Tuesday, October 12, 2004

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Why my productivity will be down this month


This month I have to complete one book manuscript and fully outline the next one -- but now I'm going to lose at least four, but probably seven evenings to the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and the Yankees. David Pinto has a very amusing post outlining the recent narrative arc of the rivalry.

Over at ESPN.com, Sean McAdam lays out why, compared to last year's ALCS, the Red Sox are better and the Yankees are worse. I agree with everything he's written (though I think McAdam ignores the improvement in the Yankee offense with Sheffield and A-Rod representing a major upgrade over Giambi and Soriano in their lineup) -- if the better team wins, then the Red Sox should cruise into the World Series in five games.

Of course, being a Red Sox fan, I can easily find the vulnerabilities in the Red Sox -- Schilling's ankle, Pedro's psyche, Manny's goofiness, and of course the SI jinx. Besides, as Mike Bauman observes, since the start of divisional play in 1969, the same teams have played each other in the ALCS in consecutive years seven times -- with the same team winning in both years of consecutive appearances every time.

So, as I prepare for the stomach-churning, three final thoughts:

1) This may sound like the head of the U.S. Patent Office back in the 1890's who allegedly said that there was nothing left to be invented, but I find it hard to conceive of how this series can top what's happened in the past two years. Readers are invited to suggest the dramatic possibilities.

2) Is it possible that the Sox-Yankees rivalry has become so intense that neither of them will be winning a World Series anytime soon? The problem is that their playoff series are so physically and emotionally draining that they have nothing left for the World Series. The Yankees may have won last year's ALCS, but Yankee manager Joe Torre burned through his entire pitching staff to win Game Seven, and they lost in six to the Marlins. If this series goes to seven games, it's tough for me to picture either of them knocking off the Cardinals in the World Series [What about the Astros?--ed. With apologies to Josh Chafetz, I don't see that happening).

3) One final semi-serious thought -- the League Championship Series could reduce the political implications of tomorrow night's debate. The Sox-Yankees will attract a national audience, and the Cardinals will grab the attention of one semi-swing state. It will be interesting to see the ratings numbers for tomorrow evening.

posted by Dan on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM


Thanks for the link! I also do a more serious look at the series in the next post.

posted by: David Pinto on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

As someone who is actually going to be at game 1 tonight and game 2 tomorrow (Yes, I am a native New Yorker, but GO SOX anyway) I bless the day my husband bought be a TiVo so I can TiVo the debate and watch it whan I get home.

posted by: Kate on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

Hey, Dan, no updates on the new daughter.... ?

How's she (and her mom) doing? Well, I trust.So, you're doing all this traveling, spending time with yourwork life and your home life.... and hte blogging gets ignored.

Clearly, your priorities are wanting. (grin)

posted by: Bithead on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

I'm a political junkie, live in California, and don't care for either the Sox or Yankees, but I know what I'll be watching, and it won't be the debate.

posted by: Joel B on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

But the political implications of a Sox/Astros World Series would be so much fun.

posted by: Brian Ulrich on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

1. Sox sweep, Steinbrenner throttles Brian Cashman on live TV, and fans in Boston riot closing the city for a week.

2. I think either the Sox or the Yankees are always contenders in seven game series. Hell, anyone can win a seven game series. I still think it will be the Sox/Cards with the Sox in 7.

3. Here is the brilliance of Vernon Jordan. First debate is a win for Kerry on national defense since if he wins it, Bush is wounded. High viewership and in a format that favored Kerry.

Second debate scheduled for a Friday, against Friday Night Football in a number of Red States, during a weekend so many people aren't home, and in a format that lends itself to awkward questions. Buh does better but fewer people see it.

Third debate against Red Sox/Yankees. No one but the bases watch, and even then on split screen.

All Kerry needed to do is win the first debate and he's golden since the other two are lower viewers and less interesting to the populace. Like I said, Vernon Jordan is a genius.

posted by: Scott on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

Maybe there will be a Don Zimmer moment!

posted by: muckdog on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

The Braves are done, again, so I am too, though I may watch a couple of innings when I have time. I don't think anyone beats the Cards this year.

posted by: Zathras on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

Having suffered with the Astros since the beginning - Yowza!

posted by: TexasToast on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]


I see you are a fellow Braves fan. Yes, I don't know if I feel up to watching any more baseball after another dispiriting loss. At least the Red Sox and Yankees aren't owned by Time Warner--if they were, Mike Lamb would be playing third base and Ted Lilly pitching for the Yankees.

My prediction: since I want to see Sox/Cards, it will probably be Yanks/Astros.

posted by: MWS on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

Unfrozen Caveman Centerfielder! Kick ass!

Sox in 6. Then an Astros-Red Sox WS. Just to see Clemens pitch game 7 in Fenway. C'mon. You know God wants it.

posted by: Jim Dandy on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]


What would Johnny Damon Do?

(Hit .330 with 10 RBI I hope).

posted by: trox on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

It's good to see such a collection of Braves fans here -- almost as many as show up at the Ted!

Like Zathras, I think I'm done for the year...How 'bout those Falcons?

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

Go Red Sox - from a Braves fan whose productivity got a boost last night. Alas!

posted by: pgl on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

Check out www.sonsofsamhorn.com if you need a Red Sox fix. It is a message board for Sox fans around the globe where Curt Schilling, John W Henry, Theo Epstein and others post.

That being said, the Sox are in trouble.

Schilling hurt.
Pedro has the flu.

We are %^&*#$!

posted by: Jinhocho on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

Wow. Can this be the Home for Orphaned Braves Fans? Every night we sink into bed with visions of halfway decent pitching dancing in our heads.

The 'Stros weren't bad. I don't think they can cut it against the Cardinals, but that may be wishful thinking. I'll be sorta-kinda rooting for the Cards, if only because I have a vague, possibly inexplicable fondness for Tony La Russa.

As for the ALCS -- please, Lord, let no other Yankees (or Red Sox, for that matter) lose family members.

posted by: Jessica on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

At least my Giants got their choking out of the way a little earlier this year. Ugh.

posted by: fling93 on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

Who weree idiots who scheduled these debates in the middle of the ALCS?! I'm sorry, I'm a political junkie, but I'm a Sox fan first and foremost. I'll tune into the bebate during commercials and pitcher changes. I already know who I'm voting for anyway, and I can't stand hearing the other guy mangle the English language.

posted by: ctd72 on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

The 'Stros weren't bad. I don't think they can cut it against the Cardinals, but that may be wishful thinking. I'll be sorta-kinda rooting for the Cards, if only because I have a vague, possibly inexplicable fondness for Tony La Russa.

posted by: scooter on 10.12.04 at 01:28 AM [permalink]

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