Saturday - Apr 20, 2019

Home / Uncategorized / Off the Subject….Just Thinking XVIII…About Baseball

Off the Subject….Just Thinking XVIII…About Baseball

My apologies in advance as many of these thoughts are a couple of weeks old (if not older), just didn’t have the will to put them out there any sooner. We will be focusing on baseball in this issue, touching on some subjects that have been bothering me. Yes, I know we’re in the teeth of football season, but I need to get some of this stuff off my chest. Always nice to have a public forum like this to do that!

I’m not sure what was with all the rioting at New England colleges following every Red Sox win in the playoffs. Just dumb. Luckily no one got hurt.

Memo to the gentlemen (and I use that term loosely) in the front row near the Red Sox dugout in Oakland: Trust me, you don’t want David Ortiz coming into the stands to dole out a beating. Damian Jackson, yes, David Ortiz, no.

Let me see if I have this straight, Migel Tejada is upset by what he perceives as an obscene jesture because of the kids in attendance, so he goes into an expletive filled tirade. Am I missing something here? Could I have some cheese with those sour grapes please?

And by the way, now that the dust has settled and I’ve had a chance to finally see what all the complaining was all about, there is NO WAY what Derek Lowe did after closing out the series was either obscene or even directed towards the A’s.

Bad enough that this ‘Cowboy Up’ thing is bringing out people in cowboy hats to Fenway Park, but we’ve got to be subjected to a ‘Cowboy Up’ song (that went on waaaay too long if you ask me) before Game 4 of the ALDS? Ick.

And memo to Michael Bolton: Have the words to the National Anthem handy next time.

I’m not sure what all the fuss was about in Game 3 of the ALCS, the ball didn’t hit Garcia and should have been ruled a foul ball.

Speaking of Garcia, not sure why, but he just looks like a typical dirt bag. Nice of him to join a fracas already involving nine of his teammates against one unsuspecting member of the Fenway grounds crew. Cameras clearly caught him throwing 8-9 roundhouses, yet after the game he says he hurt his hand jumping over the wall…? Surely you jest.

Having said that, anyone “working” amongst a visiting team in any park should be professional and not be cheering. This should go without saying. Though the penalty shouldn’t be a beating at the hands of ten men.

I don’t know about you, when there’s a bull charging at me (or an elderly bench coach), I grab it by the horns and drive it to the ground while I step aside, too.

I need to include this, but for obvious reasons I can’t say who it’s from: Buddy of mine goes to Yankee stadium wearing Red Sox gear (which takes gnads, by the way). Out drinking in the parking lot before the game with literally hundreds of other Yankee fans, NYPD gives the Red Sox fan a ticket for open container. This is not a joke, this actually happened. I don’t even know what else to add here.

Not that the result was ever in doubt, but had the Yankees lost Game 7 of the ALCS, would people be all over the person that touched Matsui’s ball in the eighth inning (like the poor guy in Chicago)? By touching the ball, the fan forced it to be a ground rule double instead of the run scoring triple that it should have been. Nice of the broadcast guys to not pick up on this, did any of them offer anything insightful in any of the games? I know of literally hundreds of fans that watched the games with the sound off and listened to the local radio broadcast.

If you told me before “The Game” that Grady Little would leave in his stud pitcher to work out of a jam late in the game and Joe Torre would drop his stud hitter to #7 in the batting order, who would you call crazy? Giambi bangs two homers (solo, by the way, thanks to his spot in the order), the Yanks win the game and Torre is called a genius. Am I missing something here?

Irony of ironies in that Brett Boone is in the game because Pedro is (finally) taken out of the game. Guy has the crappiest of crappy seasons, is pitiful in the playoffs, and with one swing he’s a hero. At least we got to see that his brother couldn’t believe what he was seeing either.

Let’s put something to rest here, when Joe Torre went out to the mound to take out Roger Clemens out of “The Game”, there was no “talking his way out of it”. Mel Stottlemyer had already made a trip to the mound that inning so when Torre SET FOOT ON THE FIELD, the decision to take Clemens out had been made. I’m not sure why people don’t understand this.

And when Grady little RAN to the mound in the eighth inning, he had no intention of taking out Pedro Martinez. No one talked anyone out of anything here either.

And let’s touch upon “The Decision” that will be talked about for centuries to come (or at least until the Sox finally do win a World Series, if ever). Like many people at the time, I was calling for Pedro to be taken out of there. I didn’t think there should have been any question. In fact, heading into the game, I figured that if the Sox got six innings out of him, that’d be grand. However, I’ve gone back and watched the game a couple more times (yes, just as painful each time), and while this won’t be a popular grouping of words, I can see why Grady wanted to leave him in there.

Think about it, anyone that watched the Red Sox as much as I did this year saw what a terrible bullpen Grady had to work with all season. That’s 162 games worth of suffering, and I do mean suffering in the worst way. Sure, the bullpen had been great in the playoffs for a few games, but don’t you think that the other shoe was eventually going to drop? Wouldn’t you rather have your multi-million dollar ace on the hill, especially since he was throwing as hard as he had been all game?

And let’s give credit where credit is due. Jeter, Williams, Matsui, Posada…these guys are stud hitters that just got the job done. Pedro was throwing the ball as hard as he’d been throwing all game and while the location was off (see: Matsui), the pitches that Jeter, Williams and Posada hit were right where he wanted them (in fact, on most of those guys he had them down in the count 0-2). Just bad luck for the Sox, but good luck created by the Yankees. Why do we need to find a scapegoat (Grady)?

And regarding Grady and him not returning next year, Red Sox management had already made up their mind that he wasn’t coming back next season. If they wanted him back, they would have picked up his option year like they did with Pedro during the season. He was never “their guy”, and the loss just made it easier for them to let him go.

Lastly, I’m saddened by the media coverage of this whole thing. While it has certainily died down in time, it’s still out there. Let me just state this for the record: No one knows what would have happened if Grady had indeed brought in Embree, Timlin and/or Williamson. No one. To call his decision to leave Pedro in wrong just because it didn’t work out, is really egregious. I have seen and heard what many of the media outlets have written and said about it on the radio, and it’s just baffling to me. People are taking the easy way out by taking cheap shots. It’s easy to say now that it was the wrong decision, but was it really? No one will ever know. Some people have said that if he brought in the bullpen and they blew the game that the backlash would be less, that’s just bull. Unless they won the game, whatever he did would have been wrong in their eyes. Cheap shots.

Lastly, lastly (promise this time), my two cents on the whole Grady thing is that I am sad to see him go. I believe he was the catalyst for the magic that the Red Sox had captured this season. While I know that it is difficult to have things carry over from one year to the next, not having him around guarantees that next year’s team will be completely different. Granted, putting Manny on waivers and trying to get rid of him will also change things, and many of the players will also be different, but it starts at the top. My question to you Red Sox fans is this, if we are going to get rid of the manager, shouldn’t we have a better manager lined up, someone that is available, before we get rid of what we have? That’s all I’m asking.

Until then, see you on opening day next year (maybe) and PFGH2004 (though I have my doubts).

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