Thursday, October 21, 2004

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Do you believe in comebacks? Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


YEAH, BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last year hurt [So did 1999. And 1986. And 1978--ed. Yes, yes, I get your point.] And seeing the Red Sox on the cover on Sports Illustrated this September was also disturbing. But being the first team to come back down 0-3 to win a best-of-seven playoff series in baseball and to do it by beating the Yankees in The House That Ruth Built.... oh, yes, that does feel good.

And props to Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who stuck with Johnny Damon and Mark Bellhorn even though they struggled, who was smart enough to get Keith Foulke in there early and often, and who survived his one truly idiotic decision -- bring Pedro Martinez in to start the seventh inning of game seven.

And congratulations to the Yankees -- despite some suspect starting pitching, despite Jason Giambi having no impact whatsoever, despite having George Steinbrenner as a boss, Joe Torre managed to get this team to Game Seven of the ALCS, within three outs of advancing to the World Series.

Still, this is going to sting a little for Yankee fans -- as Baseball Crank put it, "The Sox have extracted revenge for last season; the Yankees, gigantic payroll, stacked roster and all, have choked in a way no baseball team has ever choked." So..... go read these wise words from Adam Smth. All I can say as a Sox fan is, I feel your pain, and you should have a fine time rooting for the Astros or Cardinals.

Eight days ago I wrote:

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.

Down 0-3, coming back against Mariano Rivera -- twice -- and then Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke and Derek Lowe pitching their hearts out.

Yeah, this tops what's happened in the past two years.

UPDATE: One final thought -- with all the great divisional series last year, I was worried that this year's baseball playoffs would be anticlimactic. As Brendan Roberts points out, that fear was misplaced:

In case you missed it, the championship series have brought us police in riot gear, a 19-run game, a Game 7 hero (Johnny Damon) who came into the game batting .103 in the series, the best closer in the AL — if not all of baseball — blowing two saves, Curt Schilling getting bombed in Game 1 then shutting down his nemesis in Game 6 with a bloody ankle (cue The Natural soundtrack), a nearly blown 8-0 lead, five-hour games, a controversial play at first base, the Astros' aces pitching awfully in team wins, an unheralded rookie (Brandon Backe) holding the best offense in the NL to one hit in eight innings in a hitters park, an LCS-record 21 homers between the Cardinals and Astros, chants of "Who's your daddy!" from Yankees fans, a Game 7 gem from a terrible road pitcher (Derek Lowe) throwing on two days' rest ... and the best four teams in baseball on display for us all to see.

This series also achieved something I had thought was impossible -- it made my non-sports-watching wife understand at some level why people care about sports.

posted by Dan on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM


Yes... yes, I do...
I'm only just now noticing that I haven't really drawn a breath in the last four days...

posted by: Jacob T. Levy on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

As a yankees fan, I'll take solace in watching all my boston friends get absolutely crushed when the Sox lose in 7 in the Series to the cards.

On an unrelated note, Commander Wingnut Sullivan, is calling Glenn Renyolds a hack.

The world really has gone to hell. Up is down. Hot is cold. Boston beat the Yankees :(.

posted by: Jor on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Can someone explain Massachusetts for me?

So Kerry and the Red Sox both played the same way: drive your fans to despair by falling behind early in the race, then somehow rally at the end. Is this "strong finisher" trait some kind of cue to the Massachusetts mind? Do Boston garbage collectors kill time for 80% of their shift, maybe even throw some garbage back out of the truck, and then somehow get it all done in the final hours?

Maybe because IQs are so high there, everyone gets bored until they have the challenge of coming back from behind.

I hope Kerry doesn't do foreign policy like this ...

posted by: Jarrett on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]


Do you post the same nonsense in every blog?

How many hours before the media begins drawing the parallels between the BoSox and John Kerry's quest for the White House?

Here's hoping for an Astros win to really give them something to talk about.

It may be completely silly from a logical standpoint, but this is going to help Kerry in the news if it gets spun right...good omen. Or bad if you're a Bushie.

Recall Superbowl XXXVI following the 9-11 attacks. The Patriots upset the Rams. Fate has a sense of humor it seems.

posted by: Independent Centrist on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

I'd be inspired if the BoSox really were lovable underdogs. But they're not. They're the exact same as the Yankees anymore--a big market team buying their way to the top. They just haven't been as good at it as the Yankees have over the past 10 years.

posted by: Doug Turnbull on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

It hurts, for Yankees fans. It is a loss of historic proportions. But the Red Sox have clearly proved to be the better team this year. Congratulations. History, though, is still our solace.

posted by: Sam on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Well, to be fair, one of the 'comebacks' vs. Rivera was a sacrifice fly after he had inherited men on 1st and 3rd with no outs, thanks to "Flash" Gordon.

