Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sox Forfeit, Yanks Cheat Again, Bosoxwest rants

Alert: ranting below.

In a piece of shocking misfortune, I spent a considerable sum of money purchasing tickets to a game that Tito Francona forfeited. Sadly, I didn't realize Tito had done this until I arrived to understand that he had supported Kyle Snyder, our fragile 5th "starter", by granting him the peculiar game-calling skills (and bat, of course) of idiot non-savant Doug Mirabelli. Dougie was wise enough to insure that the only truly dangerous bat in Oakland's lineup (Frank Thomas) saw a grooved fastball whenever he wanted one. He somehow seemed to be unaware that Kyle doesn't throw his fastball with any control and in fact is more comfortable with his curve.

Dougie was also skillful enough to swing at every off-speed offering from Dan Haren, then head back to the dugout marvelling at Haren's "not that fast fastball". Basically, watching Dougie today was like repeatedly punching ones-self in the crotch. As it turns out, the Oakland folks don't even bat an eye when crotches are self-punched, so that worked out well in an unfortunate way.

Short story is Snyder looked like a dog who'd been kicked by his master (he had) and performed in a fairly uninspired and self-defeating fashion. I think it's safe to say he lacked passion today. I'm just basing this on the 12 minutes it took him to walk from the mound to the dugout after each half-inning, and the fact that his chin never left his skeletal upper chest. Maybe I read too much into the body language - look how wrong I was about Derek Lowe and Clement....errr....nevermind.

Meanwhile, hours later, the Yanks take yet another game from the Texas Rangers on a ninth-inning dinger by baseball's longest-running cheater Jason Giambi. Over several days of beers and chatter the west coast Red Sox fans have come to two conclusions:
  1. Jason Giambi has put on a physically impossible amount of muscle in the past 18 months and will soon be dead from the abuse, but will continue to help the Yankees win and will ultimately be without legal recourse, per his contract with George Steinbrenner.
  2. The Texas Rangers have been paid to drop games to the Yankees as part of the A-Rod trade. In 2006 alone they are 2-8 against a PEDestrian Yankee team, and today's loss was a bona fide work of art. Only Tampa Bay and Kansas City have rolled over with such girlish alacrity, but of course that was to be expected.
There isn't much to be done about number one, and it's pretty difficult to prove number two given how truly incompetent the Hart/Showalter combo is, so essentially we're left hoping a streaky and sometimes unimpressive Red Sox team can somehow outlast a Yankee squad riding an ungodly streak of pure luck, clutch performance, and the latest in performance enhancing drugs.

Notes from the Coliseum

Here are a couple things I noted from watching the Sox - As series in Oakland...
  • A's fans are even worse than I remember. On Monday there was an 80/20 Sox fans to A'sfans split, which really bummed me out, because the Giants have great attendance and a baseball team that is far less impressive than the A's. However during today's day game the ratio normalized, due to (as I learned to my distress) the ability of the A's senior citizen set to attend. It was like watching the Sox game on the TV in the living room while the kitchen TV was blaring Happy Days in the background. Unnerving, quite frankly.
  • Wily Mo Pena, Super Genius is a behemoth. He is gigantic, is freakishly fast, and threw so hard in a between-inning catch with Van Buren that JVB had to start loading up and firing his throws back to avoid being shown up. If he is traded by the Sox I will be very very disappointed, unless it's to the Pats.
  • Mark Loretta is a statue. I cannot stress this enough. His lateral movement is that of a fully-retrofitted multi-story tower during a mild breeze. Several times we all got very excited to watch important ground-ball basehits roll up the middle on the second base side only to discover to our dismay that with Ellis at second they were routine outs. We had just been fooled because they were hits for the A's. Pedroia must be licking his chops.
Trade Talk

Everything I have heard thus far has struck me as absolute hooey. I'm not just saying this just to use the term "hooey" either. One of the stories has the FO in the mix for Lugo, which I have to think is just a smokescreen to up Toronto's output for the 30-year old rental. If it were actually in their plans to move to a more offensively talented SS I would hope they target 26-year old Wilson Betemit in Atlanta, who put up an OPS near .800 in limited time last season and is at .844 thus far this year in just under 200 ABs. Rumor has it the Yankees have already done so. In the long term, I think allowing them to acquire Betemit would be a far worse outcome than if the Jays acquired Lugo for two months. He would provide the Yankees with a three-position utility man off the bench with some pedigree, or allow them to move Cano for pitching.

In spite of Snyder's tough outing today I am pretty sure the rumored Lieber/Burrell acquisition will not happen. Lieber is not good enough to warrant taking Burrell's albatross contract. Actually, to me, Lieber is not good enough to trade for. I'd question signing him as a free agent. He hasn't impressed in the NL, and that speaks for itself. He is known for pounding the strike zone (although not recently), and would benefit from the Sox defense when pitching to contact, but he's just not worth anything in the way of young talent.

Burrell is a decent hitter with some power and a good batting eye, but is a poor situational hitter and his defense is poor due to his injury woes. He is owed 9.5 Million next year, 13 Million the following and has a team option for 14 Million in 2008. No thanks.

This of course still leaves us in the unenviable position of waiting on the return of Wells, and/or Wakefield, and hoping whatever patchwork measures are taken in the interim work out. The dealing deadline looms in 4 days and from all accounts the sellers are gouging. I'd prefer we don't bite. But then, I'd also prefer we keep winning. This probably explains why I'm not a GM.