the post-season on the wild card pony.
In 2007, we had a Sox team that took the division lead in April and never let go.

In 2004, it was another year chasing the Yankees, culminating the ALCS 4-game comeback.
In 2007, aside from a bad series or two in the regular season (that mattered not) the Yankees only ever seen in our rear-view mirrors.

In 2004, we lost what most people thought was out biggest impact player in July (Nomar).
In 2007, we called up out biggest impact player in September (Jacoby).

In 2004, a three game deficit to in the ALCS terrified RSN.
In 2007, the 3-1 deficit in the ALCS barely registered.

But how about the similarities? There were many.

In 2004, we had Papi and Manny hitting jacks.
In 2007, ditto.

In 2004, we had clutch pitching performances.
In 2007, ditto.

In 2004, the ALCS was the real series, the winner almost certain (although we didn't know) to roll.
In 2007, (sadly for the Rockies) ditto.

I don't know if we'll ever have another season like this one. A lead over the Yankees that lasted virtually the whole season. Clay Buchholz's no-hitter. Schilling's almost no-hitter. Jacoby's arrival, thanks to Manny's oblique. The rise of Pedroia the Destroyah! Dice-K! Okajima! The Jon Lester comeback story. Waiting patiently for J.D. to open up (still waiting, although his ending showed promise.) The Mother's Day Miracle, Back-to-back-to-back-to-back against the Yankers. Walk-offs from some of the guys, most notably Manny's in the ALDS. A lock for the Cy Young in Beckett! A lock for the Rookie of the year for Pedroia! The World Series MVP Mike Lowell!

Now, looking back, how huge was getting the home field advantage for the ALCS? While it didn't seem to mater in the divisional series, and it surely didn't matter in the World Series, wasn't the biggest part of the reason why no one freaked when they were down 3-1 to the Tribe the fact that we had Becket for Game 5, then a trip home to the Fens?

It was a year rife with special moments around the whole league. Jim Thome, Frank Thomas, and Alex Rodriquez all made the 500 club. There was the one game playoff between the Padre's and Rockies. Tom Glavine got his 300th win and Roger "Way Past His Prime" Clemens got his 350th while managing to prove how unworthy he was of all the special treatment the Yankers afforded him. Mark Buerhle and Justin Verlander had no hitters. Trevor Hoffman got his 500th save. And on a sad note, reputed steroid whore Barry Bonds broke the sacred career home run record held by Hank Aaron, dooming yet another record to the dreaded asterisk, at least until A-Rod catches up.

Not all was good. We still had home field advantage in the World Series determined by what used to be a fun exhibition contest: The All-Star Game. There was Paul Byrd who took flight in the first round of the playoffs, only to have his wings clipped when his large HGH receipts came to light. There was the nonsense with Milton Bradley sustaining and injury while arguing with an umpire. The injury ended his season with the Padre's who ended up needing him in that one game playoff (which they lost by one run, by the way.) There was A-Rod with the stripper, Prince Fielder's paternal angst, and all the ridiculous hype Bud Selig caused by his refusal to commit one way or the other to being in attendance for Bond's 756th.

But hey! You take the good with the bad. MLB didn't have a scandal like the NBA had with an official on the take. There was no MLB player up on federal charges for dog fighting, or any other federal charges, for that matter. Also, people watched baseball games this year, so that sets it apart from Major League Soccer, the WNBA, and (gulp) the NHL!

As we move into the "Hot Stove League" part of the year, many questions come to play. Where will A-Rod play in '08? Where will Mike Lowell play? How about the other number of free agents? What city's media will Barry Bonds scorn and pout for next summer? Will Bud Selig drink an espresso or two so he appears conscious? Will Tim McCarver be replaced by Fox for next years post-season? (If you have a rudimentary grasp on the game and can form sentences, you're a step ahead of old Timmy. If you can ad lib, you're a lock.) Will Joba Chamberlain enter rehab to get that Krispy-Kreme monkey off his back? Will Jason Giambi finally address his overactive sweat gland issue?

Baseball Fever! Catch it!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Dropkick Murphys playing at the Fens!

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Monday, October 29, 2007


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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Way to Go, Joe!

