Rick Miller (Angels-Red Sox Game 1 Chat)

October 3, 2007

While there has never been a salary cap in baseball, I’m beginning to suspect that in the mid- to late-1970s, as a reaction to the dominance of the early 1970s Oakland A’s, American League owners instituted a secret Mustache Cap that restricted the amount of total facial hair each team was allowed to carry on its roster. Consider:

1. After winning three World Series titles in a row, the roster of the overwhelmingly hirsute A’s was almost completely dismantled within a couple years, as if some secret and severe penalties for over-mustaching had been levied.

2. When Charlie Finley tried to hasten the dismemberment of his A’s dynasty by selling two of his stars to the Boston Red Sox, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn disallowed the transaction, citing the damage it would do to competitive balance; however, I believe this justification was a screen to cover the real reason: Rudi and (especially) Fingers would have put the Red Sox, already fairly well-mustached, far over their facial hair allowance. Supporting this point is the fact that Rudi later came to the Red Sox anyway, sporting his modest gun-shop-cashier ’stache, while Fingers, the facial-hair-cap-wrecking A-Rod of the Mustache Years, had to spend some years with the smooth-cheeked Padres of Enzo Hernandez and Randy Jones until the apparent lifting of the Mustache Cap in the early 1980s allowed him to join the malodorous unshaven rabble known as the Milwaukee Brewers.

3. The California Angels and Boston Red Sox constantly shuttled similarly-mustached guys back and forth, as if the deals depended on the equal exchange of facial hair. The unremarkable mustaches of guys such as Jerry Remy and Joe Rudi came east, and the unremarkable mustaches of guys such as Dick Drago and Rick Burleson went west. Even when cleancut guys such as Denny Doyle passed between the two teams the transaction seemed to come with hidden “facial hair to be named later” clauses that impacted (and explained the seeming imbalance of) later trades whose principles, such as cleancut Butch Hobson and walrus-faced Carney Lansford, did not balance out on the facial hair ledger.

I’m not quite sure how Rick Miller fits into all this, but when I was a kid he seemed to drift back and forth between the Angels and Red Sox like a Mustache Years version of a Cheshire cat. Because he was obscure to me in each place for different reasons (on the Angels because they were so far away and on the Red Sox because he was always buried on the outfield depth chart), I was never completely sure which of the two teams he was on at any given moment, and so there always seemed at least a shred of him in both places, a brown medium-sized mustache hanging in the clubhouse air, waiting for the rest of him to appear and collect a pinch hit or make a diving grab in the outfield just when you thought for sure he was on the other side of the continent.

Anyway, Game 1 is still a few hours away (6:30 P.M. ET, TBS; Gameday info to come if I can figure it out; update: I can’t figure out how quite to link to that Gameday box, but you can go to the MLB.com scoreboard and click on the Gameday option above the Red Sox-Angels line score), but I thought I’d open up the conversation about all things Red Sox and Angels a little early. I can’t help it. I’m excited, and worried, and also excited, plus a little worried. Will the Red Sox be all right without My Favorite Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, to turn to in times of trouble? Why if there is no knuckleballer would we need Mirabelli and Cash? Will the Red Sox be bedeviled and undone by the speed and daring of the Angels on the basepaths? Will John Lackey’s lack of success at Fenway find its regression to the statistical mean at the worst possible time with him twirling a stunning shadow-aided three-hitter? And, most importantly, should I start growing a Rick Miller playoff mustache?


  1. 1.  Answers to questions in the final paragraph:

    1) Only if Aaron Boone stays home.
    2) Mirabelli has clutchitudeyness?
    3) Yes
    4) Yes
    5) Abso-fuckin-lutely

  2. 2.  You may not shave until the playoffs are over.

  3. 3.  As I recall, Carlton Fisk married Rick Miller’s sister. Or was it Rick Miller who married Carlton Fisk’s sister? In any event, I don’t think she had a mustache. Still, that could be a little awkward around the locker room. Makes it hard to keep quiet about what happens on road trips.

  4. 4.  I have become the sort of beisbol fan I used to hold in contempt — a know-nothing bandwagon-jumper who reads nary a box score through the whole 162, then climbs aboard the playoff-bound bus and gets loud.

    In other words, a fan in the Yankees/Cowboys/Lakers-fan vein.

    But I’ve paid my dues, in spades. And ever since 2004 and the administration of the greatest in-your-face, outright humiliation in the history of human sport — a black mark on the pinstriped soul that shall never, ever be cleansed — there’s nothing I enjoy more than swaggering onto the scene and proclaiming, “Okay then, it’s go time. I’m here. The Sox are standing on the verge of gettin’ it on. Let the ass-kicking begin.

    It makes for a sweet October, when the Sox are at the party. Instead of cowering in fear of the inevitable lowering of the boom, I enjoy to lip-smacking fulsomeness (yes, in all the word’s alternate meanings) every second of Sox progress toward the goal. And should they fall short, hey, you can’t win ’em all. How nice it is to be relieved of all the baggage.

    So, all that said,

    1 To you, and Josh:
    1) Hell yes. And Wake will have a spot in the next round.
    2) Look for Mirabelli or Cash to pull a Gary Allenson.
    3) Hulk not care. Hulk smash Angels.
    4) When all is said and done, no guy named “lackey” will ever amount to anything but a bootblack. Somebody tell him to go get his shinebox.
    5) Abso-fuckin-lutely.

  5. 5.  3 : I can never keep straight who married whose sister, especially since I also confuse that situation with the whole Rick Manning/Dennis Eckersley marital thing, but I just did a search and it appears that it was Rick Miller who married Fisk’s sister.

