Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Death of Labor Day

Growing up Labor Day was the defacto end of Summer. It was the last weekend (and a 3-day weekend at that) before school started and football took precedence in the sports mindset. It was a BIG deal! Now Labor Day is just "meh".

I'm not sure when it happened or even why it happened but across the country schools have thrown away the tradition of Labor Day being the end of summer and the signal for start of school. Now kids are back in school in August. Why? I don't get it. This change has killed Labor Day.

Yesterday I had business on Martha's Vineyard. I was able to get my car on a morning ferry with no reservation. I was set to have to leave my car in Woods Hole and be a pedestrian on the island but no - they had some openings for walk-ups like me. Years ago this would have been impossible.

Driving around the island I saw plenty of free parking spots at the various beaches I drove past (or stopped at for a quick dip in the ocean). Getting a parking spot used to be the biggest hassle. Today on the Friday staring the long Labor Day weekend plenty of free parking was available and the beaches were sparsely populated. And this wasn't due to high gas prices or anything due to the economy. This is because the kids have been back at school for over a week and the idea of a last big weekend of summer has been dulled and deadened by back to school and the responsibilities and activities that go along with that.

The teacher's unions and the education "experts" have killed the traditions of Labor Day and for what? Seriously - tell me what benefit to the kids exists by having an extra week off during the year or ending the school year earlier in June.

Big Labor Day cookouts? Those seem to be significantly down too.

This all struck me as I walked into the famous Black Dog in Vineyard Haven for dinner. Friday night on the start of the long Labor Day weekend and I get seated right away? Don't tell me its gas prices or the economy. The teacher's unions and no respect for tradition school administrators are killing an American institution.

And for what?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Mussina Hath Wrought

It’s taken 8 years but Mike Mussina has finally done it.

Back in 2000 Mussina was the staff ace and upcoming free agent to be on a team of overpaid players, most of whom were on the down-slopes of their careers. You had the image conscious superstar 3rd baseman who was really a natural shortstop. Heck you even have Sidney Ponson starting for both teams. The names may have changed from Cal Ripken to Alex Rodriguez or from Albert Belle, Will Clark and Brady Anderson to Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon. It may be me but both teams seem eerily reflective of Mike Mussina’s personality. The results may also end up pretty much the same. That 2000 team of Mussina’s ended up in 4th place in the AL East. And 4th place is where the Yankees are currently heading.

Ladies and gentlemen – I give you the New York Orioles. Courtesy of Mike Mussina.

Of course I'm just kidding but the similarity between the 2000 Orioles and the 2008 New York Yankees has to give Yankee fans reason to pause and think.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Media Savvy

John McCain appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night and was impressive. The show's audience was clearly behind him and he received numerous ovations. The Tonight Show was watched by millions of people (usually about 4.5 million homes) - many of whom may have been undecided before his appearance.

In contrast - the DNC's Convention's first night of coverage is watched mostly by political junkies who have already made up their minds (although I'm sure there were some undecideds in the estimated 7.5 million who watched). Tonight some undecided Hillary Clinton supporters may tune in to see what Hillary has to say and how she is treated by Obama's people. Some of those registered Democrats may decide that Hillary wasn't given her due and become McCain supporters.

Many people have noted that Obama's campaign did not receive a big bump in the polls after the first night of the convention. I haven't seen anyone credit the lack of bump to McCain's savvy media scheduling and being on The Tonight Show at the same time the first night of the DNC was at it's peak.
Yankees / Red Sox

Was Watching has a helpful preview to the last Yankees / Red Sox series to be held at the House that Ruth Built (the new stadium is the House that Steinbrenner built).

I say it's the last because the Yankees won't be making the playoffs this year making an October matchup in the Bronx out of the question.

It's the last and I was supposed to have tickets to tonight's game but that fell through. C'est la vie.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Big Difference in the Presidential Race

In baseball it is said that that every team is guaranteed 54 wins and 54 losses. It is what the team does with those remaining 54 games which determines success of failure for the season.

