New York Yankees

Red Sox July Report: The Wheels Come Off

Yes, they won last night, but the Red Sox season is over. This team had a lot going for it - a strong bullpen, a good (not stellar) offense, and the second best record in baseball. And that's how it was April through the All Star Break.

Then the wheels came off. The Sox tied their second worst losing streak in a century. The other season that featured a crushing six-game losing streak was 2006, when that losing streak knocked them out of playoff contention). But what alarmed me more than the consecutive losses was that the team was exposed as having no drive, no heart, perhaps even no soul.

No casual fan knows what goes on in the clubhouse, on the flights, or in the hotels. But the impression I got last week was that the 2009 Red Sox didn't seem to have as much fun as they used to in previous years. What was missing? The pranks? The nicknames? The off-duty bloopers and antics? Are we fans just not seeing how easy and loose this team is off the field? Could they really be souless corporate types like the Yankees? We can only guess.

But we do know that the losing streak occurred just a couple of weeks after the Red Sox made a risky deadline trade. The Sox traded long reliever / swing man Justin Masterson for the Indians' Victor Martinez. A risky move. While Martinez has given the Red Sox much needed offensive help, losing Masterson could be a contributing factor behind Boston's disastrous six-game losing streak at the hands of division rivals. Boston knew that a late season trade would involve them giving-up Josh Bard, Clay Buchholz, or Jusin Masterson, and they went with their proven long reliever.

Abruno over at Sox & Dawgs warned against trading Masterson.

While falling out of the AL East race is painful and embarrassing, it is still not yet mid August. One long win streak (or a string of streaks) can get the Red Sox back into the AL East hunt. Also remember the Yankees could also drop if one of their starting pitchers (especially AJ Burnett or Joba Chamberlain) is injured.

And then there are the intangibles that could happen to revive the Sox. We know that Kevin Youkilis and Jason Varitek are leaders on that team. They are not going to suffer any meltdowns. If there is a flashpoint, or some emotional event that the Sox and their team leaders can use to start a rally, they will most likely take advantage of it. I don't see fire in them yet, but they have over a week to clear their heads, win a few games, and earn a chance to reel-in the Yankees when they visit Fenway on August 21st.

Red Sox Bullpen Passes Test . Yanks Can't Trust Theirs.

If we learned anything in this week's thrilling Yankees-Red Sox series at wet, chilly Fenway Park, it is that the Yankees cannot trust their bullpen. They have weapons and loads of talent, to be sure. Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano continue to be the young heroes. Johnny Damon is having a far better season than he did in 2008. Derek Jeter is doing his thing, day in, day out. And A-Rod is always dangerous, on-track to hit career home run # 600 sometime in 2010 or 2011. But manager Joe Girardi knows their weakness. It is the bullpen.

Joe Girardi has shown in his 1 & 1/3 seasons that he is a by-the-book manager - very predicable. But he couldn't follow his own rules last night in the 8th inning, when he knew he had to remove CC Sabathia from the mound, but didn't. It was an interesting and revealing moment, demonstrating that Girardi and his staff can't trust their bullpen to hold the line late in a game. I'm sure he was also hoping to rest his bullpen in preparation for the subway series in the Bronx this weekend. But the immediate thought on his mind had to be that he didn't have a reliable set-up man available to work the 8th inning.

Random Sports Roundup

NFL: In the NFC Central, the Steelers won an odd Sunday, at home, under flurries, in a close game against the Chargers. Meanwhile the Baltimore Ravens were run-over by the New Jersey Giants. This makes the December 15th game between the Steelers and Ravens even more important. If I was employed, I'd go see it. I kinda like the Ravens. They have a literary name, a European-style crest, good fans (better than New Jersey or Philly fans, anyway), and a damn good coach and rush defense (except this past Sunday).

Red Sox 1: The Sox are apparently shopping Julio Lugo. If they get anything for him, that would be great. Take what you get and strengthen him in Pawtucket. Lugo was never a power hitter, but he used to be a good infielder. But even last year, that fell apart as he made 16 errors in his position (SS). Just stating the obvious - the Red Sox eventually need a star shortstop. They have had 6 different guys in that position since 2004. I like Kahalil Greene, who has 1 year left on his Padres contract. But ideally, they need a golden-glove candidate under the age of 30 in that spot. They need stability at Short, and so they need to scout/shop around.

Red Sox 2: Moot point department - The Red Sox front office sent Manny Ramirez a letter on July 25th, informing him that he was to be suspended for skipping-out of two consecutive games. Manny phoned-in and told them that he would play the next game (which he did). He was traded a week later to the Dodgers, led by Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti, and Joe Torre. Also, while Terry Francona has a reputation of taking care of clubhouse problems, there's no evidence that he sat Manny down for a talk regarding his insubordination. So what was the point of this story?

Red Sox 3: While the Red Sox need to find a star shortstop, they have an pretty good 3rd baseman in Kevin Youkilis, a Golden Glove 2nd baseman in Dustin Pedroia, and possibly an opening at 1st. That spot would go to Mark Teixeira, should the Red Sox pursue him. And if they pursue him, they would potentially have the highest bid, since the Yankees have opted to go after 1st baseman / outfielder Nick Swisher (who has been signed) and Indians starting pitcher CC Sabathia (who is contemplating the Yankees unspecified offer).
Red Sox 4: And Dustin Pedroia has been named 2008 American League MVP! The Sox fans weren't joking when they started chanting 'MVP!' in July. They called it. Kevin Youkilis came in 3rd in the MVP voting, while Chicago White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin came in 5th.
*Personal gaming footnote - in my 'alternate universe' season of MLB Power Pros 2007, I traded Laynce Nix to the Rangers for rookie Carlos Quentin. It was the only trade I completed that fantasy season, and it was a winner. Blind luck on my part.

Score a ton, shut the door, take a ride, Yuvraj.

Cricket: I think Yuvraj Singh made his international debut 8 years ago, when he was 18. He got my attention in July 2002 when he scored 69 crucial runs in the middle of India's batting order against England in an unforgettable 1-day match at Lord's. He is 26 now, and he's maturing as a star left-handed all-rounder. On Monday, he batted and bowled magnificently against England in Game 2 of a 7-game series in India. He batted 5th in India's order and scored 118 runs off of 122 balls (India's top scorer of the day). And as a bowler, he was even more impressive, going 4-28 (taking 4 wickets in 10 overs -that's 60 balls- and giving-up 28 runs). England probably won't win this series, but they did see a promising performance from 22 year-old fast bowler Stuart Broad, who also took 4 wickets. He was a hero in their triumphs over South Africa this past summer, and it looks like he has a very bright future. England have two test matches against India in December before touring the West Indies in February/March 2009.

Live Blogging The Final Sox Yankees Game At The Stadium

I honestly didn't think the Sox had a chance to sweep the Yankees in their final regular season series at The 161st Street Crack House. The Sox have been playing better baseball since the All Star break. But the Yankees have had a better post-All Star record against Boston all decade, it seems. In fact, this time last year, the Yankees swept the Red Sox in the final regular-season series at The Stadium (5-3, 4-3, 5-0 - in which Wang nearly had a no-hitter). So to see the injured Red Sox roll-over to the Yankees in the final series at Yankee Stadium would not come as a complete surprise.