  6. 6.  Need an Angel fan here so I have come to save the day. Casey will leave the fans in mudville cheering.

    I have a vague memory of Rick Miller being an outstanding center fielder.

  7. 7.  4 : “Look for Mirabelli or Cash to pull a Gary Allenson.”

    I believe my brother is referring to one of the great unsung moments in baseball history, when Gary Allenson came up in the 9th inning of an early 1980s game against none other than the Angels with the bases loaded and two outs and the score tied. Because of the Red Sox awful bullpen, a late game tie at that time basically meant an inevitable loss, so it was all up to Gary Allenson, who in our wildest dreams we could not imagine getting a hit, ever, in any situation. He was for those who don’t remember a stubby slow backup catcher who, as already mentioned, couldn’t hit. But he won the game with a surprise (2-strike) bunt hit. When I get a moment I’m going to locate that game on baseball reference. Man, was it sweet. (It also got an echo a couple weeks ago when Melvin Mora gave the Red Sox the division by laying down a 2-out bases loaded bunt to beat the Yankees.)

  8. 8.  6 : “Miller Time” won a gold glove in ’78.

  9. 9.  6 By the way, thanks for coming on board for the chat, Toy Cannon. Angels fans are most welcome. Let us all grow Rick Miller mustaches together!

    7 : I found the Gary Allenson game-winning bunt game. Look who was intentionally walked to get to the runty .210-hitting catcher!:


  10. 10.  9 , 6 : Josh, you are an implacably peaceable man.

    The INT BB: auspicious!

  11. 11.  Here be the starting lineups, according to the box on Yahoo (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore?gid=271003102):

    Angels (94-68)

    C. Figgins rf
    O. Cabrera ss
    V. Guerrero dh
    G. Anderson lf
    M. Izturis 3b
    C. Kotchman 1b
    H. Kendrick 2b
    M. Napoli c
    R. Willits cf

    J. Lackey p

    Red Sox (96-66)

    D. Pedroia 2b
    K. Youkilis 1b
    D. Ortiz dh
    M. Ramirez lf
    M. Lowell 3b
    J.D. Drew rf
    J. Varitek c
    C. Crisp cf
    J. Lugo ss

    J. Beckett p

  12. 12.  I posted a link to Gameday for this game in the post above, near the bottom.

    I’m going to be incommunicado until a little after first pitch, in transit. Let’s Go Red Sox!

  13. 13.  Just want to throw out there that I’m a Yankees fan but am mostly interested in the camaraderie of the Baseball Toaster community… a place where we can all discuss our common passions… baseball, playoffs, and hatred of Dane Cook.

  14. 14.  Well, I’m going to be cheerful and friendly for the neutral games today. I hope everybody has a good time and nobody gets hurt!

  15. 15.  Easy to be friendly and cheerful after winning Game One, huh Mark?

  16. 16.  Whose feed should I listen to on Gameday Audio?
    Red Sox or Angels?

  17. 17.  Yeah, how do Yankees fans find a rooting interest in this one, short of hoping both teams get run over by a stampede of elephants or something?

  18. 18.  16
    I would listen to Red Sox, just in case Rex Hudler is doing the Angels broadcast.

  19. 19.  18 well I do like the guy with the squeaky voice on the Red Sox radio.

  20. 20.  I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but —

    –barbershop quartet?


    Barbershop quartet?

  21. 21.  I bet Garret Anderson got his pink eye from Scott Baio.

  22. 22.  Hudler doesn’t do Angels radio.

  23. 23.  21 Either that or he’s renting a house in Northridge with Jonah Hill, Jason Segel and Jay Baruchel.

  24. 24.  23
    Did they flatulate on his pillow…?

  25. 25.  You know, I feel very lost. I have no idea whose country this is. John Cougar, where are you????

  26. 26.  Your face looks like Robin Williams’ knuckles.

  27. 27.  Oh, man, why didn’t the Rockies get Steve Stone on their game? Lame.

  28. 28.  Without Miller and Morgan doing the game, how will we know when the Red Sox are winning?

  29. 29.  28 Without Morgan, how will we know if Beckett can, er, concetrate?

  30. 30.  Without Morgan, how will we know which players and teams are consistent?

  31. 31.  29 Or who’s being (say it with me) CONSISTENT?!?

  32. 32.  Dang, beaten by 30 seconds. I blame Chone Figgins.

  33. 33.  That was the scrappiest weak groundout ever. The Angels are so scrappy. And Gritty. Scrap and grit and scrap.

  34. 34.  DodgerSims has the Red Sox with a 52.4% win probability and Vegas Hilton has it at 60%.
    vr, Xei

  35. 35.  If Figgins didn’t try to steal there, that’s an RBI double. But the grit is off the charts!

  36. 36.  Garret Anderson now looks like Sloth from “The Goonies.”

  37. 37.  Without Miller and Morgan, how will we know what Barry Bonds is up to or would do in {given situation}?

  38. 38.  Here’s an idea — on the day after the All-Star Game, invite the Scrappiest players for a Scrap-Off. Figgins, Eckstein, Pierre, Podsednik — they call all come and show off their skills at grounding to second, leaving their feet on 30-foot throws, and bunting foul. And eating scrapple. Mmmmm, scrapple.

  39. 39.  38
    No one is beating Eric Byrnes in the leaving their feet contest.

  40. 40.  And eating scrapple

    And grits!

  41. 41.  Greek God of… home run trots.

  42. 42.  38 Wow, people outside of Philly/NJ know about scrapple???

  43. 43.  is this a game chat?
    vr, Xei

  44. 44.  Great South Park reference, BTW.

