The Gray Pages

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Tonight, after 60 Minutes ...

"... The Amazing Race, Cold Case, and Without a Trace."

Seriously. That's their lineup.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

20 years

New York Mets 6, Boston Red Sox 5.

METS 10TH: Red Sox lead, 5 to 3.

Backman made an out to left.
Red Sox lead, 5 to 3. One out.

Hernandez flied to center.
Red Sox lead, 5 to 3. Two outs.

Carter singled to left.
Red Sox lead, 5 to 3. Two outs.

Mitchell, batting for Aguilera, singled to center [Carter to second];
Red Sox lead, 5 to 3. Two outs.

Knight singled to center [Carter scored, Mitchell to third];
Red Sox lead, 5 to 4. Two outs.


Stanley threw a wild pitch [Mitchell scored, Knight to second];
Game tied, 5 to 5. Two outs.

Wilson reached on an error by Buckner [Knight scored (unearned)]
Mets win, 6 to 5.

Don't let anyone tell you that this game is Bill Buckner's fault. If he makes that play, he probably doesn't beat Wilson to the bag. If he does make the play and beats Wilson to the bag, then the game goes into the 11th inning.

And looking at that play-by-play, does anyone believe that Bob Stanley would have pitched lights-out in the 11th?

I'm no longer bitter about this as a Red Sox fan -- the play has lost all pain for me. I'm bitter about this as a baseball fan who resents the untrue story being told over and over and over again as if it were true, that the Red Sox lost the World Series because of Bill Buckner's error. It wasn't true 20 years ago, it wasn't true 2 years ago, and it's not true today.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thank you, FOX Sports!

Things I learned watching Game Two of the World Series:
Ivan Rodriguez threw seven no-hitters in Little League.

Things I did not learn watching Game Two of the World Series:
Ivan Rodriguez's regular season on-base percentage.

Look, there are something like 4 billion cable channels right now. If you tune in (do the kids say 'tune in'?) to channel 2,475,012 on DirecTV, you'll see replays of me typing this very post. ("I wonder if I'm using too many parentheticals?") Is it not possible that Fox can use Fx to broadcast (can you 'broadcast' something on cable, or do you just 'show' it there?) the game to people who, you know, care about baseball?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I like this quote

From a Nobel Prize winner, appearing on the Colbert Robert, quoting Mark Twain:

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."

Of course, the last book I finished was Why My Wife Thinks I'm An Idiot by Mike Goldberg. I don't think that's what Twain meant by good books.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Joe Torre

I can't decide if the Yankees should have fired Joe Torre.

I'm trying to think about this as an objective scholar of the game and not as a Red Sox fan. It's not an easy place to be and I haven't come to any conclusions.

The Yankees need to shake things up. It is not I, but they, who define success as winning the World Series. And they've failed in that goal for an entire century now. Reading the overblown coverage, it's not dissimilar from what the pundits used to say about the Red Sox. Succuming to the pressure. Unable to elevate their game when it counts. (This reminds me of my favorite Dan Shaughnessy line ever: the Red Sox always lose the last game of the season that matters. But I digress.)

They're stuck with the players they have. Alex Rodriguez, signed through 2010. Derek Jeter, 2010. Jason Giambi, 2008. Mike Mussina, club option for next year. Randy Johnson, 2007. Bobby Abreu, 2007. Johnny Damon, 2009. Hideki Matsui, 2009. Gary Sheffield, club option. Mariano Rivera, club option. Jorge Posada, club option. Carl Pavano, 2008. Jaret Wright, 2007. Kyle Farnsworth, 2008. Mike Myers, 2007.

So there's a tiny bit of wiggle room if they want it. They can cut ties with Mussina, Sheffield, Rivera, and Posada.

Given the struggles that their pitching has had, I don't see Mussina leaving the team. They might decline his $17 million club option and see if they can sign him for $10 or so, but at that price, he could wind up anywhere. To be the highest bidder, The Yankees probably have to pay $13 million, and with the $1.5 million buyout, that's not much saving for a lot of risk (say, Mussina to the Red Sox).

And I can't imagine why they'd want to keep Sheffield at $13 million when Melky Cabrera might give them the same production (and Abreu is the now the rightfielder).

Posada and Rivera are staying.

The point is, the 2007 New York Yankees will look much the same as the 2006 model. The sign of a lunatic is someone who does the same thing over and over and expects a different result. Shea Hillenbrand, David Dellucci -- these are cheaper options that would serve the team better than chasing Jermaine Dye and Alfonzo Soriano. I expect them to take the more expensive choices.

Joe Torre's magic has worn off. Yes, yes -- if Jeremy Giambi slides, if Jeffrey Maier is never born, etc., etc., things look different. But Lou Pinella maybe wakes up A-Rod and gets in Randy Johnson's face and ... well, I don't even know if these things would work. But if the Yankees were my team, and thank goodness they aren't, I'd want to blow the whole thing up except for Jeter and Rivera. They can probably get some value for Abreu and maybe Jered Wright. Heck, I don't know.

Vaya con el Diablo, George.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

MLB on FOX: Allow me to summarize

The greatest thing that a baseball player can do is advance the runner. Not doubles, not homeruns, not stolen bases. Nothing is better than trading an out for a base. Nothing.

Here's the thing: there isn't a single objective study that backs up this idea. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I've read enough geek books to know that teams, in the aggregate, score more runs in an inning with no outs and a runner on first than one out and a runner on second.

Outs are the most valuable thing in baseball. Period. There are no productive outs, there are only outs.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


From Wikipedia: Jump Around is played at every University of Wisconsin home football game between the third and fourth quarter. When the song plays the students tend to jump around.

Yes, they tend to do that. In the same sense that a high-speed car crash tends to deploy the airbag.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Oh, A-Rod

No comment.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

They started the designated hitter in 1973, Joe

Joe Morgan on Johann Santana: "He's pitching great, but he's trailing two-nothing."

Because, you see, it's his fault that the offense hasn't scored.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm not allowed to make predictions

But my two favorite teams, right now, are the Tigers and whoever is playing the Yankees. And there's no stopping the Empire.