But then Tuesday happened. And then last night. And now it really does appear that the Yankees are are powerless to save their season. Back in June, Michael Kay and the Yankee faithful expressed fear on blogs and talk radio that the Yankees might just be a .500 team this season. And they were correct.

Let's look at this morning's papers.

Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe (registration required):

The Red Sox and Yankees have been playing one another at Yankee Stadium since 1923. Including playoffs, New York owns a 489-289-4 record against the Sox in this sacred house. But it ends today and it's ending badly for the Yankees. Here in the final days, the Red Sox have some sweet revenge.

John Harper, NY Daily News:

...the Yankees couldn't lose this game and expect to have any real shot at catching the Red Sox, or maybe the Twins or White Sox, for the wild-card spot.

So somebody had to do something as the Yanks went to the late innings down two runs. But, really, we should know better by now. Going all the way back to April, the Yankees haven't given anyone reason to believe they are a playoff team. Why was this night going to be any different?

Joel Sherman, NY Post:

This Yankees offense mimics Hank Steinbrenner, more bluster than action. Yammerin' Hank attended a home game last night for the first time since the season opener. The absentee owner blustered some more before game time, promising changes for next year. At least this time surrender was the right motif. The 2008 season is like the Stadium: History.

Tyler Kepner, NY Times (registration required):

In the owner’s box, Hank Steinbrenner was making his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since opening day. The team was healthy then, the young starters seemed ready, and there were few doubts that Yankee Stadium would see one more postseason, the 14th in a row for the franchise.

But as Pedroia rounded the bases, Steinbrenner hung his head. By the bottom of the inning, he was gone from his seat. There was no need to witness the final details of the Yankees’ 11-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox, the one that probably doomed their postseason chances.

I have to be honest - I'm loving this. Red Sox Nation is loving this. Yankee Haters and Mets fans are loving this. And while Dan Shaughnessy can spin it and lament that this rivalry has lost its edge (and he can no longer make money off of it), it is still the biggest rivalry in North American professional sports. Not the world, mind you. Chelsea vs. Arsenal and Manchester United vs. Liverpool might have something to say about that, not to mention AC Milan vs. Inter Milan (Italy), Rangers vs. Celtic (Scotland) and Boca Juniors vs. River Plate (Argentina).

But that's another post for another time.

Let's take a look at the preview from Stats, LLC:

The way the Boston Red Sox are playing, they may never lose again in Yankee Stadium. With only one game left for the Red Sox in the Bronx, such a feat is a realistic possibility.

Boston tries to leave The House That Ruth Built for the final time with a three-game sweep when it wraps up its series with the archrival Yankees on Thursday afternoon.

For the Red Sox (77-55), their final series in the venerable ballpark that opened in 1923 could prove sweet. Boston has taken the first two games of this set by a combined margin of 18-6, including an 11-3 rout Wednesday night. A sweep would be the first at Yankee Stadium for the Red Sox since April 23-25, 2004, and only their second in the Bronx this decade.

More importantly, Boston is dealing a major blow to the Yankees' playoff aspirations. The first two games of this series have dropped New York seven games behind the Red Sox for the wild card -- the best hope for the Yankees (70-62) to extend their streak of 13 consecutive postseason appearances.

"We just dug ourselves a bigger hole," New York outfielder Johnny Damon said. "This is definitely a tough time for us."

Jason Bay and Dustin Pedroia each drove in four runs Wednesday -- Pedroia's coming on a grand slam -- to help Boston win its third straight game and improve to 6-2 on its most successful road trip of the season.

"I never write the Yankees off until the season's over and the standings are set," Pedroia said. "They've been around too long and been in the playoffs for such a long time that we're definitely not counting them out."

Bay, acquired from Pittsburgh in the Manny Ramirez deal before last month's trade deadline, has excelled in his first two games as part of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, going 4-for-8 with six RBIs. On Thursday, he'll be joined in the outfield by another new acquisition -- Mark Kotsay.

Boston acquired Kotsay from Atlanta for a minor leaguer Wednesday, adding depth to the outfield one day after J.D. Drew went on the disabled list with a lower back strain. Kotsay, who batted .289 in 88 games with the Braves but is best known for his stellar defense, will play right field on Thursday.

"I know that I've gotten messages from people all over the league that said he's everybody's all-time favorite. I know he's a real professional. I know he's excited about coming here," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He said he'll do anything we ask to try to help us win."

A top-caliber pitching matchup will highlight the final meeting in Yankee Stadium between these rivals as Boston's Jon Lester (12-5, 3.49 ERA) faces New York's Mike Mussina (16-7, 3.45).

Lester has dominated the Yankees in two starts this season, compiling a 1.13 ERA while winning both. He tossed a shutout at Yankee Stadium on July 3, limiting the Yankees to five hits and two walks while striking out eight in Boston's 7-0 victory.

The left-hander, though, is now trying to bounce back from his worst start of the season. Lester lasted a career-low 2 1-3 innings in Saturday's 11-0 loss to Toronto, allowing a career high-tying seven earned runs with eight hits and two walks.

Mussina fared better than Lester in his last outing, but wound up without a decision at Baltimore last Friday, when he yielded four runs and nine hits in six innings and left the game with a 4-3 deficit. New York rallied to win 9-4.

Mussina has 266 victories, but is seeking the first 20-win season of his 18-year career.

The 39-year-old right-hander is 20-17 with a 3.74 ERA versus the Red Sox.


Here we go. Like my three previous attempts at this, I give highlights as they happen in 24-hour time format. I got my browser windows, house windows, and a bottle of Jameson 18 all open.

13:13 David Ortiz walks with 2 out in the top of the first.

13:15 Kevin Youkilis flies out to end the top half of the inning. Mussina has himself a strong start. Three outs on 17 pitches, 10 of them strikes. He is glaring at the umpire a lot, but the strike zone today seems large. That doesn't stop the YES commentators from agreeing with the Moose.

13:19 Johnny Damon flies out to new right fielder, Mark Kotsay. Very nice!

13:20 Derek Jeter hits a single up the middle. His 233rd lifetime hit against the Red Sox and he is now 13 hits shy of Lou Gehrig's record for most hits ever at Yankee Stadium. There are 12 games remaining at the stadium after today.

13:23 Bobby Abreu hits a single up the middle. Jeter to second. Lester in early trouble with A-Rod coming up. Still 1 out.

13:27 A big swing and a miss by A-Rod. He strikes out. The boos resume. Come on, Yankee faithful, he didn't hit into a double play. And the swings were good.

13:28 Xander Nady, a solid player formerly of the Pirates, hits to Jed Lowrie, who steps on third base for the final out. Lester escapes.

13:20 BoSoxRule on Sons of Sam Horn: "A-Rod must be thrilled that he gets to deal with these idiots for 10 more years."

13:33 Jason Bay grounds out in the top of the second.

13:33 Mark Kotsay doubles. His 18th of the season and first with Boston.

13:36 Jed Lowrie strikes out.

