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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

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   1. Hardy Posted: September 20, 2010 at 04:35 PM (#3644309)
Can the Sox gain four games on the Yankees in 9 games (3 head-to-head)?
Can the Sox beat the Yankees in four straight games?


No reason to give up, yet.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 20, 2010 at 04:44 PM (#3644320)
I'll cling as long as I can with the understanding that it is a virtual impossibility at this point.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2010 at 04:47 PM (#3644325)
With Spaceman apparently floating off somewhere else, TE seems to be the main driver to Keep Hope Alive. I think I held out some degree of outlandish hope before the weekend, but losing a game in the standings vanquished the last embers of it. Unless the Rays sweep the pinstriped bastards this week, at which time I'll happily jump on board again.
   4. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:01 PM (#3644340)
This Red Sox season is why I was so mad at the Pats game yesterday. I realized, as the game ended, that I had been looking forward to the Patriots as the team that could give my fandom a respite from all the BS. And then they lost badly to the ####### Jets. Oh well, hockey season is right around the corner, so I can...watch Marc Savard have post-concussion syndrome. FML
   5. Answer Guy Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:17 PM (#3644351)
This Red Sox season is why I was so mad at the Pats game yesterday. I realized, as the game ended, that I had been looking forward to the Patriots as the team that could give my fandom a respite from all the BS. And then they lost badly to the ####### Jets.


Their running game sucks, their secondary is awful, and they may or may not be able to stop the run. OK, so perhaps Brady's as good as ever (the jury's out on that one), they have a great WR combo, and are solid on special teams...that still doesn't scream "serious contender" to me.

If you make Mark Sanchez look like an all-time great, something is wrong with your defense.

There's a significant chance the Sox won't even hit 90 wins this season, which I never would have guessed might happen.
   6. Srul Itza Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:18 PM (#3644356)
Unless the Rays sweep the pinstriped bastards this week, at which time I'll happily jump on board again.


Of course, if the bastards sweep the Rays this week, the Sox will be that much closer to a post-season berth.
   7. Textbook Editor Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:20 PM (#3644358)
I'll keep up the "Keep Hope Alive" mantle until we're officially eliminated... But naturally the next 4 days are huge. We simply must sweep in Baltimore while (preferably) the Rays sweep the Yankees (but more realistically take at least 3 of 4 against the Yankees).

If the Yankees sweep TB while we sweep Baltimore, we'd be 3 back of the WC with 10 to play, but at that point TB has an easier-than-pie schedule while we'd have to take something like 8 or 9 of 10 against NY and Chicago (with 7 being road games) to even have a shot at a tie.

As I keep saying, us getting into a playoff game is very improbable, but not impossible. It would not at all surprise me to have a situation similar to 2000 going into the last 3-4 games of the season, and given the fact we've basically played kids the last 6 weeks, that would be a pretty nice moral victory to close out an otherwise disappointing season.

You also can't underestimate what a TB sweep of NY this week (accompanied by a Boston sweep) would do to the media sideshow either... The faintest of sniffs of a collapse would send them into a frenzy; that alone would make the last 6 games against NY highly entertaining.

Perhaps I'm crazy, but we've seen longer odds than this and come out the other side; why not again?
   8. Textbook Editor Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:28 PM (#3644366)
After 4 in NY, TB has:

3 home against Seattle
3 home against Baltimore
4 away against KC

They could easily go at least 7-3 (losing 1 in each series). Even if the get swept by NY, that would mean the Red Sox would have to go 10-0 just to tie.

Now, all their starters could blow up & get hurt this week in the Bronx, the pen collapses, they panic, etc. and maybe they fall back and do worse than 7-3, but it's rather doubtful. Of the two improbable paths to a playoff game, TB sweeping NY this week is the easier one in that we'd control our destiny against the Yankees.

But starting Dice-K and Lackey 2 of the 3 games against the O's doesn't bode well. And it's hard to know at what point Tito pulls the plug on the season officially; my guess is even if they sweep the O's that if the TB/NY series winds up split at 2-2 that Tito would not manage all-out to win those last 10 games.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:35 PM (#3644375)
Of course, if the bastards sweep the Rays this week, the Sox will be that much closer to a post-season berth.


Don't care. I can't root for bastard victories if they only hold potential positive implications for the Sox. I suppose I could hold my nose and root for such an occurrence if it was the only thing that stood between in and out of the postseason for the Sox, but I prefer not to think about it due to the soul-sucking side effects of cheering on such an atrocity.
   10. Dale Sams Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:39 PM (#3644379)
but we've seen longer odds than this and come out the other side; why not again?


When??? And don't say 2004, cause that was about 20X more likely than the Sox getting in the playoffs right now.
   11. TomH Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:45 PM (#3644385)
Perspective of timing: When a team's playoff shots are 0.5% to 1% at the all-star break, it's time to give up.
But if you are at 0.5% to 1% with 2 weeks left, why not root hard for a few days?

It's kinda like deciding not to turn off the T.V. when your team needs an 80-yard bomb with 5 ticks on the clock. It won't take much of your life, so you may as well watch. More so than watching when you're down 31-0 at the half.
   12. Textbook Editor Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:53 PM (#3644391)
2004.

As I said, a 2-2 result this week in the TB/NY series basically makes it an impossible task, mainly because I think at that point Tito gives up and plays kids exclusively, etc., even if we sweep Baltimore.

