A temporary home and repository for television and film critic Daniel Fienberg, formerly of HitFix.com and Zap2it.com and one half of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
10 Baseball Postseason Thoughts for 10/14/08
I'm not sure I have anything to say about last night's scripted television, but I probably have some thoughts on the baseball I've been watching for seemingly 12 hours a night all month.
Ten of them, in fact... Cuz it's a round number.
1) Some folks in Red Sox Nation are getting antsy about going down 2-1 to the Devil Rays. I say, "Bring it on!" If a very superficial gloss of recent history has taught me anything, it's that the Red Sox are incapable of *making* the World Series, much less winning it, without making a miraculous comeback from 3-games-to-1 down. The last time the Red Sox even made the World Series without overcoming a 3-1 deficit was, of course, 1975. And the last time they *won* a World Series without doing it was 1918. You may have heard about that one. In 1986, the Sox came from 3-1 down against the Angels. In 2004, of course, they came back from 3-0 down (and therefore also 3-1 down) against the Yankees. And last year the Sox won the World Series after digging out of a 3-1 hole against the Indians. So it's all part of the plan, Nation!
The rest of my thoughts after the bump...
2) That being said, I'd have felt better about Game 2 if I hadn't spent five hours and 15 minutes only to have Tito Francona decide to throw the game in the 11th by bringing in Mike Timlin. Timlin, who has been an asset for the Sox for so long, appears to only be on the post-season roster as some sort of bizarro baseball Jack Kevorkian, a reliever Tito can call on if he wants to just go home already. There should really just be a White Flag Surrender mechanism in baseball. It would have a lower salary than Mike Timlin.
3) I had to look this one up. The Designated Hitter rule is, of course, 6.10 in your baseball rule book and the most important part just says, "A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and all subsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game." The essence there is that the Designated Hitter can only be a hitter designated to bat for the pitcher. It cannot be a hitter designated to bat for some other position player, while still allowing the pitcher to bat for himself. I only raise the issue because I'm certain the Red Sox have pitchers who, at this point, could outhit Jason Varitek. Let nobody ever take away from Varitek's leadership or handling of the pitching staff. But he hasn't put together good at-bats all season and watching him swing just makes me unhappy. He's a human rally killer.
4) Speaking of designated hitters, how quickly does Ryan Howard get to leave the Phillies, go to the American League, become a DH and balloon to 350 pounds? It's just unfair to make him play first base, to make him move at all. He's an absolute butcher in the first and any sportswriter who gives him MVP votes over Albert Pujols should be disenfranchised.
5) Now that the great 2008 Anna Paquin Nudity Watch is finally over, is there any legitimate reason to be watching "True Blood" any more? I admired how the episode's director treated the Oscar winner's baubles like the shark in "Jaws." "Ooooh! Side boob!" "Oooh! Long shot!" "Oooh! Was that a nipple?" "Money Shot!!!!" But now that that's out of the way, is anybody captivated by the season's main mystery? Didn't think so. Is anybody amazed that the casting directors couldn't come up with anybody better than the show's three male leads? Ryan Kwaten and Sam Trammell are oddly weak and Stephen Moyer's accent and brooding just make me giggle. If the first season of "Dexter" was a blueprint for how to effectively stretch the plot of a thin novel over a full TV season, "True Blood" is a blueprint on how not to do it. What? You thought I wasn't gonna work a little TV into this post?
6) FOX doesn't have to worry about a full month of baseball coverage anymore, but you know the execs are slitting their wrists over the idea of giving over any time at all to a Phillies-Rays World Series. Obviously Red Sox-Dodgers is the TV dream, but Red Sox-Phillies you can market as well. But Phillies-Rays would be a series where FOX would pray for a sweep just to work in some repeats of "Fringe" or "House" with those extra days.
7) So sue me, I'd cheer for Manny. Whether it's this season or next season, I hope that whenever Manny next appears in Boston, I hope that fans cheer him. And I hope they keep cheering for him even after that first at-bat as opposed to the Johnny Damon treatment, where he got a standing-ovation his first time up and has been booed mercilessly (and deservedly) ever since. Yeah, Manny quit on his teammates and all that nonsense, but what did the fans expect? And Jason Bay has been a stud. Also, at least for the rest of this postseason, Red Sox fans are paying Manny's salary. Sortta.
8) Jamie Moyer is old. How old is he? Jamie Moyer is so old that in hi-def, he looks just like Abe Vigoda. I kind of want Jamie Moyer to pitch til he's 50 and get to 300 wins just to watch Cooperstown explode. Did you know that in major league history, only four pitchers have allowed more home runs than Jamie Moyer and all four are in the Hall of Fame? With 246 wins, Jamie Moyer has more wins than Amos Rusie, Juan Marichal, Herb Pennock, Mordecai Brown, Clark Griffith, Waite Hoyt, Whitey Ford, Jim Bunning, Catfish Hunter and Don Drysdale (among other Hall of Fame pitchers).
9) If I were starting a franchise tomorrow, I'm not sure I can think of 10 players I'd rather use as my cornerstone than Evan Longoria. He's a great fielder, a clutch hitter and a relatively articulate dude in interviews. If I were the Red Sox, I'd be pitching around him for the rest of the series.
10) Tim Wakefield was 0-2 against the Rays with a 5.87 ERA this season. The Red Sox didn't score on Andy Sonnanstine in 13 innings this season. See "Thought #1."
Labels: baseball, Red Sox, True Blood
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Good points all but a few things I wanted to touch upon.ReplyDelete
#2. Look, we all groaned when Timlin went into the game but at that point the pitching staff had been so poorly managed by Tito it didn't matter who took the mound. The game was lost the second Papelbon left. The game was lost when they left Beckett in the game with a 6-4 lead even though he'd been shelled all game. The Sox have a surprisingly deep bullpen but not when stretched to 11 innings with guys like Lopez and Okajima ear-marked for 1-2 out appearances. What other option did Francona have at that point? Byrd (who as we saw in Game 3 can't make an appearance in a game without surrendering a hr) or Game 4 starter Wakefield who probably still has nightmares about Aaron Boone. And all around bad situation.
#3. And can you believe Tek has been crying to the Globe about being pinch hit for late in games. Not only is he a rally killer but he's completely unaware of it. Meanwhile how about the DH we *do* have who's a shell of his former self. I'd still name my first kid David Ortiz Dignan after what Papi did in '04 but at the very least he needs to be hitting lower in the lineup, preferably after Bay.
#5 God bless you for saying this because I've been feeling alone in my perviness about this all week. Have to say this makes me a little weird feeling though since we all pretty much saw her grow up in the public's eye.
#7 Manny will be booed like the new Clemens that he is and, you know what, deservedly so. I'm all for healing down the road but right now Manny is a symbol for everything wrong with professional athletes (selfish and greedy). I can't wait for him to break all his new Angelino fans' hearts when he signs with the Yankees on December 1st. Say what you will about Damon but he left everything he had on the field and he may have left the Sox for a hated rival after swearing he never would for what amounted to 2 million more a year (incidentally, same agent as Manny) but you never questioned his commitment while he wore the uniform. Slamming into walls, stealing bases, supporting his teammates. Damon was the real thing. Manny blew up his own team while cashing checks for 20 million a year. Boo!
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