13:37 Alex Cora grounds out to A-Rod. What do ya know - a Red Sox-Yankees game that is moving briskly! These day games are so much faster. But that doesn't mean we won't have any Sox-Yankees drama.

13:42 Bottom of the second. Robinson Cano flies out.

13:45 Hideki Matsui strikes out. Two away.

13:48 Cody Ransom, filling-in for Jason Giambi, gets hit on the foot. He takes first. Still hitting 1.000 for the Yankees.

13:48 Obscure Name at SOSH: "Will Cody Ransom continue to dominate the league?"

13:49 Jose Molina flies out. End of the second.

13:53 Varitek grounds out to Ransom at first. Come-on, Sox. We need some offensive momentum.

13:55 Jacoby Ellsbury goes down looking.

13:55 Dustin Pedroia swings at the first pitch and pops out to the catcher, Molina. Sox go down 1-2-3.

13:59 Lester recovers from being behind 3-0, and strikes out Johnny Damon. Hold the line, Jon.

14:00 Jeter singles to center field. He is 2-2 today.

14:02 On a failed hit and run, Abreu swings for his first strike, Jeter runs, and is then trapped and tagged at first. Two away.

14:03 Abreu flies out to Ellsbury. It was Jon Lester's strongest inning today. He's up to 56 pitches. But so far, Mussina is having the easier time today. Lester had to work hard to fight back in the third inning.

14:07 David Ortiz walks for the second time today. Please, Sox. Please bring him home.

14:08 Kevin Youkilis almost wraps one around the left field foul pole. But it deflects left, and it is strike two.

14:08 Michael Kay on YES: "I'm wondering guys, I've mentioned what Ortiz has done in this series. 4 for 6, 3 doubles, six walks. And although Youkilis is a very good player, he's not Manny Ramirez. I don't think you could be as careful with Ortiz if Manny Ramirez was behind him. Would you agree?"

14:09 Youkilis pops out.

14:13 Jason Bay grounds into a 4-4-3 double play. Mussina is up to 56 pitches, but he is doing very well neutralizing the Sox thus far.

14:15 E5 Yaz on SOSH: "Pitch counts are immaterial today. Red Sox bullpen is far more rested than the Yankees."

14:19 Alex Rodriguez strikes out. But it took Lester 8 fastballs to do the job.

14:21 Xander Nady strikes out looking. Two away.

14:22 Robinson Cano grounds out to first. A 1-2-3 inning for Jon Lester! End of the fourth inning. Can he last through six?

14:24 Jed Lowrie singles. Boston's second hit. There is one out in the top of the 5th.

14:27 Alex Cora is hit by a pitch. Michael Kay thinks Cora didn't try to get out of the way. He may be correct. Two on now for the Sox.

14:28 A line drive up right field for Jason Varitek. Lowrie comes home. It is 1-0 Sox!

14:30 Ellsbury hits one up center. The Yanks get Varitek at second, but not Ellsbury at first. Cora socres. It is 2-0 Sox. Two out.

14:32 Ellsbury is thrown out stealing by Molina. It was close, but the tag appeared to be applied just before Ellsbury reached the bag. On to the bottom of the 5th we go. The guys at SOSH are convinced that Ellsbury was safe.

14:35 Replay shows that Ellsbury was indeed safe. Cano's dramatic tag made it look like it was an out.

14:36 Matsui grounds out. One away in the bottom of the 5th.

14:38 Ransom strikes out swinging. Two away.

14:40 Jon Lester strikes out Molina. He's in control of things now. End of the 5th inning.

14:41 NomarRS05 on SOSH: "So, Lester is in control. That's pretty awesome."

14:44 Top of the 6th. Dustin Pedroia singles! Sox have a chance to score again.

14:46 Mussina throws a low pitch to David Ortiz and it is called strike. Bullshit. Such complete bullshit. But credit Molina for adjusting his mitt to make it look good.

14:48 Youkilis is hit by a pitch. Two on, one out. Michael Kay: "Very odd. Two Red Sox have been plunked today. Mussina rarely ever hits batters."

14:49 Ellsbury grounds to A-Rod. Alex Rodriguez tries to tag Pedroia running to third, but Pedroia runs to the grass. A-Rod's throw to first is on-time. But the umps blow the base running call. Pedroia is safe at third. Michael Kay is not pleased.

14:54 Mark Kotsay strikes out swinging. Sox strand two men in scoring position. Remember that one.

14:56 Lester hits Damon on the arm to open the bottom of the 6th.

15:01 Jeter singles again. It's his 11th 3-hit game of the season. Yankees threatening now.

15:03 Nuf Ced at SOSH: "Lester up to 95 pitches. Masterson up in the pen."

15:04 On Lester's 100th pitch, Boobby Abreu flies out to Ellsbury. Damon makes it to third. Still one out.

15:05 Alex Rodriguez up. On the first pitch he pops-out to Varitek! Two gone.

15:05 A-Rod vents his frustration on the bats rack. It is a subdued, silent tantrum. I've never seen anything like it. It was like he was hammering a nail, not trying to damage anything.

15:07 Xander Nady flies out! Lester escapes trouble and shows emotion for the first time today. Take a bow, Jon. You did your job. It wasn't easy, but you gave up no runs to the Pinstripes! 6 innings pitched, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts.

15:08 Foulkey Reese on SOSH: "Lester is fucking nails. And ARod is an epic choker."

15:12 Top of the 7th. Jed Lowrie pops out to Derek Jeter.

15:14 Alex Cora singles up the middle.

15:17 Varitek is at bat. It could be his last at bat at the Crack House. And Cora steals second! Molina lost his grip on the ball and didn't have a chance.

15:18 Varitek strikes out looking.

15:21 Ellsbury lines straight into Mussina's glove. Now the Disabled, Irish, asshole tenor, Ronan Tynan MD, sings God Bless America before the Red Sox for the last time in this blue vinyl-sided shithole of a stadium. The Yankees have always been dirtbag Republicans who wrap themselves in the flag. Fuck them.

15:23 BoSox Rule at SOSH: "Hands over your hearts you communist cunts!" If that wasn't sarcasm, then Boston has some gay Republican assholes as well.

15:23 Spacemans Bong on SOSH: "The nerd glasses really make you look good, Ronan."

15:23 SoxScout on SOSH: "It's Scott Van Pelt, +120 lbs."

15:25 Spacemans Bong on SOSH: "Displays of self-gratifying patriotism like this give a bad name to patriotism." Exactly. Thank you.

15:28 Bottom of the seventh inning and Lester is put back on the mound. Okey dokey, Terry. Robinson Cano pops out. Alex Cora runs to center and makes the catch with his back to the mound. Wide receiver, Alex Cora!

15:29 Jon Lester strikes out Hideki Matsui! Strikeout number 8 for Lester.

15:33 Cody Ransom doubles with two out and a full count. Calm down. We can get out of this. Terry Francoma makes a pitching change.

15:37 Lefthander Hideki Okajima takes the mound. He almost gets pinch-hitter Jason Giambi to pop out.

15:38 Shit. Giambi homers. The game is tied. Okajima could get the job done. Lester loses the chance of getting the win. Here's the drama we've been waiting for.

15:40 Johnny Damon strikes out looking. End of the 7th. And this is now a two-inning game.

