And with Jonathan Paplebon's strikeout of Seth Smith, the Cardinals reign as World Champions officially came to a close.
Congratulations to the 2007 Boston Red Sox.
Isn't it interesting how the worm has turned? The Yankee mystique began to crack in Game 7 of the 2001 Series, took another hit while losing the 2003 Series, and officially turned south with Dave Roberts' stolen base in 2004 ALCS Game 4. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Look at your modern Red Sox - they really have become that which they despised most, the Yankees. And they broke their streak of appearing in one World Series every even numbered decade.
Of course, Boston won 5 of the first 15 World Series contested, so we'll have to see if this is the dawning of Red Sox Century or proof they're like the city Brigadoon - allowed to appear as a power for 15 years out of 100, then they disappear for the rest of the century.
I don't have much to say about the last two games. I thought Game 4 was the best game of the set; it certainly (to my mind) was the best played game. I must admit to being slightly off on a few things. Game Three (Dice vs. Fogg) did NOT favor the Rockies. I thought Fogg would acquit himself well - 10 hits, 6ER in 2 and 2/3 isn't a very good effort. Some prognosticated he would get torched:
"...the long layoff seems to have hurt colorado (although their lack of offense in game 1 is probably josh beckett's fault); their pitchers aren't sharp, and they've made mental errors in the field and on the bases. i haven't counted them out just yet, but in the next two games they will start josh fogg --- a finesse pitcher who the patient red sox hitters ought to slaughter ---"
and they were right. I also thought Dice K would pitch poorly (wrong), and that Francona was silly not to start Beckett in Game 4 (wrong) because the extra day off between Games 4 and 5 (wrong, no day off) would allow him to pitch on normal rest (not needed).
This is why I don't play the lottery on a regular basis.
This is also symptomatic of why I no longer blog at mvn.com - I'm not paying as close attention as I have in the recent past to what goes on in sports (general themes yes, minutae no). Speaking in broad brushes is, to my mind, OK on a personal blog; not so much when you're more mainstream.
A couple of quick thoughts on some recent events in Cardinal-land:
1. Cardinals released Mike Maroth. With the way he got lit up in the NL this season post-trade, and the low 80s hop on his fastball, he's probably finished in baseball. Mike's a high character guy the likes of which the world needs more of, not just baseball. Here's hoping he'll latch on somewhere else; if he doesn't, Major League Baseball is poorer for his release.
2. It appears almost a formality that Chris Antonetti will become Walt Jocketty's replacement as GM. Sites that I frequent - www.ussmariner.com and the aforequoted Viva El Birdos - both have high praise for him. I certainly don't always agree with the opinions expressed at these sites, however in this case I have no reason to quibble with them. Chris is 33 years old, and about to become the General Manager for my favorite team. It is an opportunity I would jump at if I had the chance. I'm not that much older than him (37); anyone out there got some advice on how to get a job in a Major League front office?
One thing: It appears Chris will not be allowed to pick his own staff; he will work with those already in place (Mozeliak, LaRussa, Ludnow, et al). Coming in as the boss and working with an established core of professionals can certainly be done - it's how the USN works on board ship for COs, XOs and Department Heads - but it's got to be a little disconcerting for Antonetti. Whatever the bag is, he's just been handed it. With all the inherited internal politics, hidden agendas, strong personalities, and the like. Again, it can be done; but it will take a tactful man to turn the trick, something I'm not sure I could have done as a 33 year old (and to hear my wife tell it, probably not something I can do now).
To Chris: Good Luck; be patient; keep your wits about you.
3. A-Rod opted out of his contract. That'll save the Yankees about $70M in salary and the Rangers about $22M. This is better news for Texas than New York. It also leaves a huge hole in the Yankee infield and batting order. Some thoughts on this:
- I wonder if the Steinbrenners did a 'worst case' analysis when they decided to low ball Joe Torre. Did A-Rod leaving figure into their decision?
- How many other Yankees will follow him out the door?
- Will this mean New York is planning on backing a dump truck full of money up to Mike Lowell's house in an attempt to woo him from Boston?
- A-Rod and Scott Boras don't make this kind of financial decision without a lot of prior research and some assurance they can get what they're asking for (reputably in the $27 to $30 million per season range). If that's true, there are only really 5 places he can go: Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, and Cubs.
I don't see him remaining in New York to play for the Mets.
I believe the history between he and Boston precludes him playing for the Red Sox.
Arte Moreno reportedly has said he won't pay what Boras is seeking for A-Rod's services.
The Dodgers are an option, especially if they fire Grady Little and hire Torre (more speculation).
However, my money says he'll sign with and play for Piniella's Cubs. Now, I have a source in the Cub organization that says it won't happen due to the impending sale of the team; the Tribune Company hasn't finished enumerating all their assets, and MLB won't allow them to take on the kind of financial burden A-Rod's signing would require before the team is sold. But I still think that's the most likely place he'll end up. If he does, Chicago immediately becomes the team to beat in the NL - they would have the most feared lineup in the league, and their pitching is good enough.
Besides, I've been wrong about so much over the past 2 weeks, I'm sure to be right about this thing...
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