  45. 45.  43 Yes.

  46. 46.  Wait, a sideline reporter talking about baseball strategy rather than human interest stories? I don’t understand.

  47. 47.  What possessed the mlb people to make the “home hits” dots yellow in gameday? They’re hard to see on the field, and impossible to see if they’re homers.

  48. 48.  42
    I was in Wilmington, DE in May and saw the word “scrapple” for the first time at a little sub shop run by Greeks. They didn’t speak very good English, and I thought they had misspelled “scramble”.

  49. 49.  46 Don’t worry, they’re back to ephemera. “Polish the helmets”? First inning of Game 1, and they’re already reaching for subject matter. Not a good sign.

  50. 50.  Ah, John Butcher. Any relation to John Butcher-Axis?

  51. 51.  45. Really? I would hate to see what’s discussed on a non-game chat in that case.
    🙂 vr, Xei

  52. 52.  49 You know, so far, I’ve been impressed- if for no reason other than I don’t really notice the stupid comments. This is precisely because these announcers don’t seem to want to be more important than the game, like McCarver, Morgan, and Buck.

  53. 53.  I remember John Butcher as one of the “other guys” along with Viola and Blyleven on those mid 80s Twin teams.

  54. 54.  49 “Polish the helmets”?
    So many dirty jokes.

  55. 55.  I’ve gotta say, I’m loving the playoffs. Bringing Toaster together!

  56. 56.  36 And Lackey’s mugshot reminds me of a haggard Jack Nicholson.

  57. 57.  And the G-rated Dodger Thoughts crowd will be visiting R-rated Bronx Banter tomorrow.

    Should be an interesting mix.

  58. 58.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Butcher

    I figured Josh would be all over the obscure Boston music reference.

  59. 59.  57 I think the DT crowd is very capable of dialing it up/down (however you see it).

  60. 60.  Catching up:
    17 I’m rooting for loooooots and lottttts of pitches. Maybe some 14 innings games. That kind of thing.

    19 Castiglione. I like him, too, even though I’m a Yankee fan and he’s a huge homer.

  61. 61.  57 It’s fine, so long as the Yankees win and Kyle Farnsworth doesn’t pitch, then it will be PG-13 at worst…

  62. 62.  Can’t you be disqualified from postseason play for batting Maicer Izturis fifth?

  63. 63.  Man, I was confusing John Butcher with Jim Butcher.


    Blast the Sci-Fi channel for not renewing that show.

  64. 64.  “…his power numbers are going to CONSISTENLY go up.” Ack! Joe’s influence is spreading.

  65. 65.  “…his power numbers are going to CONSISTENTLY go up.” Ack! Joe’s influence is spreading.

  66. 66.  1-0 isn’t that bad, I was shocked reading Lackey’s #’s against the BoSox, wow, hopefully he can settle down.

  67. 67.  61 And, for language only. No violence.

  68. 68.  man, hearing Mike Sciocia speak on the radio makes our Grady Little look SO one dimensional.

  69. 69.  First Emmy of the playoffs goes to Howie Kendrick

  70. 70.  I would have loved a Spankees versus Halos series better than BoSox gainst Lackey today.

  71. 71.  25 Finally! I was wondering whose country this was. Whew.

  72. 72.  I’m a little afraid that CB Bucknor is on this crew. Mark my words, he’s going to do something stupid before this series is over.

  73. 73.  The Dodger Thoughts people will either get misty-eyed or angry if Wilson Betemit does something good tomorrow.

  74. 74.  73
    I hope Betemit does great and A-Rod “chokes” like no other.

  75. 75.  73 Oh, they’ll be happy. Come on.

  76. 76.  60 That’s the guy. Of course he just dissed Matt Holliday — “I still haven’t seen him touch the plate. Unconvincing call by the umpire.”

    Maybe I’m rooting for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of California.

  77. 77.  Can I laugh if/when Gagne implodes?

  78. 78.  Did Tek shave? He’s looking a little less Pirates of the Carribean-y today.

  79. 79.  57 – I’m sure some of us can go R-rated, fairly easily, really…

  80. 80.  73 The ARONS will note the event (should it happen), but it won’t affect them emotionally.

  81. 81.  77 We can laugh in harmony.

  82. 82.  I’ll bite. What are ARONS?

  83. 83.  Lugo. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways….

  84. 84.  that was an interesting call at second

  85. 85.  I love Julio Lugo.

  86. 86.  Lugo would have been safe if he’d just polished his helmet.

  87. 87.  How could anyone tag Lugo? That’s like trying to tag Nicole Richie or Kate Moss. Not enough surface area.

  88. 88.  Lugo or Pierre? Hmm.

  89. 89.  82 – Alex Rodriguez Or Nobody Situation.

  90. 90.  82
    We Dodger fans that want “A-Rod Or Nothing.”

  91. 91.  60 “Castiglione”. I thought that was procedure performed on sex offenders back in the day.

  92. 92.  It stands for Alex Rodriguez or Nobody Society (or Scenario). It is a prescription of what the Dodgers should do this off-season: get the best player in the game (if he’s available), or stand pat and get nobody at all.

    We recognize that both choices are unlikely, because the Dodgers’ general manager is Ned Colletti. Still, if we say it often enough, maybe it will come true.

  93. 93.  90
    Ahh, close enough.

  94. 94.  woah, Napoli’s got some nice quick legs (my eyes lit up when I saw him stand & release) I still think Lugo was safe though.

  95. 95.  Umpire whining is declasse, but holy moley that was a crap call.

  96. 96.  Oh.
    A difference of acronymic opinion. But I get the idea.

