That which doesn’t kill you will make you stronger

August 21st, 2006 → 1:48 am @ // 24 Comments

Believe me, I know how much this sucks. I stayed up until 1:30, too. I also had to wake up at 6:30 in the morning. And I also had trouble sleeping. That was a brutal, brutal game. A brutal game in a brutal series in a brutal month.

So take a day off. Take a week off. Don’t read the sports section. Don’t listen to ‘EEI — or any sports radio, regardless of where you live; it’ll only make you depressed, or mad, or both. Take a walk. Treat yourself to a nice lunch. Find something to be thankful for — the weather, or the lobster roll at Legal, or your family, or your dog. If you don’t live in New York, be thankful for that: there’s nothing like a couple of days of intense humidity to bring out the stench of rotting garbage. Look on the bright side: now you can schedule that October vacation. And remind yourself: it’s only a game.

Then, if you still find yourself itching for some baseball, watch this. There’s no way you won’t get goosebumps. (You can also read my book. It’s cheery. Inspiring, even. Honest.) And remember: This is not 1986, or 1978, or 1975, or 1967, or 1948. This is 2006. The Red Sox won the World Series less than two years ago. They won it by staging the most amazing comeback in the history of sports. They won it by sweeping the best team in the National League. And they will win it again.

I promise.

***

EDIT: Despite all this optimisim, one thing I need to get off my chest. For two and a half years, Francona has been a good manager — good on-field decisions, good handling of an oftentimes tough clubhouse, good dealing with both rookies and veterans. But he blew it big time last night. Papelbon hadn’t pitched in four days, Timlin’s been a mess and Javy Lopez (the pitcher, not the catcher) had been called up about 2 minutes before he came in the game. I know Francona wanted to try to keep Pap fresh for today, but last night was a two-inning save situation if I ever saw one. And then asking Youkilis to bunt over Ortiz was a horrendously bad move. Despite chugging around first after his shot down the line, Ortiz is, to put it mildly, not a fast dude. And Youk? He has exactly one sacrifice in his professional career. And that includes the minors.


Post Categories: Videos that restore faith in humanity

24 Comments → “That which doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”


  1. Count

    8 years ago

    What a horrible, miserable loss. Thank god for 2004, otherwise we’d never hear the end of this series (Shaughnessy would probably write 3 or 4 books about it).

    By the way, nobody’s probably noticed this with the general awfulness of this series, but Manny’s been ridiculously good these past few days.

    The one redeeming moment in this game, and probably this series, is Gabe Kapler’s dive. I hope it gets on youtube soon, I was laughing hysterically for the next few minutes.

    Reply

  2. CT

    8 years ago

    We may win it again, but it won’t likely be anytime soon.

    Schilling, Papelbon, Ortiz, & Manny have carried this team. 14 months from now Schilling will be gone. 2-4 years from now we may no longer have the best 3-4 combination in baseball.

    Beckett
    Lester
    Hansen
    Delcarmen
    Papelbon

    Those are the guys who are supposed to carry the pitching staff soon. It’s hard to imagine everyone but Papelbon will turn it around between now and 2007 opening day.

    So let’s be honest here. This “step backwards” might last 5 years or longer. Our young pitchers are getting hammered and they aren’t going to turn into Cy Young candidates within the next 6 months. There are no big power impact players in AAA or AA.

    If the Red Sox do not put together another legitimate World Series contending team during the 2-3 years we have remaining with Ortiz & Manny….it will be one of the most idiotic decisions in Red Sox history.

    Reply

  3. Ogie Oglethorpe

    8 years ago

    I’m not psyched about the way this season is turning out by any means but what decision are you talking about “CT”? I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with your take on the young arms and the opportunity potentially lost with Manny and Papi but what decision are you talking about? Not trading Crisp, Hansen and Lester for Andruw Jones and then spinning him for Oswalt? Or not signing Damon? I don’t think either of those deals would have changed much of anything. The Tavarez and Seanez signings have turned out really bad but what were the alternatives? Farnsworth? I personally wanted the Sox to go after Tom Gordon but him puking before Sox/Yanks games is kind of unsettling. If you were the GM what moves would/could you have made to make this team a contender?