But if on Friday morning we're 3.5 or 4.5 back of NY with 10 to play (including 6 against NY), we have a fighting chance. That's worth paying attention to this week, I think.
   13. Dale Sams Posted: September 20, 2010 at 05:57 PM (#3644394)
I watch even when they're eliminated...I'm just a teensy weensy annoyed at all the comparisons to 2004. (not that I've seen that here)

A sweep of Baltimore alone is probably only 11% likely. A TB sweep of NY is 6% likely.

I don't think people quite realize how small .5% is. A half court basketball heave would be about 60 times more likely. (150 times if Bird were shooting)
   14. Dale Sams Posted: September 20, 2010 at 06:00 PM (#3644397)
Tito gives up


That pretty much happened a while back.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: September 20, 2010 at 06:04 PM (#3644399)
A half court basketball heave would be about 60 times more likely. (150 times if Bird were shooting)


The straight-on halfcourt shot is amazingly easy (as long as you can reach from there) for a shot of that distance. If you get it on line, you've got some decent wiggle room in terms of length, as you can swish it or bank it in.
   16. Dale Sams Posted: September 20, 2010 at 06:05 PM (#3644401)
The straight-on halfcourt shot is amazingly easy (as long as you can reach from there)


Yeah, I didn't have any figures on an 80 yard desperation football bomb since they are attempted so rarely.
   17. AROM Posted: September 20, 2010 at 06:27 PM (#3644422)
The straight-on halfcourt shot is amazingly easy (as long as you can reach from there)


When I played regularly I could hit that shot about 1 in 3. I used to tell people it was just like a free throw, just a bit longer.
   18. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 20, 2010 at 06:39 PM (#3644431)
When I played regularly I could hit that shot about 1 in 3. I used to tell people it was just like a free throw, just a bit longer.
Of course, there are some NBA players who seemingly struggle to hit free throws 1 in 3, so you can see the comparison problems.
   19. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: September 20, 2010 at 10:03 PM (#3644539)
I'm still clinging. And I was there for Kalish's brain fart on Saturday night.

Is it very very unlikely? Absolutely. But those 6 h-t-h games give you at least a fool's hope.
   20. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 20, 2010 at 10:18 PM (#3644549)
I gave up on a playoff run, but I still put the team on for background entertainment when I can.

That's not why I'm here, though. I was watching Friday nite and they had the Red Sox HOF ceremony before the game. Don Zimmer got inducted. Now, I think he wasn't entirely to blame for the collapse in 1978, but WTF? Is Gragy Little next?
   21. Textbook Editor Posted: September 20, 2010 at 10:52 PM (#3644562)
Grady Little is dead to me.
   22. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 20, 2010 at 11:05 PM (#3644573)
I think Luke Scott's homer kept things on life support. 8 games sounds much worse than 7 for some reason.
   23. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: September 20, 2010 at 11:27 PM (#3644589)
I probably could have eventually come around to forgiving Little for just being dumb...if he hadn't made that "I'll just be another ghost, fully capable of haunting" speech or whatever he said after they canned him. So screw him.

Little was dumber than 10 Tommy Lasordas.
   24. RobertMachemer Posted: September 20, 2010 at 11:58 PM (#3644617)
I haven't given up -- why should I? Mathematically, they haven't been eliminated. Do I think they will make the playoffs? No, not at this point, but I don't know that they will not. I see no point in pretending certainty in something that is still uncertain -- and what extra joy would I get from "being right" if they turn out not to make the playoffs? (None that I can tell). So I root for them to win, don't beat my brains out when they don't, and hope that something highly improbably happens. It's more fun (for me at least) than giving up entirely or saying things like "It's over" when mathematically it's demonstrably possibly for them to still make the playoffs.
   25. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 21, 2010 at 03:08 AM (#3644739)
I'm still clinging. And I was there for Kalish's brain fart on Saturday night.
Funnily enough, so was I. That was not a crisply played game. And boy do the people in the RF corner not like JD Drew.
   26. Dale Sams Posted: September 21, 2010 at 03:31 AM (#3644751)
"It's over" when mathematically it's demonstrably possibly for them to still make the playoffs.


Scotty: Captain, you can't mix matter and antimatter cold.
We'd go up in the biggest explosion since--

Kirk: We can balance our engines into a controlled implosion.

Scotty: That's only a theory. It's never been done....
If you wanted to chance odds of 10,000 to one, maybe,
   27. Textbook Editor Posted: September 21, 2010 at 03:38 AM (#3644753)
#23 - The thing about Little that just infuriates/enrages me, is that if you look at those 2002/2003 teams, you could damn well argue another manager would have been worth 4-5 wins in each of those seasons, to say nothing of the fact we might have gotten to the 2003 WS as well. (Though I think our pitching was in shambles in 2003 by Game 7; even if we had gotten to the WS, I don't think we would have at all been favorites to win it.)

And I'm just about ready to toss in the towel. We needed a sweep and now we won't get one. Hard to see this team going 10-2 or 11-1 the rest of the way, and that's what would be required. Crazy shite's happened, I suppose.