Second Doug's comment, go Astros!

posted by: norbizness on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]


1) Does anyone really want to listen to the media morons spitting out baseball parallels in political discussions, when it's clear they have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to either baseball or politics?

2) Does anyone pushing for Kerry really want to give Fox an excuse to talk politics in their baseball broadcasts?

3) Does any Red Sox fan REALLY want to see Roger Clemens pitch game 7 at Fenway?

Much like Thor, I SAY THEE NAY!

posted by: Jim Dandy on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Just remember Dan, Kerry was willing to sell-out the Sox for the White House. Maybe you should decide on the basis that if the Sox win the Series, then Kerry loses your vote (after all, he would have have your vote than the Sox win).

posted by: Joel B. on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Congrats to the Sox and their fans. As a Mets fan/Yankee-hater, I am glad to see the Yankees become the biggest chokers of all time. Serves them right.


The curse is not broken. You've still got one more hill to climb, just as did the team Dan references in the title to this post. And the Cards or 'Stros are not going to be any Finland...

posted by: Al on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

One more thought... I'm really tired of the campaign. If the 'Stros beat the Cards, whaddya say we call off the rest of the campaign and just let Kerry be Pres if the Sox win, and Bush be Pres if the 'Stros win. Deal?

posted by: Al on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

I'd rather watch the Bears play the Redskins 7 more times than sit through one more inning of baseball.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

I'm pulling for the Cardinals tonight, because the first World Series I was really conscious of was the great 7-gamer between Boston and St. Louis in 1967. In those days they played the games in the daytime, so I saw them all. Last night I only made it as far as the 6th inning. But Fox got more money from the advertisers for showing the game at night which makes it OK!

posted by: Zathras on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]


You are obviously a Yankee fan in the mold of Joe Torre--dignified in defeat, even of monumental proportions.


You appear (surprise surprise) to be more like the dipshits who threw balls onto the field and necessitated the stationing of riot police along the first base line in game 6. NC--no class.

Red Sox haters,

Stop obsessing about the size of the team's payroll, wouldya? To even suggest that money was their prime comeback motivation--that's like suggesting the Founding Fathers didn't really care about that freedom stuff, they just wanted to lower their taxes. Schilling risked his career Wednesday to feed his team's momentum. Respect that.


Do you think Kerry's gonna show up in the stands this weekend? What would the reaction be? Schilling, for one, would probably bean him. My estimation of Kerry might go up a notch if he could name 50% of the starting lineup.

Kerry supporters in general,
Wanna buy a vote? Get me a ticket for this weekend and we'll talk. Priorities people.

Go Bosox!

posted by: Kelli on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

The Red Sox do have the second largest payroll but it's still 60 MILLION under the Yankees.

posted by: puhlease on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

"3) Does any Red Sox fan REALLY want to see Roger Clemens pitch game 7 at Fenway?"

Sure we do. As usual, Clemens will tank under the pressure at Fenway. Nothing gets him like, "Have another doughnut, Roger!"

I second the compliment to Sam. And echo the statement about Torre being a class act. Remember the cheer he received at Fenway his first appearance after his bout with cancer? That was heartfelt.

posted by: RedSoxNation on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Just to follow up on the wife part at the end:
My wife, who loathes watching sports, watched nearly every inning of this series with me.

And having watched only few days of Sox-Yankees ball with me over the past few days proclaimed last night:

"Fuck you Jeter. God he's such a prick."

I love my wife.

posted by: bg on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Kerry exposed his lack of Sox fan credentials a while ago when he was talking about Boston's hot slugger, "Manny Ortez". He was pretty soundly booed when he tossed out the first pitch at Fenway around the time of the DNC.

I'm really not looking forward to the yammering heads on the news and sports sides of the media beating the Bush vs Kerry / Houston vs. Boston thing into the ground if the 'stros win tonight.

Most Sox fans don't give a crap about "the curse of the Bambino" -- that's stuff that hack sportswriters and opposing fans key in on more than Sox fans do. I'd say about 95% of Sox fans want to win a World Series because...they want to win a World Series, not end some silly curse that has been promoted by jerks trying to sell books.

posted by: Krybo Amgine on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

RSN, I'm looking forward to 2 things.