The same is true in Presidential politics. The Republicans are guaranteed a certain amount of votes from their base and the Democrats are guaranteed a certain amount from their base. It is how the undecideds, independents and centrists vote that will determine the next President. Ted Van Dyk makes the historical argument in today's Wall Street Journal that John McCain has a much better shot at winning these key votes from the so-called Reagan Democrats:
Hillary Clinton became the presidential candidate of Reagan Democrats -- plus over-50 women of all outlooks. Barack Obama became the candidate of more socially and educationally elevated Democrats -- plus African-American voters.

Will Mr. Obama, at the upcoming Democratic convention in Denver, be able to bring Reagan Democrats finally home? I am not counting on it. His Republican opponent, John McCain, has a maverick reputation and an appeal to Reagan Democrats that Mr. Obama will find difficult to match. The Democratic Party platform is still filled with the single-issue, single-interest and social-issue planks that have plagued it since 1972.

The classic winning coalition for Democrats is the 1960 John F. Kennedy coalition which included Catholics, Jews and Protestants, whites, African-Americans and Latinos, both better- and less-educated voters, labor-union members and academics. The 1960 Kennedy platform -- built around a strong national defense, assertive foreign policy, economic growth and social justice at home -- is still the platform most likely to attract Democratic voters of all outlooks, as well as independents. JFK's promise to "get America moving again" is what Americans are looking for in 2008.
It can be argued (an argument I've made many times in this space) that JFK's 1960 platform of "a strong national defense, assertive foreign policy, economic growth and social justice at home" is now the defacto Republican platform while the Democrats have devolved into a platform of peace, love and (mis)understanding of reality.
Very Interesting Tom Glavine Stat

A WOW! stat from today's baseball notes column by the Boston Globe's Nick Carfardo:
From the Bill Chuck files: "If Tom Glavine's career is over, he'll end his final season with a 2-4 record and a 5.54 ERA. In his first season in 1987, Glavine was 2-4, 5.54. Not much improvement in 21 years."
Heh heh.
Presidential Odds

Here are the current (8/24/08) odds on who will win this year's Presidential election.

Barack Obama -$200
John McCain +$140

That means you would have to risk $200 to win $100 on Obama or risk $100 to win $140 on McCain.

I think you need to jump at those odds on McCain as I see the betting getting to even money fairly soon.

Odds via

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows. As a friend of mine would say, "That saying is wicked gay." With Barack Obama picking Joe Biden to be his running "mate" - I'm starting to think he has a valid metaphorical point. Seriously - does Obama have some sort of Daddy fixation or something? I mean has Obama and his people forgotten Joe Biden's opinion of their candidate so quickly?

John McCain's whole media message so far has been that Obama is not ready to lead. And what does Obama do in response? He picks the very man who very publicly has made that very point to be his running mate.

This is as strange a development to me as Microsoft pairing Bill Gates with Jerry Seinfeld. I mean Seinfeld made it a point to always have a Mac somewhere in his apartment in every season. Is Microsoft going to buy up the rights to those old Seinfeld shows and digitally re-master them to show a PC instead? If not the pairing of Gates and Seinfeld makes no sense.

And neither does the pairing of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Friday, August 22, 2008

HOF Class of 2014

Tom Glavine just had surgery and could be ready in time for spring training. It is assumed to be better than 50/50 that he'll retire instead. If he does - then it got me thinking how chocked full the first year eligible players for the Hall of Fame Class of 2014 could be (a player is eligible 5-years after retirement).

Just from the Braves you could have both Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Both players should be locks. Of course both players could try for a last hurrah and try to come back for 2009.

From the Red Sox you will have Curt Schilling - a player whose less than a lock case will probably be hurt by the number of sure-fire HOF players in 2014.

Frank Thomas - I can only hope doesn't try and hang on for one more year. If he quits after this season then he's a lock for the Class of 2014.

Ken Griffey Jr. is another player who should retire and if he does is another lock for the Class of 2014.

Pedro Martinez? Absolute lock in my book if he decides to call it a career. My guy says that Pedro tries for one more contract but I could be wrong (and often am).

