Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 22, 2007
BASEBALL: Rox'em-Sox'em

The stage is would be a fool's errand to try to predict this series; Boston is clearly the stronger team, but the Rockies' hot streak is just impossible to project one way or another, plus we have no idea what late-October baseball in Colorado will look like.

Most relieved yet disappointed person tonight: Indians' third base coach and managerial prospect Joel Skinner, whose inexplicable decision to hold Kenny Lofton cost the Indians what could have been a game-tying run; the lopsided final score probably mooted that.

Most unhappy: umpires, writers, and anybody else who is indifferent to the teams and ratings but who will be attending a series in Boston and Denver in late October. Brrr.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:09 AM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (36) | TrackBack (0)

Of course the question becomes, if Lofton scores does the rest of the game unfold the same way

Posted by: dch at October 22, 2007 12:42 AM

So when does the Joel Skinner episode of "Five Reasons You Can't Blame . . ." air on ESPN Classic?

Posted by: paul zummo at October 22, 2007 9:28 AM

Yes, I picked Cleveland. I will take my medicine like a man. The better team won.

My question is how was Beckett the MVP and not Manny?

Posted by: maddirishman at October 22, 2007 9:36 AM

It's not Skinner's fault that Sabathia failed miserably in both starts. An objective observer can also look at poor offensive stats from Sizemore and probably other players. Failure to execute when it counted was a team effort in games 5-7. Short story, up 3-1, the Tribe choked.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at October 22, 2007 10:28 AM

That's "baseball analysis on TV" for you. I think it was summed by the woman who presented the "National League World Series" trophy to Beckett.

My first thought is that the Sox should pound the Rockies in 4 straight games. I don't care how hot the Rockies are. They were doing it against NL teams. It will be interesting to see though how Dice-K and (gulp) Wakefield fare in the thin air bandbox of Coors Field. The other element will be what the Sox do without the DH. It is easy to say that they will just run Big Papi out to first but Kevin Youkilis is absolutely killing it right now. I think they might go with Pedroia at short (played short in college) and Youkilis at second. In there somewhere I think the Rockies get a game.

Sox in 5.

Posted by: jim at October 22, 2007 10:28 AM

The long layoff may be the real end of the Rockies. Sox are playing real games, the Rockies are working out indoors. Edge would seem to be with the Sox for that reason alone. Overall, the AL has been superior to the NL for some time now, but I like the young talent in Denver. As an NL fan, I can only say let's play the games and see. Nevertheless, it's hard to see Josh Fogg shutting the Sox down.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at October 22, 2007 10:34 AM


I would also add Casey Blake's name. After all, he's the guy who grounded into the double play right after Skinner's bad call, and he's also the guy who made two bad defensive plays that led to more runs.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 22, 2007 11:07 AM

I thought Travis Hafner looked tremendous.

Posted by: alex rodriguez at October 22, 2007 12:30 PM

Of course the question becomes, if Lofton scores does the rest of the game unfold the same way...

They're waving Lofton in, he'll score. GutiƩrrez rounds first and holds up as the throw comes into Pedroia. Wait! Lofton missed third base! Here's the appeal. And he's out.

Just to point out -- who knows? If Lofton scored and the Red Sox won 11-3 do you think anyone would be wandering around saying "Gee, if only they held Lofton up there in the 7th. They needed a big inning and all they got was one run."

As for the Series. I feel bad for the Rockies. Not only is the long layoff going to dull their edge, but the Sox have their pitching rotation set up fine. It's going to be interesting to see how Dice-K and Wakefield do in Denver, though.

Posted by: Henry at October 22, 2007 12:40 PM

It will be interesting to see how the Sox handle being in the World Series in a matchup where they are the Evil Empire, for a change.

Posted by: Jerry at October 22, 2007 3:01 PM

Do people really see the Red Sox as the Evil Empire? I thought that was totally reserved for the Yankees. If they do, wouldn't the Sox have been that in 2004 as well?

Posted by: jim at October 22, 2007 3:22 PM

Well, reading some comments on other message boards, some fans now perceive the Red Sox as another team that is simply "buying" championships. I personally think it's a ludicrous claim, especially considering how many of their key players are home grown or were acquired on the cheap, but with a payroll that is only eclipsed by the Yankees, I can see how some bitter fans might try to make that claim.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 22, 2007 3:32 PM

Tribe did not hit well, did not pitch well, did not win. Simple as that really.

