Thursday, October 28, 2004

Congratulations, Red Sox, Now Go Away 

Like many of you, I cheered for the Boston Red Sox to end their 86 years of misery and win the World Series. At first, it was just because they were playing the Yankees, and then, well, OK, then it was because Yankee fans would've loved it if the Sox choked.

So, congratulations to the Red Sox! Hooray!

After the final out last night, I stayed tuned to watch the Post-game press conference, and that's when the happiness I felt for the Red Sox quickly started to fade. I even began to feel... how to describe this? Used. Cheap. Sad. Disappointed that a team that had not won for 86 years required the league's second highest payroll and a team of mercenaries who I don't associate at all with the Red Sox to do it. And the one player that I associate with the Red Sox? Left home in the cold in Chicago.

Only Trot Nixon and Kevin Youkillis were drafted by the Red Sox, and Tim Wakefield signed as a minor league free agent. Pedro and Manny have been there for years, but I still associate them more with their former homes. I guess they've had Lowe and Varitek long enough - but then I really start to get nauseous. And speaking of nausea, Mike Myers is gonna get a World Series ring.

So, with the championship, 86 years of Boston frustration are laid to rest. And now the Red Sox are just another big budget northeast baseball team. I can't believe I rooted for them.

Now, lets just hope the Mariners can go out and sign some big dollar free agents so that we can be the ones celebrating a championship next year, and Boston fans can be the ones rooting for us because "at least we're not the Yankees."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Red Sox Math 

Did you see the sign one fan held up during the season...

+ 24 Manny
+ 34 Ortiz
+ 33 Varitek
- 5 Nomar

Yankees Long Slide Downhill Begins... 

I'm still grinning from ear to ear. On the same day that Curt Schilling bitch-slaps ARod in the national media for his ball slapping ways, the Red Sox blow out the Yankees in Game 7 in New York. Beautiful.

By the way, if you did not hear Schilling's appearance on the Jim Rome show last night, let me recap a few key quotes he made about ARod. He called A-Rod's karate chop at the ball "punk" and a "stupid ass play" that was "so unprofessional it was a joke." He went on to talk about the Yankees being a class organization and said "you would never see Derek Jeter do something like that" and that ARod's play was "anything but class." He ended by saying that A-Rod (and he also mentioned Bonds at this point) was an amazing talent but "from a respect standpoint, there wasn't much there to begin with." Beautiful. Tears well in the eyes.

Many other sites break down the game well. I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on what this loss means to the Mariners. I think it means that the Yankees will NOT be a player in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.

Hear me out.

The Yankees payroll is at $175 million and EVERY player (except for Jon Lieber, who has a team option that will be picked up) is under contract for 2005. The Yankees have a glaring hole in first base if Jason Giambi is done, and their pitching staff obviously needs some significant help. So with a payroll jumping over $200 million potentially just to fix those problems, will they also go after Beltran?

I don't think so. This past offseason, the Yankees picked up ARod and his $25+ million dollar contract just to stuff it down the Red Sox throat, and show that they could do what the Red Sox could not. And we saw how ARod led the Yankees in the ALCS. 1 for 17 in the final 4 games, and a slap that may have single-handedly had the Yankees looking in the mirror and saying "how did we come to this?"

Yes, Carlos Beltran had a monster postseason, and may be the perfect fit for the Yankees outfield. But George is a fix the problem kind of guy. Aaron Boone hurts himself, go sign ARod for 3B. Need better pitching - let Pettitte and Clemens go and pick up Brown and Vazquez. With the backfiring of that move, the Yankees may instead focus millions of dollars on young starting pitching and lefty relief help and eschew the outfield. Or so I hope.

Game 7, Redux 

Yesterday, the best game of the day was not the Red Sox rather pedestrian game 7 tromping of the Yankees, but was a classic 12-inning battle between St. Louis and Houston that the Cards won when Jim Edmonds had his way with a Dan Miceli offering, while Roy Oswalt sat unused in the Astros bullpen.

What a fantastic series this has been - perhaps the greatest I have ever seen. We've had home runs galore, masterful starting pitching, bullpen woes from both teams and bullpen dominance in the form of Brad Lidge. The greatest postseason pitching duel ever in game 5 from guys named Williams and Backe. Broken hands and mismanaged benches resulting in the broken hand pitching to the game 5 hero (Backe) in the 12th. Two straight games have ended with walk-off home runs.

