Wrong Attitude

Anybody who has read this site more than a few times knows that I’m really not one for overreacting to one particluar game. I’m also not one to be overly critical of the manager. But reading the quotes in the paper this morning rubbed me the wrong way.

It was more of a laugher than a letdown. It didn’t seem to leave a bad taste in his mouth.

Little was asked whether there was any negative carryover from the Yankees series.

“What game were you watching out there? We scored 10 runs in that sucker,” Little said. “We felt awfully proud about the way the boys came out and attacked that other team tonight. The last couple of innings we didn’t make some plays and the outcome turned out like it did.”

After Nomar Garciaparra’s home run in the eighth tied it, the Red Sox unraveled in the field.

Jerry Hairston led off the bottom of the eighth with an infield single off Byung-Hyun Kim. Luis Matos bunted up the first base line. Kim’s throw to first hit Matos, who appeared to be running inside the line. The umpires didn’t see it that way and Little didn’t argue.

“That was the call that was made,” Little said. “We don’t have a choice but to go with it.” HEUSCHKEL

Emphasis is mine. Here’s the problem I have. The call that Tek got thrown out on may or may not have been foul. I never saw a clear replay; but I’m assuming Tek saw something, and that’s why he was so hot. Two Sox players get thrown out, and Grady went to the umps for a brief explination. The Matos play was more blatant; he was running the entire line on the grass. So between that and the other play, you aren’t going to go out and argue that at all?

Did those two calls lose the game for the Sox? Absolutely not. Yes, they played a part…but the Sox did just fine blowing the game on their own.

Stretch Over

Although let’s hope the momentum of the last 18 games or so keeps rolling…

When I first laid out the tough stretch, I talked of 19 games. I added 6 more at a later date, but even though I didn’t put down what I hoped for them…I’ll take 5-1. As for the rest:

11-8 during this 19 game stretch shouldn’t be too much to ask if you consider yourselves a playoff calibre team.(from 8/10)

At the end of the 19 game stretch, they were 10-9 after dropping 2 of 3 to the Yanks. But in hindsight; that 10-9 wasn’t so bad since the stretch started out 3-6.

On to Baltimore to hopefully exact some revenge…

The Boss(es)

Yesterday was a FANTASTIC day. I headed up to Boston early for the Springsteen show to meet a friend I was selling some extra tickets to and to watch the Sox/Yanks game. We ended up at Beer Works, and as we all know, the game turned out great. Then we moved over to the Cask, where we found out that my friend and I scored standing room ‘Pit’ seats (ended up about 20 feet from the stage), so we could give my other friend our floor seats and we could sell their grandstand seats. Sold them in all of 3 minutes at the Cask; and I even sold them for face value.

The concert was fantastic. Being in centerfield when they lit up the Fenway lights was pretty cool…and Bruce puts on a HELLUVA show. He just looks like he is having fun up there…and the show ended with Peter Wolf coming on stage and the band doing a ROUSING rendition of Dirty Water. And I ended up standing next to Bill Walton.

After Friday night’s game, Steinbrenner had some interesting insane comments. Today the Post reads like a Boston-media type shame fest. It’s kind of funny.

HUGE day today. Chance for a sweep, the winning of the season series, and a new AL East leader. And the Pats play the Bills. Nice.

Ironically enough, this is the anniversary of the 1978 Boston Massacre. The Courant ran a piece on it today.

But the standard by which all September sweeps are measured in this rancorous rivalry began 25 years ago today. Indeed, 1978 didn’t really become 1978 until Sept. 7. That was the Thursday night the Yankees came to Boston for a four-game series, trailing the Red Sox by four games. By Sunday afternoon, the Yankees had won four straight, and the Red Sox were reeling.

He’s back?

Yeah; I know you can’t say something like that after just one game. But Pedro was lights-out last night. Last night was one of those nights that he would have survived the Sox scoring 2 runs. Here’s hoping that’s the Pedro we see for the rest of September.

It’d be nice if the Sox could take today’s as well, because I get the feeling that Sunday is going to be a 12-10 slugfest. Wakes has had a rough few outings, let’s see if he can right the ship.

I’ll be headed up to Boston today to watch the game with some friends, and then go to Springsteen. 15 rows from the stage, baby! You’d be able to watch as well if some jackass didn’t cover up the Fenway Cam…

Interesting Perspectives

I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that in my opinion, when you want fair and balanced coverage of the Red Sox or the Yankees, you need to look no further than the Hartford Courant. The paper has a beat writer for each team, and neither of them suffer from the shortcomings that generally plague other writers in their respective locales.

Well, this morning, on the day of the final (and most important) Sox-Yanks matchup in the regular season in 2003, the Courant did something interesting. They have two articles side-by-side under the heading ‘Looking to the Opposite Field’:

Dom Amore is in his fourth year covering the Yankees for The Courant. David Heuschkel, who covers the Red Sox, is also in his fourth year. They each cover about 130 regular season games, so they know all about their teams. But they have seen 16 Yankees-Red Sox games this season and certainly have thoughts about the other team. So we did a little role reversal. Amore writes about this year’s Red Sox and Heuschkel tackles the Yankees.

Heuschkel, easily the most quoted journalist here at PSF.com, has the following bits about the Yankees in his article entitled ‘Yankees’ Hold On First Is Shaky’:

Despite all that has gone wrong, the Yankees have been at the top of the American League East for all but 11 days this season. Having spent all that time in first place you’d think the Yankees were closing in on another division title.

But unlike the past three years when August turned to September, the Yankees haven’t been able to pull away from the Red Sox.

It wasn’t that long ago – Aug. 20 – that the Yankees had a 71/2-game lead (eight in the loss column) over Boston. Just when the division race seemed a foregone conclusion, the Yankees allowed the Red Sox to creep back into it.

