Thursday, October 18th, 2007

CCLets Get This Thing Started…

So here we are…..Game 5….a chance to finish off the series….our ace and potential Cy Young winner on the mound. This is one that is just setting itself up for a big win…..or else a load of heartache. So, here I sit, a bottle of Pepto at my side, anxiously awaiting the start of this game.

8:15 pm – I think I’m gonna throw up. I’m nervous. How do these players stay so calm? ps…are we gonna get to see Beckett’s ex-gf sing the Anthem? I sure hope so….I wanna see if Beckett reacts at all.

8:26 pm – Technical Difficulties here and technical difficulties in CC’s game. 1-0 Sux on a Youkilis home run.

8:30 pm – CC sucks. Absolutely SUCKS in big games. HR to Youkilis, double to Manny, and Lowell got a hit to RF which thankfully Gutierrez was able to track down quickly and throw out Manny at the plate. 1-0 Sux as we head to the bottom of the 1st. I feel sick.

8:35 pm – On a 2-2 pitch, Grady was jammed……and it fell into play in shallow left for a leadoff double. It’s all about the breaks…

8:39 pm – After a nice hit by Cabrera moved Grady to 3rd, the oh-so-pathetic Pronk grounded into an easy double play. The good news? Sizemore scored. Tied game, and the offense answers again!!

8:43 pm – Hit by Victor, strike out by Garko. 1-1, end of 1. How do I feel? I don’t know. This doesn’t seem real. Why can’t CC be the stud he was ALL YEAR???

8:53 pm – What’s the only thing smaller than John Elway’s d*ck? This ump’s strike zone. Varitek’s on 1st.

8:56 pm – MUCH better, CC. 1-1 after 1.5.

9:06 pm – Gee, without TBS’s leadoff graphic, I have no clue how big Gutierrez’s lead at first….well, you know, other than, say, looking at him.

9:07 pm – And a great inning by Beckett. We could be in for a grind if these pitchers are settling down. 1-1 after two.

9:11 pm – CC just threw a 2-1 fastball to Pedroia in the exact same spot as one of Beckett’s curveballs to Gutierrez. It was a strike for Beckett, a ball for CC.

9:13 pm – Heaven forbid we NOT TALK ABOUT THE YANKEES DURING A GAME THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. Hey, guess what, have you heard? Torre turned down the Yankees. I’ve only heard this 100 times all day today. Meanwhile, nice base hit by Pedroia. CC really seems to be laboring again, and as a result, he’ll continue having problems getting close calls to go his way.

9:19 pm – CC just hit 99 mph. And Ortiz managed to foul it off. Wow, what a matchup.

9:21 pm – After yet another borderline pitch is called a ball, thus walking Ortiz, Manny just hit a 2 run HR. They called the ball in play, but it was a HR. We’ll see what the umps say here.

9:23 pm – Manny is such a fool. I know that ball was gone, but I feel like CC deserves a call. Either way, thanks for standing there like a jackass, Manny.

9:26 pm – Do we have anyone who can come in and relieve CC? This is sick. Cy Young…….please. 2-1 Red Sux, middle of the 3rd.

9:31 pm – Sizemore strikeout (go figure), nice play by Pedroia on Cabrera. 2 outs, Hafner up. 10% chance he gets a hit? Lower?

9:34 pm – Strike out. 2-1 Sux after 3. Beckett is in full control of this game. My 11-2 prediction looks like a joke right now.

9:40 pm – Back to back singles to start the 4th. CC just gets better and better. If Beckett keeps looking that strong, and CC keeps looking this suspect, at what point does Fox remove the “(if neccessary)” from their Game 6 ads?

9:43 pm – A reliable Coco Crisp strikeout and then a tailor-made double play ball to get us out of the inning unscathed. Since when did CC Sabathia become Paul Byrd??

9:48 pm – That was a 3 minute 1-2-3 inning. Sick. We are in BIG trouble. 2-1 Sux after 4.

