Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Game 136

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 8, Oakland Athletics

The funny thing about those West Coast games is that you can spend the evening doing something else and still catch the end of the 1:00 in the morning. I had forgotten, actually, that they were on the West Coast this week and thus expected to find a final score instead of a game in progress. Since I was in the Bronx at the time and since Nikki was watching TV (and because her computer doesn't seem to like to connect to Red Sox games...too loyal, I guess), I switched on MLB Gameday and watched as the bases filled up and then cleared to a three run double by David Ortiz off Arthur Rhodes. After I came back from brushing my teeth, the top of the inning was over and Mendoza was pitching with one out already recorded. Secure in my faith in the new Ramiro, I retired for the evening.

I apparently missed a game fraught with excitement, tension, controversy and upset fans who pitched plastic on the field. Manny and David hit back-to-back homeruns for the 11th time this year, tying Ted Williams and Jimie Foxx (1940) and Jim Rice and George Scott (1977) for the back-to-back record. Manny later made a rolling "catch" in left (sorry, no link - apparently this play was too controversial to put online) to rob Mark Kotsay of a hit. The problem, of course, is that the replay shows pretty clearly that the ball hit the ground first before Manny got it...but I give him an A+ for the effort (it really was a pretty cool stop). Gabe Kapler also made a great catch on top of Dave Roberts to rob Eric Byrnes of a hit. Yes, on top. It was like a weird piggy back thing and Kapler made it look like nothing happened. Byrnes was less than happy.

Speaking of controversy, the two hurricanes in the past three weeks have caused a bit of controversy in the AL East race. Tampa Bay was scheduled to play a day/night doubleheader against the Yankees yesterday (Labor Day), but they ended up postponing the first game because the Devil Rays were trapped in Florida by the weather and playing the second game on time. The controversy arises out of the timing of the Rays' travel plans: apparently Tampa Bay was supposed to leave (or the Yankees thought they should have left) on Saturday, before the hurricane hit the area. Yesterday, the Yankees thought they deserved a forfeit, but were willing to accept postponement of the game until the end of the season, dependent on whether the game needed to played or not. The league decided to make them play the doubleheader tomorrow instead in a single admission, back-to-back form.

My take on the situation: I think the league made right decision - and I'm not saying that because of my sympathies for the Sox. It's an unfortunate situation that occured, but A.) you can't expect the Devil Rays to leave their families and their homes in the face of a major natural disaster and be able to play well, so I think the Rays management did the right thing there. B.) As Bud Selig pointed out, any game the Yankees play helps determine where they'll be at the end of the season - whether it's in first place or not and whether or not they have best record in the league and thus gets to play the wildcard team. Clearly, simply giving them an automatic win wouldn't be fair to any of the other teams involved. Playing at the end of the season might not be such a bad option, but the Yankees were supposed to play a doubleheader this week and should forced to pitch Loaiza (ok, that IS my bias showing) instead of getting a situation where they don't have to pitch their weakest pitcher and possibly don't have to play a game at all because of outside circumstances. That doesn't strike me as terribly fair either. However, justice seems to have been done.

Johnny Damon is back tonight (and started the game with a homerun) and both Pokey Reese and Trott Nixon have been reactivated. Nixon may be back in the lineup tomorrow. GO SOX!