When we're officially eliminated, can we throw up the Hot Stove thread to get an early start on things?
   28. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 21, 2010 at 03:45 AM (#3644757)
27: hey, it's still the playoffs; don't disrespect the game. We don't play it like that in the 713/281/832.
   29. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 21, 2010 at 04:54 AM (#3644773)
Sorry boys, I threw in the towel when Youk went down. Though we are scoring runs fairly prolifically, you can't consistently score enough with 4/9's of a major league lineup to offset our 3-5 starters and the implosion that has been the bullpen this season. Too many regulars got injured at once and when Buchholz missed like 6 starts during his amazing run, the team effectively dropped 5 games right there.
Obviously it's not so much that we need to go like 12-0, it's the fact that you require either NY or Tampa to go like 4-8, and I don't see it happening.
Maybe Lester can get to 20 wins...that'd be the kind of fun, not overly significant milestone that would make the season look a bit better.
Funnily enough, when everyone was healthy and the back end of the staff was consistent, the Sox were the best team in baseball.
   30. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 21, 2010 at 05:01 AM (#3644776)
They said on the Yankee game cut-in that Matsuzaka has given up four or more runs in seven consecutive starts. Really?
   31. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: September 21, 2010 at 05:27 AM (#3644783)
I am sure you know how to use the Google to find that information out. This sounds like gloating.
   32. jwb Posted: September 21, 2010 at 05:29 AM (#3644784)
Grieve now or grieve in a week or two with a very slight chance of being elated. I'll take plan B.
   33. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: September 21, 2010 at 05:56 AM (#3644788)
My prediction is that the Sox will not have as good a team on paper going into next season as they had going into this season, but will end up having a better record and contending for the division in 2011. But I thought going 2010, the Sox and the Yanks would both win over 100 games.
   34. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: September 21, 2010 at 11:19 AM (#3644811)
Not to be too much of a downer, but I had pretty much given up in March. Something about this season just wasn't happening.
   35. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 21, 2010 at 11:29 AM (#3644813)
They said on the Yankee game cut-in that Matsuzaka has given up four or more runs in seven consecutive starts. Really?
It is true. Although it isn't like he has been pitching horrible every time out, one of them was a 8 IP, 4 ER outing. That's not Cy Young caliber or anything, but it isn't like he's giving up 4 runs in 3 innings every time out.
   36. villageidiom Posted: September 21, 2010 at 12:31 PM (#3644835)
But other folks seem to be clinging onto those last strands of hope, angling gnarled knuckles to grasp at a future that still sort of maybe could happen, an early October week in which all values are transvaluated and the Red Sox somehow end up in a one-game playoff.
The difference between "clinging onto those last strands of hope" and "recognizing there's a highly unlikely but nonzero chance" seems (to me) to be one of unwarranted condescension.
When??? And don't say 2004, cause that was about 20X more likely than the Sox getting in the playoffs right now.
BPro has Boston as a 0.5% chance to make the playoffs. So you're saying Boston, down 1 in the 9th inning, down 3 games to 0 in the ALCS, against Mariano Rivera, at that time had a 10% chance of winning the World Series? I don't think you really believe that.

I assume you're so eager to dismiss contrary evidence because you want to believe it's impossible so you can stop considering the possibility. If that's what you need, go ahead. Likewise, I'd advise that you avoid any discussion of the 2010 Red Sox until they are actually eliminated, lest it offend you.

In reality it is highly improbable. One of the reasons 2004 worked was that few, if any, teams in such a desperate situation were as talented as the 2004 Red Sox. It is rare for a team that talented to find themselves in that situation in the first place. The 2010 Red Sox, in their present condition, show no signs of being that talented. Although their chance of success depends on other teams to collapse, it also requires the Red Sox to take care of their own business. Generally, they haven't* been doing so.

So, no, it's not over. But at this point it's a technicality, much like the technicality that, on opening day, the Pirates still have a chance to win the World Series. So why watch? Why care? Because if they somehow beat the odds and win it all, it's a lot more fun to watch the whole thing happen. Games 4-7 of the 2004 ALCS were an immeasurably larger amount of fun than Game 7 on its own.

* They've been 14-16 at home since the All-Star break, and 18-14 on the road. Nearly every road trip I think, hey, they did pretty well on that trip. Nearly every homestand I think they should be doing better. Sweep by Chicago? Split with Cleveland? Lose 3 of 4 to Texas? I guess that's part of what bewilders. Is it that the replacement players feel more pressure at home? Is it that the team was built with Fenway in mind, but the backup plans weren't? Is it just random variation?
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 21, 2010 at 01:14 PM (#3644863)
The difference between "clinging onto those last strands of hope" and "recognizing there's a highly unlikely but nonzero chance" seems (to me) to be one of unwarranted condescension.
I was really just kidding. Sorry to come off as condescending. I have no strong feelings, pretty much no feelings either way, about the degree to which one ought to cathect or decathect to the Red Sox down the stretch.

I happen to have decathected, as best as I can. It's because I don't really get a lot of enjoyment from rooting for an extremely low-probability event over a series of weeks, and because I'm super busy with job market stuff. I thought it'd be funny, after a couple different threads in which I made clear that I'd given up (for example, the "I Give Up" thread) to act all confused that other people still hadn't given up. That's all.
   38. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 21, 2010 at 01:26 PM (#3644873)
They've been 14-16 at home since the All-Star break, and 18-14 on the road. Nearly every road trip I think, hey, they did pretty well on that trip. Nearly every homestand I think they should be doing better. Sweep by Chicago? Split with Cleveland? Lose 3 of 4 to Texas? I guess that's part of what bewilders. Is it that the replacement players feel more pressure at home? Is it that the team was built with Fenway in mind, but the backup plans weren't? Is it just random variation?