9:57 pm – 3 pitches for CC to get 2 outs. Then, Ortiz actually goes opposite field to hit a grounder around the infield shift. Then, on a 1-2 pitch, CC throws a perfect 98 mph pitch, which the ump proceeds to call ball 2. CC throws the next pitch into the dirt it gets past Victor. Now, Ortiz is on 2nd. It’s a 3-2 count, so walking Manny wouldn’t be the WORST thing in the world, but Lowell is always scary up next. It’s amazing how quickly a bad inning can sneak up on you.

10:03 pm – On a 1-2 pitch, CC just hit Mike Lowell. Way to go. Bases loaded now. Still 2 outs. Lefty-killer Kielty at the plate. Ugh. CC is at 87 pitches. Just another day in the postseason life of a Cleveland sports fan…

10:06 pm – CC fell behind Kilety, had to throw him some fastballs. It had the recipe for a disaster written all over it. But CC was able to get Kielty to fly out to right. If nothing else, CC is trying to keep us in this game and give us a chance to win. Despite the pitch count (93 pitches), I think CC might come out to start the 6th. If we can get to our bullpen and still be down 2-1, we’ll still have a chance. But we need to find a way to chase Beckett before the Sux can just hand it over to Paps. 2-1 Sux in the middle of the fifth.

10:12 pm – I guess it’s cute when Manny shows up pitchers, but not Lofton. After thinking he had walked, Lofton did his customary bat-drop. But it was called a strike, and when Beckett got Lofton to fly out, he yelled something to Lofton and words were excanged and the benches briefly cleared. It would be nice if this would shake up Beckett, but it doesn’t look like that’s gonna be the case.

10:15 pm – Rob Neyer: “The funny thing was, after Lofton headed toward Beckett and was yelling, Beckett looked completely calm. This guy’s dialed in.” Yep, exactly.

10:19 pm – Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Fluke play on a weak grounder up the middle, which is botched as the SS and 2B run into each other, allowing Blake to go to 3rd and Grady safe at 1st. 2 outs, Asdrubal at the plate. Come on, buddy, lets make it happen.

10:20 pm – Strikeout #7. Starting to feel more and more like this just isn’t gonna be our night. Beckett is untouchable. 2-1 Sux after 5 innings.

10:28 pm – CC logs his 6th strikeout for a nice 1-2-3 inning. That is surely all for CC tonight, as he is well over 100 pitches. As terribly mediocre as CC was, I guess you could say at least he only gave up 2 runs and kept us in the game. But really, does anyone think we’re going to get a run on Beckett? Prove me wrong, Tribe. 2-1 Sux as we go to the bottom of the 6th.

10:37 pm – They just showed a nice shot of the collective deer-in-headlights looks of all the players in the Indians dugout. Another 1-2-3 inning for Beckett, striking out 2 more to bring his total to 9. We have absolutely NO CHANCE in this game, and for the first time this season I see fear and frustration on the Indians players’ faces. We do not look good, and I’m losing faith fast.

10:41 pm – Wedge is an idiot sometimes. He brings CC back in despite having thrown 106 pitches or whatever. And now, after Pedroia rocked a leadoff double, CC is STILL in to face Youkilis. Um……..WHAT????

10:43 pm – Youkilis predictably smokes one to the outfield, and Sizemore and Gutierrez have some confusion over whose going to get it and Grady has to dive for it and let it hit off the end of his glove. Another run scores. 3-1 Sux and I officially proclaim this game over. Wedge FINALLY gets CC out of there, but it’s too late. Damage done. We’re going back to Boston. ps, is it just me, or has Sizemore looked all around complacent and lethargic tonight? He’s looked tired in the field and hapless at the plate. I don’t like our body language tonight.

10:49 pm – Raffy the rightie just got Ortiz to fly to left, where Lofton made a dangerous basket catch over the shoulder. Youkilis tagged up and scored. 4-1 Sux. CC is officially off the books now, and he is headed straight for another playoff loss. Schilling’s comment the other day about coming up small in big games comes to my mind. You know what I’m saying? CC was clearly outpitched twice by Beckett in this series, thus putting to rest any doubt as to who the best pitcher in the American League is.