Will Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux both be back for another year? Both have been effective enough to pitch for almost any team's rotation and both are sure fire first ballot Hall of Famers. My guess is they both come back (Johnson is closing in on 300 wins and Maddux still seems to have lots left in the tank).

It will be interesting to see what happens with the candidacy of Ivan Rodriguez. On paper Pudge should be a lock but stories of steroids have dogged him through the years. My guess is if he gets in but the glut of players eligible for the first time in 2014 may force him to wait a year.

Trevor Hoffman is in the last year of his contract and at 41 years old he may be done. If he is then you would think that the all-time leader in saves (550 and counting) would be a lock for the Hall of Fame. The question will be whether he's a first ballot lock (there's a number of voters out there who are biased against closers).

Another interesting case will be Jeff Kent. Objectively - he's perhaps one of the top 3 offensive 2nd basemen in history but he's been such a prick that my guess is that he's made to wait. Especially in a year with so many great first year eligible players. My guess is that Kent is smart enough to realize this and thus comes back next year with some team desperate enough to take him in.

What about Gary Sheffield? He still has a year to go on his contract but he may be cooked. He quit on the Brewers and now on the Tigers. What team would want this guy? I hope he never makes it to 500 HR.

Finally you have the case of Omar Vizquel who deserves induction as one of the greatest defensive shortstops in history (11 Gold Gloves). It can be argued that Vizquel was the better all-around player than Ozzie Smith but my guess is if he tries to go in with all these other greats then unfortunately he gets greatly overshadowed.

The voting for the Class of 2014 is shaping up to be very interesting. You could have as many as 7 locks going into the voting and lots of interesting cases who in any other year may be at the head of the ballot. Like I said - it will be interesting to watch.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Michael Phelps

I saw this GIF over at Sports Frog and thought it was too funny not to share.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Heh Heh

The headline says "Tebow's Faith-Based Message Reaches Broad Audience".

But on the Yahoo! Sports side board there was only room to say, "Tebow's Faith-Based Message Reaches Broad".

It made me wonder if this was the broad and if the message was "Oh my God!"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jason Varitek and a Very Special Episode of Sox Appeal

Jason Varitek is getting divorced. There is always two sides to every story and normally I would try to stay away from the personal life of another person (walk a mile, etc, I have my own issues to deal with, etc) but this situation made me think of something that I wanted to share. (And this has nothing to do with him being possibly linked with Heidi Watney.)

The Red Sox these days are known not just for winning (see 2004 and 2007) but also for squeezing every possible nickel out of "Red Sox Nation." These marketing ploys run the gamut from the pink hats, green hats, red home uniforms to the disgusting schilling of Jon Lester autographed "cancer" baseballs. My least favorite of these marketing gimmicks is the NESN produced show Sox Appeal. Here's how NESN describes the show:
On each episode of "Sox Appeal," a single fan (hero) is sent on three blind dates over the course of one Red Sox game. Each date lasts two innings. During the seventh-inning stretch, our hero consults the Fenway faithful. They help the hero decide which dater should come in from the bullpen to close the game.
OK here's my point. Jason Varitek is a free agent (with the divorce that designation works on a number of levels). His performance at the plate is way down this season (he's making Julio Lugo look like Babe Ruth at the plate). What if the Red Sox were to give Varitek a contract extension but include a provision that since he's now single that he has to appear on the show Sox Appeal as a contestant (or as they put it - a hero). Can you imagine the ratings? I bet the suits at NESN can. Varitek can participate during a game Tim Wakefield is pitching and where Varitek would normally have the day off. It's not like they'll need him to pinch hit.

If there ever is a very special Jason Varitek Episode of Sox Appeal - remember where you read the idea first.
Georgia and South Carolina Perspective

Russia recently invaded Georgia but I'm guessing that most Americans couldn't find Georgia on a map if you spotted them the continent.

Georgia (the country) is just slightly smaller than our State of South Carolina. Just like South Carolina - Georgia (the country) is almost triangle shaped with a fairly long coastal region on one end and mountains on the other.

