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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

You're Ruinin' My Summmmah!


Well, that's it, kids...

Results be damned, and with still more than 50 games to play, I'm ready to christen the Red Sox 2010 campaign as "The Lost Season". And you read that incredibly convenient introduction right. "Results be damned". But before I dip into the doom and gloom, and into why my intro puts me in danger of getting an anal cavity full of splinters, allow me to get this week's Nation started with a couple of lighter tidbits, also of the baseball variety...


MLB Tidbits/Dan Duquette & The Dirty Water Dogs...

"Avoid the Clap" - Jimmy Dugan

OK, that might not be a relevant piece of baseball news, but that's good advice, dammit. And considering what you're about to hear next, it might not even be the most dangerous illness you'll have to avoid on your next trip to the ballpark...


ESPN's Outside the Lines, where you get older but Bob Ley stays the same age, recently did an expose on food at professional sports stadiums around the country. Needless to say, the results didn't exactly pass the white glove test. For instance, @ Yankee Stadium, the self proclaimed Mecca of baseball but apparently not hygiene, 48% of their vendors were found to be in violation of various health codes, and an unopened bottle of Chivas Regal was found to have fruit flies floating in it. Nice. Were it a few weeks later, this is where I'd crack wise about how maybe it was a Stadium calzone that did Steinbrenner in, but instead I'll just leave that one alone...for now

If you wanna check out the entire list yourself, I've got it for ya right here, but if you really wanna avoid getting the runs at your favorite sporting establishment I advise you follow just one simple rule: Once you're in the park, only buy packaged items and beer. You remember the song, right? "Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks". It doesn't say anything about going to Chase Field and getting salmonella poisoning at TGIFridays, right? I didn't think so. So stick to the song, and you should be fine. OR write a version of the song called "Make Me Puke At the Ballgame", and become an Intraweb sensation on YouTube. Either way...


As the saying goes, "You can't keep a good man down". And as my saying goes, "Ted is what Ted does". Case subject: Former Red Sox General Manager, Dan Duquette...

The man best known for claiming to replace Mo Vaughn with Jose Offerman and coining the loser ballad "More days in 1st place", is at it again. Now, instead of offering excuses, he's offering information, as both a scout and a snitch...

"Scout" as in he's been to monitor the progress of the 13 year old knuckleballer....who happens to be chick. AND "snitch", as in he's been talking to various low level media outlets about how he knows there is more than enough evidence to all but put the smoking syringe in Roger Clemens' hands...

Hey Dan. Nobody cares. I respect the fact that you want to stay in baseball, but if this is what you consider "staying in baseball", then I'm afraid to say you've lost all touch with reality...

I'm mean seriously, Dan, a knuckleballing chick? I'm all for novelty and equality, but please. "Girls are for sleeping with after the game, not for coaching during the game!" (thanks again, Mr. Dugan). And as for the Clemens shit, you had your chance to speak out about steroid use when you were a GM. Then, you had a platform from which to speak. Now? Well now you look like...well, you just come off looking like what you probably are. An attention hungry, media whore. And nobody likes a media whore, Dan. Nobody. Especially not one who wasn't all that good at their job to begin with and/or isn't a hot young socialite. And you, my friend, are neither. So beat it...

Keeping with roids and the Teds who love them...


I've been monitoring ARod's chase for 600 home runs, and the longer it takes him, the more apparent it is that people simply don't care about these milestones anymore. At least not when it comes to the steroid users. It's really a shame, too, because as an ardent fan of the numbers that baseball and it's fans hold in such high esteem, I feel I've almost been robbed of a generation. Robbed of a rite of passage, if you will. I'm sure I'll get most of what I've lost back when I get to ardently argue against the inclusion of these juice heads into the Hall, but that hardly seems like a suitable replacement. It's a number's game, after all, and while there's plenty left to enjoy, it won't be until the perceived fraternity that is 'The Players of the Steroid Era' are all gone and retired that the numbers will again be able to meaningfully take center stage. And as a stats nerd, I long for that day...

And speaking of stats AND roids...


What's the deal with all the no hitters? Matt Garza pitched the 5th no hitter of the season last night, making that the most in one season since 7 were tossed in 1991. Hmmmmm. 1991, you say? That's right about the time most players started resembling body builders, wasn't it?..

Ha! Naaahh, I'm actually here to tell you I don't think the new steroid testing policy has anything to do with the influx of no hitters, and is more just a result of the aforementioned numbers game. A quick look at the all time list of no hitters will tell you that in 1956, for instance, there were 4 no hitters tossed, while from 1957-1960, there were only 2. And I don't remember there being any sort of steroid conversation going on back them. Booze and amphetamines, maybe, but not steroids...