(Lofton should have scored twice. The umpire blowing the call at second earlier meant he didn't score on the Guttirez hit that inning. Oh well, as I said, the better team won.)

[By the way, I sure hope Skinner is still hired as manager somewhere so he doesn't coach third again. His third base coaching was poor all year. He always thinks the fast players are slower than they are and the slow players are faster. If that was Ryan Garko, he would have sent him.]

I don't think I am bitter to pointout that "considering how many of their key players are home grown" is silly.


Any other "home grown" key players?

Milkey Cabrea
Robinson Cano
Joba Chamberlain

3 = 3. So I guess the Yankees don't buy championships either.

Manny $20 milion when that was real money
JD Drew $75 million
Fuzzy Dice $50 milion to talk to his team

No, no buying there.

I am not blaming them, if they have the revenue, spend it. But let's not pretend that they aren't rich and get an advantage because they are.

Posted by: Bob from Ohio at October 22, 2007 4:30 PM

You named three high priced free agents. I am not exactly saying the Red Sox are the poor Clares of Major League Baseball, but it's not like they've done nothing but sign high priced players in order to stock their team. Many of their players were acquired via trade: Beckett, Lowell, Schilling, Crisp all come to mind. Now, if you want to make the argument that they were able to acquire this guys because the other team was unloading, and therefore that equals buying players, you might have an argument. But they've also developed players like the guys you mentioned, and have picked up guys off the scrapheep: Ortiz, Wakefield, Ohkajima (maybe not a castaway, but I don't think they shelled out the big bucks for him).

Frankly, I think the concept of buying championships is silly in and of itself, but that's another debate.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 22, 2007 4:40 PM

The Yankees clearly operate in a different financial category than everyone else. Even though the Sox are second in payroll they are not even close to the Yankees. Teams like the Mets and Cubs are not far off the Sox. Certainly the Sox have way above average in the ability to tender offers to players and keep the folks they want around. That being said they have been wiser with their cash than the Yankees and have gotten bigger returns from players no one else really wanted (Ortiz, Lowell, Wakefield, Timlin) than probably any other team in baseball. They have been spenders, they have been lucky in many cases and they have done a very good job of spotting guys and turning them around or developing them.

The Yankees are THE Evil Empire in all of sports.

Posted by: jim at October 22, 2007 6:08 PM

I think the Matsuzaka signing officially pushed the Sox into Evil Empire Jr status. In a sense there's the Yankees and everyone else, but in another sense, there's the Yankees, the Sox, and probably also the Mets, and then the rest of baseball. And I don't see any way to not view Sox-Rockies as a David and Goliath matchup.

Posted by: Jerry at October 22, 2007 6:43 PM

The Yankees of 1996-2000 weren't really the evil empire. They brought up the core of their team through the minors, such as Jeter, Posada, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera (I am sure I am forgetting others). They supplemented that core not with blockbuster signings (with the possible exception of Tino Martinez) but with solid players such as Jimmy Key, Paul O'Neill, David Welles, and Scott Brosius. Not coincidentally, the core of that team came up while Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball so he couldn't trade them for a Dave Collins or a Ken Phelps.

The Evil Empire developed in the recent years when Steinbrenner started mindlessly gobbling up the premiere free agent or free agents, sometimes just so Boston wouldn't get them. The Yankees always overpaid for the big names which brought Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson , Carl Pavano, and, of course A-Rod (I know, he wasn't a free agent, but it was along the same lines).

The Red Sox do a better job of getting bang for their buck in the free agent market. Theo does a great job of avoiding the Mo Vaughn signings.

I am a Yankee fan and I wouldn't consider the Red Sox and the Yankees similar in terms of being the Evil Empire. Of course, Blue Jays and Orioles fans may disagree.

Posted by: WD at October 22, 2007 7:04 PM

WD - Yes they were, because they are the Yankees. Certainly they were the Evil Empire in the 1977-87 period; this way predates 2001. And for a lot of the country, it dates to the 20s.

The Red Sox still had a lot of sympathy until 04, but victory plus the Patriots dynasty ended that. See here for details.

