I Can Manage Better than Most MLBs
As I was working yesterday, sending out a proposal that may keep me out of the mission skinnymatt says will be more fun anyway, I’m half heartedly listening to the Red Sox play the Yankees. The Yankees are not making the playoffs this year- for the first time in 15 years. It warms the cockles of my heart. I’m surrounded by their smugness- outright cocky ‘we have all the rings’ attitudes.
Yankee fans comprise the largest percentage here in Fairfield County, CT. I’d say 60%, Mets 25%, Boston 10%, all others (like me with the Cardinals) 5%. As Dan Fogelberg once sang, I feel ‘Badly outnumbered and caught in a crossfire of devils and gods’[i]I always look to Tom O’Brien (gottadime) to support me when the natives get restless. I’ve had to dodge my share of beer bottles unnecessarily being thrown my way at the stadiums and in sports bars over the years.
The Red Sox were ahead 2-0 going into the bottom of the 8th. Jason Giambi hits a pinch hit HR to tie the score. I’m OK with that, Giambi has his moments and came through in the clutch (unlike Alex Rodriguez who sucks nothing but Madonna teat these days).
A loss would put the Yankees 11 out, 7 out of the wild card. Boston is battling for it because looks like the shockingly good Rays of Tampa are going to win the AL East.
That’s another record- no team has EVER gone from last with 100+ losses to win any division like the Rays will do. Shows payroll is not everything. Matter of fact, if you read Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, there’s really no strong correlation.
I love seeing the underdog win. Especially when the favorite like the Yankees act like their shit doesn’t stink. Just keeping the executive washroom doors tightly locked, Steinbrenners, does not mean the cleaning lady doesn’t gag when she brushes the bowl after you unload last night’s 40 oz. Morton’s steak.
The Yankees had been smart enough to put Mariano Rivera in the top of the 8th, even though they’re losing. Most, if not all, MLB teams will not put their closer- the best guy in the bullpen- in games they are not ahead in. Being ahead and winning the game earns that pitcher a ‘save’. Saves are good, but overrated. If you don’t win the game, there is nothing to save.
Giambi ties the game; Rivera does his usual zip in 9th.
Now it’s the bottom of the 9th. The Red Sox should bring in THEIR closer, Jonathan Papelbon because if they give up just 1 run, they lose, the game is over and Jon cannot ‘save’ anything.
Do they do that?
Noooooooooooooooooooooo! as John Belushi so many times said.
They bring in a guy who gives up a double. Pap time yet?
Nope, intentional walk.
Nope, a regular walk- to Ivan Rodriguez, no less, who NEVER walks.
If I’m a Sox fan, I’m foaming at the mouth. You have these motherfuckers on the mat—life support- pulse almost nil. And you’re giving them a chance? Maybe it’s like a cat who’s batting a mouse around before he claws the throat, but I don’t think so. Win the game. Put them out of their misery (and their fans into theirs).
FINALLY Paplebon comes in. But there’s only one out and even a fly ball will end the game.
And wouldn’t you know, Giambi’s up again.
Now the infield and outfield must come in so shallow, they’re closer than a waffle ball game in your yard when Granny’s at bat. Anything that’s beyond 150 feet wins the game. And that’s exactly what Giambi does- singles to end it.
There is no way with Paplebon starting the 9th this happens. So you ‘saved’ your closer until it was too late.
In the 80’s, you went with your closer anytime in the 7th or later when the game was on the line. Bruce Sutter, then the Cardinals bullpen ace, had 19 decisions (wins/losses) one year and consistently pitched 100 innings a year. Now, your closer might pitch 60. They fucking baby these guys, as well as the starters. In ‘the day’, rotations were 4 guys- each of whom pitched 250 innings a year, like it or not. I can’t imagine Earl Weaver telling Jim Palmer in the 6th-“Hey, you’ve thrown 100 pitches. Hit the showers”. Palmer would have smacked him back to the dugout and finished the game.
I could never throw and catch a ball well. That’s why I spent a bunch of time playing Strat-O-Matic and learning strategy. It bugs the shit out of me when I could have made a better managerial decision than Terry Francona did yesterday. And all I have to show for it is an empty bag of chips, 2 crushed Bud cans, and a box score than makes me want to scream.
[i] ‘These days’ from Captured Angel. Fogelberg is another talented guy that died way too young. Cancer sucks!