  97. 97.  If anyone is wondering, I am not “El Lay of Anaheim” Dave.

  98. 98.  97 – lol.

  99. 99.  Unfortunately, most Yankees fans on Bronx Banter ascribe to:


    (For The Love of God, Cashman, Give A-Rod Whatever He Wants)

  100. 100.  91 Performed by the mafia.

    Lowell will definitely be overpaid next year.

  101. 101.  99 Ours is harder to pronounce.

  102. 102.  Taking pitches is a “modern approach to hitting”? Better not tell Ted Williams.

  103. 103.  97 – shouldn’t it be El Lay Dave of Anaheim?

    99 – as well they should, lucky for the rest of us, the tabloids have yet to catch on.

  104. 104.  100 Hopefully by someone other than Frank McCourt.

  105. 105.  99 We’re aware, and that’s fine. Then the appropriate response is: Andy LaRoche, get ready for your fifteen minutes.

    Unfortunately, if he doesn’t hit .500 over that fifteen minutes, Colletti will trade him for Kyle Lohse.

  106. 106.  102 – what does he know? He got an out like 60% of the time one season.

  107. 107.  “but he goes, ‘”

    GOES? HEAVENS to betsy, learn the language. Jeez.

  108. 108.  Darnit, I wish these games weren’t blacked on MLBTV. I’m obviously missing a lot by “watching” it on Gameday. Forces me to work a bit more, however.

  109. 109.  104/105 – Mike Lowell AND Kyle Loshe… my brain can’t process that.

    On a random note, I like symmetrical ball parks.

  110. 110.  I think “chone” should be a verb, to chone, i.e., the hitter really choned in that at bat, or the Angels look like they’re going to chone today’s game.

    Not sure of the definition, but it seems to fit.

  111. 111.  109 Appropos of Fenway??

  112. 112.  That was the scrappiest popout in the history of baseball. The Angels should trade Kendrick for Pedroia straight up, to maximize scrap.

  113. 113.  110 Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Kramer are playing Scrabble, and Kramer makes the word “QUONE”. When Jerry challenges him to use it in a sentence, he says, “To quone something”.

  114. 114.  The first time my wife saw Dustin Pedroia, she said, “Did he have to get a note from his Mom so they would let him play?”

  115. 115.  111 – Let’s just say if there were an award for the stadium most resembling a parallelogram, Fenway would win it.

  116. 116.  They’re also being youklised so far.

  117. 117.  Hoooooo boy.

  118. 118.  Yeeeeaahahhhhhhhhhh Papi!!!!!!!!!!

  119. 119.  Darth Vader finds your Lack(ey) of faith disturbing.

  120. 120.  116 And Papied.

  121. 121.  115 How can you resemble a parallelogram? You either have four sides with at least two of the opposing sides parallel or you don’t.

  122. 122.  108 that “hot corner” thing on the mlb website has game video, sort of. It’s delayed and has a goofy mosaic thing going on, but it’s free.

  123. 123.  93 Sorry but since this is where everyone is, I am going to toss in one quick OT note.

    UCLA just signed up one of their coaches to a new 7-year deal, he will get 1.5 million this year and up to 2 million in 2014.

    And fortunately, is initials are the first two letters of my screen name.

  124. 124.  By the way I just got home. No cable but I got Castiglione and the other guy on the XM. I miss Jerry Trupiano but the more corporate dude they replaced him with is OK.

  125. 125.  121 – Fine. Trapezoid.

  126. 126.  115 The RF fence is all bloopy. And that funky pocket they call ‘the triangle’. I guess symmetry is in the eye of the beholder.

  127. 127.  122 Can you make it play game audio? I tried it for the Rockies-Phillies game, but could only get the studio chatter, and gave up.

  128. 128.  123
    Still a bargain.

  129. 129.  123 Billy Holliday?

  130. 130.  123 Brad Hawpe?

  131. 131.  123 – so, not Karl Dorrell?

  132. 132.  124 Oh, I hate that corporate guy. He has a certain cadence that doesn’t make sense in most contexts — very hard to describe. I miss Trupiano.

  133. 133.  127 Not that I can find. You might, if you have enough bandwidth, be able to do both.

  134. 134.  I am surprised by how the analysts seem surprised Lackey has allowed runs. I like Lackey, but he’s never struck me as a No Freaking Way You Score Against Him guy — he’s a superior innings-eater, a keep-it-close guy with no slight intended by using that language.

  135. 135.  Bruce Hornsby?

  136. 136.  132 : Yeah, dammnit, you’re right. Trupiano! You need a guy in the booth who sounds like he has just had or will soon have a few.

  137. 137.  “The Red Sox who have done it with a lot of home runs”… teams with more home runs than the Red Sox in the AL this year: 6. Teams in the NL with more home runs this year: 10.

    Interesting definition of “a lot”

  138. 138.  But you dont understand, John Lackey is a Certified Postseason Performer(TM) who Has What It Takes to Get It Done, you see.

  139. 139.  123 Bummer, I was hoping he’d see the error of his (their) ways and go back to UCSB.

    122 Very cool, thanks for the tip! And who needs announcers anyway?

  140. 140.  128 Since his salary has to get approved by the UC Regents, I don’t know how much more he could get, I think he is now second only to Tedford in compensation.

  141. 141.  136 (I kind of think that’s why they let him go.)

    Angels getting shellackeyed.

  142. 142.  Clutch may be a myth, but David Ortiz sure does seem to make big appearances an awful lot.

  143. 143.  142 He does.
    Because he’s really good at hitting.