Off the top of my head I would say random variation. I would say the competition in the road series has been generally a bit lighter than the home series. Six of ten road series have been against teams at or below .500 (counting Oakland as "at .500") while four of ten home series have been against teams meeting that criteria (lumping Detroit in). Also, if I counted right Buchholz/Lester have 13 road starts against 10 home starts since the Break.

All this is eyeballed so I may not be right on. Flip a couple things around in there and maybe the results are a bit more in line with what we expect.

Also, and this obviously is random variation, the Sox are 2-8 in weekend series since the ASB.
   39. dave h Posted: September 21, 2010 at 01:30 PM (#3644879)
I know most people think the season is toast, but anyone want tickets to the game tonight? I have 6 for the upper bleachers, they're cheap and Buchholz is pitching.
   40. Dale Sams Posted: September 21, 2010 at 01:33 PM (#3644882)
BPro has Boston as a 0.5% chance to make the playoffs. So you're saying Boston, down 1 in the 9th inning, down 3 games to 0 in the ALCS, against Mariano Rivera, at that time had a 10% chance of winning the World Series? I don't think you really believe that.(1)

I assume(2) you're so eager to dismiss contrary evidence because you want to believe it's impossible so you can stop considering the possibility. If that's what you need, go ahead. Likewise, I'd advise that you avoid any discussion of the 2010 Red Sox until they are actually eliminated, lest it offend you.


(1) I was speaking of from game 4-7.

(2) That's probably where you should stop.
   41. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: September 21, 2010 at 02:54 PM (#3644981)
BPro has Boston as a 0.5% chance to make the playoffs. So you're saying Boston, down 1 in the 9th inning, down 3 games to 0 in the ALCS, against Mariano Rivera, at that time had a 10% chance of winning the World Series? I don't think you really believe that.

Let's say there's a 50 percent chance of winning a playoff series and the Red Sox have a 0.5 percent chance of making the playoffs. .005*0.5*0.5 are the chances that the Red Sox make the series right now. That's 800 to 1 odds. I think that would be more improbable than what happened in 2004.
   42. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 21, 2010 at 04:50 PM (#3645079)
(1) I was speaking of from game 4-7.


I don't see why you don't take it from the 9th! Sox were one down with Ortiz and Manny up needing one to tie. It's not like (a) they'd never hit HR before or (b) Mariano had never blown a playoff save before.
   43. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 21, 2010 at 05:00 PM (#3645086)
I don't see why you don't take it from the 9th! Sox were one down with Ortiz and Manny up needing one to tie


Ortiz and Manny were not scheduled in the ninth. Millar-Mueller-Bellhorn were the scheduled hitters against Rivera for the ninth with Damon/Cabrera to follow. The inning played out to eventually get around to Ramirez (BB) and Ortiz (F4).
   44. Dale Sams Posted: September 21, 2010 at 05:44 PM (#3645122)
Trying to figure the odds on getting to Rivera in that game are difficult. Do you go career? (great) That month? (Struggling by his standards) Against the Sox that year?(Again, not so hot by his standards)

Dirty dirty odds of winning the World Series at that point would be IMO (whatever against Rivera) * 10 * 70

So maybe the odds of the Sox winning the WS (at the 9th against Rivera) comparisons are a lot closer to the Sox making the playoffs in 2010. But it seems kinda spurious to start the comparison then. To GREATLY increase their chances from 200 to 1 to 50 to 1 Sox had to just get a guy to second base. Sox win tonight and tomorrow and their odds aren't going to appreciably change and could actually go down if the Yanks win.
   45. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 21, 2010 at 05:52 PM (#3645134)
Dale, for the reasons you note, I was assuming that the odds beginning from the 9th inning of game 3 in 2004 were better than the odds of the Sox making the playoffs at this point -- going simply by my gut-level anxiety in both cases as a Yankee fan.
   46. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 21, 2010 at 06:10 PM (#3645147)
I realized, as the game ended, that I had been looking forward to the Patriots as the team that could give my fandom a respite from all the BS. And then they lost badly to the ####### Jets. Oh well, hockey season is right around the corner, so I can...watch Marc Savard have post-concussion syndrome. FML

Okay, so Boston now only has maybe the sixth-best baseball team, sixth-best hockey team, third-best NBA team and tenth-best NFL team. You still don't get to complain dammit.
   47. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 21, 2010 at 06:36 PM (#3645164)
the sixth-best baseball team,


But isn't......nah, not going there.
   48. Dave Cyprian Posted: September 21, 2010 at 07:50 PM (#3645231)
What does BPro say about the Sox chances in 2011?

(Hint: If its lower than 24%, I Give Up!)
   49. Textbook Editor Posted: September 21, 2010 at 08:04 PM (#3645250)
So, unless a miracle occurs, we Therapudians will have to figure out a rooting interest for this October. Here's mine, in order:

Padres (should they get there; they've suffered long enough and it would be a *great* story for them to win it all, given the payroll)

Phillies (the local 9 around here; have a chance to be called the best team in Phillies history, which would be fun and it would be nice for Halladay/Oswalt to get a ring)

Twins (because late-October baseball outdoors in Minneapolis could be hysterical)

Reds (Dusty gets redemption; Arroyo gets another ring!; could be fun story)

Rangers (again, a fun story, though the Hicks connection makes me want to puke)

Braves (though the thought of the Chop makes me want to puke)

I cannot root for TB; I just can't. And NY, of course, I hope gets swept in every round.
   50. Fat Al Posted: September 21, 2010 at 08:16 PM (#3645264)
And NY, of course, I hope gets swept in every round.