Georgia (the country) has about 4.6 million residents and a democratically elected government. South Carolina has about 4.3 million residents and also a democratically elected government.

If a police officer in South Carolina uses excessive force then that makes national news and there is a hue and cry. The whole country of Georgia was just subjected to much more than excessive force and the international community was for the most part quiet.
Interesting Perspective

I found this letter to the editor interesting. I'm not making any comment just offering it up. And it is a real letter:
Each year I get to celebrate Independence Day twice. On June 30, I celebrate my independence day and on July 4, I celebrate America's. This year is special because it marks the 40th anniversary of my independence.

On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba and a few months later, I was in the United States to stay. That I happened to arrive in Richmond on Thanksgiving Day is just part of the story, but I digress.

I've thought a lot about the anniversary this year. The election-year rhetoric has made me think a lot about Cuba and what transpired there. In the late 1950's, most Cubans thought Cuba needed a change, and they were right. So when a young leader came along, every Cuban was at least receptive.

When the young leader spoke eloquently and passionately and denounced the old system, the press fell in love with him. They never questioned who his friends were or what he really believed in. When he said he would help the farmers and the poor and bring free medical care and education to all, everyone followed. When he said he would bring justice and equality to all, everyone said "Praise the Lord." And when the young leader said, "I will be for change and I'll bring you change, everyone yelled, "Viva Fidel!"

But nobody asked about the change, so by the time the executioner's guns went silent, the people's guns had been taken away. By the time everyone was equal, they were equally poor, hungry, and oppressed. By the time everyone received their free education, it was worth nothing. By the time the press noticed, it was too late, because they were now working for him. By the time the change was finally implemented, Cuba had been knocked down a couple of notches to Third-World status. By the time the change was over, more than a million people had taken to boats, rafts, and inner tubes. You can call those who made it ashore anywhere else in the world most fortunate Cubans. And now I'm back to the beginning of my story.

Luckily, we would never fall in America for a left-leaning young leader who promises change without asking, "What change? How will you carry it out? What will it cost America ?"

Would we?

Manuel Alvarez, Jr.
HT Grouchy Old Cripple

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Red Sox Magic Number

Is it just a coincidence that the Red Sox get their magic number to 49 on the same day that number 49 - Tim Wakefield - is placed on the DL?
Paul Byrd to the Red Sox

The Red Sox today acquired Paul Byrd from the Cleveland Indians for a PTBNL or cash considerations. My head says this is a good move but my heart says, "Meh".

Paul Byrd is a guy I was high on back when he was with the Braves. I thought he would break through under Leo Mazzone's tutelage but he's remained basically an average pitcher who once and a while shines. My head knows he'll make a great 5th starter down the stretch.

My heart, however, looks at Paul Byrd and sees an After School Special of a way toned down Rainbowhead Guy. If you recall - Rainbowhead Guy was known for being at sporting events using his rainbow afro wig to get attention. Rainbow Head Guy turned his life over to Jesus and was then known for his John 3:16 signs. Then Rainbowhead Guy took some PCP at a hotel, held a cleaning lady hostage and had a standoff with the SWAT team. You haven't heard much from Rainbow Head Guy lately because he's doing life in prison.

Paul Byrd was known for being at sporting events (specifically baseball games every fifth day when he started when not injured). Then he turned his life over to Jesus and became known for admitting to an addiction to porn. Then he got caught doing drugs (HGH which was prescribed for him by his dentist). I'm just hoping the hostage and SWAT standoffs don't come to pass.

Maybe my mind is looking at Paul Byrd as Rainbow Head Jr. because I found him hypocritical in his denial of HGH use and condescending in his Jesus loves me attitude. Maybe I'm not welcoming him with open arms because I don't want to be a hypocrite myself.

I'll root for the laundry but when I look at Paul Byrd I'll still picture a guy wearing a rainbow colored afro wig.
I Have a Court Date

My mind works in strange ways and I often find some mundane things amusing. Take for example today when I overheard a guy on his cell phone saying to the person on the other end, "I have a court date tomorrow."