Posted by: The Crank at October 22, 2007 7:12 PM

When Skinner held up Lofton, you just knew the Tribe would lose. It was a certainty the next inning when Blake booted the ball and didn't even bother to go pick it up. He'd quit. Game over for sure.

Red Sox are nearing Yankee territory when it comes to evil empire. Team buys wins and fans are insufferable. Patriot fans are clearly the worst in the NFL. Red Sox fans are Pats fans.

Posted by: stan at October 22, 2007 7:49 PM

Wow! Just read the article on NE sports fans that you linked. Don't know that I would have said it quite that way, but I know that fans of every other team in the NFL were ecstatic when the Colts beat the Pats in the AFC title game last year and the reason -- Pats fans (Bill Simmons as exhibit A).

Posted by: stan at October 22, 2007 7:56 PM

Great site!

Would you consider a Link Exchange with The Internet Radio Network? At the IRN you can listen for free to over 40 of America's top listened to Talk Shows worldwide via FREE STREAMING AUDIO!

Posted by: Steve at October 22, 2007 11:54 PM

Was the guy who wrote that article channeling Ann Coulter?

Posted by: jim at October 23, 2007 11:04 AM

I'll make a prediction anyway--someone wins in five games or less. Could be either team, depending on whether the Rockies have lost the fire in their week off.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at October 24, 2007 1:01 AM

If the Rockies beat the Red Sox in a sweep I'll become a Mets fan.

Posted by: jim at October 24, 2007 10:51 AM

Youkilis, Pedroia, Varitek, Ellsbury, Lester, DelCarmen, Papelbon, and Buchholz are all homegrown.
Lowell was insisted by Florida to be included in the Beckett for Hanley Ramirez/Anabel Sanchez deal as a salary dump.

It's tougher to root for the homegrowns-namely, Pedroia and Papelbon, and there's as many Sox fans that don't like Youkilis as didn't like Wade Boggs- than for Lowell, Beckett, Manny, and Ortiz.

"The Red Sox do a better job of getting bang for their buck in the free agent market. Theo does a great job of avoiding the Mo Vaughn signings."

Mo Vaughn was a Red Sox farm product and Dan Duquette let him go at the right time.

Curt Schilling, while technically traded, was a trade in the sense that ARod was for the Yankees.

I think it's safe to say Epstein would like re-dos on letting SS Alex Gonzalez walk last winter and on the Piniero, Clement, Renteria, Drew and Lugo free agent singings, as well as the keep-Gagne-from-the-Yanks deal.

The Sox finally finished first this season DESPITE Theo Epstein's acquisitions since he came back from his tour of Argentina or whatever.

As a life long Red Sox/Patriots fan (gimme a break, can anybody trust a man who roots against his home teams? ain't that why so many here bust on Democrats?), let me say I too, am sick of the Yankee/Red Sox penthouse jerkoff, wasn't in favor of the Henry ownership group inside job, and am dismayed at how much Henry/Lucchino/Epstein obsess about the EvilYankeeEmpire. Tho there's a legit marketing scheme there that's paying off, the arms race festers beyond whatever benefit to their bottom line, going back to Lucchino knocking heads with Steinbrenner in the Watergate days.
I think even antipathetic Yankee Royals fan Bill James is caught up in it.

As for Orioles and Mets fans, if my team blew 100 million-plus on a squads that sucked, or that choked like the old on-a-budget-Sox, I, too, would hate an organization that spends 100 million-plus on one that doesn't.

"As for the Series. I feel bad for the Rockies. Not only is the long layoff going to dull their edge, but the Sox have their pitching rotation set up fine. It's going to be interesting to see how Dice-K and Wakefield do in Denver, though."

The 1996 Yankees sat around for seven days waiting for the Braves to finish the Cards in the NLCS that went seven. The Braves played three more playoff games after the Yankees finished off the O's in 5.
Yanks won WS 4-2.

The 1995 Braves also had a week long wait after sweeping the Reds before knocking off that powerhouse Indians team, 4 games to 1.

Everyone talks about last year's Detroit Tigers, but I thought that the young, overly aggressive free swinging Tigers were going to have trouble with that shitballing Cardinals staff going into the series.

Following through on the Crank's post on the great teams not losing post season games, since the multi round post season began in 1995, the pennant winner which lost fewer post season games going into the Series has won every year except twice-the Mets in 2000 and the Tigers in 2006.