15:43 Top of the 8th. Righthander Brian Bruney now on the mound for the Yankees. Pedroia pops out to Damon. Sox have to score a run here to have a good chance to win.

15:45 Pitching change. Yankees put lefty Demaso Marte on the mound to face David Ortiz. Joe Giradi managing a good game for a change.

15:47 David Ortiz grounds out. Crap.

15:48 And now Girardi puts Mariano Rivera on the mound. It is suddenly do or die time for the Red Sox. Kevin Youkilis will be at bat. Two out.

15:51 Youkilis flies out. Now Girardi looks like a genius. Three pitchers. Two pitches each. Three outs. That sucked.

15:54 Bottom of the eighth. Okajima still on the mound. Jeter his one deep. But Ellsbury makes a great sliding catch in center. The Sox finally stop Jeter.

15:58 Bobby Abreu flies out to Ellsbury in center. Two gone.

15:58 Now Francoma makes a move as Alex Rodriguez comes to the plate. Justin Masterson comes to the mound. With no one on base, A-Rod is quite dangerous in these situations. Michael Kay sets it up as a chance for redemption for A-Rod.

16:00 Razor Shines on SOSH: "If A-Rod comes through here, do the two-faced lardassed nathan's hot dog eating greaseballs in the stands applaud him?"

16:03 Full count for A-Rod. Varitek calls for a slider. A-Rod chases and misses the outside pitch! We go to the ninth inning.

16:03 Oil Can's Liver on SOSH: "Hat Trick Bitch!"

16:06 Top of the 9th. Jason Bay grounds to Jeter. But Jeter's throw pulls Giambi off the bag. Bay is safe. E-6!

16:07 Foulkey Reese on SOSH: "This will end well."

16:07 Mark Kotsay flies out to Abreu in right for the first out. Bay stays on first.

16:11 Jed Lowrie grounds out to Giambi. But Bay just makes it to second to avoid Jeter's tag.

16:12 Alex Cora grounds out to Jeter. So much for that. Sox are done in the 9th.

16:17 Bottom of the 9th. Tito sticks with Masterson in the hopes that Paplebon will be needed in the 10th inning. Xander Nady singles past a diving Alex Cora. The winning run is on-base for the Yankees. Brett Gardner pinch-runs for Nady. Cora is killing us today.

16:19 Robinson Cano lines out straight to Jed Lowry at third.

16:20 Brett Gardner steals second on ball 1 to Matsui. The solid throw from Varitek is not in-time. The winning run is now on second base. The Sox now wisely walk Matsui to face Ivan Rodriguez. Either this inning will end with a game-winning single or an inning-ending double play.

16:24 Full count to I-Rod. He doesn't go for Masterson's slider. He walks and the bases are now loaded. The Sox seem doomed. Paplebon comes to the mound with still just 1 out.

16:27 It's Paplebon vs. Jason Giambi. Bases loaded. This is really shitty. Tito has had a horrible inning, both halves of the 9th. Alex Cora totally sucked.

16:28 Two quick inside strikes from Paplebon. Here comes the third pitch...

16:29 Giambi lines a hit to center. The Yankees win 3-2. Michael Kay says the season stays alive. Hmm. I remember him saying the Yankees had to sweep or win 2 out of 3 to stay alive. Oh well. Another time, Yankees. We will finish you off in Boston.

16:30 Foulkey Reese on SOSH: "Well that sucked about as hard as a baseball game can suck."

16:30 DeltaForce on SOSH: "Damn. That hurts. But, they still took two in Yankee Stadium. I'd have taken that 100 times out of 100 three days ago."

16:31 RedOctober3129 on SOSH: "Fuck these guys. All we are going to hear about is how the Yankees won the last ever game at Yankee Stadium off of Papelbon on a walkoff when we dominated this series. Fuck Okajima. Fuck this. I fucking hate the fucking Yankees. DIE DIE DIE!!!!!!!!@!!@~!"

16:34 CR67Dream on SOSH: "How the fuck do you not throw high heat on 0-2? What a horrible call, and what a horrible pitch. Some horrible decisions from Tito in the last few innings too. Fucking fuck."

Indeed. A bummer ending to an otherwise great 6-3 road trip. I'll take 6-3 on a road trip as we now chase Tampa Bay.

You're Welcome, New York

The Sox played a huge role in delivering the American League victory, which we assume the Bronx crowd wanted. But we need to thank you for letting us play in your house tonight. It was fun. And it was a great day for 8 members of the Red Sox organization, including manager Terry Cheesesteak. You called us names. You called Jonathan Papelbon 'Overrated'. But you're forgiven, I guess. You wanted the American League to win, right? Well, the AL snatched victory just before the game had to be stopped.

Overrated, huh? Yeah, when the chips are down, you don't want this guy throwing in your team's 9th inning. He sucks. 28 saves this season? On-course for a career-high 38? Rubbish. He's just a cocky, overrated bastard. The Yankees have no overrated players on their team, do they?

The Yankee faithful never fail to show the whole country what whining, sore winners they are.


The Yankees lost Friday and Saturday to Baltimore.

The Red Sox defeated the Texas Rangers Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Newcastle United defeated their arch-rivals, Sunderland, 2-0 Sunday. And Kevin Keegan is still hungry for more victories before the season ends in 3 weeks.

The Bruins forced a seventh game against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Game 7 to be played Monday night in Montreal.

And she finally did it. Danica Patrick won the Indy Car race at the Twin Ring Motegi. It is the first victory by a female driver in any major racing series.

And Australia's Will Power won the final Champ Car race in Long Beach. An era of turbocharged, open-wheel racing has ended. Remember that CART was the most watched motorsport in the US back in 1995.

Joe Torre Ends An Abusive Relationship

And it was abusive. Right to the end.

He was the greatest Yankee manager since Casey Stengel.

Joe made a good move, and he did it with class. He walks away from the Steinbrenner family and the volatile, reactionary New York Sports media. They made sure he got a kick in the ass on his way out, those bastards.

The Yankees never intended to hire Joe for one more year. In his heart, Joe didn't want to work for Steinbrenner beyond his final 3-year contract (2004-2007). It took the brains in the Yankee front-office a few extra days to plan this graceful exit, but the result is good for everyone. Joe gets to leave with class, and the Yankees don't look like meanies or provoke the ire of Yankee fans.

A good move made by a good man
By Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe Staff
October 19, 2007

CLEVELAND - "Good for Joe," said Seattle manager John McLaren, after hearing that Joe Torre had turned down an offer to return as the Yankees' manager next season. "He gets to go out on his own terms. Class act all the way."

That sentiment, which so many around baseball shared yesterday, was certainly one way to look at it.

Another way was that the Yankees' front office didn't have the intestinal fortitude to tell Torre to his face that he was not coming back, instead electing to make him an offer it knew he would refuse.

The Yankees brass - in this case Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, president Randy Levine, and general manager Brian Cashman - made Torre an incentive-filled offer that would normally be offered to someone with far less experience and clout. Torre, 67, turned down a one-year, $5 million base salary - essentially a $2.5 million pay cut. There were also $3 million in incentives for making the World Series next year ($1 million for each playoff round).