A court date? My mind wondered if that was anything like a blind date. What kind of guy would take a girl to the courthouse for a date? What do you do? Sit in family court, watch a couple of cases and then go out for lunch? Is a City Hall date the next step in the relationship?

Yes - I know what a court date is. The combination of words just struck me amusing.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Top 5 - Joe Jackson Songs

Today (August 11th) is Joe Jackson's 54th birthday. Happy birthday Joe. Here are my favorite Joe Jackson songs.

1. Is She Really Going Out With Him?
2. Steppin' Out
3. Look Sharp!
4. Fools In Love
5. (tie) Breaking Us In Two (tie) I'm the Man (tie) Sunday Papers
Bill Plaschke Likes Penis

Seriously - he finds penis tasty.

I'm guessing he doesn't live this down for a long time. Bill Plaschke - penis afficianado.

I guess I applaud his courage (is that the right word?) but Yikes! - he's eating penis!

HT The Big Lead
Season Tickets

A friend of mine recently gave up his Patriots season tickets. The reason? Simple economics.

The Patriots were forcing him to buy the ridiculous pre-season games at the same prices as the regular season games. You can't even give away those pre-season seats never mind trying to sell them to recoup your costs. If he were to ask for the face value of the ticket - the person he was asking would think, "Hey - it's pre-season not the Super Bowl. I'm not spending a couple of hundred to see a game Tom Brady might not play more than a series in. My buddy is trying to screw me. He's a jerk." My friend was stuck between a rock and a hard cash place.

During the season there are also a couple of weeks where he could not make that week's game due family obligations or personal reasons. He could easily sell those tickets to friends but it would have to be at face value. He couldn't mark them up to recoup the money spent on those un-used pre-season tickets. If he were put the tickets on Stub Hub or some other ticket service - a friend would inevitably ask, "Why didn't you call me about the tickets? I would have bought them from you." If my friend asked the guy who said he wanted the tickets for the same price he was getting on Stub Hub - the guy would think, "My buddy is trying to screw me. He's a jerk." It was a lose-lose.

It is literally cheaper for him to go to the games he wants to see and scalp tickets than it is to own his own season tickets. The NFL and other pro sports are pricing the regular guys out of owning season tickets. It's a sad situation.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

I think if the Rookie of the Year Awards were given today - then the Cubs Geovany Soto would win in the NL and the Rays Evan Longoria would win in the AL. Jair Jurrjens was the leader for the NL award a little while ago but has since cooled off.... Tim Wakefield has been an under appreciated hero for the Red Sox this season. A quality start in baseball is when the starting pitcher goes at least 6 innings and gives up 3 runs or less. Wakefield has 16 quality starts in the 23 starts he has made this season. Only two pitchers in the AL have more quality starts (Jeremy Guthrie and James Shields). The ability of Wakefield to save the Boston bullpen from wear and tear is a very important but as I said unappreciated factor in the Red Sox being poised to make a run at another playoff run... You would think that a AAA pitcher who is 13-4 with a 2.89 ERA would be a hot commodity for pitching starved teams - right? Wrong. That pitcher in question is Charlie Zink who plays for the Pawtucket Red Sox. His problem is that he's a knuckleball pitcher. It seems nobody wants to take a risk on a knuckleball pitcher. Have people learned nothing from Tim Wakefield's example?... Greg Maddux needs 10 more innings to pass Bert Blyleven's 4970 IP for 13th place on the all-time list. The reason Maddux will be a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer while Blyleven remains on the cusp of election after so many years is because Maddux got 353 wins and 222 losses out of those innings while Blyleven managed just a 287-250 record. I'm not Joe Morgan and I know "wins" are an iffy stat but I am just pointing out the obvious. When I watched Maddux pitch - I thought I was watching a Hall of Famer. I never thought Blyleven was as good as Louis Tiant

Saturday, August 09, 2008

W's Big Day

Oh - these pictures are priceless.