And now game 7 features the best right handed pitcher of this age in Roger Clemens going up against the hometown crowd, the mighty Cardinals offense and their history of Game 7 success. If this game is anything like the rest of the series, then we may be witnessing the finale of the greatest LCS in history. Enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Game 7 

Boston's amazing run ends today, one way or the other. As a lifelong M's fan and Yankees hater my brain tells me that the Yankees will win tonight, but I'll be pulling REAL hard for the Sox.

Did anyone ever explain why Schilling had blood on his socks? Cortisone or pain killer shots? Gutty outing regardless, and yet another reason to like Schilling.

However, I'm not much for the "I'm a Christian, God is on my side" type stuff that Schilling was spouting in the post-game news conference. If God is choosing sides in baseball games, then we are in trouble, cuz God obviously has it in for Seattle. I refuse to believe that God is a Yankees fan, as this would certainly doom me to hell. Of course, the involvement of a higher power would give upper management a new scapegoat for the 2004 debacle.

Speaking of debacles, how about the last two weeks for the Seahawks? Time to forget about that - take the 4th quarter of the Rams game and the 1st quarter of the Patriots game and put them in the dumpster. This team IS going to figure things out, and get to the Super Bowl. Adding Jerry Rice can only help this team, by providing sure hands, receiver depth, and veteran leadership on the offense. 3rd and 3 down by 4, don't you feel better having Jerry Rice as one of your four receivers?

Enough from the Optimist - I've gotta get back to work so I can leave early and enjoy a great day of baseball - the Astros and Red Sox win in thrilling games and bring on Clemens at Fenway on Saturday Night for Game 1...

Friday, October 08, 2004

A Fresh Start 

The Pat Gillick Era is finally over. Jongewaard, Gillick and even Woody Williams are all severing their ties with the team. And so GM Bill Bavasi finally gets the reins. Fully. I'm sure most of you have already visited USS Mariner before dropping by my neck of the woods, but if you haven't, Dave Cameron presents an excellent view of the Changing of the Guard.

I fully accept the hypothesis that a Gillick-led committee ran the M's in the offseason of 2003-2004. And as the M's tanked, Bavasi slowly took over, and is now fully in command of the good ship Mariner. It seems the only moves that were truly his doing were landing Jolbert Cabrera and the Freddy Garcia trade (very nice). To be fair, an attempted trade of Gil Meche for Brandon Inge also appears on his watch, and that would have been not so nice.

Overall, whether having Bavasi in charge is a good thing or not, only time will tell. I know Bavasi's history is not littered with great signings and World Championships, but I also know that he has been willing to take risks to build a winner. And that's what this team needs right now.

No more avoiding first round picks - instead lets make them good picks of college hitters (Justin Upton, anyone?) instead of high school pitchers.
No more fear of the long-term contract - Tejada wants a sixth year? No problem. Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran both want long-term deals (6-7 years) that will take them to the decrepit age of 33? Sign 'em up. And wouldn't the Mariners signing both Adrian Beltre AND Carlos Beltran absolutely guarantee big ticket sales this offseason (not to mention a need to come up with a nickname for this pairing - Pacific Beltway? Ichiro's Belt? The mind boggles...)

Of course, we might not sign any of these big names, and for a variety of reasons. But won't it be refreshing if its for some reason OTHER than the M's were not willing to be the highest bidder?

And don't get me wrong. Not every free agent should be pursued with completely open wallets and long-term contracts. But when you can get young talent that is still heading for its peak, THEN its time to take risks. Not on Carlos Delgados or ANY pitcher, but power/speed combos who also play great defense? Go get em!

And money should be no excuse. If the M's are truly willing to take a loss this year, then front-load the contracts a bit. Feel the pain. Pain and suffering can help bring clarity of purpose. Other contracts will be gone soon. Keep 2006 and 2007 in mind. There will be no Moyer or Boone contracts then. Hasegawa, Spiezio and Guardado will eventually go away as well, and hop

Ichiro, Beltre, and Beltran can be the offensive core of this team until 2010. And that's a strong foundation on which to build championship teams.

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