  144. 144.  134 Let’s see career ERA at Fenway of 7.46 (in 5 starts), 6.46 ERA lifetime against Boston.

    Maybe there are such things as bad matchups for pitchers.

  145. 145.  the BoSox own Lackey, it just really seems like Lackey doesn’t know how to pitch in that ballpark.

  146. 146.  143 : Maybe also at this point pitchers start to panic a little when he’s up there in a big spot, start aiming it a little or something.

  147. 147.  143 J. D. Drew on the other hand….

  148. 148.  145 I kind of think the two dingers would have been home runs in any park.

  149. 149.  147 JD’s good at hitting. Just not this year.

  150. 150.  Not Ortiz’, I don’t think. It probably would have been off the wall at Yankee Stadium.

  151. 151.  149 : JD’s been doing a little better of late, but I still have no faith in him.

    I just heard that Jerry Remy threw out the first pitch. Fitting for an Angels-Red Sox series, though Rick Miller would have been my personal pick.

  152. 152.  Maybe it’s the lack of Rockies, but this game doesn’t feel like it has one-tenth the Postseason Magic the first game had. It’s just another first-round game between teams we seem to see playing first-round games every season.

  153. 153.  149 Yeah, I know; we saw him up close out here. Just a cheap shot for this year.

  154. 154.  Only tangentially related to anything, but did anyone ever read this piece on my favorite BB cartoon?

    Brilliant! And geeky as all get out.
    “We are then introduced to the shabby state of both the grounds keeping and of stadium security at the Polo Grounds, as we see an angry rabbit (Bugs Bunny, RHP/UT) is able to heckle the visiting team from left field, where he has dug a fairly substantial hole, and is enjoying a carrot-dog and (it appears) has consumed a large bottle of wine through a straw.”

  155. 155.  What’s the over/under for number of innings before we start hearing that Garrett Anderson is underrated?

  156. 156.  150 Maybe. On Gameday it looks like it went maybe 390. That’s out in Yankee Stadium, too. But I know Gameday isn’t completely reliable.

    Beckett is pitc…

    Beckett looks very g…

    No, I can’t say it.

  157. 157.  5 of the 9 Bosox outs have been the two GIDP and a CS. This could be a lot worse for the Angels than down four.

  158. 158.  The Angels are choning big time in game 1.

  159. 159.  154 Sure, we’ve discussed that at BB (appropriately enough) at least a couple of times. It is a work of genius.

  160. 160.  158 Maybe they can still torii for some runs in the late innings.

  161. 161.  148

    yeah, your probably right I’m just really surprised Lackey has such bad #’s against the BoSox but they DO have great hitting so I shouldn’t be too surprised.

  162. 162.  155 Once upon a time, Garrett Anderson was simply rated. Neither overrated nor underrated — it was just right.

    Then somebody decided he was underrated. This thought was repeated over and over again — so often, in fact, that it became annoying.

    Sabermetricians looked at his stats and did not agree that he was underrated, and because so many people were saying he was underrated, many stats followers said he was overrated.

    So many stats fans said he was overrated that, in fact, he was underrated.

    Then he started to suck, and now, it’s a very confused situation.

  163. 163.  I got a kick out of GA going on a tear the day that Keith Law said that his bat was slow and that he should be replaced by Willits.

  164. 164.  152 I agree (of course I’m rockies-biased as well). But the Phillies hadn’t been to the post season since 1993, so both teams and the fans were hungry for it.

  165. 165.  Josh were you afraid to jinx your team by picking the Rockies?

  166. 166.  Oh, MIKE Butcher. My bad.

  167. 167.  162 – it’s like an explanation of supply and demand, only with Garrett Anderson instead of widgets.

  168. 168.  “The Red Sox are the only team with an ERA under 4, with the DH that’s saying something.”

    Number of teams in the NL with an ERA under 4: 1.

    Yeah, that’s saying something alright. I’m just not sure what.

  169. 169.  Stupid technical question-how do you put the number of the message you’re replying to in your message? Am I the only one who doesn’t know how to do this?

  170. 170.  Actually, on Gameday Fenway looks less like a trapezoid or whatever and more like a waffle cone.

    Okay, who are those annoying studio guys blathering on in the MLB/TBS Mosaic coverage?

  171. 171.  You put the numeral inside square brackets. [number]

  172. 172.  Little brother Izturis reminds me of our very own Wilson Valdez.

  173. 173.  169 Surround the number in these: [ ]. No, you’re not.

  174. 174.  171 Tanks.

  175. 175.  170 Yeah, it is. I think it was formed by erosion or some other natural process. In 1682.

  176. 176.  170 – Fenway is the new Rorschach.

  177. 177.  160 That’s only if Thatcher is pitching…

  178. 178.  177 Oh! Cross-blog joke! Technical foul.

  179. 179.  172 According to B-R, the brothers Izturis were born Feb. 10, 1980 and Sept. 12, 1980 – seven months apart. Poor mom! Maicer must have been very little when he was born.

  180. 180.  So you have to live in Cartoonland in order to do business with Charles Schwab?

  181. 181.  179 Aren’t they half-brothers?

  182. 182.  Another scrappy groundout.

  183. 183.  179 Obviously, their mother had a Caesarean section.

  184. 184.  181 Search me.

  185. 185.  184 I don’t really know. Maybe I’m thinking of the Molinas. But somebody who has a brother in the majors is actually a half-brother because Daddy was stepping out.

  186. 186.  185 That wasn’t written in English, but I hope you can decipher what I was trying to say.

  187. 187.  The Maicer and Cesar have different mothers.

  188. 188.  Did I just hear the announcer advocating hitting Ortiz?

