Siberian Baseball

Monday, October 29, 2007

Peter Gammons will not receive a Christmas card from A-Rod

Tell us how you really feel, Pete.

In the middle of coverage last night - and possibly this morning, I'm still checking back on this morning's broadcast - Peter Gammons was brought in to answer a few questions about Alex Rodriguez and where he'd end up next season.

After a few seconds that boiled down to "we'll have to wait and see," Gammons ripped Rodriguez for the rest of the segment.

Said Gammons:

What's unfortunate here is the total disrespect for the game of baseball. This is the World Series, Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester are doing something Alex has never done - play in a World Series game - and to want the attention on this day is kind of a sad commentary and might be a little bit of a buyer beware because, again, he's never played in a World Series game. Maybe there's a reason.

I'm guessing that Gammons would be less than impressed with A-Rod in a Sox uniform.


Here's the video courtesy of which I found via The Buried Lead on a board. Wow, that was a long path for 30 seconds of video.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Quick reactions ran the headline, "Twice in a lifetime" with a subhead that read:

The legend of Babe Ruth haunted Boston for some 86 years. The Curse of Doug Mientkiewicz? Merely three. Behind pitching as timely as their hitting, the Red Sox won another World Series. went with "Again!!"

My Aunt Phyllis who lives in the Red Sox Spring Training home of Fort Myers, FL probably feels the same way she did yesterday after the Game 3 win - "Great, that probably means even more tourists next year..."

Apparently they really screw up traffic.

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It's a bad night in the Bronx

I can just sit here and shake my head as the Red Sox lead 4-1 (now 4-3 by the time I'm ready to post) in the bottom of the eighth inning as it appears that Fox is trying its best to start a riot in New York City tonight.

If broadcasting the World Series with Boston up 3-0 heading into the fourth game wasn't bad enough, they've taken a little too much pleasure in announcing the apparent departure of Alex Rodriguez as well as rattling off the list of players who are free agents this year.

Sports Illustrated is reporting:

The Angels, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, Red Sox and Mets would appear to be the most logical pursuers of A-Rod. Although, the Mets would have to move at least one star player to accommodate A-Rod, who wanted to go there back in 2000 before Texas blew him away with their bid.

Can we add another iron into the fire by making sure everyone remembers that Rodriguez was originally a shortstop?

Also of note is the New York Daily News reporting that Joe Girardi is the frontrunner for the vacant position in the Yankee dugout, just days after stories that he was a goner for the manager's job.

All of this is just a little added flavor for Red Sox Nation which is taking this year's trip through the playoffs more calmly than the 2004 campaign. It's amazing what two trips to the World Series can do for a fan base, no?

I'll have to admit that this time around isn't quite as much fun as 2004 and I can't quite place why. I'd be lying if I didn't think that there's a greed factor involved - I've already let thoughts of a Series win in Fenway creep into my assessment of tonight's back and forth game.

I'm still contemplating something that Danny said last weekend - essentially that the Red Sox are the new Yankees. He's right and I think I first heard the sentiment for Red Sox blogs, but that doesn't make it any easier to process.

It's been hard to ignore the fact that Boston isn't the underdog this year and that there are thousands of young Rockies fans who are cursing the Red Sox and everything they stand for now, forging a hatred that will cause conflicts for years to come.

The biggest upside to the whole situation is that watching Fox try to pimp this series and Colorado's Cinderella season has provided quite a bit of entertainment for me this week. I'm pretty sure Joe Buck is about to start crying any minute from the stress.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

There's a reason they're the Cubs

Much like the Cubs' hitters in this year's playoffs, the crews working on gutting and replacing the playing surface at Wrigley Field got stuck halfway down the first base line before they were stopped.

Should that be the bad sign, or does that dubious honor fall to the fact that the Cubs needed the White Sox to loan them their head grounds keeper to get the job done (with the Fenway infield is also on his resume).

Honest to God, the first fan that makes a comment next year about how the Cubs are due for a change of fortune next spring because the old dirt has been sent packing is in line for a complimentary backhand from the closest baseball fan with a clue.

