Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fate Beckons?

Pretty incredible, the quirky calls that are going the White Sox' way. Luck is such an important part of baseball, (see Moneyball) and usually the luck is running against whatever team I'm rooting for. For too many seasons, it seemed the luck was flowing away from the Red Sox, and toward the Yankees. Yankee fans apparently thought it their due, only to be outraged when the tides turned, the sun stopped shining on that dog's ass, and things went the way of the Red Sox.

This year, it's the White Sox. After 88 years, why not? (Somebody's got to find some piano-related theme for the ChiSox. The Babe's piano's been done.)

The home plate umpire, it turns out, actually did make a "dropped catch" call, but not loud enough, apparently, for the Angels' catcher to hear, though A.J. Pierzynski heard. (Elsewhere A.J.'s been labeled a clubhouse cancer and other negative things, at least with other teams, but just look at that sweet face.)

The ball hit Jermaine Dye's bat, not Jermaine. Take the base, JD.

When the ball squibs away from a fielder or sails past the catcher straight for the screen, take that extra base, grab the free run. As I always say when one of My Guys gets hit by a pitch, we're not too proud to take it.

I'm hoping that the world stays on its current tilt and the luck continues to flow the White Sox' way.

Apologies to emily and Sparky
I come down hard on the Braves, all season long, though especially hard in the post-season. Part of the reason I can't embrace the Braves is because of the ownership, the megalo-behemoth Time-Warner/AOL. I miss Ted Turner. The same way I miss the Steinbrenner-Martin-Jackson-Munson soap opera. I miss the drama, the comedy, the personality that encompassed the team. Ted Turner gave Jim Bouton a second shot and how can you not like an owner who thumbs his nose at the establishment that way? We have no Bill Veeck these days, but there were flashes of Veeck-like sensibilities when Ted Turner owned the Braves. (The Idiot identity of the championship BoSox only served to further endear them to me.)

The other has to do with, well, the ownership of the Braves. The local cable company is Time Warner and one of the stations that comes with basic cable is TBS, which means Braves baseball all the time. Perhaps not to the extent that YES presents Yankees baseball ad nasuem (no wonder their fans think they've won more than they really have), but if I were a Braves fan, I'd have no trouble finding a game several times a week. Couple that with the Mets being on one or the other of two channels (or sometimes on both at the same time, occasionally one of the broadcasts in Spanish), sure to carry the Mets-Braves games, a lot of them since they are in the same division. What really pushes my button is that when ESPN has the Braves, usually playing the Mets, as the national broadcast, or at least the eastern "choice," both TBS and MSG/FoxNY also carry it. Some evenings, flipping through the channels, I pass a Braves-Mets game on 4(!) different channels. Familiarity breeding contempt, fostered by TimeWarner.

I hope emily and Sparky accept as a token my rooting for the Richmond Braves. When Richmond is in town, I actually do root forthem rather than just against the Sky(gak)Chiefs. The R-Braves will always hold a spot in my affections since it was while he was with them that My Guy Jason Tyner hit his first ever home run, pro or college.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Go Sox Go!

From the moment the season ended, my picks were the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals for the World Series. Happy to see both of them are advancing.

I've been accused of being disloyal to the Red Sox, but I don't see it that way. With all the pitching woes they had this year, it's surprising they tied for first place in the AL East, tied with the Yankees who had a poor pitching year as well. (Yankee fans like to think that their team won the East, but both teams had the same record, 95-67, [as did the Angels] with the Yankees being granted first place on the technicality that they won one more game against the Red Sox than vice versa. You could look at it from the other side, that the Red Sox won one more game over all other opponents than the Yanks.)

While I would have been very happy to see the BoSox repeat, they won the one we've all been waiting for. No other World Series win will ever mean as much as 2004.

So the Red Sox won last year, the Angels won their first ever in 2002, a happy occurrence (I was rooting for them all through that post-season), and the Yankees have just won too damn many Series. Time for someone else to have a chance. An attitude I know mystifies some people. As a gender, women tend to place much more importance on the issues of fairness and inclusion, the team over the score, which is not to say women are not competitive, just not as whacked about it as men too often are.

The Braves just can't quite ever quite make it quite to the finish, 14 straight division titles with only 4 pennants and 1 World Series win. But I can't feel sorry for Braves fans because, to me, the Braves are the National League version of the Yankees, shoved down our throats, at least here on the east coast, with a glaring lack of personality, corporate crews.

Houston is hard to get excited about, although I know Ron Briley would love to see them at the Dance some day and I'd like Ron to have that opportunity. But the Astros have Roger Clemens and I love seeing him thwarted. Yes, I blame the Rocket for the Red Sox' loss of Game 6, not Bill Buckner, because Rog displayed too much hubris by running down into the clubhouse to shave so he would look good on camera when he was interviewed, post-game, as the winning pitcher in the game that finally brought the Series crown back to Boston in 1986.

I'm not terribly familiar with the current White Sox, though I have seen some of them play with Charlotte, but the few I know I like, A.J., Timo Perez, and Jermaine Dye. My friend Statman would love to see his team win the Series, and I want that for him.

The fans of Chicago, both teams, have been denied a World Series win even longer than the Red Sox fans were, though without a doubt the BoSox fans have suffered the drought with more angst. Since the Curse was broken for the Red Sox in 2004, it would be fitting for the White Sox to finally win again in 2005, and should that happen, look for the Cubs to reach the pinnacle in 2014.