That would be interesting.
   51. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 21, 2010 at 08:27 PM (#3645273)
So, unless a miracle occurs, we Therapudians will have to figure out a rooting interest for this October. Here's mine, in order:


I'll play;

Phillies/Twins - Two franchises I've always liked for some reason. I remember the evolution of that '87 team from "disaster in '82" to "World Champs" fondly and I can't think of the Phillies without Tug McGraw. If they play in the World Series I want seven extra inning games.

Padres - My first little league team

Rays - I have no problem with them. They've built a hell of a team, I like Maddon a lot and it would be nice to walk through Tampa airport for my Spring Training trip and see more "Rays" than "Yankees" in the gift shops.

Rockies (if) - I thought their fans were outstanding in '07 and I love their ballpark. One of my favorites that I've visited.

Giants (if) - Would Tim Lincecum celebrating be absolutely wild or would it be um....oddly mellow?

Rangers - Something about these guys has always annoyed me.

Reds - I'm not old enough to remember '75, but I remember the late 70s so for some reason I just adopted the Reds as my "NL team to hate" as a kid.

Braves - I liked them as a kid, then '91 rolled around and sweet Jesus did the media overkill get to me. I was rooting HARD for the Twins that year. As nice as it would be to see Cox go out on top I suspect if we got close the media hype would annoy me again.

Yankees - Screw 'em.
   52. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 21, 2010 at 08:30 PM (#3645276)
My family's from Minnesota, and I lived in (and around) Philadelphia for six years. So there's my rooting interests. That, and whoever's playing the Yankees.

For the other teams, I'm a fan of a lot of the Tampa players - Crawford, Longoria, and Pena are all really fun to root for. I never collected any of the dislike of Tampa that a bunch of my fellow Sox fans have, so that's not an issue for me. I'm reasonably happy for the city of Cincinnati to have a good team again, and I like the story of the Braves playing well in Cox's final season. So it's something like:

Twins
Phillies
Rays
Reds
(Braves)
(Padres)
(Giants)
Rangers
(Rockies)
Yankees
   53. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 21, 2010 at 08:39 PM (#3645285)
What I'm rooting for this postseason.

Rockies (my sister lives there; liked the ballpark)

Giants (SF fans have waited a long time)

Padres (it's safe to say I'm hoping the champ comes out of the NL West).

Reds (lived near Cincy for a while; be interesting to see Cubs fans reaction to Dusty winning a ring)

Rangers

Twins

Rays

Phils

Braves

Catastrophic event that causes cancellation of World Series

Yankees

My primary rooting interest is a multiple-team tie for a division title or wild card that results in several-day playoff to determine final qualifier(s). And once the playoff starts, my actual answer to the first question is simply a 7-way tie for first.
   54. Dale Sams Posted: September 21, 2010 at 08:45 PM (#3645290)
TE: I like all the scenarios including the Twins, who otherwise I would see as boring first-round fodder.

I'd root for the Rays over the Yanks.
   55. Textbook Editor Posted: September 21, 2010 at 09:07 PM (#3645305)
I completely forgot about the Giants, who are way more due than the Padres.
   56. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: September 21, 2010 at 09:10 PM (#3645308)
It's kinda like deciding not to turn off the T.V. when your team needs an 80-yard bomb with 5 ticks on the clock. It won't take much of your life, so you may as well watch. More so than watching when you're down 31-0 at the half.

Depends. Is your team playing Minnesota?
   57. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 21, 2010 at 09:15 PM (#3645310)
I'll play too:

Phillies - lived in Philadelphia for two years, had season tickets in '05. My NL team of choice.

Braves - Jose, I am the opposite of you - I got into them in the Red Sox "dark years" ('91 to '94) because of the hype. Also, my best baseball fan friend is a Braves fan.

Those are my clear top two. The others, in order:

Padres - I have a soft spot for them - and the bartender at my weekly stop off for lunch is a huge Padres fan.

Giants (if) - Good fanbase that's had a long wait, and an interesting, if flawed team.

Rangers - Similar long wait for a winner.

Reds - Their run this year screams fluke to me - could root for them in a "this might be their only chance for a while" sort of way.

Rays, Rockies, Twins - Whatever.

Yankees - I would honestly prefer a repeat of 1994.
   58. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 21, 2010 at 11:17 PM (#3645408)
I totally get you REd Sox guys putting the Yankees last--naturally--but really, the Phillies? What an odious and obnoxious fanbase...though maybe it's just the (Football) Giants fan in me talking.
   59. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2010 at 12:55 AM (#3645485)
"Big Game James" my a$$, by the way. Way to represent, Mr. Shields.

Talked to a huge Twins fan at TE, Jr.'s soccer practice tonight--favorite player was Roy Smalley, Jr. growing up and actually saw games at old Metropolitan Stadium when he was a kid (which I was fascinated by). His enthusiasm for the Twins this year was infectious; I may have to move them up on my list.