Will history side with Colorado, or does the winning All Star home field save the Sox?

Posted by: BuddyPC at October 24, 2007 4:01 PM

Varitek's not precisely homegrown, they got him with Lowe from the Mariners for Heathcliff Slocumb. Then again, Schilling originally came from the Sox system, way back when.

Me, I don't hate the Sox, I just don't sympathize with them as I did pre-2004.

Posted by: The Crank at October 24, 2007 4:08 PM

I could be wrong of course but I doubt that winning the All-Star Game Homefield Derby will "save" the Sox. The Red Sox are a better team flat out than the Rockies. Other than SS the Sox have the advantage at every position except for maybe 4th+ reliever. On top of that every starter except Pedroia has played in the playoffs previously. There are 3 WS MVPs on the Sox. On paper this is a face crunch. In reality it is different (and maybe will be very different, baseball is funny that way) but homefield or not this should be Sox in 5.

Posted by: jim at October 24, 2007 5:12 PM

I like both teams, but as noted here first, Sox in a walk. My analogy of Det clowns and Rox was dismissed by some off the bat. 9 days off for kids was way too much, they are done!

Posted by: abe at October 25, 2007 8:11 AM

And so it was written:

I expect an AL walkover in the WS regardless of the ALCS victor. As several Met fans noted during last year's NLCS, a young, playoff inexperienced team (Rockies/Tigers) is ill suited to a week or more of inactivity. An inferior Cardinal team made short work of the Tigers; I believe a superior AL Champ will do the same to Colorado.

Posted by abe at October 15, 2007 10:56 AM

Posted by: abe at October 25, 2007 8:14 AM

Brilliant insight,abe.Now scratch the surface and realize the nucleus of the 'young,playoff inexperienced' Tigers consisted of Ivan Rodriguez,Magglio Ordonez,Carlos Guillen,Placido Polanco,Kenny Rogers,Todd Jones,and Sean Casey.A veritable baseball kindergarten,exactly the same as the Rockies.You win the Tim McCarver award for easily disproven nonsense.
Your baseball judgement is easily on a par with your political acumen.

Posted by: AnonE.Mouse at October 25, 2007 9:16 AM

Anondouche, it was about the pitching. And serious fuck yourself, or tell me where to meet you and settle it. Talk to me after game 5 if we get that far. Did a single player you note as a vet ever do a thing off steriods? Fuck faced clown, come see me anytime.

Posted by: abe at October 25, 2007 11:39 AM

It's about inexperience,no,it's about pitching,no,it's about steroids.You seem to be having a problem focusing-forget to take your Aricept,abe?
However,I see we can add the Jonah Goldberg Internet Toughman Award to your Tim McCarver Blithering Idiot Award.
To make it easier for me to come see you, feel free to post your full name,address,and phone number.And show us you truly deserve your McCarver Award by adding your Social Security number and a current VISA or Mastercard.

Posted by: AnonE.Mouse at October 25, 2007 1:56 PM

Pick a place, you have no shot. Anywhere in the 5 towns, or kings and queens.

I apologize for my confrontational nature, bad day, very bad day. But you are wrong. And if you want to call me out personally pick a place. You dropped the level of debate calling people pussies.

Calling me a pussy?

Let's discuss it face to face.

Otherwise anondouche let's be done with with you.

Posted by: abe at October 25, 2007 2:52 PM

Let's fight,no,I apologize,no,you're rude,no,I'm having a bad day.Still having a problem focusing,I see.Don't be proud,abe.Take the Aricept.
And still feeling robust.I thought I picked a place.You forgot to provide your name,address,and phone number,Tim-I mean abe.And don't forget the VISA-I'm assuming I get reimbursed for time and travel expenses.Plus,I want to take your wife someplace nice.

Posted by: AnonE.Mouse at October 25, 2007 6:00 PM

I do not like you, you challenge character and heart. we are both NYC bound, pick a spot. Sullivan's in Bayside? I will buy the drinks, and step up for the ER bill. Stop trying to call me out, pick a spot and step up. Never write here again until you pick a time to face me.

Posted by: abe at October 25, 2007 7:28 PM

Seriously, both of you need to step away from the keyboard. There is way too much profanity and way too many threats in this thread. In fact, I am closing comments on this thread. Drop it.

Posted by: The Crank at October 25, 2007 7:43 PM
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