  189. 189.  181 They are half-brothers with different mothers, they were born 7 months apart with Cesar being the oldest.

  190. 190.  185 Darn, I was betting on Todd and Andruw.

  191. 191.  185 – according to Wikipedia, it would be the Izturis boys that are half-brothers.

    The Flying Molinas, on the other hand, are all full brothers

  192. 192.  That was a pretty quick fif. I’m not used to short innings after all the Yankee-Sox games this year.

  193. 193.  187 Yes, and, it’s probably more well-known that Orlando and Livan Hernandez are half-brothers.

  194. 194.  192 They are grueling. Though not as bad as games with the Orioles.

  195. 195.  I like Frank Caliendo, but I hope I’m not sick of him by the end of the postseason.

  196. 197.  195 – I’m going to be sick of him by the seventh inning stretch

  197. 198.  Trivia: Guidry, 1978?

  198. 199.  A very insightful comment by Terry Smith of the Angels Radio Network.

    “When the Angels don’t get baserunners, they cannot play their game.”

    That’s quality analysis, almost Steve Lyonesque.

  199. 200.  199 You don’t say? You can’t score guys who don’t get on base? Boy, I’m glad we have guys like him around.

  200. 201.  199 – I’d say it’s Joe Morganish.

  201. 202.  For those who watched the Sox all year has Coco been as good in CF as we’ve been hearing?

  202. 203.  Wow, go Analyst Ripken!

  203. 204.  Separated at birth: Ernie Johnson and Tojo

  204. 205.  199 I dunno. It’s harder to play your best game with guys clogging up the base paths.

    It reminds me of an idiot I heard on ESPN radio today (didn’t catch who it was, some ex-player). He was asked how he would play the Patriots if he was coaching against them. He said the best way is to get out in front and make them play from behind, because that way you could make them one-dimensional. So, the best plan, apparently, is to score a lot more points than they do, early.

  205. 206.  I believe the Angels offense is predicated on scoring runs.

  206. 207.  205 In the words of Mojo Jojo, “No…really….you think?”

  207. 208.  Does Francona try to sneak an inning from our dearest old friend on the Red Sox?

    For those not familiar to DodgerThoughts lingo, “old friend” refers to a former Dodger, usually of recent vintage.

    On the Red Sox, in order of old friendliest, starting from least to best, Julio Lugo, J.D. Drew, Alex Cora and Eric Gagne.

  208. 209.  In an NL game, I would expect a managerial blunder in this stage of the game, like, I dunno, letting the pitcher hit with one on, one out, and then lifting in the next half-inning. You just don’t get the suspense of waiting for something like that in the AL.

  209. 210.  205 What if you videotaped their offensive play calls so when they call a pass play to Moss, they could triple team him.

  210. 211.  3-6-1. Sweet.

  211. 212.  I swear to three or four deities, when Vin Scully leaves the game, I will not watch baseball with the sound on, ever again. The level of stupid that some of these announcers spew is actually killing my brain cells.

  212. 213.  It’s true, I just checked. Except for when they have really good pitching, they win a much higher percentage of games when they score lots of runs. The correlation is striking.

  213. 214.  213 Did you know that if you hit a home run when your team is behind, that is considered a rally killer?

    It’s true.

  214. 215.  Hey! I got the trivia right. Yay, me!

  215. 216.  214 – depends on the situation.

  216. 217.  214 That’s a Morganism, right?

  217. 218.  208 At this rate, Beckett could have a CG on 108 pitches.

  218. 219.  man, Beckett is making a mockery of the Angels lineup aside from him the other pitchers seem mortal though. I think the Halos can still win this thing.

  219. 220.  215 Good jorb. That was the Ron Guidry 78 answer? I didn’t hear the question.

  220. 221.  I’m a White Sox fan, but I’m rooting for the Red Sox in this series. I’m opposed to anything that might make Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc happy.

  221. 222.  210 It wouldn’t matter, as Moss caught a TD pass in a triple team against the Jets…

  222. 223.  219 part II

    this thing, meaning the series, Beckett is just on tonight.

  223. 224.  154 Thanks for tippin’ us to that epic post re “Baseball Bugs” (worth linking to again – http://urltea.com/1nlm). Gag value enhanced when read in voice of “Simpsons” fat, geeky comics/collectibles dealer. And yes, definitely a contender for my favorite Bugs toon.

    Meanwhile, back in the jungle…. Lackey, we wanna be able to shave in the shine tomorrow morning when you finish with Papi’s cleats, y’heah now? Simply … pwned.

  224. 225.  223 I don’t know, I could see a repeat of 2004 playoffs.

  225. 226.  222 I was going to say that Mangini tried that, yeah. Anyway it just pisses them off and Mike Vrabel kills somebody.

  226. 227.  217 – it’s actually an old school philosophy that has some merit…

    If you are trailing by four runs, and have two runners on base, it is better to hit a two run double than a three run home run. This is because the pitcher is able to return to the wind up (thus getting more speed and potentially more movement on his pitches), and the defense need no longer account for the runner.

    I will admit, I adhere to this philosophy to a certain extent. I prefer my home runs to come in three situations: tie game (giving my team the lead); tying the game; giving my team the lead.

  227. 228.  222 Oh sorry, I forgot we have more East Coast visitors on this chat.

  228. 229.  220 Yeah. It was Last AL ERA leader on a WS winner.

  229. 230.  227 Uh.

  230. 231.  That “Double Play Ball!!!!” comment has swayed me into hating this announcing crew. That was Sterlingesque.

  231. 232.  202 : Yeah, Coco’s made some fantastic plays this season. Defensively, best Bosox centerfielder since Lynn, maybe? Ellsbury’s probably got his job next year though, and he can go and get them too.