That said, when I asked him how he felt about Pavano starting a Game 2, he said very matter-of-factly that he thought Pavano would make a better Game 1 starter because he was more a veteran than Liriano. Needless to say, it wasn't the answer I was thinking I'd get...
   60. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:04 AM (#3645497)
"Big Game James" my a$$, by the way. Way to represent, Mr. Shields.

Shields has been pretty lousy all year. Except against the Yankees (before today).
   61. Dan Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:12 AM (#3645506)
No, Shields was great early in the year. Only in about June did he turn into a pumpkin and start serving up at least 1 big homer a start, topped off by his start in Toronto where he allowed SIX. Since then he's had a few lights-out starts (one vs the Yankees at Tropicana Field), but has mostly been a big stinking pile of ####. I can't believe they'd start Shields or Niemann over Davis and/or Hellickson in the playoffs. That's insane.
   62. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:44 AM (#3645539)
Of course, apparently whoever started the game was replaced after the first inning by the real James Shields.
   63. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:44 AM (#3645540)
What an odious and obnoxious fanbase...though maybe it's just the (Football) Giants fan in me talking.

Two years living in Philadelphia made me dislike the Eagles, if it makes you feel any better.
   64. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:48 AM (#3645545)
Of course, apparently whoever started the game was replaced after the first inning by the real James Shields.

But the real Chad Qualls came on in relief to spike the comeback. That dude is awful this year.
   65. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:53 AM (#3645547)
We're not even going to get to 90 wins, huh?

I'd throw a chair, but what's the use?
   66. 'Spos Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:57 AM (#3645549)
Big Name James.
   67. Kurt Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:13 AM (#3645562)
Two years living in Philadelphia made me dislike the Eagles, if it makes you feel any better.

Sounds like more than enough time. I'm a Giants fan who sports-hates the Eagles way way more than the Redskins or even the Cowboys, mostly due to spending four years in Philly during the Buddy Ryan era. Don't like or dislike the Phillies though.
   68. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:19 AM (#3645566)
I live in the Philly area but haven't watched an Eagles game in about 5 years. The only football game I watch is the Super Bowl. Eagles fans are way more amusing if you don't care about football one bit.
   69. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:24 AM (#3645573)
Good-bye Papelbon. Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out. Enjoy that big-money contract you'll get to be the Mets closer in 2012, and by all means, enjoy Flushing and a league that hasn't figured you out yet.

I realize I'm irrational, but Papelbon is #3 on my most-hated Red Sox pitcher list, behind Lackey and Dice-K... and to be honest, Dice-K is amusing, and cheaper, so he might just be #2 on the list. I'm ready to move on and damn the consequences.
   70. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:40 AM (#3645582)
Maybe Matsuzaka can close.
   71. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:57 AM (#3645594)
I spent six years going to sporting events in Philly and going to bars in Philly to watch sporting events, so I think my sample is pretty good. The level of jackassery was perfectly normal. Philly fans are somewhat more negative than Boston or New York fans, more prone to boo, a bit more prone to riding guys who don't deserve it (McNabb, Abreu, etc), but I never felt like there was a level of "obnoxiousness" or "odiousness" that would make me want to root against Philadelphia. It's a great city. I want Philly teams to do well.
   72. Dale Sams Posted: September 22, 2010 at 03:13 AM (#3645610)
and to be honest, Dice-K is amusing, and cheaper


Exactly. He is what he is + he was there in 2007. Lackey is a mouth-breather with no cred, and Paps gets credit for 2007, but has pretty much shot all that away. You have my permission to replace Dice-K with Commander Meltdown/ Captain shake-off/ Colonel Plunk.
   73. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: September 22, 2010 at 03:32 AM (#3645617)
Isn't Dice-K the opposite of amusing in the way that watching paint dry is also the opposite of amusing?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the Sox offseason/hot stove thread because they have some interesting decisions to make.
   74. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2010 at 05:00 AM (#3645667)
#73 - Dice-K at least doesn't do the hip-thrust towards the plate "Why wasn't that a strike???" move Lackey does, or roll his eyes when a ball drops in or shoots past an infielder. He stands up there with the same, nonplussed look no matter what is going on. Now that I've seen Lackey's schtick (which, to me, is as annoying to watch as Joba's theatrics) for a full year, I realize how much I hate that crap in a starting pitcher, and how much I under-appreciated Dice-K's mound demeanor.

As I said in another thread, Theo's off-season list (to me) starts with somehow arranging for Lackey to do something that would void the rest of his contract.
   75. Dan Posted: September 22, 2010 at 06:33 AM (#3645682)
Pay 75% of Lackey's contract and dump him on the Mets. I never want to see that guy pitch in a Red Sox uniform ever again.