    Seth, how about a Blog entry revising history as far as personnel decisions that could have made this a contending team? I just don’t think people are rational enough around here to realize that this could be a lot worse and I’m not sure what opps the front office passed on that would have dramatically changed this team. Everybody can point out it’s mistake (Renteria, Clement, Seanez) but I’d like somebody to come up with a realistic plan that they could have employed (given that the Sox want to avoid the luxury tax) that would make this team significantly better.

    Reply

  4. Count

    8 years ago

    It’s extremely pessimistic to write off the Red Sox beyond this year. There’s a great core to work with next year, a usually good front office (though they seem to have trouble with pitching), a large payroll, and some good prospects (although obviously some of them have struggled in the majors).

    Reply

  5. zoowah

    8 years ago

    go Tigers!

    Reply

  6. gmschmidty

    8 years ago

    The Good news is Mike Timlin figured out what the problem is: the offense. So in the offseason we can unload some of our 40+ year old relief-pitching surplus and go pick up another bat. Could you imagine how good this team would be with its solid bullpen if they could just add say, one or two legitimate MVP-type hitters. Ugh. I miss 2004 more and more each day. I am starting to feel vitriolic about this team. Looks like Epstein was right, again: about 85 wins.

    Geoffrey

    Reply

  7. Bill Pratt

    8 years ago

    Good advice on restoring all the wounded souls out there. You do a real public service.

    While admiring your respectable restraint in leveling legitimate criticisms at the Manager’s pitching decisions, the critique really should be a bit sharper regarding one season long trend. How many times have we seen him pull a starting or relieving pitcher that is cruising along? Tavarez, surprisingly, was in that zone in the middle of the series opener only to be pulled for Hansen and Timlin resulting in the touch down sized meltdown after gaining the lead. I am sure there are a lot of reasons that come into play beyond, “He’s looking good, let’s leave him in”. But it’s hard to argue with Occam’s razor. Simply put, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

    Reply

  8. Kevin

    8 years ago

    Papelbon came up about as huge as you can last night, considering his stats when he has to go two innings.

    Coco is failing in the leadoff spot, and nearly every pitcher is going too long or too short.

    Reply

  9. cursemyreverse

    8 years ago

    There’s going to be another books worth of material in the fallout over this series. Get ready for the ugly! I do have to say this, the rookies keep blowing games like these at home with the frenzied and desperate fans, they might not ever recover to reach their potential. We certainly have seen more than a few careers bascially ruined in large market experimental bullpens. So maybe Tito could not leave them out there to fail, and instead let Tavarez fail some more since no one will care as much since they already hate him. Not exactly out of the managing textbook, but we need Hansen et all to be good. And everybody knew that game was lost as soon as Paps came in with no outs and the bases loaded, if not before the game even started. How ugly can it get? Tomorrow will tell I fear. If this was a video game I’d be scrambling for the reset button.

    Reply

  10. scottyb

    8 years ago

    As a Yankee fan it has given me great joy watching the games this weekend, especially after reading your book ie love letter to Theo Epstein.

    You are the biggest homer on the internet which would be one thing, but then also you take any shot you can at the Yankees. How quickly payroll has become an issue after this latest massacre! Get some new material Seth.

    You are a good writer, even if I hate what you write; but you can’t fluff the Red Sox and hate on the Yankees at every moment. Give credit where credit is due.

    Let’s not forget the Red Sox had two incredible week and 88 years of misery; you can’t blame that all on payroll.

    Perhaps John Henry should stop lining his pocket and spend his profits on his product (for which the Red Sox fans pay the most of anyone).