I hope George had a good time. It sure looks like he did. I hope Laura didn't mind.
Life Imitates Men in Black

Many people are commenting about how traditional media went into a partisan tank for John Edwards regarding his "love child" story. The National Enquirer had the story while traditional "old media" giants like The New York Times sat on their hands. The movie Men In Black had the truth back in 1997 (quotes via
[after telling Jay that they're going to check the "hot sheets," Kay pulls up to a newsstand and buys a pile of supermarket tabloids]
Jay: *These* are the hot sheets?
Kay: Best investigative reporting on the planet. But go ahead, read the New York Times if you want. They get lucky sometimes.
Interesting Question

The Big Lead posts and interesting question, "If you could have any pitcher in baseball and salaries were not a factor" (who would you take)?

I've been thinking about the question all morning and I think I'd have to take Tim Lincecum. I know some people are worried about his body size and delivery style but I can't help but think of the same things being said of Pedro Martinez when he was with the Dodgers.

It should be noted that I've done a 180 on Jon Lester and I would seriously give him consideration as my top choice if the team I was picking for had a park that favored lefty pitchers over righties..

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Red Sox Magic Number

Keeping with the Patriots linebackers theme - the Red Sox magic number is now down to Teddy Bruschi - a man whose tears can cure leprosy. Too bad he never cries.
Bay vs Moss

Everyone wants to compare Jason Bay's production so far in a Red Sox uniform to what Manny Ramirez has done with the Dodgers. What about Brandon Moss though? Check out these numbers:

Moss - .333 BA / 1 R / 1 HR / 3 RBI
Bay - .313 BA / 6 R / 1 HR / 4 RBI

These comparisons don't really mean much but they are interesting to consider.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Red Sox Magic Number

The Red Sox magic number is now 55. I was going to post a picture of Junior Seau wearing his Patriots' 55 but him with him wife was more appealing to me. Not sure but I think Seau is all-done with football (although it's possible he could pull a Brett Favre).

Sunday, August 03, 2008

NFL Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous NFL thoughts and observations.

I'm in a few fantasy football leagues and I think I'll be hard pressed to pick a single player from the San Diego Chargers. Yes that includes LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers. My gut tells me that both players have peaked and are due for an off-year, a decline or an injury. Sorry but that's what my gut tells me. Sure Antonio Gates and Nate Kaeding might be worth a pick at TE or K but in general both players are over-rated and better values can be found elsewhere.... The same may hold true for Kansas City. It's not that I think their "talent" is due for a let-down. I just don't think much of the talent. Of course Herm Edwards is also perhaps the worst coach in the league (Norn Turner "fans" may beg to argue). Maybe take a risk on receiver Dwayne Bowe or the defense... After looking over the Oakland Raiders roster - I find myself on the verge of a no-AFC West player boycott altogether... OK - maybe if the Denver Broncos' Jay Cutler or Selvin Young are available at the right time I'll end up taking a player or two from the AFC West...
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

The Red Sox have played 5 more road games than Tampa Bay and 7 more than the Yankees. That's perhaps the most important thing to understand about the dynamics of the race for the AL East going forward. Boston will feast at home while neither the Rays or Yankees should expect to do anything but hover around .500 on the road... If the reports are true - that the Marlins nixed the deal that would have netted them Manny because they wanted an extra $2 million from Boston - then that's disgusting. Here's a team that is right in the thick of a playoff race and they could have added a bat like Manny? The payoff of playoff games is bound to be more than $2 million. The Marlins made a big mistake in not making that deal. I'm officially rooting against the Marlins now... The problem for the Tigers is that they just can't beat the teams in their own division. Detroit is just 20-28 against other AL Central teams. If the Tigers can put together a moderately sized winning streak - then I expect they can get right into the middle of the race. In fact even though they are 6.5 games back and have lost their last 3 games - I still expect the Tigers to win the AL Central. The Twins have a lot of road games yet to play so I expect them to turn back into a pumpkin. And honestly - I just don't see the White Sox as anything but a .500 team... If the NL Cy Young was awarded today - I would hope that Tim Lincecum would be the winner. What he's doing with a lousy Giants team is incredible... Remember how people were talking about Lance Berkman and how he had a legitimate shot at winning the triple crown? Then Berkman went out and hit ZERO home runs in July. Needless to say but you don't hear that triple crown talk anymore... Today should have been Rod Beck's 40th birthday. RIP Shooter...
Red Sox Magic Number

It is fitting that on the day that Andre Tippett is enshrined in the Football Hall of Fame that the Red Sox should cut their magic number to clinch the AL East to 56. The same number that I expect the Patriots to retire in Tippett's honor.