1. Fenway shaking as the fans scream "How's your blister?"

2. In the upsetting event that the Sox lose that game, watching Roger try and get out of Boston.

posted by: Jim Dandy on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

The Astros have not gone to a World Series since ..... well ever. Do we get our own curse if we lose tonignt?

Go Rocket Man!

posted by: TexasToast on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

#1 reason why Sox fans should root for the Astros that is not "So we can bear Clemens in the Series": 4 times in the last 50 years, the Sox have gone to the Series, each time playing the NL team posting the best record of the decade. Four times they lost in 7 games. The Cards have the best record of the young decade (105-57). The Astros don't.

I'd revel in the Yankees loss, but I'm from Cleveland, so I can't. Cleveland Indians: holders of the MLB record for most games forfeited by the home team following a fan riot fueled by 5 Cent Beer Night.

posted by: Fred on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

I'm not a Boston fan, and will admit up front that my favorite team is whoever is beating up on the Yankees at the moment.

The reason for the choke is simple enough; They dind't play as a team, but as a group of spoiled brat millionaires.

I've often enough complained about The Yankees being bad for baseball to the point of crippling the sport. I submit that the massively increased interest in this series will vindicate what I have been screaming for all these years.

posted by: Bithead on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Agreed, Bithead. But here's the question: when Steinbrenner snaps up Beltran (20-25 mil/year?) PLUS invests twice that (at least) rebuilding his pitching staff--now we're up around a quarter of a billion payroll--is that enough to snap Selig's head around the problem? What's it gonna take?

I also agree with Fred--I'll take the Astros. But either way, I...well, why tempt fate? My dad called last night at the bottom of the 8th--I screamed at him, "why are you calling?" He goes "it's in the bag." A lifetime fan and he's learned nothing. The angel of death passed us by this time--we were lucky.

As for all the talk about wives dipping their toes in here--well, I AM the wife, and it's been no small achievement turning my sports indifferent husband into a raving Sox fan. He still laughs when he should cry, goes to bed too early and is not yet willing to take out a second mortgage to acquire World Series tix--but there's hope yet.

posted by: Kelli on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Here's the thing with the Yankees--they can't possibly hope to rebuild until AFraud's contract comes off the books. That's entirely too much money tied up in one very good but not greatest of all time player. If I were taking over for Cashman after Steinbrenner fires him on whatever day the Sox win their first game of the WS, I would dump Matsui, Sheffield and Vasquez for whatever high level prospects I could get, and I would start trading blocks of salary with Sielg for the ability to trade for draft picks (reasoning behind dumping Matsui--AFraud's contract has 6 years left on it. Matsui doesn't, but he's far enough away from retirement and skilled enough to get something back, something you're not able to say about most of the Yankees). I would eat the last year of Brown's contract, and dangle AFraud for anything I could get, expecting not to be able to get anything of significance. And I would pray for Giambi to retire. Scratch that--I'd offer him the best health care in the world to retire.

Unfortunately, there are two things standing in the way of a reasonably rapid turnaround for the Empire--Steinbrenner's ego and the YES network. I don't think that YES can stand the 4-5 years of bad ratings a rebuilding team would entail, so George is going to go for ratings. Overpay for Beltran (hard to argue now, but George will find a way), try and pick up Lowe, Pedro, maybe Milton and overpay for all of them, and then get stuck with these untradeable guys for another 3-4 years.

As a matter of fact, I can see (depending on the size of George's fortune) the Yankees being driven into debt over this. George too. Which would be a shame, because no matter the hate (or perhaps because of, too), they are still one of the most important franchises in MLB.

posted by: Jim Dandy on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

they can't possibly hope to rebuild until AFraud's contract comes off the books.
The Yankees are paying only ~12 million of his deal; they owe Jeter and Giambi far more.
posted by: h0mi on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

"If the 'Stros beat the Cards, whaddya say we call off the rest of the campaign and just let Kerry be Pres if the Sox win, and Bush be Pres if the 'Stros win. Deal?"

I don't know about in general, but it sounds like a good tie-breaker.

But we couldn't possibly have a tie a Presidential election, could we?

posted by: frankly0 on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]


Ok. Good point. They're getting screwed with Giambi, though, and Jeter should always be untouchable.

posted by: Jim Dandy on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

One hopes that this long-delayed Red Sox success will help their fans overcome their collective neurosis. They are the only fans whose cheering (jeering rather) is primarily an expression of Schadenfreude. I realized this the first time at Fenway in 2000 when the (n.b.) Mets were beating the Red Sox (Piazza had hit two home runs), and the fans started to chant, "The Yankees suck." No other fans in the U.S. are capable of such daft irrelevancy, unless perhaps it's New York itself they hate so much.

posted by: cinque1 on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

I realized this the first time at Fenway in 2000 when the (n.b.) Mets were beating the Red Sox (Piazza had hit two home runs), and the fans started to chant, "The Yankees suck." No other fans in the U.S. are capable of such daft irrelevancy, unless perhaps it's New York itself they hate so much.