According to major league sources, Torre wanted a straight two-year deal so he could close Yankee Stadium and open the new stadium before retiring.

Torre walked away from not just a job, but a job he dearly loved. Many people had told him he should just say he wasn't coming back so he wouldn't give the Yankees the satisfaction of firing him. In the end, he fired them.

My sense is that between now and the time the Yankees name a new skipper, there might be some additional discussion of that "final" offer. After all, the Yankees acknowledged last night that they weren't close to naming a new manager.

All of the usual suspects will be considered, from Don Mattingly to Larry Bowa to Joe Girardi to Tony Peña to Bobby Valentine to Tony La Russa.

Former Yankees minor league manager Trey Hillman, who has been managing in Japan, is said to be the hot name because Cashman is said to be firmly in his corner.

The Yankees spun it that after their intense meetings in Tampa, owner George Steinbrenner was on board with the decision that they wanted Torre back. The twist was that Torre had to accept an incentive-filled deal because of the mantra "It's unacceptable not to make the World Series."

Short of naming La Russa, whose style would likely not go over in the Big Apple, the Yankees will find it hard to justify an inferior manager. Will their offer to an inferior manager also include incentives for making the playoffs and World Series? A Pandora's box has been opened, and now the Yankees have to make the biggest decision of the last dozen years. Of course, before Torre, the Yankees never had a problem hiring and firing managers.

Torre, who won four World Series in six trips, had flown to Tampa with Cashman yesterday when he asked for the chance to meet with Steinbrenner's sons, Levine, and Cashman. That's the way Torre prefers to do business. What he heard apparently didn't sweep him off his feet.

The offer might have said, "We want you back," but the structure indicated they did not.

These were no dummies in that room yesterday. They knew Torre is a man of great honor and pride. Letting him go outright would have created a fan frenzy. There was a rally to support Torre in New York yesterday. Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has been waxing poetic about Torre for days.

Levine and both Steinbrenners have continually emphasized that the Yankees' goal is to make the World Series every year. Hank Steinbrenner even threw out a football analogy.

"The objective of the Yankees is to win a championship every year," he said. "I'm sure it's the same goal that [Vince] Lombardi had with the Packers and [Bill] Belichick with the Patriots. If you asked Belichick the question, I'm sure he'd say the same thing. Our goal is to win every year and anything short of that is unacceptable. We understand it's unrealistic to win it every year, but I'm just telling what our goal is."

If Torre doesn't strike an 11th-hour deal with the Yankees - and don't forget this is not unprecedented (see Theo Epstein and the Red Sox) - his departure will surely affect the organization at all levels. They are opening a new stadium in 2009 and one wonders how many of the superstars of the Torre era, such as Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte, will hang around without him.

"Joe Torre is like a second father to Andy," said Randy Hendricks in an e-mail when asked whether Pettitte's future was tied into Torre's future. Hendricks, who represents Pettitte, did not elaborate.

Alex Rodriguez will have 10 days after the World Series to accept an extension or become a free agent. Although Rodriguez doesn't quite have the same history with Torre, he came to respect him and enjoyed playing for him.

There's also the possibility that the Yankees will be willing to take a step back to go forward.

Maybe Torre's exit also signals the departure of the players who weren't able to take the team to the top level since 2000. It started with Bernie Williams's exit last spring. It may continue with Roger Clemens. Maybe the Yankees will go with Joba Chamberlain as their closer and part ways with Rivera, who turns 38 next month. Maybe Jose Molina will catch and not Posada. Perhaps Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes replace Pettitte. We're certain the brass must have discussed these possibilities. If anyone would be on board with starting over, it would be Cashman.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona was asked about Torre last night, but wasn't in the mood to engage in too much talk other than about the game at hand. He said he hoped Torre "was happy." He kidded, "We have to win this game tonight or I'll be getting phone calls."

Torre is a free agent now. The New York Mets might be taking notice. The Los Angeles Dodgers might be intrigued. Torre would go over big time in a potential return to St. Louis. There are many teams - those who are not married to Moneyball - that would have an interest in having a future Hall of Famer to give their franchise instant credibility.

"Good for Joe" is right.

Hard to imagine whomever the Yankees turn to as their manager will be any more successful or be held in any more regard, considering the dignity and integrity Torre displayed for a dozen seasons. And, now, at the end.

Meanwhile Joel Sherman of the NY Post doesn't get it. He recognizes that Joe Torre couldn't take one more year working for the Yankees for less pay and knowing that he wouldn't manage a game in the new stadium in 2009. And yet, despite this, Sherman says that Joe should have taken the offer anyway. That's right. Joe Torre's mistake was not sticking with the employer who abused him and planned to abuse him more for one final year.

NY Post Staff

October 19, 2007 -- JOE Torre's worst mistake of October was not starting Chien-Ming Wang on the road or failing to demand a delay when those Lake Erie midges showed up at Jacobs Field.

No, Torre's biggest mistake occurred yesterday when he rejected an offer that while imperfect still allowed him to keep the job that has been so perfect for him. Torre erred in turning down the Yankees' proposal to stay in the position that has made him rich and famous beyond what he could have dreamed a dozen years ago.

He gets to keep the riches and fame now, but not the job. And it is the job, that gave Torre items you cannot buy, notably that brew of purpose and electricity and responsibility that he will be unable to replicate elsewhere.

Torre did not make public his thoughts after he turned down the Yankees' one-year offer with an option that included a cut in base pay. But the read here is that Torre believed: a) he had done nothing to warrant a paycut; b) that the cut and, especially, just one guaranteed year made him an instant lame duck; c) the offer was a symbol of lost faith or an was designed for him to reject. Either way he was burned out to be again trying to prove his credentials to all the same Yankee executives.

If I ran the Yankees, I simply would have given Torre what he needed to stay. He is the best managerial option for 2008 and - within reason - money shouldn't really be an issue with this deep-pocketed organization. In May, after all, the Yanks offered Roger Clemens $24 million, his reps demanded a single-season record $28 million instead, and the Yanks quickly caved in.

Torre has to feel, rightly, he has done more than Clemens for the Yankees and had a better year in 2007.

But the people who actually do run the Yanks - the Steinbrenners - were going to make money an issue. George Steinbrenner has long believed Torre strong-armed the organization to renegotiate to record levels when the championships were coming ($6.5 million on average long term, $7.5 million for a one-year peak).

So in seven straight title-less seasons the Steinbrenner family saw the opening for a pay reduction. The offer, $5 million, was still more than any other manager with bonuses that had Torre reached the World Series would have spiked the deal to a record $8 million.

There was going to be no shame in accepting that deal, no loss of stature. No one was going to think, “Oh, there goes Joe Torre, he took less."

And he was not going to be a lame duck. He is Joe Torre. His gravitas exceeds the length or dollars of his contract. He did not lose his job during horrible starts in 2005 or 2007, so that track record of rallying to make the playoffs was going to give him a full year in 2008 despite the lack of guaranteed future years. He also has to know George Steinbrenner's belief in him is going to rise and fall - like always - on results. He was not going to have less backing from ownership, just more of the same, regardless of his pay.