I really dislike the Angels, and John Lackey was the guy I hated most on their team. When the Red Sox signed him, I figured I could at least grin and bear it if he kept putting up his career numbers. Instead, he completely #### the bed and gave me even more reason to hate him. What an atrocious signing.
   76. Dale Sams Posted: September 22, 2010 at 07:55 AM (#3645686)
How did this team win any games? Look at the pitching stats. They have *4* pitchers worth a ####. FOUR. And one of them is Papelbon. So that should tell you how low the bar for "worth a ####\" is.
   77. drdr Posted: September 22, 2010 at 10:56 AM (#3645708)
As a Yankee fan, in 2003 I thought Yankees were far better than Boston and they should have won that series 4-0 or 4-1. Boston was only a nuisance that screwed up Yankee rotation. I don't believe Boston would have more than 30% chance against Florida. But in 2004 I was sure Boston would win 4-0. So, turning 3-0 around wasn't a big surprise.
In 2004 Torre was at his "best" in bullpen management. He overworked his 3 best relievers, including the guy who publicly stated that he was injured at the beginning of the season. Mel couldn't do anything with Vazquez, who was really good in the first half. Two of their best players were sick with... something... that wasn't properly diagnosed until they had to stop playing. And in September Brown broke his hand. That Yankees won first three games is greater surprise than them losing that lead.
   78. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: September 22, 2010 at 11:47 AM (#3645722)
I realize I'm irrational, but Papelbon is #3 on my most-hated Red Sox pitcher list, behind Lackey and Dice-K... and to be honest, Dice-K is amusing, and cheaper, so he might just be #2 on the list. I'm ready to move on and damn the consequences.

This is completely irrational. Papelbon should be FIRMLY your #1 most hated Red Sox.
   79. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 22, 2010 at 12:22 PM (#3645737)
MCA--i have no doubt that your reasoned assessment of philadelphia fans is accurate to your experience, but you're not a Giants fan who went to college halfway between Philly and Nyc. Man that was a heated time...peaked during the NYC divisional playoff game and I was reminded of it again during last years world series thanks to the dozens of south jerseyans on my facebook.
   80. Answer Guy Posted: September 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM (#3645750)
Papelbon should be FIRMLY your #1 most hated Red Sox.


Papelbon only pitches one inning at a time when he pitches, and about half the time it goes smoothly. And we'll always have 2007.

Watching Dice-K pitch is far more painful. Even when he's doing relatively well, he refuses to throw strikes even to the weakest hitter in the lineup.

Being essentially committed to him, Lackey, and Beckett as 3/5 of the rotation for the next two years (and the latter two for beyond that, unless they become bad enough that the team considers eating their respective contracts) makes me want to stop watching baseball.
   81. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 22, 2010 at 12:47 PM (#3645755)
I'm starting to think we might be in some trouble.

Matsuzaka can be a lot of fun to watch. When he's on his game he has good stuff and I have a soft spot for good fielding pitchers. No histrionics, no silliness, just go and pitch. His mound presence is fairly similar to Lester actually, he just isn't as good.
   82. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: September 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM (#3645757)
Matsuzaka can be a lot of fun to watch. When he's on his game he has good stuff and I have a soft spot for good fielding pitchers. No histrionics, no silliness, just go and pitch. His mound presence is fairly similar to Lester actually, he just isn't as good.

Isn't it true that, even when pitching well, he's throwing 18-22 pitches an inning and taking up a lot of time?
   83. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM (#3645758)
Watching Dice-K pitch is far more painful. Even when he's doing relatively well, he refuses to throw strikes even to the weakest hitter in the lineup.

Maybe the best move that the Red Sox could make would be to make Rick Anderson an offer he couldn't refuse. I can't believe that his pitching philosophy ("Throw the fucking ball over the fucking plate, you goddam prima donna") hasn't been picked up by a lot more teams. Ray Miller used the same philosophy** 30 years ago and every Orioles pitcher credits him with much of their success.

**"Pitch fast. Change speeds. Throw strikes." He even passed out T-shirts with that slogan to every Orioles' pitcher, just so they wouldn't forget.
   84. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM (#3645761)
As a Yankee fan, in 2003 I thought Yankees were far better than Boston and they should have won that series 4-0 or 4-1. Boston was only a nuisance that screwed up Yankee rotation. I don't believe Boston would have more than 30% chance against Florida. But in 2004 I was sure Boston would win 4-0. So, turning 3-0 around wasn't a big surprise. ... That Yankees won first three games is greater surprise than them losing that lead.
I can't say your experience wasn't your experience.

But, my experience was that I thought both matchups were basically even. I expected both series to go long, I expected lots of close games. My expectations matched up exactly with what happened. My experience also matched up exactly with the numbers - by every possible measure, those were two very evenly matched teams. The Yankees won 216 games between 2003 and 2004, the Red Sox won 210 (including postseason). They split their two playoff series.

I dunno. I shouldn't push this too hard, but you really sound like you're trying to weasel your way out of the obvious - that the 2004 ALCS was both the greatest comeback and the greatest choke in sports history. But I'm probably pushing that too hard. It's been an annoying season round these parts.
   85. Dale Sams Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:04 PM (#3645766)
I'm starting to think we might be in some trouble.


The BJ's improvement and Rays post-Crawford will be a wash, but god knows what the Orioles will do to the AL East next year. Yes, Sox 'might be in trouble'.
   86. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:09 PM (#3645769)
I was referring to 2010, I'm not particularly worried about 2011. The competition will be good but we will be better just by virtue of not having our lineup on the DL.
   87. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:24 PM (#3645780)
What is there to worry about in 2010?
   88. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:25 PM (#3645781)
Twins (because late-October baseball outdoors in Minneapolis could be hysterical)

Right, and late-October evenings in Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and New York are always warm and pleasant.

He stands up there with the same, nonplussed look no matter what is going on.

Inscrutable, you might say.
   89. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:30 PM (#3645785)
What is there to worry about in 2010?