It's just the nature of the beast, the nature of variance, and as I told a friend of mine earlier this morning, it'll take another 5-10 years of them being thrown at this clip before we'd be able to draw any sort of conclusion. In 5 years, if there are still being 4+ no hitter's be thrown on a yearly basis, then maybe I'll consider the fact that it's drug related. Until then, I say they were all on steroids, anyway, and 2010 will merely serve as the proverbial statistical anomaly. Like what Colonel Sanders was talkin' about in the 3rd Matrix movie. You know, in that room with all the TVs? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Freakin' diabolical, tasty chicken makin' bastard...

Now, it's onto the Sox, seemingly playing in a matrix all their own without a Colonel in sight...


Red Sox Update
Overall:
56-44 3rd in AL East 8 games back

This Week: @ LAA (7/27-7/28) vs DET (7/30-8/1) vs CLE (8/2-8/5)

Pop Quiz: What's the difference between 58-40 and 56-44?

Answer: 36%

Struggling with the math there, are ya? Well you should be, because that reference was about as tongue in cheek as they come. The 36% obviously has nothing to do with the difference in wins or losses from a year ago as the question suggests, but instead points to the decline in game viewership on NESN over that same 365 day period. Only 2 games difference in record, yet the number of people watching has gone down well over a third. And sure they may have been only 2.5 games out last year while today they sit a full 8 games behind, but such a drastic decline can really only mean one thing...

The Pink Hats don't care about the Red Sox this year.

Hey, I know I have an undeserved reputation as being a holier than thou fan who calls everyone that's not a stats nerd a Pink Hat, but in this case the numbers really speak for themselves. And that's to say nothing of the fact that the Red Sox current home sellout streak, which hit 600 straight this past weekend, hasn't seemed legit since about halfway through May...

People just aren't interested. Especially not after coming down off the playoff highs of both the Celtics and Bruins. And while I'm not holding the fans responsible for the team's current 5 game playoff deficit, the lack of interest does play a large part into why I'm more than ready to dub this "The Lost Season"...

Fans aren't watching, the team has no identity, and there doesn't seem to be any hope on the horizon. That's about as lost as it gets, isn't it? And even with the injured stars making their way back to the lineup, it seems that while it may not be a case of "too late", it's definitely a case of "way too little"...

From day 1 I've said that this team would need another big bat @ the trade deadline to compete, and while Theo Epstein is known for pulling off trades that nobody was even speculating about, this year's roster just doesn't seem to lend itself to that sort of remedy. If anything, this roster looks ripe for a selloff. My heart tells me that's only going to happen if this team happens to lose say 4 of their next 5, but as opposed to year's past, picturing the Sox as sellers as the trade deadline approaches isn't that far fetched of an idea...

You can't add a DH, because of Papi, and you can't add a corner infielder or a catcher because of Youk, Beltre and Victor are the best offensive weapons you have. So that leaves outfield. And for the life of me, I just don't see Theo making a move in that capacity. At best I think he views Ellsbury coming back as that move, and seems more than willing to go the rest of the way with Drew, Cameron, et al, manning down the outfield spots. Not exactly inspiring, right? Yeah, I don't think so either...

Do they have enough pitching? Well starting pitching they have in spades, and if their bullpen were the only problem this would seem at least a more managable fix. But it's not. The problems are with the lineup, and while the numbers will tell you they still remain one of the best run producing clubs in the game, the lack of a consistent lineup has been a problem and looks to continue to be one that will plague them even deeper into the summer...

But there's my catch 22. True I've dubbed this "The Lost Season", and I don't like their chances from here on out, but that doesn't mean the team as constituted still can't make it happen. They have the pitching, as I just said, and if their lineup does gel together there's no reason to think they can't make up the 5 games on the Rays with 52 left to play. But even should they make a run, and perhaps even get into the playoffs, I'll still have to label this as "The Lost Season". Lost, if for no other reason, because it was the season that the Pink Hats made their mass exodus. Or at the very least, the season they finally showed their true colors...

And that would be YELLOW. Freakin' Pink Hats...

So there ya have it, kids. Hope you enjoyed. I'd like to thank all of you for the positive response to my Inception review last week, and remind you to get to your TV each and every Sunday to start watching the small screen masterpiece that is AMC's Mad Men. It's no longer "the best show nobody is watching", but if you're not watching it, you're missing out. And if anything, it will give you a better reference for when I tell you "I'm the Don Draper of this bitch". Because I am, and you best not be forgettin' it. And feel free to get me one of those "action figures". Collect all 4 mistresses! Ha! I love it...

Have a great week, everybody!


Teddy Williams...
Michael Vale...
100...


#$>

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