Torre never did this job for ownership's love anyway, he isn't needy in that way. He did it for the juice that came from running this team in this time in this town. As annoyed as he might be at the Steinbrenners, Torre is walking away from that juice as much as the ownership.

He might have deserved more contractual respect. Or you might consider that his contract was done. He was a free agent, like Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. But unlike Rivera and Posada, there are not teams out there that are going to pay Torre close to what he was making or even what the Yanks were offering now. In other words, $5 million is no insult as long as Torre decided it was no insult.

So this needed to not be about money for Torre or his dealings with management. This was about the job he loved, the job that brought him so much of what money can't buy. He walked away from that job. That is a forever decision. That was a mistake.

Yankees Extending The Torre Story

Call me cynical, but it looks like this Times Square rally was staged by Georgi vodka. You know, that Sunnyside Queens importer that thinks they can sell mediocre vodka in New York City if juxtaposed with a female model's butt? I admit, my vodka of choice is Svedka, which is advertised with a curvy female android.

UPDATE: The Times Square rally was indeed staged by the importer of Georgi vodka. That's an old public relations tactic. Put young women in branded tanktops in Times Square to hold signs or distribute printed advertising. The tactic is similar to the way tobacco companies hired girls to smoke cigarettes in parades and on city streets in the 1920s, to make smoking more acceptable among women. This time, there was a less sinister motive. This was a way for a local businessman to show his support for Joe Torre...and sell more mediocre vodka.

Meetings end, no decision on Torre

Still no decision on Joe Torre.

The New York Yankees manager remained in limbo Wednesday after a second day of meetings by team hierarchy failed to reach a conclusion.

"All we're worried about is the process of making sure that we come to the right decision. When we do, we'll get everybody involved," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before leaving Legends Field and heading to the airport.

Owner George Steinbrenner arrived just before 1 p.m. but did not comment as he entered the spring-training ballpark. He told The Record of Hackensack, N.J., on Oct. 6 that he didn't think he'd bring back Torre if the Yankees failed to advance to the AL championship series. Cleveland then eliminated New York in four games, sending New York to its third straight first-round exit.

Cashman said the Yankees are maintaining their position that they will not negotiate with Alex Rodriguez if he terminates his $252 million, 10-year contract. Rodriguez, who has three seasons left on the deal, must decide by the 10th day following the World Series.

"I can reaffirm that if Alex Rodriguez opts out of his contract, then we will not participate in free agency," Cashman said.

Torre has managed the Yankees to the playoffs in all 12 of his seasons and helped the team win the World Series in four of his first five years. But the Yankees haven't won the World Series since 2000 and haven't won the AL pennant since 2003.

If Torre doesn't return, bench coach Don Mattingly is the leading contender to take over. Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi, the NL Manager of the Year with the Florida Marlins in 2006, is another possibility.

The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., reported Tuesday that Mattingly told a member of the Steinbrenner family he does not feel ready for the manager's job and is uncomfortable with replacing Torre.

Ray Schulte, a spokesman for Mattingly, said the report was "completely false, totally fabricated and took Don completely by surprise."

"If and when a decision is made concerning Joe's future, Don will respond, at that time," Schulte said in a statement. "In the meantime, he wants what is best for Joe and the Yankee organization!"

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.

Who's In-Charge Of The Yankees? Anyone?

No one, apparently.

George Steinbrenner said that if the Yankees lost their ALDS series to the Indians, then Joe Torre would be fired. Well, the Yankees were eliminated a week ago, and Joe Torre is still there.

Supposedly, a decision on Torre will be made this week. But this has been a ridiculous process. The Yankees have kept Torre's fate as a top local sports news story for over a week. This has completely kept the Mets out of the local news. It has reduced the coverage of the Jets' dismal season (yay!), as well as coverage of the football Giants. The Yankees are news hogs.

Meanwhile Steinbrenner has conceded control of day-to-day operations to his sons, Hank and Hal. So about that threat from George that Torre will be fired if the Yankees didn't make it to the ALCS? Never mind. Now Steinbrenner's sons will decide Joe's fate.

The front page of the NY Daily News states that today (Monday) is 'High Noon' for Joe Torre. But it isn't. The meetings (yes, plural) regarding Joe's future won't begin until Tuesday. After all, the Yankees can't allow the Red Sox - Indians game tonight to take away their spotlight.

They might just keep Torre in limbo until November, so they can make their decision really, really big. I wouldn't be surprised if Torre is still on the payroll come Friday.

M writes:

I'm really loving this. The team is a mess right now and I'm pretty sure its being run by a senile old man in his pajamas. He awoke from his slumber long enough to make his despicable threat to Torre...and has since fallen back to sleep. Cashman says the Torre situation needs to be discussed for a few days. Why? The statement was if you lose you're gone. They clearly lost. What the fuck is there to talk about? Obviously nobody's really sure who's calling the shots these days.

I love how Yankee fans insulted the Sox during their manic days of 01/02 when the team was splintering apart...always pointing to the cohesive machine of the Yankee franchise. Well its easy to be cool when you're winning. Its how you conduct yourself when things aren't going so well that we see what you're made of. And all it takes is a few first round exits from the playoffs and the entire organization is in disarray. And the media feeds the frenzy. Afternoon soap operas having nothing on this organization when it comes to drama. What would happen if they actually missed the playoffs. Would Suzyn soil herself?

And what about the ongoing baseball playoffs? Very few people in New York are watching the NLCS or ALCS, apparently. So that means more bar stools for me and my fellow Red Sox supporters.

Shorter* Suzyn Waldman

Suzyn has outdone herself. Forget demanding that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays forfeit a game because they were late and the Yankees had already showered and dressed for the game. Forget her constant dismissal of Yankee opponents as not worthy of victories, and her constant attitude of Yankee entitlement (although that relates to this latest incident). No, on October 8th 2007, Suzyn Waldman took her awful performance as a color commentator to a ridiculously new low level. Following Joe Torre's post-game press conference at Jacobs Field in Cleveland (which followed the Yankee defeat in Game 4 of the ALDS, and subsequent elimination from the playoffs), Suzyn Waldman went on the air and cried.

Here is her full broadcast which you can download here (courtesy

You're going to have to bear with me here, cos' you know me, I cry at Cinderella, and I can't believe what's going on in there. Um....What's going on in that clubhouse and what Joe Torre is saying at the podium - John, this rivals that plane ride from Seattle [sniff], because everybody knows there's going to be a lot of changes here, and people are absolutely saying goodbye to each other. And it's very very tough place to be right now. [Sniff] Joe Torre is at the podium, and um, the first thing he said was that we wanted to congratulate Eric Wedge the way he turned his team around, and if you make a mistake they'll pummel you and that's exactly what they did. Um. Then obviously the first question was about his future. He didn't want to talk about that. He said, "I told the players I was so proud of what they did, they were in a hole, sometimes you get complacent, sometimes you forget how hard it is. We didn't forget.

And perhaps ironically, John Sterling settled Waldman down, by telling her, "all good things come to an end," and that Joe Torre will, "land on his feet," and be fine with his wife, daughter, brother, and his well-earned millions.