10:53 pm – Raffy the righty just struck out Manny. I’ll be honest, though…I kinda wish he would put one in his ribs. I STILL don’t like Manny’s posing.

10:55 pm – Yet another flawless inning by Raffy. Too bad he can’t start. 4-1 Sux as we go to the bottom of the 7th. ps, did you guys know Raffy was drafted as a middle infielder by the Red Sux? Look it up.

10:59 pm – HOLY COW….Beckett’s ex-gf is HOT!!!

Used to love Josh BeckettDo Ex-Girlfriends Bring Bad Karma??

11:03 pm – And as soon as I post this picture, Beckett misplays Loftons weak grounder back to the mound, and Lofton is safe at first. Maybe this picture is even better than Rally Cotton Candy!!!

11:08 pm – WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT CASEY?????? Swing the bat!!! Wow. Yet another strikeout for Beckett and once again the baserunner poses absolutely no threat to score. Hey, we couldn’t win every game. We had to lose at some point.

11:19 pm – I just received the following text message: “Oh my god papelbon is so GAY”…..yep, pretty much.

11:25 pm – Bases loaded, 1 out, top of the order for the Sux. And the pitch gets by Victor to allow another run to score. It gets better and better. By the way, the Indians are screwing up my Saturday night. I have tickets to the Queens Of The Stone Age concert. This is not good.

11:29 pm – Just walked in another run. What’s the record for most walked in runs for a series?

11:30 pm – Nevermind. We just tied the ’45 Tigers. Awesome.

11:31 pm – Anyone else tempted to just watch the end of the Rutgers-USF game?

11:32 pm – Deep sac fly for Ortiz. 7-1. Manny’s up. Good times.

11:35 pm – Just flipped to that football game and saw USF had a 4th and 37. Yikes. Meanwhile, Mastny just K’d Manny. Bottom of the 8th, 7-1. Rally time!!!

11:40 pm – Josh Beckett is such a stud tonight, I bet when the game’s over he reunites with his ex-gf. Unless Jessica Biel is waiting for him.

11:45 pm – Pure domination. Tip of the hat to Beckett tonight. He was absolutely outstanding. 7-1 as we head to the 9th.

11:53 pm – I can’t wait for this game to end so I can watch tonight’s episode of The Office. I need SOMETHING to make me smile tonight before I go to bed. 7-1 heading to the bottom of the 9th. Hooray baseball!

11:56 pm – Oh, look, they’re talking about Joe Torre some more. Hey Fox, the Yankees aren’t in the ALCS. The Indians beat them. Anyway, if we get the bases loaded with 0 outs and then hit a grand slam to make it 7-5, then MAYBE I give us a 20% chance of winning this game.

12:05 am – Gotta love John Adams. 1 out, man on 2nd, bottom of the 9th, down 7-1…..and I can still hear him banging the drum out in the bleachers. The Indians have some good, loyal fans.

12:10 am – Gutierrez flies out to deep center. Ball game. 7-1 Sux. Well, we were all hoping tonight would be a night filled with celebration. Instead, we get nothing but somber apprehension as the ghosts of disappointments and heartbreaks past creep back into our minds. I have nothing more to say about this game. There’s no analysis, no breakdowns, nothing. Quite simply, Josh Beckett destroyed us. All we can do now is wait another 2 days and hope Cy Young candidate #2 Fausto Carmona can give us a Cy Young worthy performance. I wish I could say I’ll be watching, but I’ll be enjoying one of my favorite bands. It’s just the way it is. Probably better for my heart and health in general anyway.


Thursday, October 18, 2007
Jacob’s Field – Cleveland, Ohio
Josh Beckett vs CC Sabathia
8:21 PM EST

Ok, I’m gonna keep this short, but sweet. Here’s the breakdown. Josh Beckett’s career record at Jacobs Field is 0-2 in 2 games started, going 11.2 IP with an ERA of 6.92. Also, with 4 games rest Becket is at his best, with a 3.79 career ERA. But this game he will be going on 5 days rest, where he is at his worst, with a career ERA of 4.26.