The recent comments by Torre in the New York Post, that this season “hasn’t been fun,” are also cause for concern. If the players didn’t sense it before, they certainly know it now. And that could have a negative effect.

To hear the even-keeled Torre declare a victory over the Red Sox last weekend in Boston the biggest win of the season made the manager sound uncharacteristically desperate – with a month to go.

Can anyone remember the last time a first-place Yankees team was desperate?

And believe it or not, Amore has a similar tone in his review of the Sox chances entitled ‘Is That Opportunity Knocking?’:

Let’s talk about two pitches: Brandon Lyon’s fourth ball to Jorge Posada on May 28 in New York, and Mariano Rivera’s third strike past Bill Mueller last Saturday at Fenway Park.

There have been other turning points, but right now, those two pitches represent just how close – and just how far away – the Red Sox are. Had those pitches gone the other way, the Red Sox would lead the season series 9-7 and be in first place. They’ve done just about everything this year, except beat the Yankees when it could have made all the difference.

…So for all the Red Sox’s hitting exploits, especially at home, they lost five of nine to the Yankees at Fenway Park. Last weekend, Manny Ramirez was a no-show, but so were several Yankees. Neither Jason Giambi nor Alfonso Soriano got a hit in the series, yet the Yankees took two of three. How? The Red Sox couldn’t get Nick Johnson or Enrique Wilson out.

This is not a vintage Yankees team, and they (the Sox) are playing tight.

Maybe the Red Sox, who joked last Sunday, despite falling 51/2 games back, about “having the Yankees where they wanted them,” finally realize it’s opportunity, not heartache, that has been pounding the door on Yawkey Way this year.

Both columns are good reads.

Also in the paper this morning is the fact that Jeter is not playing this weekend, and the Yanks called up NFL Backup QB Drew Henson. Also Erick Almonte is injured, so there is a pretty good chance that last year’s manager of the AA Norwich Navigators Luis Sojo will see some time. I wonder if that is the first time ever that a player and his former manager sit on the bench as teammates…

Unfortunately, it appears that Manny’s covert plan to infect Enrique Wilson with pharyngitis did not work, so the Pedro-killer will have more chances tonight.

Pedro vs. Pettite to start of this pretty significant series.

What’s Happening?

-Ortiz is still DYN-O-MITE.
-Manny returns from his wrist slap and has a nice game.
-Lowe has his 5th solid outing in a row.
-Kim didn’t blow the game.
-Sox picked up the ground they lost in the East last weekend; and then some.
-Now tied for the WC again.

One almost wishes that they DIDN’T have an off day, to keep momentum rolling. Here’s hoping for a strong 2 out of 3 finish to the streak of 25.

Millar Rally video now online here.

So can Mannygate end now?

Manny was benched, the Sox still won. In my opinion, based on what facts (or near facts) have come out, I think Grady did the right thing in sitting him. Nobody doubts that he was sick; but have some courtesy (in calling Sunday to say “Hey; I’m still sick”) and some common sense (hob-knob NEXT weekend with Enrique!)

All in all, a nice game. Great job by (almost) everybody, and 1/2 game gained on the division. Wild card pace remains the same.

Please keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times

Sox fans and Philly fans both got a roller coaster ride yesterday with PLENTY of ups and downs. Very much like the extra inning game they played in late June. This time, however, it was the Philly Coaster that derailed.

I only started watching in earnest around the 7th inning. I was thrilled when they took the lead on Ortiz’ triple, and chilled when Timlin gave it right back up. I almost went back downstairs and joined my guests. But I figured; what the hell…one more inning. They’ve come so close to late inning comebacks the past 2 games, maybe this time they could pull it out. And luckily, that’s what happened.

A couple not-totally-game related issues festering in Red Sox Nation today that I wanted to add to.

First of all, regarding giving Clemens a standing ovation on Sunday. I’m proud to have taken part in it. I booed him from the second he left the bullpen until Torre came to pull him out. At that point, in my opinion, it was time to acknowledge a Hall of Fame pitcher who did more than a little bit for the Sox in his day. That seemed to be the majority opinion in the crowd that day. I’ve seen a little backlash in some circles regarding “How could you cheer for Clemens?” or “How could you cheer for a Yankee in the middle of an important game that the Sox are losing?”.

Nobody was cheering for the Yankees. Hell; I wasn’t even cheering for the performance Clemens put in on that day. I was clapping to pay respects to a great baseball player, no matter how little I think of his decisions since 1997.

The second issue is Manny. On one hand, I think too big a deal is being made of him at the Ritz Saturday night. He lives there, he was talking to a friend of his. BFD. I also think too much is being made of the “I want to play in New York” statement. Although I agree it was a dumb thing to say, in the context of the conversation with Morgan (growing up near the Stadium, going there with his father as a kid), they are almost defensible.

However, the problem I DO have is not showing up at the park on Sunday, and then still being too ‘sick’ to pinch hit at all yesterday. Apparantly sitting in the clubhouse for most of the game yesterday. That’s BS, in my opinion. Unless a doctor told you to stay home, or to not sit on the bench with your teammates, you should be out there. And it seems like some of the Sox feel the same way:

“I’d much rather not give thoughts on that,” Damon said. “We know he’s a big part of our team. So we want him around whether it’s sitting on the bench or just holding a bat somewhere. That’s all I’ll comment on that.”

“This says a lot about the team and guys who are on it and guys who went into the game today,” said Nixon, making an obvious reference to Manny’s reluctance to grab a bat. “You can look at that any way you want. I’m sure a lot of people would like to have seen Manny up there. Well, I’m just as confident with the people who went to the plate. Those guys are the MVPs of this game. I’m not talking about Manny, just those guys.”