Keeping the Faith
First, the bad news, plentiful as it is:
On the other hand:
You forgot an important news item: If the season ended today, the BoSox wouldn't be in the postseason.
Whew - I thought you were going to tell me you just saved a bunch of money by switching to Geico :)
When did they change the rules that whoever is in first place a week and a half before the end of the season goes to the playoffs? Oh wait, they didn't.
Question: Why you haven't been here for the last two months pointing out that if the season ended on any of those days, the Red Sox would be the AL East champs?
Answer: Because you're a loser. Go away.
Having had neither the motivation nor the concentration recently to do any serious blogging, I now feel the urge to just throw some thoughts out there.
Red Sox 15, Devil Dogs 2 after eight innings. Is it safe to say that the entire lineup is now out of their respective slumps? It would have been nice if they had come through with a few of these runs the last couple nights, but all will be forgiven if they can keep it going through this week. If they get shut out tomorrow, I may have to burn someone in effigy.
Isn't it nice to see Curt Schilling pitch a terrific game, even if we can't necessarily count on the same result the next time?
What is it with Edgar Renteria, anyway? At this moment, he does not have one of the Sox' 20 hits. Errors, however, seem to be easier for him to come by. Joe and Jerry on the WEEI game broadcast said earlier that those who have played with Renteria in the past are convinced he is playing hurt. As I said to some friends earlier tonight, I hate it when guys do that thinking they're helping the team.
Speaking of injuries, I am heartbroken for Gabe Kapler. After his horrible experience in Japan earlier in the year and his subsequent return home to Boston, he was contributing to the team in ways that most bench players never have a chance to. I'd like to smack the people who claim that his ruptured Achilles tendon is proof of steroid use. I actually know people who have ruptured their Achilles tendons, and it had nothing to do with steroids.
And now Kevin Youkilis is hampered by a nasty finger injury. I should be thankful our starters aren't the ones going down.
I used up the last scorecard in my book recently. I ordered an excellent scorebook online back in February of 2003, but it didn't arrive in time for spring training. The first game I scored in it was an interleague matchup at Fenway against the Astros on Fathers Day. Beautiful weather, 14 innings, Sox won. Now, 2+ years and 60 scorecards later, it is now full. Because that scorebook is now out of print, I have designed another that I have to get printed and bound before next season. Any games I catch in the meantime will have to be scored on individual pages.
This year was my most prolific yet in terms of attending games. Between Red Sox (spring training, regular season, and the Hall of Fame exhibition game), Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA), Portland Sea Dogs (AA), and Worcester Tornadoes (ind.), I've been to 35 professional games in 2005. This Saturday's game in Baltimore will be number 36.
So what about that AL East pennant race? Some of my Yankee fan friends like to think the Yanks are pulling themselves together just in time, but it wouldn't matter if the Sox hadn't been playing .500 ball for most of September. In their last 10 games (not including tonight's game still in progress), opponents' ERA is only 3.45 to Boston's 4.90. I'd say it's miraculous that they aren't worse than .500 in that stretch.
Checking out standings around MLB, the NL East is now the only division in which every team is still mathematically in contention for the division title. Until the Mets' recent slump, every team in the division was over .500. Compare that to the NL West, where the first place Padres have spent most of the last several weeks under .500.
On the flip side, the Cardinals remain the only team to have clinched their division. They're so good this year that the current NL wild card leader, the Astros, are 13.5 games out of first place.
I'm not sure why I feel compelled to point out that the Kansas City Royals have lost more games (99) than any other team has won.
For those who care, the Orioles are trying their best to catch up to the Yankees after falling behind by seven runs. They now trail New York 10-7 in the eighth.
Note that this Thursday is the only game remaining in the season when both the Red Sox and Yankees are not playing. I think I'll light a candle for a Yankees loss.
One thing I am not concerned about is the future of the Red Sox organization. With the roster now including prospects Jon Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, Hanley Ramirez, Kelly Shoppach, and Craig Hansen, we are seeing the fruits of the front office's efforts to restock the farm system. Folks, we'll be watching outstanding young talent for years to come.
Finally, let me weigh in on the MVP question; i.e. should David Ortiz be eligible for the award? Should any designated hitter? To me, the answer is simple. The award is for most valuable player, but nowhere do the rules specify how a player can or cannot be of value to his team. Whether by outstanding pitching, fielding, baserunning, or hitting, it isn't important how a player makes an impact but only that he does. Is clutch come-from-behind hitting any less important than shutout pitching or Gold Glove fielding or successful base-stealing to spark rallies? Not really, if it helps your team win games they would otherwise lose.
On that basis, the 2005 AL MVP is clearly David Ortiz. Unfortunately, he won't get the honor, in large part because so many of the baseball writers who vote for this and other awards feel compelled to add or subtract criteria as they see fit.
That's all for now, folks. Catch you later this week, and GO SOX!