Now we know that most Yankee broadcasters are complete wingnuts. Michael Kay on YES TV believes that the Yankees have been the best team in baseball since 1995, facts be damned. John Sterling on WCBS 880 AM is a poor broadcaster because you can tell by his tone whether the Yankees are winning or losing. If he sounds disgusted, then you don't need to know the score. And then there is Suzyn Waldman, John Sterling's sidekick since 2005. They will be broadcasting together on WCBS 880 AM through the end of the 2011 regular season.

Suzyn is quick to pile praise or criticism on just about any player. It's as if John Sterling provokes her (or unleashes her). I have no transcripts, but a typical moment might sound like this.

Sterling: Andy deals....and there's a ground ball to center. Jeter runs to the ball, picks it up, tags second, throws to Giambi...a beautiful 6-3 double play, and Jeter made it look easy. He picked-up the ball bare-handed, tagged second, jumped over the sliding baserunner, and threw to first all in about 3 seconds.


Sterling: He has done it so many times. He makes it look easy. The captain showing some golden glove skills, and didn't use his glove.


OK, I will try to ignore this duo. It's easy when the Red Sox are on their way to winning their seventh World Series.

Steinbrenner Blames Bugs, Threatens Torre

The Boss snapped out of his senility to issue the following statements.

Steinbrenner: Torre's job is on the line

By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer 27 minutes ago

Win or else! That was George Steinbrenner's message to Joe Torre before the New York Yankees played the Cleveland Indians on Sunday night.

With the Yankees trailing 2-0 in the best-of-five, first-round playoff series, Steinbrenner reverted to the blustering boss of old and said Torre likely wouldn't return as manager unless New York reaches the AL championship series for the first time in three years.

"His job is on the line," the owner was quoted in Sunday's editions of The Record of New Jersey. "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."

Torre was hired before the 1996 season and led the Yankees to four World Series titles in his first five seasons but none since. New York last reached the World Series in 2003, wasted a 3-0 lead to Boston in the 2004 ALCS, then was eliminated by the Angels and Detroit in the first round the last two years.

"You're not surprised by whatever comes down the pike," Torre said. "You don't always get used to it, but you understand if you want to work here — and there's a great deal of upside to working here — that there are certain things you have to deal with. We've had ultimatums during the season, early in the season. This obviously is down to a game we need to win, and you'd like to believe everybody's trying to pull in the same direction."

Torre has led the Yankees to 12 consecutive postseason appearances, winning 10 AL East titles and two wild-card berths. His 1,173 regular-season wins are second among Yankees managers behind Joe McCarthy's 1,460.

In the final season of his current contract, Torre is being paid $7 million. He hasn't decided whether he would want to return but has seemed open to it in recent weeks.

"It's too early for me to address that because, you know, the most important thing for me right now is winning Game 3," he said.

Sitting in his pinstriped uniform pants with a blue Yankees windbreaker and an NY cap, he matter-of-factly answered questions for 12 minutes about 2 1/2 hours before game time. He found out about Steinbrenner's comments when he arrived at Yankee Stadium.

"I choose not to read the papers and stuff when we don't do well," Torre said. "I jump in there when we're doing well."

Steinbrenner changed managers 20 times from 1973-95 and nearly fired Torre after last year's four-game elimination. Torre had a humorous response when asked whether his job would be safe in the Yankees did come back.

"Till the next series, right?" he said.

"You have seen managers who have been here before me. I don't think any of them have been on easy street as far as the day-in, day-out operations here," Torre went on. "So whether I think it's right, wrong, fair, foul or whatever is really not the point at this point in time. I'll save all that stuff for later on when there's really nothing left for me to do here."

Steinbrenner also criticized umpire Bruce Froemming for not stopping play when insects invaded the field during Game 2 in Cleveland on Friday. Rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain threw two wild pitches that allowed Cleveland to tie the game in the eighth, and the Indians went on to win 2-1 in 11 innings.

Froemming called it "just a little irritation." Steinbrenner profanely dismissed Froemming's explanation.

"He won't umpire our games anymore," Steinbrenner said.

The 68-year-old Froemming — the longest-tenured umpire in major league history — is retiring after this season. The Yankees complained to baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

"(Selig) just said, 'That's in the umpires' hands.' ... It was terrible. It messed up the whole team, (Derek) Jeter, all of them," Steinbrenner told the paper.

Steinbrenner also predicted Alex Rodriguez will remain with the Yankees. A-Rod has the right to opt out of the final three years of his record $252 million, 10-year contract after the World Series and become a free agent.

"I think we'll re-sign him," Steinbrenner told the paper. "I think he's going to have a good run the rest of the (postseason). I think he realizes New York is the place to be, the place to play. A lot of this (postseason) is laying on his shoulders, you know, but I think he's up to it."

The 77-year-old Steinbrenner, who has appeared to be more frail in recent years, said he will make the decisions on Torre and Rodriguez.

"I have full control," Steinbrenner said.

The Red Sox Win The AL East Division

Holy shit. The Orioles celebrated their win with fireworks. They know what they just did. They just shut the door on the Yankees quest for a 12th straight AL East title.

The Sox got some huge help from Baltimore. Melvin Mora laid down a bunt with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the 10th to squeeze home the winning run. Amazing. And it followed a thrilling stand in the top of the inning, and a dramatic (and highly improbable) 3-run comeback by Baltimore against Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th.

As I and other sensible fans predicted, the Yankees lost two games during the final six-game stretch. And that was all the Red Sox needed in order to secure the AL East before the weekend. Now the Sox will probably split the final two games against the Twins. But it is now official: The Red Sox have won the AL East Division for the first time since September 1995, the month I first moved to New York City.

Celebrate good times, Boston! The Angels will come to town for game 1 of the ALDS on Wednesday.

Is That Champagne I Smell?

Creator/Editor SG at the second-tier Yankee blog, Replacement Level:

I still think the Yankees are the favorites to take the wild card, which I don’t really care about. To me, winning the wild card is the cheap way into the postseason, and even if they do get in, they get the Angels in the first round.

If it is the cheap way into the postseason, then how do you explain this?

I thought the Yankee fans ridiculed the Red Sox for doing the same thing when they won the wild card in 2004?

Oh, and you probably have Clevelnd in the first round. But still, the Yankees are by no means a lock to appear in the ALCS.

Brian Bruney And Jeff Karstens Lose It For The Yankees

I think last night's loss was the first time since June that the Yankee bullpen blew a lead and lost a game on the road. An amazing run.

I also think that Brian Bruney and Jeff Karstens won't be on the Yankee postseason roster next month. Just my guess.

With Wang, Joba, and Mo available tonight, I expect the Yankees to win and secure the Wild Card spot.

But in just 48 hours, we have seen the Yankees' chances of winning the AL East slip from 40%, to 19%, to 6%. All Boston has to do is win 3 more games out of the remaining 5, and the AL East is theirs, regardless of what the Yankees do.

And if they blow that, then yes, Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman, and Michael Kay can mention it all they want. But if the Sox win the AL East, I don't want to hear about them blowing a 14-game lead ever again.

The Red Sox magic number is 3. When they wake-up Saturday morning, the AL East title should already be theirs.