CC Sabathia’s career record at the Jake is 43-35 with an ERA of 3.83. Pitching on 5 days rest, he is at his best, with his ERA dropping from 3.89 on 4 days rest to 3.66 on 5 days rest.

Also….I dunno, I just have a gut feeling that Beckett is due for a rough postseason outing while CC is due for a great start. Finally, if push comes to shove, I’m going with the X-Factor: Josh Beckett’s ex-girlfriend. That’s right…the Indians decided to bring her in to sing the National Anthem, I kid you not. This is gonna rattle Beckett and deliver the pennant to the Tribe. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it until proven wrong.

Cleveland wins this one 11-2 and looks forward to facing the ghost of John Elway in Denver.

Manny Being MannyI Am Moron, Hear Me Roar!!!

If you listen to ESPN Radio’s morning show, Mike & Mike In The Morning with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, you would have heard an awful lot of talk about Manny Ramirez the last couple days. Normally, I tend to agree more with Golic than Greeny, and you would think with Golic’s Cleveland roots I would especially be on his side on this topic. But not this time. In case you missed it, Golic essentially was saying that he doesn’t understand why the Indians are/were so upset with Manny standing there like a tool admiring his 6th inning home run Tuesday night….a fairly meaningless home run that only reduced the Red Sox deficit from 5 to 4. When Greeny proceeds to make an apt and succinct, if not excellent, point, comparing it to a football player overcelebrating a touchdown to change the score from 35-0 to 35-7, Golic tries his hardest to somehow shoot it down with an assinine retort along the lines of remarking how in football when you score you have to give the ball back. Yeah, good argument big guy. It doesn’t change the core comparison that Greeny was trying to make….that it’s an overcelebration in the midst of a blow out. We know football is played differently than baseball, Golic….thanks.

Then you have Buster Olney writing today in his blog about how Manny should somehow be excused because he’s such a good guy. Wow. Really, Buster? That’s all you’ve got? That’s your point, huh? I’m really annoyed with how Buster, Golic, and a couple others at ESPN are acting like they are SO shocked that Cleveland is upset about Manny’s pose. Give me a break. We all know Manny’s a moron and a fun-loving little kid in a man’s body, but that doesn’t change the fact of what he did. If he commited a crime, his lawyer couldn’t say, “Oh, that’s just Manny being Manny, he doesn’t an ounce of malintention in his body.” That would never fly. Same thing here. I know Manny didn’t INTEND to show up the Indians, but he DID… a 7-3 ball game none the less. He’s gonna eat a fastball from an Indians pitcher next season, both benches will clear, someone will get a 4 or 5 game suspension, and life will go on. But lets cool it with the act of shock and surprise that the Indians and their fans would dare take exception to Manny acting like an arrogant prick in their stadium.

To be fair, Manny did actually talk to the media yesterday and he addressed the Indians’ anger, saying:

“Man, I’m just happy to do something special like that. I’m not trying to show up anybody out there. I’m just trying to go have fun. If somebody strikes me out and shows me up, that’s part of the game. I love it. I like that. I like to compete, and when people strike me out or whatever and they show me up, it’s all good. There’s no hard feelings. I’m not trying to show anybody up.”

I can respect that Manny is at least able to say that he’s cool with pitchers showing him up when they strike him out, but you don’t too often see pitchers going out of their way to REALLY show Manny up when they strike him out with the bases empty, 2 outs, and trailing by at least 4 runs late in the game. That’s the point everyone seems to be missing….this game wasn’t really close and it made Manny look like he only cared about his own satisfaction in hitting a home run and that he didn’t even care that his team was on the verge of going down 3 games to 1 to the Indians. One person who does seem to get it and have some perspective on this issue is Casey Blake, the ultimate baseball professional. He was quoted as saying:

“People say it’s Manny being Manny, but it’s so opposite of how I am that it’s hard for me to deal with. To me it was a little excessive. Maybe if he had won the game with it, but it got them to within four . . . Good job.”