  232. 233.  230 – ok, forth situation, extending a lead. But generally speaking, yes. That’s the theory .

  233. 234.  227 If one believes that, for those reasons, does that mean it doesn’t apply for those relief pitchers that always pitch from the stretch anyway?

    If I’m down a lot of runs, I’ll take the HRs anytime they come. Also, the rallykillers didn’t hurt the Dodgers on 9/18/06 when they trailed by 4 runs in the 9th.

  234. 235.  227 Why I did not know that Steve Lyons is joining us here tonight.

    (joking, really, joking)

  235. 236.  I usually prefer my triples when trailing by three runs, but only with one out. On Tuesdays. With the wind blowing right to left.

  236. 237.  229 Oh, thanks.
    JL25and3 (a Bronx Banter regular) would have been all over that one.

  237. 238.  227 Granted, you do get an advantage from keeping the pitcher in the stretch, but I’d rather have the runs now, myself.

  238. 239.  231 You don’t like someone who can make Yankees into a 5 or 6 sylable word?

  239. 240.  234 – with respect to the relief pitchers, I hadn’t really thought about it, probably no. But it still applies to the defense (opening up more holes for line drives and ground balls).

    Down a lot of runs is also different than being down a couple of runs. As far as th 9/18/06 game, two words: statistically improbable. But damn fun to watch.

  240. 241.  So, KG16, if you’re ahead by four runs, and someone on the other team hits a two run double, you would be disappointed that he didn’t homer???

    You could have your pitcher balk him in, I guess. Seems like a mistake to me.

  241. 242.  No one bit so I’ll ask again, do you toss Eric Gagne out there tonight to get a few outs in a non-stressful situation. (I mean outside of being booed by every fan in the park)

  242. 243.  230 — That’s not supported by history. If you’re down by a lot — five or more — history suggests that you have a better chance to get yourself even or ahead by, y’know, actually scoring runs than by leaving men on the bases.

    The only time this falls apart is if you’re down by five or more in the ninth inning. You have so few outs remaining in the game that the numbers just kind of throw up their hands and say, “Double, homer, catcher’s interference — whatever, dude, just don’t get out.”

  243. 244.  235 – c’mon now bh, we’ve had this discussion on DT before.

    Although I do take a little offense to the Lyons shot… I think I liked it better when y’all thought I was Kevin Gross

  244. 245.  239 Listening to a lot of Yankee-Sox games on XM, I hear a lot of ‘ol John. While the whole Th-uhuhuhuhuh thing is annoying, he really can be pretty intelligent in spots. He is critical of the home side when it is called for, and he has a GREAT voice.

  245. 246.  Josh, on Ellsbury vs Crisp:

    They are both very fast. Ellsbury hasn’t yet learned to take the best route to the ball — though maybe that’s partly because they’ve been sticking him in the corners? But he’s going to hit so much better than Crisp that he’ll easily win the job, and he certainly seems to have the physical talent to be a VG CF.

  246. 247.  239 Besides the “Yankees win” call, Sterling is typically loathed for his frequent inability to tell when a deep fly ball is a home run, often launching into:

    “It is high! It is far! It is…. caught!” Those who are watching the game as well as listening on the radio will often note that said play was usually just a popfly to short right field.

  247. 248.  Lackey out, presumably for pitch count – 99 – and trailing by four.

    Some it looks like the only decision left is how long does Beckett pitch.

  248. 249.  242 : Fenway won’t boo Gagne coming into the game. We’re in the playoffs, so all is well. If he gets into trouble, out will come the boos, but not as he’s coming in. I think he’s primed to do fairly well in the postseason. He’s due!

  249. 250.  247 Maybe he picked that up from Charley Steiner or vice versa.

    244 Sorry, it was an easy shot, no harm done I hope.

  250. 251.  The best strategy when facing the Patriots is to injure Tom Brady.

  251. 252.  232 Will Crisp be trade bait then, and if so, what do you think the asking price would be?

  252. 253.  Do people REALLY fall for the exiled African king scam? I mean, real people, with brains and stuff?

  253. 254.  249 But wouldn’t it be a good to do it when the Angel bats are cold instead of say a close game?

  254. 255.  I liked Ripken’s bit about Angels players trying to lean into pitches.

  255. 256.  241 – no, of course not. Because the point of pitching/defense is to prevent the other team from scoring runs. But, I’m guessing from a defense/pitching point of view, we’d all be annoyed by giving up a two run double or a three run home run when leading by 4.

    I’m speaking entirely from an offense stand point.

  256. 257.  245 Most Bronx Banterers can’t stand him.

    I feel the way you do. And (as I mentioned earlier) I like Joe Castiglione a lot, too, even though he has a very irritating voice. In fact that’s part of the reason I like him.

  257. 258.  I’m still waiting for John McEnroe to chime in.

  258. 259.  251 According to the Dan Patrick show, on last week’s flight, the original film to be shown on the plane was “The Recruit” which stars his ex (and mother of his child).

    They changed the film.

  259. 260.  253 A friend of mine worked for an insurance agency this summer that specialized in the elderly. And yes, one man had lost his entire savings by trying to help out a Nigerian prince. And then when the insurance company was unable to help him, he lost even more money when an unsolicited person called him and promised him his money back if he paid this third party some more money. The insurance company was able to get that second money back, since it never left the country.

  260. 261.  253 Oh yes.


    This is a tenured professor, mind you.

  261. 262.  251 Maybe just merely distract him with a attractive, fertile woman on the sidelines?

