Sunday, October 17, 2004

That was close

I was talking to my friend Doug before Game 3 and I was telling him how this series is all but over. And I wasn't being cynical or negative when I said it; I wasn't yelling about how lucky the Yankees are and how unlucky the Red Sox are; I was very matter-of-fact, very accepting (yet again) of my fate as a Red Sox fan. As I finished up my 2004 eulogy, Doug offered the following, "If the Sox can sweep the Yankees at Fenway, they'll be right back in it." To which I responded, Well, if the Red Sox just go ahead and win four in a row, they'll win the series too.

It's this kind of blind loyalty that comes back to screw most Red Sox fans -- and Saturday night was no different. My wife, who couldn't tell the difference between a football and a baseball before we met (and is now a hardcore Sox fan), asked a very simple -- yet very important -- question last night after Sheffield hit a three-run bomb off Leskanic. "How can the Red Sox not have any good pitchers?"

I didn't have an answer. For a team with the second highest payroll in MLB, that's a fair question. The pitching in this series has been awful. And I don't mean awful like, "traffic today was awful!" I mean awful like, "I accidentally crapped my pants in front of a bunch of people I don't know awful." I'm in the process of writing Theo a letter and asking for some kind of compensation for all the stuff I've had to put up with during this series. I'm convinced I've lost a couple of years off of my life because of it. Anyway, here are some random thoughts I had while watching this debacle:

...Here's an idea. Walk Matsui. I don't care if the bases are loaded, WALK him. If Jesus Christ was on the mound, Matsui would hit a home run. And someone needs to put Matsui through an X-ray machine just to make sure he's not a robot. Have you ever seen that guy show any emotion? I mean seriously, this is an important question that should be investigated.

...Can the Red Sox petition the league office to let Bellhorn use one of those Fred Flintstone bats? And can anyone explain to me why he's still in the lineup -- batting second no less? Here's an idea, keep Youkalis on the roster and let him play third, and move Mueller to second. Or how about this, let Pokey play. At one point in the second inning with Damon on third and Bellhorn at the plate, I was actually thinking that Damon should try and steal home because that would be his best chance to score. My next thought was, "where's Todd Walker when you need him?"

...Third base coach Dale Sveum is an idiot. I've tried to give that guy the benefit of the doubt, but there's no way around it. Anytime someone makes me think, "man, I really wish we had Wendell Kim coaching third," something is horribly wrong. This guy must hold the record for consecutive wrong decisions. I actually think he tried to hold Trot Nixon at third after he hit his home run.

...Orlando Cabrera might be my new favorite Red Sock -- and I was a big Nomar fan. This guy gets big hits, makes big plays in the field, and doesn't act like a complete buffoon -- which not surprisingly, is hard to do on this team of misfits. Hopefully the Red Sox will make an effort to keep him -- or maybe we can move Bellhorn to shortstop for the 2005 season. Either way, it's a win-win.

...I'm still convinced that Francona is in way over his head. They should hire one of the clubhouse attendants to periodically check his pulse just to make sure he's still breathing. If they ever decide to remake "Weekend at Bernies" (or better yet, come out with "Weekend at Bernies 3"), Francona gets my vote for the role of Bernie. The only difference, as far as I can tell, between Francona and Grady Little is about 12 months and a head full of hair. Otherwise, I don't see much difference in terms of game management.

Stupid McCarver quotes, round 3:
"If you don't think you can lift balls that are low, think of a golf tee." (McCarver talking about Kevin Brown throwing his sinking fastball)

"Sheffield rightly moves up with two strikes on Cabrera." (Cabrera promptly smokes a double over the outstretched glove of Sheffield)

Maybe the Red Sox can hire McCarver as the manager after they find out that Francona's really a manequin. Just a thought.

Of course all is not lost. All the Red Sox have to do is win four in a row and there in the World Series. And I'm going to pull a Ben Crenshaw circa 1999 here (when he was Ryder Cup captain and needed the biggest comeback in Ryder Cup history to pull out a victory):
"I'm a big believer in fate...I have a good feeling about this. That's all I'm going to tell you."
I just hope Ben's right.