Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Archive for the month “June, 2010”

How tough is the AL East? This tough…

The Boston Red Sox just finished off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with their 2-0 win last night. They have now won six in a row and are 39 and 19 since April 20. This stretch of excellent baseball has allowed them to climb from 8.5 games out of first place in the American League East to just one game. No team in the Major Leagues has more wins than the Red Sox and only one team, the Yankees, matches their 43 victories. Yet…

… if the season were to end today, seven teams with fewer wins than the Sox would make the playoffs, while the Red Sox would not. They have won more games than Tampa Bay, but they have also lost one more, so the Rays have a better winning percentage. The Yankees would win the division and the Rays would be the wild card team.

Of course, with an unequal number of games played, the season couldn’t end today, but I’m just trying to make a point, which is this:

The Red Sox dug themselves a deep hole early in the season and while they’ve played incredibly well the past two months, they still have not climbed all the way out. That’s how tough the American League East is.

But as Chad Finn and Peter Abraham are quick to say, there’s a lot of baseball left to play, including a west coast road trip, during which the Sox will face two of the best pitchers in the game (Ubaldo Jimenez and Tim Lincecum). They will be on the road for 30 of their next 39 games. The next five weeks promise to be very grueling. It will be interesting to see where they are in the standings come August 1st.

Manny being… ah, who cares?

There’s speculation about just what kind of reception Manny Ramirez will receive from the fans at Fenway tonight, when the slouching slugger returns to Boston for the first time since his notorious departure two summers ago. Will he be booed? Will he be cheered? Which does he deserve?

He deserves both, and neither. Yes, he was a big time hitter for the Red Sox during their two championship seasons. But let’s not pretend he did it out of the goodness of his heart. He was paid as an elite hitter, and all he did was what he was paid for. And the way he left Boston was a disgrace.

So, the best way for the Fenway Faithful to greet Ramirez is with indifference. No boos, no cheers, just a big, “Who cares?”¬†When Carl Beane announces that number 99 is stepping to the plate for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time, just read your program, look at the score board, check your e-mail. Just ignore the guy in the Dodger uniform.

That’s what will get under his skin. That’s what he can’t stand… not being the center of attention. It’s Manny being some guy we no longer care about.

Who are these guys?

During spring training, the biggest issue you heard or read about the 2010 Boston Red Sox is that they are too boring. There were no stories. No Manny being Manny incidents. No team friction. No cowboys like Kevin Millar. The only real issues were whether Mike Lowell would be traded, and if anyone was excited by the run-prevention approach.

Then the season started and it looked as if the Red Sox could be over-matched by the 1962 Mets. During that dark stretch, Adrian Beltre took out Jacoby Ellsbury with a hit that would make Jack Lambert proud. But that made room for Darnell McDonald — well, we know what happened on his first Red Sox at bat.

Joey HeathertonNow we have the most improbable of all stories, Daniel Nava. Going into yesterday’s game against the Phillies, all I knew about the guy is that he is the epitome of the underdog and he has a thing for ESPN’s Erin Andrews. (Someone’s going to have to explain to me the allure of this woman. I mean, she’s certainly not bad looking, but she’s no Joey Heatherton.)*

Anyway, all Nava does is hit a grand slam on the very first major league pitch he’s thrown!

And the Sox continued to roll over the Phillies. Now all they need to do is figure out how to consistently beat crappy teams like the Orioles and Indians. But that’s another story. For now, I’ll just revel in the feel-good story of the year.

Daniel Nava, my new favorite Red Sox — at least until the next call-up from Pawtucket.

*How often do you find Joey Heatherton and Jack Lambert mentioned in the same blog post… pretty impressive, huh?

Instant Replay in Baseball? Please, God, NOOO!

Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio were pushing for instant replay in baseball after the bad call by umpire Jim Joyce cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game last night. I think instant replay is a terrible idea, so I had to respond to Mike and Mike and sent them the following e-mail:

Dear Mike and Mike,

I just have to offer my contrary opinion about instant replay in baseball. So Jim Joyce made a mistake. Big deal. It happens. What if the pitcher had lost a no hitter/perfect game on an error by his short stop? Or, imagine this scenario: Instead of on a ball in play, the perfect game was lost on a third strike that was called a ball? Next pitch, home run. Or the grounds crew didn’t adequately work the infield and the perfect game was lost on a bad hop?

Umpires are part of the game. The whole game. Maybe the pitcher didn’t even really deserve to be in position for a perfect game. Maybe in the third inning that third strike call was six inches off the plate and the batter should have taken first on a walk (I’m making that up, since I didn’t see the game, but I hope you get my point).

Instant replay is the worst thing to happen to the NFL (not counting Jerry Jones) in the last 30 years. The officials have gotten worse since IR was instituted. And how often have you seen this happen: The TV announcers see the instant replay, and say, “I don’t see any incontrovertible evidence here. They can’t overturn the call.” After five more excruciating minutes, the referee does, in fact, over turn the call. (Or it can happen the other way around, of course.)

All sports is about people performing… or not performing. Even the officials.

I’m sure Mike and Mike will never see this message, but it makes me feel better to write it.

Post Navigation