Monday, April 11, 2005
Could you possibly ask for more? Tito coming back to the team. Opening Day. A game against the Yankees. Orr, Bruschi, Seymour, and Russell tossing out the first pitches. Rings being given out. And of course, a nice 8-1 crushing of New York.
The Yankees showed alot of class by watching the cermeonies, applauding the Red Sox and of course Torre tipping his cap to Francona. Rivera also took his ovation with a grain of salt.
The Man of the Game is Wakefield who has been our most consistent pitcher of the year. He went 7 strong innings and the only run he allowed was on a strange play on which Renteria might have been able to throw out A-Rod but made an awkward throw that was short of Mirabelli.
Oh, to make this day even better, the Pats signed Dillon to a 5 year extension for $25M.
David Wells needs to settle down, big time. Back-to-back-to-back homeruns? You can't win ballgames doing that. The bats provided what should have been sufficient offense with 5 runs and the game was close until the 8th when for some reason, Halama came into a 1 run game with 6 outs to go. I think Halama's role with this team should be limited to situations in which giving up a run or two or six won't alter the outcome of the game. When Schilling and Miller get back, one of the starters will bolster the pen though.
The Man of the Game for Saturday is Greg Zaun who went 2 for 4 with an RBI single and a Grand Slam that essentially sealed the win for Toronto.
The Bitch-Goat shall be divided thusly:
Wells: 0.3 - 6 ER in 6.1 IP, 3 HR allowed
Mantei: 0.1 - 0.2 IP, ER
Halama: 0.3 - 0 IP, 3 ER
Neal: 0.1 - IP, 2 ER
Mills: 0.1 - put Halama into a 1 run game in the 8th
Ramirez: 0.1 - 1 for 4, GIDP, K, 3 LOB, 2 RISP LOB
SOX DROP RUBBER GAME RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES
Amazing seats in a lackluster stadium. It was clean, easy to get around, somewhat spacious, and plenty of concessions, but it wasn't a baseball park. It was 65 degrees out and the roof was closed. It was dead quiet for most of the game. The stereo system was far too loud. The heckling was too polite.
The game itself was pretty good. The Sox got the early lead with a SAC Fly hit by Jay Payton that scored Ortiz. Clement was sharp until the 4th when he loaded the bases with no outs. The Jays scored a run off a double play. Clement loaded the bases once again in the next inning. This time, the Jays hit a single to score 2 and take a lead. However, Coskie was eliminated at the plate on a crazy play and a close tag. The Sox got Lilly out of the game after 5 but were unable to amass any offense against Pete Walker for 2 and a third innings. Ever notice how sometimes the Sox make random mediocre pitchers look like Cy Young? Well, I have.
The Sox finally had something going in the 9th against Batista. Tek led off the inning with a basehit. Mills finally decided to pinch hit for Payton and Youkilis in the 9th as opposed to doing it in the 6th and 7th innings. (Oh and whay was Bellhorn batting behind Payton and Youkilis?) Nixon and Mueller each hit deep fly balls that were caught. With 2 outs, Tek took 2nd on defensive indifference. Bellhorn was able to work a walk to put the tying run on base and the go ahead run at the plate. Damon hit an awkward chopper that resulted in an infield single and the bases to be loaded. Up came Edgar Renteria. All day he had been trying to pull the ball. This doesn't work for him because his stance doesn't help a player when they try to pull. His right foot is behind his left in the batter's box which means he gets no drive when he tries to pull the ball. All day I was yelling at him to go the other way with the ball. The count got to 2-2 and the occasional Blue Jays fans were on their feet. Edgar then hit a line drive just over the second baseman's head and into the outfield, the oppositte way. The single scored 2 and the game was tied. With runners on the corners, however, Ramirez hit the second pitch he saw to center fielder Vernon Wells to end the inning.
I knew if the game went to 10 we'd win with Ortiz, Millar, and Tek coming up. The Blue Jays fan in front of me questioned why Timlin was coming out to pitch the 9th instead of Foulke. Timlin didn't look too sharp in the 8th. The move was questionable but understandable. Unfortunately, he lost the game for us.
The Man of the Game is Eric Hinske who went 3 for 4 with a huge 2 RBI single off Clement.
The Bitch-Goat goes like this:
Clement: 0.4 - walked way too many batters, was lucky to only give up 3 runs
Timlin: 0.4 - all he had to do was hold Toronto scoreless for another inning and I think we would have won it in 10. He didn't
Ramirez: 0.1 - Despite the stolen base and a double, he didn't come through in the clutch
Mills: 0.1 - Questionable to put Payton and Youkilis in, bat them before Bellhorn, not to pinch hit for them in the 6th and 7th, and keep Timlin in.
SMALL MARKET VS. BIG MARKET
Alot of the fans at the game were complaining about how Boston and New York spend so much on their teams. It was weird for me because normally I complain about the Yankees spending so much on their team. I realise that teams like Toronto may never have as much money as us or the Yankees, but it is their responsibility to remain competetive. I think their GM is doing a solid job building a team with limited finances. Freeing themselves of Delgado's contract will be huge for them the next few years.
If you ask me what is killing baseball, it isn't us or the Yankees or Mets or Dodger. It is corporate ownership. The fact that the Blue Jays owner, Mr. Rogers (the primary stockholder of Rogers Inc, a gigantic company in Canada) attended Opening Day is sad. Steinbrenner and Henry are ALWAYS at the game and are ALWAYS concerned about the team. The owners of smaller market teams are rarely concerned about their teams and do not put in extra money to get returns on their investment in the long run. Rogers could have spent a few million this year in hopes the Blue Jays would win more and consequently make more money.
People complain that big market teams kill smaller ones. However, the smaller market teams make alot of money off the big market teams. Of the 22,000 fans at the game I went to, I'd say at least 7,000 were Sox fans. That's 7,000 more tickets sold, a few thousand more beers, hot dogs, and souvenirs bought. Half the souvenirs at the Rogers Centre, formerly SkyDome, were Red Sox souvenirs. Small market teams get huge spikes in attendance whenever a big club comes into town. Just look at the attendance at Devil Rays games when Boston or New York roll in. I still beleive in revenue sharing but I feel that small market teams are responsible for their own success or failure. Look at the Marlins last year, or the D-Bax in 2001 or the Angels and Giants in 2002. None of these teams spent over $90M on their payrolls, but they all had fantastic seasons. It is tougher for small market teams to build good clubs and maintain success, but they can do it.
VINTAGE PEDRO APPEARS IN ATLANTA
9 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, BB, 9 K, 0 HR
About the only thing Pedro hasn't done well for the Mets is hit. He's still batting .000 with an 0 for 4 performance yesterday.
BTW, I could care less if Pedro goes to the ring ceremony today. He's on a new team now and his focus is on the Mets. I'm perfectly fine with that.
CELTICS STRUGGLING, 76ERS GETTING CLOSE
All the Celtics have to do to clinch the division is win 5 games. Every time Philly loses, this number will go down. However the Celtics are 3-6 in their last 9 games. They MUST beat the 76ers on Tuesday in Philly. If they do, they'll be 3 up and their magic number will be 3. If they don't, the 76ers will only be a game behind.