Millions of Pieces

Oh geez, where do I start? OK, baseball-only edition:

* Manny is a bad man.

* What stands out with the Red Sox pitching staff this post-season is the ability by the pitching staff to make hitters swing and miss. Maybe not everyone has superior strike-out numbers, but the entire rotation (well, the big 3) have been able to stay away from contact at critical times (runners on base, etc) or be able to effect a pop-up in situations where a fly ball, grounder, or a bloop single bring in a run. Long a point of emphasis by the Bill James Sect (or whatever the media jerks who bad-mouth sabermetrics call the Sox front-office), a pitcher can logically get out of trouble easier if there is no contact made. Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and even washed-up Curt Schilling have been able to get that big strike-out or pop-up when in need. In fact, having Jon Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Eric Gagne, and Manny Delcarmen are all capable of coming in and striking out a batter in a critical situation. In the post-season, where runs are always at a premium, because you rarely see the number four starter--let alone a number five, a staff that can get outs without advancing base-runners is a huge advantage.

* I love the fact that Diamondbacks General Manager Jon Daniels had front-office experience with three teams prior to landing the job in Arizona: Boston, Cleveland and Colorado. You cannot make this stuff up!

* The problem with facing the Indians is that there is no hatred/jealousy as there would be playing the Yankees. I like the Indians. I fondly remember going to see Indians Manager Eric Wedge catch for the PawSox; Kenny Lofton has the best commercial (DHL) on TV even though he never appears in it; Mark Shapiro is a great General Manager who is great friends with Patriots GM Scott Pioli; EVERYONE love Pronk (Travis Hafner); Mr. Red Sox Trot Nixon is there; Grady Sizemore carried my fantasy team this spring while I waited for Albert Pujols to break-out (I am still waiting, Albert!); and how can anyone not love big C.C. and Dr. Fausto? Not that my love and ferver for the Sox will ever waver, but playing the Indians is like watching the Patriots go up against Willie McGinest and Romeo Crennell: you just cannot not like them.

* As usual, the post-season has proved the axiom true that good pitching will beat good hitting and vice-versa.

* Is there anyone who seriously looked at the Angels signing Gary Matthews Jr. this off-season and thought: Oh yeah, this is the guy that will put them over the hump and back into the World Series?

* Who in 2004 thought that Terry Francona would outlast Regular Joe Torre (granted, Tito has about ten more years of dealing with Dan Shaughnessy before he outlasts Regular Joe, but you know what I mean!)? Seriously, what a DICK move (I cannot think of any better way to classify it, so I stick with what I wrote, just think of it in the voice of Neil Patrick Harris in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle: “I know, guys, and I said it was a dick move on my part so I am paying for your meal to make up for it”) by Herr Steinbrenner, kicking Regular Joe when they were down 2-0 in the ALDS to the Indians. I am no fan of the Yankees, but what a late 1970s George Steinbrenner move. I guess watching the ESPN mini-series the Bronx is Burning rekindled some old mannerisms.

* As a Sox fan, my fervent hope is that the Yankees are stupid enough to fire Brian Cashman. CashMoney has been one of the best GMs in baseball since he wrestled control from the Tampa faction in 2005. He has the team on-track to be a juggernaut for another dozen years and Sox fans can only hope George dumps him in the Torre mess as well for the sake of competitive balance in the AL.

* Well, Joe Torre can get back to hanging out with Mel Stottlemeyer and drinking those delicious gin and tonics Mel would whip up for him. I mean, that is the reason G&T Mel was pitching coach all those years, right? It was never because he could do anything to improve a staff, manage a bullpen or develop young pitchers, right? It had to be drink mixing skills.