Not a Ranger (NY) fan eh?

There were games not involving the Islanders when the blue section would start chanting "Potvin Sucks".

posted by: h0mi on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]


You can always count on the wing-nuts to make truly absurd statements about anything. I was watching game 6 with a room full of redsox fans. When the storm-troopers came out on the field, the entire room felt like the umps were over-reacting.

posted by: Jor on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Filed under "What were the odds": who realizes that the Red Sox just won a seven game series without getting even one RBI from Manny Ramirez?

I'm stumped by this "Yanks can't rebuild until they get out from under A-Fraud" talk - what is the evidence that Steinbrenner sees himself with anyrevenue problem atall?

And Matsui is untouchable - however much he is respected here, he walks on water in Japan, where the Yankees want to be Number One (and are). Merchandising.

Yanks sign Beltran, trade Cairo for Soriano (Texas can trade him now, or lose him later, but he is coming home), and have a line-up next year where the weakest hitters are Jeter and Posada. That does not solve the pitching problem, but someone will show up.

posted by: Tom Maguire on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

For once I agree. Complete overreaction. Still, don't make excuses for idiot fans who can't keep their balls to themselves. Let's quit while we're ahead, shall we? I'll be back to rub your nose in it next week. Schadenfreude my ass.


"Someone will show up"? You sound more like an old-fashioned Red Sox fan (next year in the promised land) than a hard-headed Yankee man. Not that I have any problem with bringing back Soriano--what'd he have, one post-season hit last year? Bring back Mr. Easy Out, I say. Can't agree on the Posada knock, either. I respect him and so did the Red Sox pitchers. He was easily Varitek's equal in the just-past series, one of the best catchers in baseball.

How's that for generous? I feel the need to shower now.

posted by: Kelli on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

You would dump Matsui and Sheffield? Both are legitimate MVP candidates, and Matsui is an incredible bargain at only $8M next year.

The Yankees are paying ARod ~$16M, which would be a bargain if they'd play the best defensive shortstop in the league at shortstop, instead of shifting him over in favor of Derek "Past a Diving" Jeter.

The only question is whether Stein has money to move. If he doesn't, they should be looking to dump Brown, Giambi and Bernie if at all possible, and sign Beltran. The Yankees need defense more than anything else - right now they have terrible gloves at SS and CF.

(And Dan, vote Kerry! I don't get why you say Bush understands the threat well, when you simultaneously argue that his actions have not been productive. The evidence that he actually "gets it" would seem directly tied to whether the War on Terror is going as well as it should.)

posted by: Mikael on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Kelli and Jor: Someone made a great point in the New York Post yesterday about the cops -- if the Yankees had just replayed A-Rod's tomahawk chop on the Jumbotron, it's likely that the situation would have died down. The interference was so friggin' obvious on the replay that I doubt there would have been as much debris thrown on the field.

posted by: Dan Drezner on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

For the record, not every Drezner is a Red Sox fan and as a long-time resident of New York, I have been proud to call myself a Yankees fan even back when the team really blew (anybody remember Mel Hall?).

However, while everybody is talking about the fans during game 6 and the police involvement, has anybody else out there been reading about the tragic after-game action in Boston?

Just so you all have the benefit of the article

BOSTON (AP) -- A college student celebrating the Boston Red Sox's come-from-behind victory over the New York Yankees was killed after a police officer called in to control a rowdy crowd shot her in the eye with what was designed to be a non-lethal projectile.

Fifteen other people, including a police officer, suffered minor injuries in Boston's Kenmore Square neighborhood early Thursday, after thousands of baseball fans spilled onto the streets near Fenway Park.

Boston's mayor said he was considering banning alcohol sales in the city during the World Series to avoid a repeat of the rowdiness.

Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old journalism major at Emerson College, was hit by a projectile fired by an officer on crowd-control duty. Snelgrove, of East Bridgewater, died of a head injury at Brigham and Women's Hospital later in the day.

Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole said officers were using projectiles ``designed to break upon impact, dousing the target with (pepper-like) spray.''

``While I firmly and emphatically accept responsibilities for any errors,'' O'Toole said at a news conference Thursday, ``I also condemn in the harshest words possible the actions of the punks (Wednesday) night who turned our city's victory into an opportunity for violence and mindless destruction.''