Friday, October 19, 2007
Just before the All Star Game, Sports Center and every other media outlet was talking (ad naseum) about the Yankers being in a huge hole (Red Sox with the high ground) and the Joe Torre, the manager who'd gotten that New York franchise to the post season 12 seasons in a row, was on the chopping block. Cut to October. The Yankers rage into a comeback, they get the AL Wild Card, narrowly missing the division championship. Off to the playoffs, where they lose to a remarkably tough Indian team, 3 games to 1.

Since that last game, the buzz had started buzzing again about Torre's future with the Yankers. This happened mostly because, true to his ass-head history, George Steinbrenner made a statement to the press that Torre "probably" wouldn't be brought back if they lost the ALDS. Making such a statement in the middle of the ALDSis just the typical jerk behavior that you come to expect from the egomaniacal tyrant that owns baseball's most storied team.

Yesterday, after a week of screwing around, the Yanker brass, including Steinbrenner's sons, Dill and Doe, summon Torre to Tampa to make him an offer. A cut of 1/3 in his salary, a deal limited to one year, and incentives for each level of the post season. To his credit, Torre told them to go crap in their caps.

First, only an idiot would ever take a one year deal to manage the Yankers. He would spend his whole season looking over his shoulder for the ax at every sign of trouble. Then there's the 33% cut. Sure, Torre is the highest paid manager in the MLB. He still would be, even with the cut. But when you manage the team with the highest payroll, the highest profits, and the highest expectations, you should be the highest paid manager. Moreover, when a guy manages his team to twelve consecutive post-season appearances (four of them World Series titles) lowering his salary should be considered only after things like launching the owner into space or changing the team colors to orange and pink. In other words: Never! If this were any other team in the league in the same situation with the same recent history, would they even remotely consider letting go the skipper? Absolutely not.

Let's not forget the fact that the Yankers will in all probability suck without Torre (at least initially.) Mariano Rivera is less likely to stay, as is Posada, and A-Rod, too, I think. I'm not guaranteeing that these guys are gone, but that if they do stay, it will be a bit of a surprise considering the Torre exit.

In a world where everything changes, maybe some comfort can be had by all of this. For all the years that Steinbrenner has owned the Yankees, they sucked (for the most part) until Torre. Most of the reason they were lousy? George. Now that the owner is pushing eighty, his son's first public action is to insult the man who is responsible for the first dynasty of the free-agent era in baseball. So, does it follow that we can look forward to another generation if borderline mentally ill ownership for the Bronx Bombers?

I for one hope that Torre (after a probable year off) takes a job with an AL team and kick the living you-know-what out of the Yankers every time he faces them.

See ya, Joe. You're the goods!

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Wedgie the Clown

Thursday, October 18, 2007

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The Gagne Solution

Gagne Solution

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On the Brink

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I've been busy over the last week...busy watching the Sox blow the ALCS! After that initial win (10 - 3), they've lost 3 in a row and are now on the brink of elimination.

Some thoughts...

  • Why does Manny raise his arms and stare at a home run when it is the third run in a game they are losing 8 -3? I know it's cool to do when it's a walk-off (like against the Angels), but he looks like a twit when he does that crap while the Sox are taking a pounding. I will say this, however, his was the third HR in a back-to-back-to-back set. Something that had never been done in the ALCS.
  • What is up with the Cleveland fans? I'm watching lest nights game 4, the Indians are up by 5 runs, and the fans at Jacob's field were absolutely caustic. What the hell? If there was a long standing rivalry (ala Sox-Yankers), or if our pitchers were beaning their batters, I could see the acrimony. Even if they were simply losing, there'd be some logic. As it was, they're up (at that point) 2 games to 1, with a commanding lead in the current game, and they're booing the ump for calling balls 8 inches off the plate? Taunting Youklis while he's trying to catch a foul. Throwing the HR ball hit by Youklis back onto the field? How classless is that?!
  • How is it that the Sox can tear apart C.C. Sabathia and can't hit junk-baller Byrd? Byrd is simply not that good! The Sox batters looked like they were doped up or something. They all swung like they were J.D. Drew when, thankfully, only one of them is.
  • Speaking of J.D. Drew, where the hell is Ellsbury? Our offense is for shit and Ellsbury was a great spark in August - September? His defensive skills are great, but yet we've got Crisp and Drew in the outfield, impressing no one with stellar defense and totally sucking at the plate. What gives?
  • I hate to say it, but all the pundits were right. Beckett should have started game 4. Wake is a solid pitcher, but not against the line-up that Cleveland boasts. Not in an ALCS setting. The team has a four million dollar option on Wake and they should keep him. He is a solid piece of the rotation. But in a do-or-die, Beckett should have been in.
  • Could somebody please kidnap Tim McCarver until the post season is over? He's killing me!

