Monday, July 11, 2005

Games 86 and 87: Stupid Club

Final Scores:

Game 86: Boston Red Sox 1, Baltimore Orioles 9

Game 87: Boston Red Sox 1, Baltimore Orioles 4

Is Bruce Chen a member of the Rodrigo Lopez Club yet? Is his application in process, a sure shoe-in while the existing members prepare the traditional welcome feast of roast duck with a side of total offensive shut down? Even the presence of the Stopper couldn't stop the horror, as the Orioles served up a second course of the Club's namesake. Do other teams have nemeses like these? Do their fans take the time to put them in little clubs? I know Tim Wakefield always does pretty well against the Yankees, but is going through some sort of major meltdown right now and I can't get to his player page, so I don't know if he's in the same league.

Actually, I'm probably going a bit overboard welcoming Mr. Chen to the club - he had a LOT of defensive help: web gems from Luis Matos and Brian Roberts that killed rallies and two good snags by Melvin Mora and again, Luis Matos to ensure that Kevin Millar went hitless. The first catch by Matos was the real killer, though, as the centerfielder reached over the centerfield fence to rob Big Papi of a three run homerun which would have made the score 4 - 1. Whatever the cause though, a disappointing end to the first half of the season. Still, the Sox are still in first place for the first time since 1995, the last time they won the division. Johnny Damon managed to extend his hit streak to 25 games with two singles on Saturday and a popped-up bunt in the ninth inning yesterday and continues to make his push for this year's batting title. The Sox are at or near the top in most offensive categories. Matt Clement will now be Boston's fifth All-Star, after Roy Halliday unfortunately fractured his leg in a game on Friday. There are all those games against Tampa Bay coming up in the second half. Good things, good things.

I've finally figured out why I hate Tim McCarver and Joe Buck, the FOX baseball broadcasters, so much: they don't focus on the game. FOX had the game on Saturday and because my girlfriend is a goddess among women, she surrendered the TV of her volition, so I had the chance to study the phenomenon in its full effect. Rafael Palmeiro, who's closing on the 3,000 hit mark, soon to join the elite club of players with 500+ homeruns and 3,000+ hits, had just hit a homerun, one of three he hit this past weekend. Joe and Tim not only bring up the 3000 hit milestone, they spend a good ten minutes talking about Palmeiro: his career, his abilities, the fact that he's never been an All-Star and that someone on this year's roster (I've forgotten who, but there was a possibility he would have to bow out and I don't think it was Kenny Rogers) should give up their spot so he can be an All-Star once in his career. Except he's hitting .269 this year and there are already four first basemen (Teixeira, Hillenbrand, Konerko and Sweeney) on the squad who are much deserving of the honor. Riiiiiight.

Having picked up on the All-Star Game theme, the two announcers then spend 15 minutes talking about the All-Star Game and who should start the game for the National League: Roger Clemens or Chris Carpenter. I checked; neither one of those pitchers nor the teams they play for were in Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Saturday. Meanwhile, the two teams who were playing get a small comment every minute or two. Guys, if I wanted to listen to talk radio, I would have turned that on instead. If you're too boring or too ignorant to be able to offer detailed commentary on the game your channel is broadcasting, do baseball fans everywhere a favor and resign now.

The real story behind the firing of former Red Sox team doctor Bill Morgan
...or at least as much of the real story as we're going to get. I think a lot of people ignored the firing after it happened for two reasons: first, they couldn't believe the Sox would arbitrarily can someone who helped the dream come true and second, the move smacked of so much evil that we couldn't believe those lovable Boston boys would be capable of doing it. This story is definately part of the dark site of the organization we know and love.

Doom and gloom about Johnny Damon's shoulder in the Providence Journal. If Krasner is right and Damon is one bad landing from season-ending surgery, we're all in trouble - he's pretty irreplaceable this season. In fact, he's been so irreplaceable this year that I wonder what Theo's plan is for the upcoming contract negotiations with everyone's favorite agent, Scott Boras. Good leadoff men are in short supply and Damon knows he's one of the best. That said, if he hurts himself physically, he hurts his contract chances as well. All-Star appearance or no, that hurt shoulder will need as much of the three days as possible, for the good of both Johnny and the Red Sox.

I may break my normal moratorium on All-Star-Game-watching, since there's so much Red Sox representation and more importantly, a win once again garners the all-important home field advantage in the World Series. Homerun derby tonight with its international theme and golden ball, All-Star Game tomorrow night, with Mark Buerhle (AL) and Chris Carpenter (NL) getting the starts. GO AMERICAN LEAGUE!!!

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