  262. 263.  “… a collage of futility” — nicely put.

  263. 264.  256 Oh. So, the double is better for the offense (than the homer), but not worse for the defense.
    I generally think of baseball as more, you know, zero-sum.

    Okay, I’ll stop now.

  264. 265.  259
    Yeah, I heard about that.

  265. 266.  252 : I’m not good at figuring out a guy’s trade value. I’d take some more middle relief help or maybe a young catching prospect, personally, which is not to say I’d be happy to see Coco go or anything.

    254 : Yeah, it would be nice to see Gagne rack up some outs in a lower-pressure spot.

    246 : If you haven’t seen it, Ellsbury’s catch on September 21 was a beauty, reminiscent of Jeter’s famous bloody charge into the seats against the Sox in ’04. It’s available to see on this site if you scroll down to the Sept. 21 games:


  266. 267.  And for the record, I don’t believe home runs are rally killers, I am simply explaining the school of thought – one ascribed to by Billy Martin, I should add (if we are to believe mini-series on ESPN)

  267. 268.  Beckett’s stuff is reminding me of Mike Scott ca. 1986.

  268. 269.  267 Or at least John Tutoro has that belief.

  269. 270.  262
    He will still throw 4 touchdowns.

  270. 271.  260 Sorry. I guess that was unusually snarky. But I just can’t imagine anyone really falling for it. We used to get faxes at a place where I worked running the same old scam, in the pre-ubiquitous Internet days.

  271. 272.  270 While he’s thinking of hitting a home run?

  272. 273.  266 Actually, its more likely your closer comes in the game with only a 4 run lead.

  273. 274.  266 Sure, I do remember that well. “What the hell is that kid doing, trying to wreck his career before it begins????”

    There really is something… enchanting about players whose focus gets down so narrow that they think only about getting that dang ball, no thought of whether it’s really important. That attitude somehow crystalizes some crucial feature of sports.

  274. 275.  264 – only because I like these kinds of debates: both are good for the offense, both are bad for the defense. The degree to which each is good or bad varies, it is not necessarily a zero-sum game, in my opinion. Homerun is better when pitcher is on deck (or other bad hitter), double is better when 3-4-5 hitter is coming up. Runs, in general are good for offense, bad for defense.

  275. 276.  268 : I can only go on what Joe Castiglione tells me, but he sounds like he’s mowing them down, obviously. I just love thinking about the one good day in the recent string of bad days against the Yanks, when Beckett blitzed them 10-1. The look he had on his face coming off the mound after one of his dominant innings was this little smirk that said “I’ve got this one.” And this was in the midst of a lot of panicking in Boston. It’s good to have an ace; I hope he can keep it going. It’s fun to root for somebody named Josh.

  276. 277.  272
    Many, many home runs.

  277. 278.  I don’t understand these PH moves. Aybar hits RHP worse than Napoli. Willits is a high OBP guy either side. Angels needed to not make outs, down four – was Morales higher Slg% that meaningful there?

  278. 279.  276 It’s good to have an ace. And I’m pleased for you that his name is Josh. But it’s just a darn shame that it’s Beckett. And that smirk is emblematic of why.

  279. 280.  We want Gagne!
    We want Gagne!

  280. 281.  I thought complete games by pitchers had been outlawed

  281. 282.  101 pitches entering the 9th, not to shabby by Mr. Beckett.

  282. 283.  There’s yer Ellsbury, Josh.

  283. 284.  Ellsbury!!!!

  284. 285.  280 I just bet you do. [g]

    Great catch by Ellsbury!

  285. 286.  276 The Smirk is most definitely present. He’s enjoying himself. Two down.

  286. 287.  theatrical catch right there in my opinion, he could have easily caught that regularly…

  287. 288.  Bob, when was the last time a team lost 5 consectutive playoff games, each pitcher throwing a complete game?

  288. 289.  Four baserunners now for the Angels….

  289. 290.  10 to go.

  290. 291.  I don’t think a team of Babe Ruth’s could have beaten Beckett today, he was definitely on today.

  291. 292.  well, see everyone over at Cub Town, after I go get dinner.

  292. 293.  Thanks for the company, boys, let’s do it again Friday.

  293. 294.  Ahh, sweetness. Papi dinger; complete-game shut-out… Now THAT was dinner at a four-star restaurant, for the Fenway faithful.

  294. 295.  I’m guessing my productivity will plummet for a month and a half.

  295. 296.  287 Kind of what I was saying earlier — he definitely has the athleticism but not always the best routes.

    Well, impressive win for the BoSox. Maybe I’ll drop in at Cub Town, too.

  296. 297.  Jose Mota looks so tiny next to David Ortiz…

  297. 298.  297 Don’t we all.

  298. 299.  Post-game interview: Papi looming over Jose Mota, stunningly large.

  299. 300.  If I remember correctly the only 2 players who remained on the A’s roster after the 1976 season were Vida Blue and Bill North. The rest of the roster was filled out by has-beens and never-would-bes. In 1977 they actually finished behind the expansion Seattle Mariners in the standings. For A’s fans that must have been the equivalent dating Uma Thurman, getting dumped, and being offered Rosie O’Donnell instead.

  300. 301.  People will disagree, but after making this argument before, and hearing all the counter-arguments from baseball enthusiasts, I still think Rick Miller was part of the greatest fielding outfield ever assembled. Beat this defensive outfield unit:

    1975 Red Sox…..look at the gold glove winners!

    Rick Miller (1 gold glove)
    Fred Lynn (4 gg’s)
    Dwight Evans (8 gg’s)
    Yaz (7 gg’s)
    Juan Beniquez (1 gg)

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