Huge Yankee Game This Afternoon

The Yankees have a game-in-hand over the Red Sox and it is being played this afternoon at 1pm. If they win, they will be just one game behind the Red Sox and both teams will each have 6 games left to play. Boston has two potential breaks - all of their 6 remaining games are at Fenway, and they won't be seeing the best pitchers from either Oakland or Minnesota. The Yankees have to go to Tampa Bay for 3 games, and then Baltimore for 4 games. I would expect both Tampa and Baltimore to win one game from the Yankees. I would also expect the Red Sox to lose 2 of their next 6.

And so this game today is very important for the AL East race. Toronto has been very effective in running-up the Yankee pitch counts and forcing the Yankees to work their bullpen. If Toronto should somehow win today, they will give the Red Sox the cushion they need to win the AL East title at the end of the week against the Twins.

If the Yankees win, then the Red Sox still have a 1-game lead. However, their margin for error will be very small. The Red Sox will have to win at least 4 of their remaining 6 games. They will need a lot of moral support from the home fans. It is crunch time.

Apparently Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling are acting as if the Yankees have already won this game. They are yapping away on WCBS-AM. They won't stop. Unfortunately there is no point in muting a radio. I might just keep an eye on the stoic and silent Gameday.

The late-breaking news that Blue Jay pitcher AJ Burnett had to miss his start only heightened Sterling's and Waldman's expectations for a victory.

"A game that means nothing for Toronto and everything for the Yanks." - John Sterling

Translation: The Blue Jays had better forfeit for their sake. The Yankees are entitled to the AL East!!!1!!!111

Toronto takes a 3-0 lead. I hope they win this one...

And how can there be only 20,000 fans in the seats? On an absolutely beautiful day, with this much at-stake, and with this game added to the schedule many weeks ago, the Yankee fans couldn't fill half the stadium today? This is the final September game at Yankee stadium! Even Sterling and Waldman are stunned.

The Passion Of The Blue Jays

The Blue Jays threw-away the game (actually Aaron Hill threw away the game) in the bottom of the 9th tonight. But then they stretched the Yankees to 14 innings. Then Gregg Zaun got a solo home run to give them a chance to redeem themselves.

Quote of the night:

on Sons of Sam Horn: "I'm sure these cocksucking bluejays understand this weekend is their last chance to reduce the lead-piping Santa's bringing them for xmas."

A lot of Yankee fans have gone home. That would never happen at Fenway.


Wow. What a game. I hope they are all hurting. Thank Luis Vizcaino for giving-up the game-winning home run to Gregg Zaun.

Aaron Hill, did you try to throw this game? You failed, jackass. You get a lump of coal this Christmas.

Red Sox Concede Division, Rest Okijima & Manny, Focus on October, Panic Fans

With apologies to Heat, the President, and Oceans 11.

Mr. Cheesesteak and The Don have made their decision. They are the deciders. You might think they are leading us to disaster. But they have a plan to achieve victory and complete the mission. We will prevail.

We are not going to play for the division. This is how it's going to play-out. History will forget about how we gave-away the Division. The Red Sox are going for Red 7 - their 7th World Series victory.

You will hear a lot of shit from Yankee fans, Michael Kay, Suzyn Walkdman, John Sterling, and all ther other assholes in the NY sports media. But this is the plan. We will give-up what would have been our 6th AL East banner for a healthier squad that will go all the way in October.

Yankee fans will say that losing a 14.5 game lead is one of the biggest chokes in baseball history. But you can handle them. Simply point-out that the Red Sox never had a 14.5 game lead in the division. Spin it like Scott McClellan, people!

The Sox' biggest division lead at one point was 11.5 games over the Baltimore Orioles. That won't shut them up? Remind the Yankee fans of their historic, never-to-be-repeated collapse in games 4 thru 7 in the 2004 ALCS. That won't shut them up? Oh, well. We're moving on...

The Yankees can either cool their jets, or risk injuries if they continue to push for the division. They would be foolish to put the champagne on ice, prep lower Broadway for a parade, and plan postseason first pitch ceremonies at this point. Some of their fans are? Oh, well. We're moving on...

You have a decision to make right now as a member of Red Sox Nation.

The World Series is worth the risk. The division is not.

Our choice right now is to go with this plan, or 30 seconds from now we are gone on our separate ways.

Are you in?

UPDATE: Jose Melendez becomes the first to write about both the Sox and Professor Jared Diamond in the same post. Proof that we Red Sox fans are well read and wicked smaaaaaat.

The Red Sox Predicament: Stop The Eighth Inning Meltdowns Or Else

A few observations on the current late-season woes of the Red Sox. I'm no Bill Simmons, and the fanboys over at Sons of Sam Horn are dissecting this from every angle. But if I don't comment, it will look like I'm avoiding the issue. I've just been in a lot of pain this week and it is only Wednesday.

Some random thoughts:

  • The past month has been an absolute roller coaster for the Sox and their fans. On August 27th, the Sox completed a sweep of the dismal White Sox in Chicago, and it looked as if they had wrapped-up the AL East. All they had to do was play .550 baseball and they should squeak by. But since then, they have gone 10-11, with 5 of those losses coming at the hands of the Yankees.

  • Even more alarming: At least four of those 11 losses were the result of 8th inning meltdowns by the Boston bullpen. It happened Sunday happened again Tuesday night. We Sox fans have been going to bed with headaches and heartburn. And yes, it sucks.

  • As of this morning, the Red Sox literally have a 99% chance of making the playoffs. But if they fail to win the division, and fall-back as a Wild Card entry, it will be a source of shame and embarrassment for the Sox and their fans for years. Do the Yankees seem phased that they suffered the biggest postseason collapse in history? They seem to have gotten over it. But if the Red Sox fail to win the AL East this season, it will take a while to get over.

  • Part of the reason it will take a long time to get over is the Red Sox fans themselves. We want the AL East title desperately. Several times before they won the 2004 WC, I said winning the division title was all I really wanted - to show that we could produce a better season record than the MFYs. This current crisis is being exacerbated by the New York media and the Red Sox fans, who are both using the AL East title as the biggest litmus test for the Red Sox in a generation. Win the title, and all is well. Lose the title, and it is 1978 all over again...the Red Sox can hang their heads in shame and contemplate the failure for years. I think the New York sports media wants the Red Sox fans to suffer a complete depression, so it makes sense that they are fanning the flames. Amazingly, I hear no such doomsday comments coming from NESN, and that says a lot. Oh sure, we hear the NESN folks talk about how the Sox should have sealed the AL East title last week. We also hear them speculate about how Terry Francona is trying to keep the Sox rested and healthy for the playoffs, without going into a morale-sucking slump. But we don't hear NESN talking about how the Red Sox are losers if they enter the playoffs as the Wild Card.

  • Sox fans need to stop worrying about who they will face in the playoffs. If they cannot beat Cleveland, Anaheim, or New York, then they have no business playing next month. Counting on the Angels to eliminate the Yankees is not a good way to enjoy the playoffs. The Yankees pitching staff will be so shot by October, that anyone will be able to beat them in the first round. And if not, then hope the Sox make it to the ALCS to take care of matters themselves. Worry about your own team, and stop worrying about who the Yankees are going to play the first week of October.