Tonight there is no game, even though there's still one to play in Cleveland (Fox blows!) So tonight, I'll forget about baseball for a little while, maybe watch a movie with the kids and hit the hay early. Tomorrow is game 5. Truly do-or-die. Beckett vs. Sabathia.

Even though I'm a Christian, I never pray for my teams to win. I won't go as far to say that I think it is sacrilegious, but it seems at least irreverent. Tomorrow, however, it will be a good deal tougher to avoid that plea for intercession. What's one "Our Father" on the Sox behalf?

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Catching Up

Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Let's see...

The Phillies. They got swept. I truly believe that this has to be chalked up to the momentum of the Colorado Rockies. This momentum thing, should it last, will probably take them clear to the WS. The Philles bats took a major dump in this series. At one point, Chase Utely struck out four times on 13 pitches!

The Yankers? Gone! They lose their divisional series to Cleveland 3-1. For the most part, this makes me very happy. My first wish, as always, is for the Phils and Sox to play in the series. Since that won't happen, we go to my next wish, which is a resounding victory by the Sox in the WS over whoever they would end up with. If that cannot be, if the Indians are destined to go to the big show, at least I'll be able to live through the hot stove season with two facts: A) The Sox did not get knocked out by the Yankers. B) The Sox got one step farther than the Yankers.

All I can say is thank the Lord for Canadian Soldiers!

This loss by the Yankers could also bode well for next season. It looks as though Steinbrenner is going to fire Torre. While everyone who has a half of a brain knows that firing the manager that has taken you to the post season every season he's held the job is a stupid move. Not to mention the fact that even with the ALDS loss, this season can arguably be considered Torre's greatest managerial year. Has Georgie Boy forgotten the HUGE mountain that the team had to overcome to get into the playoffs? The Yankers without Torre are worse than the Yankers with him, at least in 2008. This is a good thing for Red Sox Nation. Also, if Torre is fired, I believe that the move will significantly reduce the chances of resigning Posada, Rivera, and A-Rod. More good news.

My beloved Sox! They begin the ALCS against those Indians on Friday. Now, while rooting for Cleveland over the last week, it occurred to me that they share the best record in MLB with the Sox for a reason. Perhaps the Yankers were not the strongest team. Perhaps we have more to worry about facing the Indians than we would have with NY? In the end, though, reasons A and B above far outweigh the advantage. This will not be a sweep by the Sox, but I still have faith that we'll be watching them facing the NL Champ.

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Today it Begins!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Colorado Rockies @ Philadelphia Phillies - 3 PM EST

The first pitch of the 2007 Major League Baseball Post Season will be thrown by a Philadelphia Phillie! What's more, it will be the first post season pitch thrown by a Phillie since Mitch Williams lobbed that biscuit to Joe Carter in the 1993 World Series. You remember that pitch, don't you? Carter hit it for a series winning home run (that I believe still has not landed!) I suppose those of us lucky enough to be in front of the television for the pregame will get to see footage of that. I will not be one of those folks, as I am at work.

Can I get some info on this 3 PM start? What's up with that? The damn Cubs vs. D-Back games won't be on until freakin' 10:10 PM EST so that they can have a more reasonable 6:10 start in Arizona. So why do the Phils have to have the late-lunch start? I don't get it! I've been yearning and dreaming about this day for a long time, and now I have to listen to it in my office.

At any rate, we have Cole Hammels taking the mound against Jeff Francis. From what I gather, this is a favorable first game match-up. Hammels is, by far, the Phillies best starter. Francis has faced the Phils twice this year. Here are his stats:

Of course, the other side to this coin us that Hammels has not faced the Rockies this year, so we don't know what to expect from Cole in this outing.


End of an Awesome Season!

Monday, October 01, 2007

To be honest, I don't even know how to act.