Malaria outbreak.
   90. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:33 PM (#3645787)
I can't believe that his pitching philosophy ("Throw the ####### ball over the ####### plate, you goddam prima donna") hasn't been picked up by a lot more teams.
I always think of this as the "Babe Ruth is dead, throw strikes" school of pitching.
   91. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:50 PM (#3645811)
I can't believe that [Rick Anderson's] pitching philosophy ("Throw the ####### ball over the ####### plate, you goddam prima donna") hasn't been picked up by a lot more teams.

I always think of this as the "Babe Ruth is dead, throw strikes" school of pitching.


Whatever you want to call it, it sure as hell has worked for the Twins, just as it worked for the Orioles when Ray Miller was their pitching coach. I only wish that The Three Nibblers (Phil Hughes, A. J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain) would try out this esoteric philosophy, just for comic relief if nothing else. It's not just that it results in fewer walks, but it also results in slower pitch count accumulations and a greater alertness on the part of the defense.
   92. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 22, 2010 at 01:59 PM (#3645818)
I only wish that The Three Nibblers (Phil Hughes, A. J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain) would try out this esoteric philosophy

I cut Hughes and Joba some slack as they're young and still learning.

With Burnett, it's really maddening. He's got great stuff, just trust it.
   93. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:01 PM (#3645820)
You two have far greater faith in AJ's ability to put the ball where he wants than I do.
   94. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:04 PM (#3645826)
You two have far greater faith in AJ's ability to put the ball where he wants than I do.

Yeah, I tend to think that Burnett is frequently aiming for the middle of the plate, but just missing by two feet.
   95. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:05 PM (#3645827)
Burnett is 33 years old with nearly 300 starts to his credit. Expecting him to be anything other than the "occasionally great occasionally horrible" pitcher he is is just a way to make yourself crazy.
   96. Textbook Editor Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:07 PM (#3645829)
They need to make a f'in-A trade or FA signing for a #1 starter this off-season, and to try to move Dice-K. He has the best contract of the 3 Crap Boys (Dice-K, Beckett, Lackey), and the least amount of years left. If we ate $5 million of the $10 million he is due, I am certain we could move him, thereby opening up a starter slot for my mythical #1 guy we're going to go get.

Beckett... I'm marginally hopeful he can at least be a great #3/4 starter-type. He'll be overpaid, of course, but he's a hell of a lot better than our current 5th starter...

Lackey. Oy, what a waste of space. He's un-tradeable, so the Red Sox will just have to accept he's a Joe Blanton, 5th-starter type and run him out there for his 10-12, 5 ERA season next year, and grin and bear his little temper-tantrums on the mound, while hoping he runs into a decent season that makes him more tradeable after 2011.

But, yes, the rotation has me very, very concerned going forward. I'm 99% sure the Yankees are going to sign Cliff Lee, which further puts us in a hole. It's just not going to be easy to win 95 games with the rotation they have set right now for 2011, and while I know the VMart/Beltre/Papi signing issues are dominating the Hot Stove discussions right now, to me the biggest need is a decent starter to slot in after Lester, Buchholz, and Beckett.
   97. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:28 PM (#3645844)
I see no reason to think Beckett won't be just fine going forward. This has been similar to 2006 in that it hasn't been the frequency of bad performances, it's been how bad those bad performances have been. I'm not expecting 2007 but I don't see why something on the order of 2008/2009 won't be his default position.

Lackey is more troubling. There is obviously some BABIP-driven improvement just waiting to happen but the K/BB rates are disturbing. I'd bet on him being marginally better next year, figure a 100-105 ERA+ and if he's as durable as he is been this year, that has benefit.

Still, Lester-Buchholz-Beckett-Lackey-Matsuzaka is pretty strong relative to the rest of the league.

The bullpen is the area I'm more bothered by. Other than Daniel Bard, who comes back that makes you say "whew, glad he's not going anywhere"? Papelbon is back and while he has not been great, he has been generally OK. I'm a huge Doubront fan but it would be his first full season so expectations should be tempered. Atchison will be back but at best he's Delcarmen, 6th/7th inning, preferably when the game isn't too close.
   98. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:28 PM (#3645845)
They need to make a f'in-A trade or FA signing for a #1 starter this off-season, and to try to move Dice-K.


$102.2 million as a posting fee for Yu Darvish?
   99. Dale Sams Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:50 PM (#3645860)
I'd like to see the Sox's starting ERA minus Lester/Buchholz relative to the rest of the league minus their top two starters. I thinks the Sox's 7th place starter ERA (out of 14) is heavily skewed by the two guys who are going to get a few Cy Young vots.
   100. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 22, 2010 at 03:21 PM (#3645900)
I'd like to see the Sox's starting ERA minus Lester/Buchholz relative to the rest of the league minus their top two starters. I thinks the Sox's 7th place starter ERA (out of 14) is heavily skewed by the two guys who are going to get a few Cy Young vots.


I used BBRef to remove the top two starters for all AL teams in ERA then figure out how the teams rank without those pitchers;

OAK 3.61
MIN 3.87
TBR 4.09
TEX 4.09
CHI 4.24
NYY* 4.34
CLE 4.37
TOR 4.53
LAA 4.55
SEA 4.59
DET 4.67
BOS 4.69
BAL 4.83
KCR 5.18

I used qualifiers except in the case of the Yankees. For them I used Pettitte because they were the one team that clearly had a better ERA from a non-qualifer (2.97 AP+CC, 3.59 CC+PH). These are overall team ERAs, not just starters.
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