According to the Chicago Tribune (now with video!) there was a problem with the Chicago Bears acting like a bunch of college seniors moving out after graduation and just leaving a bunch of crap for the landlords to deal with later.

Only, instead of a couch that smells like Bigfoot crashed there for two weeks in July, the Bears left a chunk of concrete underground that reportedly should have been removed when they left in 1970.

Personally, I'm heading down there tomorrow morning - the grounds crew has instructions to chuck those puppies and Frankie and my brother-in-law have birthdays and Christmas presents I need to think about.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Clayton must not make that much

Call me crazy, but if a guy is hatching a plan to take advantage of a Taco Bell promotion like a bored stoner and his buddies, he might be making the league minimum, no?

Still, I have a newfound appreciation of Royce Clayton after this exchange.


For such a simple game, it sure is hard to explain

While I don't even pretend to be a baseball expert - I fall squarely into the "Smarter than the average bear" category - I'm no dummy, either.

I take for granted the basics of the game and thank my lucky stars that my wife had a good working knowledge before we met, sparing me hours of infuriating conversation. So, imagine my confusion when I realized that a friend in from Ireland had no clue what was going on as the World Series got underway last night.

Just take a moment and realize how many odd little rules are in play for baseball. In addition
to arbitrary strike zones, fair and foul balls, fly balls and grounders, force outs - this list can go on for pages - you have park-specific ground rules like Wrigley's ivy, Fenway wall balls or fly balls hitting speakers or catwalks in domes.

Football is pretty simple to give someone a working knowledge of in a minute or so - take the ball, run that way to score - while basketball and hockey are really easy - soccer on ice and hardwood - but baseball is a lot trickier than it seems.

The real kicker is that after all of that excitement last night, we're having lunch today and talking about the confusion last night and she says, "Oh, kind of like rounders, right?"

Honestly, I thought that sport had been dead for decades.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Curse of 2004

It's 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning in the Boston/Cleveland game right now, but there's still time for a quick post that was knocked loose in my head after seeing Kevin Millar throw out the first pitch tonight.

When the Indians went up 3-1 in the series last week I got a glimpse at just how distorted Red Sox baseball has become following the 2004 playoffs.

While most rational fans can take a series deficit like that and start to prepare mentally for elimination, the '04 playoffs make it difficult to keep from rationalizing unnatural comebacks in a fan's mind.

I am still working on whether or not that's a good thing.


If I see one worm, I'm not eating another apple again

So, amongst the chaos this morning at the hotel, I found a few minutes to flip on ESPN where The Sports Reporters were weighing in on the Paul Byrd story among other things.

The most ridiculous thing I heard in the opening 10 minutes was from Mitch Albom - I can't confirm this and I'm only relying on my shoddy memory, so I could very well be wrong on who said this - who said that the microscope was on Daisuke Matsuzaka after he signed his monster contract this season.

While I agree that he is seen as the key link to the Red Sox post-season, especially in light of tonight's do or die match up, I refuse to buy into the Sunday morning thesis. In short, the contention was that GMs across the league would be watching tonight as a litmus test on foreign born pitchers, how they handle the big games and whether they are worth the extreme investments.

This is in line with saying that Babe Ruth's switch from pitcher to slugger was such a success that every young arm should be given a bat.

I'm OK with playing up the pressure angle in tonight's game, but to make such a stupid blanket statement was enough to make me turn off the TV. Tonight will provide more information on one thing - whether or not Matsuzaka was worth the money - and not much else.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Those numbers are ridiculous

Jake Westbrook's line for this season looked like this:

152 innings pitched / 4.32 ERA / Six wins, nine losses in 25 starts.

I know the playoffs are well known for guys stepping up and playing out of their minds for a few weeks, but Westbrook is a player so bad that I dropped him from my fantasy team.

Also, regardless of what Tim McCarver and Joe Buck say, forget starting pitchers on short rest if you're the Red Sox. Concentrate on getting the bats going, instead.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Well, I racked up a staggering 1-for-4 in the prognostication department, proving that I need to a.) never gamble a significant amount of money on any sporting event and b.) the dangers of doing "quick picks" on one's lunch hour.