I have been thinking about writing this post since yesterday afternoon, but could not get my head in the right place. My thoughts are muddled and I keep going off in tangents within my own reality. The sheer thrill that was this past weekend (or maybe the past week would be more accurate) defies explanation. When I began this blog I only dreamed what is the reality of this Monday afternoon: The Red Sox and the Phillies have both made it to the playoffs!

First, the Sox take two from Oakland. It needed to be done and it was done. Then, to stretch out the drama, they lose one to the Twins. Then Friday, after a come from behind victory in the second of four games, I check the Yanker score and they're winning. "OK. Our magic number is at one. We need only win one of the next two and we have the division." I go to sleep.

Saturday morning, after milling around with some coffee and the kids, I get on line and goto the Sox site. What to I see? I photo of Ortiz doused in champagne! As it turned out, after I'd retired for the evening, those Baltimore Orioles, who while sucking for most of the year had given top ranked teams headaches, gave N.Y. one more. Baltimore had come back and won the game! The Sox had clinched!

Meanwhile, over in the N.L., the Mets downward spiral was staved off one game on Saturday when they poured on a 13 run performance in a thrashing of the lowly Marlins. The Phils, who'd taken a one game lead in the N.L. East the night before, lost to the lowly Nationals and the division was tied heading into game 162, the last day of the regular season.

Sunday came and the Mets took the field first. By the time they were announcing lineups at Citizen's Bank Park, the Met's were losing. By the time the game in Philly got underway, Tom Glavine was out of the game for NY ., having given up seven runs in the top of the first inning! The story was half over. A few hours later, with the Mets gam final at 8-1, and with the Phillies up 6-1, and Brett Myers on the mound, Willy Mo (traded to the Nats from who? That's right, the Red Sox!) strikes out in the midst of sheer insanity among the Philly Phaithful! The Philles clinch the N.L. East for the first time since 1993! The Mets take over the top spot on the list of all-time greatest collapses.

One last hoorah, though. Thanks to my subscription, I am able to browse the remaining games for anything of interest. I see that not only is San Diego losing, but the Rockies have tied their game a one in the seventh inning. I see the last out the the Brewers ring up on the Pads. I "flip" over and watch that last two innings of the game in Colorado. I get to see the Rockies score three runs in the eighth, then give up two in the ninth before getting the final out. No matter, though, because in winning 4-3, the Rockies and their amazing 13 out of 14 run (including an 11 game streak!) force a one game playoff against San Diego for the N.L. Wild Card !

The possibility of this blog's existence being justified (as if that were necessary) by a Sox/Phils World Series lives on, at least for one more week.

What more could this season offer? Do we have the right to ask for even one more drop of nectar out of this flower? What have we seen?

The Yankers, sucking like a chest wound from April to July, come back and pour it on to be the winningest team in the second half, coming within a 1.5 games of taking the A.L. East away from my beloved Sox!

June 12th sees a 12 K no-hitter from Justin Verlander of the

August 8th sees Barry Bonds and his ever expanding skull hits home run 756*.

August 22nd sees the lowly Texas Rangers score thirty (30) runs against the Orioles on the same day that Garret Anderson of the Angels gets 10 RBI in one game.

September 1 sees Clay Buchholz of our own beloved Red Sox throw a no-hitter in only his second major league start.

And lets name drop a bit, shall we?

Alex Rodriguez - Best season ever

Jake Peavy - NL Cy Young?

Josh Beckett - AL Cy Young?

Prince Fielder - Power hitting monster

Magglio Ordonez - AL Batting Title?

Joba Chaimberlain - Is it "The Joba Rules" or "Joba RULZ!"

Dice-K - Sox $$$ Ace

Craig Biggio - 3000 hits and he's retiring

Matt Holiday - NL Batting title, MVP candidate

Jimmy Rollins - Enters the 20-20-20-20 club and WILL get the

C.C. Sabathia - Indian's Ace, Cy Young contender

Rick Ankiel - Pitcher turned power hitter!

Dustin Pedroia -AL Rookie of the year?

Shelley Duncan - Future Yankee slugger?

Curtis Granderson - Tigers 20-20-20-20 club man

So, let's all gather round tonight and see the final pre-postseason game play out. Who will the Phils face first? (Try saying that 10 times fast!) Will it be the Padres or the Rockies? The onto to October and the MLB Post Season!

God Bless Baseball!!!