Sure it may be hubris to have a magic number count for a team currently in second place but I just don't see Tampa Bay holding onto their lead. By the end of August they will be in second or possibly third place.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Tim Wakefield

Happy birthday to Tim Wakefield who turned 42 today. Did you realize that if Wakefield pitched for the Oakland A's - he'd be one win away from tying the team record for wins and already be the team's all-time leader in strikeouts? Wakefield has 160 wins for the Red Sox with 1772 K's. Catfish Hunter had 161 wins for the A's but just 1520 K's.

Of course Wakefield would still have a ways to go to catch some of the pitchers of the Philadelphia A's. Eddie Plank (284), Lefty Grove (195) and Chief Bender (193) would still be ahead of Wakefield in wins and Plank would still have him beat for K's with 1985.
Aces and Eights

Wild Bill Hickok was killed on this day back in 1876 at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood. It is interesting to note that Wild Bill's real name was James Butler Hickok but he got the name Wild Bill through a series of events. First he was given the nickname "Duck Bill" in the army because of his big nose and protruding upper lip. The name soon changed to "Wild Bill" after Hickok grew a mustache and gained a reputation as a fierce fighter. Wild Bill stuck for the rest of his life.

Wild Bill was playing poker when he was shot and killed by the coward McCall. The hand Bill had at the time was aces and eights. The dead man's hand.
Manny and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Dreds

I thought the analogy of Jonah being overthrown to calm the stormy seas was an apt analogy to describe the Manny Ramirez situation and trade. Charlie Pierce paints a picture that is more biblically akin to Joseph and his multi-colored coat being thrown down a well by his jealous brothers.
It is the delegation of "veterans" who came to Epstein declaring, in essence, "We cannot work in this ambience!" (then perhaps huffing off to their trailers for a massage and some chamomile tea) that's the most bizarre element of the whole affair. For all the murmurings from the fainting couch by the local baseball romantics about how Manny Ramirez failed to respect The Game and did his teammates dirt, these same people seem more than willing to accept the proposition that the rest of your defending World Champions are made of candy glass. Is the poisonous presence of Manny Ramirez the reason catcher Jason Varitek is petrifying almost by the hour, or why Josh Beckett hasn't thrown a changeup in six weeks, or why most of The Kids have been playing like people who got lost on the way to the AAA park? (Jacoby Ellsbury, the speedy young center fielder who was such a sensation in last year's World Series, is hitting an abysmal .186 since the All-Star break and has stolen one base since June 17.) And has Epstein himself been so distracted by Ramirez's performance that he's failed to notice that his middle relief corps is a landfill?
There is no denying that Pierce has a point.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Tommy Makem

Tommy Makem was one of the great artists of the 20th century. His masterpiece is perhaps Four Green Fields.

Tommy passed a year ago to this very day. I get a tear in my eye watching him sing. We lost a giant. RIP.
Adam Duritz

Today is Counting Crows' lead singer Adam Duritz' 44th birthday.

Here's my favorite Counting Crows song - Mrs. Potter's Lulaby.
Lyford on Manny

I agree with Lyford's assessment of Manny's accomplishments with the Red sox and on the trade that sent him out of town. I find myself a little more optimistic about Jason Bay but in general we are in agreement of the situation. One thing that must be pointed out and stressed:
The team has gone to the post-season four times in the Manny Ramirez era. They're 7-2 in post-season series, with two World Series championships. During those post-season games, Manny has hit .321/.422/.558/.990, with 11 HR. He was the MVP of the 2004 World Series.
In the playoffs when the team needed him most - Manny came up huge! Thanks for everything Manny.

May the road rise to meet you and may the wind always be at your back.