O'Toole and Mayor Thomas Menino pledged to fully investigate. Menino said he will seek cooperation from city colleges, bars in the Fenway Park neighborhood and the Boston Red Sox to help prevent future disturbances. He said he would press colleges to expel students found guilty of criminal conduct in the melee.

Rick Snelgrove expressed outrage and said his daughter did nothing wrong. Standing outside the family home, he held up a photograph of his smiling daughter.

``What happened to her should not happen to any American citizen going to any type of game, no matter what,'' he said. ``She loved the Red Sox. She went in to celebrate with friends. She was a bystander. She was out of the way, but she still got shot. Awful things happen to good people. My daughter was an exceptional person.''

Menino said he was considering prohibiting liquor sales and asking bar and restaurant operators to ban live television coverage during games to curb the rowdiness. ``Since people won't accept responsibility, I, as mayor, will take it into my own hands,'' Menino said.

Menino planned to meet with bar and nightclub owners Friday. He said he was considering invoking a state law, never before used in Boston, that would allow him to ban the sale or distribution of alcohol ``in cases of riot or great public excitement.''

Early Thursday, several small fires were set and numerous fights broke out. Boston police reported eight arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct, though one arrest was for assault and battery on a police officer.

City officials had announced there would be a heavy police presence in Kenmore Square for the history-making victory by the Red Sox, who came back from 3-0 deficit to advance to the World Series.

The city was caught understaffed when riots broke out after the New England Patriots' Super Bowl win Feb. 1, when one person was killed and another critically injured when a vehicle plowed into a crowd of revelers.

Elsewhere Thursday, 29 people were arrested at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after revelers threw beer cans and flaming toilet paper at police. And at the university's Dartmouth campus, about 2,000 people had to be dispersed by police using stun grenades.

In New Hampshire, police made about 15 disorderly conduct arrests as crowds swarmed the campus of Plymouth State University and surrounding neighborhoods.


Having been a proud ticketholder at the 1996 World Series Game 6 when the Yankees won the World Series for the first time since the late 1970's, I had initially been worried that there would be violence if the team won. In fact, it was one of the most well-behaved nights I can remember in the Bronx. People walked around the ballpark in a general state of euphoria. Everybody was friendly and happy and, for some reason, nobody saw fit to light anything on fire, turn over any cars or attack the police officers nearby. The after game behavior of the New York fans made me almost as proud of the city as the Yankees victory had.

Here's hoping that the people of Boston can quickly move up the evolutionary curve and realize that celebration does not have to end in rioting and violence.

Partisanship doesn't only have to be in politics. The past two ALCS Series' have pushed Yankees fans and Red Sox fans alike to the extremes of emotion and I don't like the results so far.

posted by: Jay Drezner on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

"Here's hoping that the people of Boston can quickly move up the evolutionary curve and realize that celebration does not have to end in rioting and violence."

It's wholly unfair to use the term, "people of Boston" here. I don't blame the people of New York for hurling projectiles onto the field, or the people of Calgary for the existence of Nickelback. A bunch of idiots rioted, greatly because there's a big set of college dormitories full of idiots a block or two away from Kenmore Square.

posted by: Mikael on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

Now, if the Cards can hold on to win the Series...

posted by: flaime on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

OK, scratch our "people of Boston" and insert "people who think that a sports loss or win is worthy of violence."

posted by: Jay Drezner on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]


I haven't read a single word about so much as a shouting match ensuing at the end of game 7 in the Bronx between Sox fans and Yankees fans (and there were obviously thousands of the former present, nor were they shy about showing their team's colors). So let's not get too bent out of shape here.

As for the riot police, who is to say why the umps reacted as they did--how many threatening letters, emails and phone calls do they field in the postseason every year? I did chuckle at the suggestion that all would have been solved by showing a slo-mo on the big screen of A-Rod's karate chop. "Here you go, ladies and gentlemen, proof positive that our star Third Baseman has thuggish tendencies (but is a helluvan actor). Enjoy the rest of the descent into Hell!"

Maybe not. In fact, Joe Torre goes on covering for his guy, saying he didn't "get a good look" and can't vouch for the accuracy of the revised call. Puhleaze. But that's what people in positions of responsibility do, Dan. They don't always say "My bad, sorry." They pick up the shreds of their dignity and move on to fight another day. And no, I'm not just talking about Torre here, but we'll leave this analogy for another thread.

posted by: Kelli on 10.21.04 at 12:27 AM [permalink]

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