I love that quote because you can just hear the sarcasm dripping from those words, ‘good job’. If Casey Blake is this upset about something, you know a line has been crossed. Yes, we’re angry. Yes, we’ll get over it. Especially when next our team is playing for their first World Series title since 1948 and Manny can only sit there and watch, although his arms will probably still be in the air celebrating his last meaningless home run of the season.

Manny IndiansBut Would You Take Him Back?

If you can still remember the empty feeling of Manny signing with Boston, then you probably also are still left with that bad taste in your mouth. Something never felt right about it. Well, there was a fascinating story this week in The Boston Globe talking about the circumstances of Manny’s exit from Cleveland. They talked with a man, Frank Mancini, who has been working in the Indians Clubhouse for many years and has always had a close friendship with the players, particularly guys like Joey/Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez. In fact, when Albert signed with the White Sux, he asked Frank to come with him. When Frank informed Joey/Albert that he couldn’t leave behind his family and his team, Albert was so furious he refused to speak to Frank ever again. Along came the young Manny Ramirez, and again, an inseperable bond was forged between the two men. And so it was that Frank found himself stuck between the 2 clubs fighting for Manny’s services, the Red Sox and the Indians, and trying to help Manny do what he felt would make him happiest. When Manny was leaning towards signing with Boston, he told his agent that one of the conditions had to be the Red Sox hiring Mancini away from the Indians. The Indians saw this as a last chance to keep Manny, and asked Frank to try to talk to Manny and convince him why Cleveland would be the best fit. According to Mancini,

“I explained to Manny that money’s not everything. I told him Boston can be a tough place to play. I told him I couldn’t make the decision for him, and that he should talk to other people, too. I told him, ‘I love you like a brother, but I can’t go with you. I hope you understand. But whatever you decide, I still care about you and will help you any way I can.’ “

Manny pondered this and came up with a startling decision after talking to him. As told in the Boston Globe Story:

When the conversation ended, Ramírez told him, “You know what, Frank, I think I’m going to stay in Cleveland.”

But by the end of that day, the Red Sox upped the financial ante considerably. Mancini believes Ramírez was under great pressure from Moorad and the players’ union to sign.

“That’s just my opinion,” he said yesterday, “but the union tells these guys, if you don’t sign for top dollar, you’re not only hurting yourself, you’re hurting the guys below you, too.

“Manny is a sensitive person. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody. He wants everybody to like him. That’s crucial to him. He greets people walking down the hall with big hugs. He wants everyone to like him. He doesn’t want to let people down. I’m sure he felt that pressure from the union, his agent. That’s my opinion. That was a terrifying decision.”

The most fascinating thing that I noticed in the article was Mancini’s deep down belief that Manny truly has not been as happy in Boston as he once was in Cleveland.

“He lives in a hotel. He misses his privacy. He gets no privacy, and that bothers him, that people won’t allow him to be the way he was. Wherever he goes, people follow him. That bothers him.

“He doesn’t have the same close relationship with players on the team that he did here. It’s a different environment. There you had Pedro Martínez, who also is Dominican, but no offense to Pedro, Pedro was into being Pedro. He seems to have a healthy relationship with [David] Ortiz, he’s a nice man, Mr. Ortiz. He has Julian [Tavarez] to help him out.

“But here, he was so at peace. I don’t think he’s all that happy. It makes me kind of sad.”

“To this day, he still misses it here. And when he’s here, he rakes, which makes me worried for our team.”

I found that last line of interest, particularly in light of Manny’s future free agency. Don’t get me wrong, we all know Manny isn’t coming back to Cleveland, but I got to thinking…..would we want him back? The answer is an obvious ‘YES!’, no matter how much I ripped his antics earlier in this post, the fact is, Manny always has been and probably always will be a GREAT baseball player. Furthermore, despite said antics, which can infuriate opponents and their fans, they somehow always seem more endearing when he’s ‘your guy’. Obviously, the one thing I agree with Buster Olney with is that Manny doesn’t mean any ill intent towards anyone and he doesn’t INTEND to show up his opponents. My only point was, lets not act like this is such a shock that people are upset by it. Intentional or not, Manny DID show up the Indians in a game in which his team was getting blown out, and I don’t care who you are, that kind of action is unacceptable.