For the record, here are my preseason predictions for the National and American leagues, respectively. Those weren't a total bloodbath, but they left much to be desired. Thank God I didn't try to predict a World Series winner that far out.

On the plus side, I placed the Reds dead-on in the NL Central, but that made me very happy on the personal side of things because of the comments section. This isn't to start a flame war, by any means and I pop over to Diamond Hoggers from time to time, but damn it, it was about the only prediction that stuck all year - sorry guys.

So, enjoy your Cy Young matchup with Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia on Friday night, where I should have cable television in the new apartment in Chicago.

Things will be hectic here with the move - stay tuned, there should be plenty to post this weekend.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Steven King approves, shakes teenager

In a name that will surely join the Pantheon of Spectator Participation giants like Steve Bartman and Jeffrey Maier, there was a little fan interaction at Fenway tonight.

As I'm sure will be reported ad nauseum by Saturday morning, a foul ball off the bat of Manny Ramirez was taken from Angels catcher Jeff Mathis' mitt along the first base side with one strike and one out to keep the at-bat alive, eventually leading to the tying run that inning when Dustin Pedroia notched the third run for the Red Sox.

Below are screen caps from the TBS broadcast and no, I have no life - thanks for asking.

After the play, the section was pretty jacked up to have a bona fide hero in their midst, including Stephen King, who cheered and then shook the hell out of the kid.

When this guy turns 21, he'll never have to buy a beer within Boston city limits.

(Images from TBS)

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For all those who miss Harry

Are you a frustrated Cubs fan, longing for the days when a gargantuan payroll wasn't needed to blow a playoff series?

Miss the old days?

Just a sucker for a rambling old man telling stories that make you scratch your head and ask, "Huh?"

Have I got a deal for you.

Hello Again Everybody is a DVD out in time for the holidays that serves as a tribute to the late Harry Caray. If you're not keeping current with Iowa public television on your TiVo, you probably missed this, but at least it has a web site now.

I recommend Mike Ditka's short clip on the site where he is apparently just told to talk and that the producers would fix the visible lighting later in post-production.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I want this DVD for Christmas this year. I need to know if there's a Harry and Elvis picture like the Nixon and Elvis photo op - also I need a greater respect for orphans as promised by Art Norman.

Check out the "trailer" which is really a video of a newscast that ran in Chicago.

Who could say no to this with Dutchie Caray's sterling testimonial - "I guess if anybody sees it, they'll really enjoy it."

Well, say no more - I'm sold.

(Image from WGN Broadcasting)


Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's not the end of the world... yet

Say it with me Cubs, Phillies, Angels and (more than likely) Indians fans - "It's a five-game series for a reason."

And while Chicago and California fans can at least shrug off losses on the road, judging by the game so far in Philly right now, that fan base - known for it's cheeriness - has a legitimate reason to start losing their minds.

As for everyone else, take a deep breath trust your team and maybe get ready to pee your pants if the next two days don't go very well.

Cubs fans, I'm looking at you - relax. Well, as much as you can with this shit starting up again.

We're watching you, Mariotti.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Quick Picks

I'm home for lunch this afternoon and realized I hadn't done the required quick picks so that I might be mocked in a week.

Here's the quick rundown as I see it.

Cubs over Diamondbacks in four.
Phillies over Rockies in four.

Yankees over Indians in three.
Red Sox over Angels in five.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Thoughts on the NL Wild Card



How the hell will the Rockies top that? Prepare for some well-deserved complaining by the Padres, too.

(Oh, and just slap a hat on Matt Holliday... I'm sure he'll be fine.)

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Oh, Mr. Met...

In a shirt you won't find later on, T-Shirt Hell has unleashed this nasty bastard for the fan that just can't help but rubbing some salt in the gunshot wound that was the Mets' collapse.

What a classy way to commemorate the event.

I've got to say, though - that was really, really fast. Even for the Internet.

So, for a scant 18 bucks, you can now torment any Mets fan in America.

I'd just like to know what the alternates looked like.

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