    Reply

  11. chasdanner

    8 years ago

    Well, you can’t discuss the Yankees without bringing up payroll. The Yankees and Highest Payroll are like some grotesque conjoined twin. Yankee fans will never admit they don’t like needing the highest payroll to win, even though they haven’t won. The same way that they won’t admit they don’t like the team they have now anywhere near as much as the did the dynastic team with it’s clutch and likeable core of no frill/no big contract role players. I as a Red Sox fan will admit, freely, that I don’t want even the second highest payroll in baseball. I want a farm system. I want new young exciting players that our coaches and fans have been grooming for years in Lowell, Portland, and Pawtucket. I want the payroll flexibility to run a versatile winning machine over 20 years, not a perpetual non championship team like the yankees of this decade. It is more fun, as a baseball lover, to win without paying the luxury tax. The same way it’s more fun as a baseball fan to watch the success of the small market teams run well with less money. I want to beat Goliath with shrewd intellect. But again, the Yankees have not won a world series in a long time, especially by their standards. Being suddenly like 3 games over .500 against the Sox since 03 doesn’t really paint a picture of recent unending misery for me. I’ll take every single crushing defeat as the setup for the 04 ALCS, every time, lifetime after lifetime. It was all so worth it. You do not truly enjoy the sweet without first tasting the sour. Save the 80s, which weren’t exactly crushing for Yankee fans, they have never tasted the sour. By the way, the Sox, and the Yankees have actually lost money for the last bunch of years, if I am not mistaken. What I understand is that the Sox are attempting to fix that. Losing money is losing money, and partners are involved not to get free tickets and autographs for their nephews, I assure you. Unless you have some well thought out idea to present, take your schoolyard flames somewhere else. And spend your energy praying your pitchers can win a postseason series, or that arod can come through and magically develop confidence he doesn’t need to aquire from a coach on the phone, because you see denial is not just a river in Egypt anymore. (and no, “At least we’ll be playing in the postseason” is not a valid response)

    Reply

  12. JJ Gittes

    8 years ago

    I’m sensing a need for a virgin sacrifice…

    And btw, come on, enough with the Gordon puking thing. Go down the list of plyers in the NHL, NFL, etc. who HAD to purge before a game to get into game shape.

    Reply

  13. Ogie Oglethorpe

    8 years ago

    Hey “scottyb”,

    Greatest colapse in the history of sports…and it was for the right to go to the WS. This is a series that isn’t taking place in September or October….

    Reply

  14. Trouthead

    8 years ago

    Is Timlin just out of gas or just too old. Does he need a week off. or to be used much less. I can’t remember the last good outing he’s had.

    Unless the Boomer can go 7-8 low scoring innings with the Sox putting up big offensive numbers, the road trip is not going to go well.

    The Angels and the A’s are not the Yanks, but no bull pen is still no bull pen. I am not seeing the type of performances that leaves me feeling confident that the Sox will make the playoffs. Maybe Delcarmen,and the rest of the pen would stand a chance if Beckett and a few others would get past 5-6 innings.

    Reply

  15. upsidepotential

    8 years ago

    Just wanted to say thanks. What I really needed this morning was for someone to blow smoke up my ass about how the future’s so bright. I haven’t had enough of that from Theo lately.

    Here’s my question: Has anyone noticed that Theo has decided the Red Sox won’t win the AL East — ever? He said it on the trading deadling (We know the Yankees are going to win 95 or 100 games and we worry about them in October). October? In a few weeks, it will be 10 years in a row the Yankees finished first in the division. Why isn’t that a major thorn in Theo’s side? Where did his competitive zeal go?

    Another thing: This team may well be built on a sold nucleus of young players in the next couple seasons. But this team was in FIRST PLACE at the trading deadline. Theo didn’t expect them to be there, but they were. It was a fact. Where will be on 7/31/07? and 08? Who knows? (And now Theo’s crying poor mouth about resources, too. Hey, half of the salary the Yankees are paying out is to guys who aren’t even playing — Sheffield, Matsui, Carl Pavano, to name just a few. Seth: good research topic — what’s the payrolls of each team for the guys on the 25-man roster today?) Now, no one’s advocating mortgaging the future, but a bird in the hand …

    Speaking of birds, should we start a pool on when the Blue Jays overtake the Red Sox for second place?

    I’m going with Sept. 3.

    Reply

  16. deversm

    8 years ago

    File under “Just What We Needed”, but Will Carroll over at Baseball Prospectus sounded a warning on Papelbon today.

    Reply

  17. scottyb

    8 years ago

    “I want the payroll flexibility to run a versatile winning machine over 20 years, not a perpetual non championship team like the yankees of this decade.”

    The Yankees have won just as many championships as the Red Sox this decade.

    “It is more fun, as a baseball lover, to win without paying the luxury tax.”

    Would I prefer my team to win without paying the luxury tax, sure but George Steinbrenner doesn’t need any more money. George bought the team for under $20 million dollars thirty-three years ago and it is now worth over a billion dollars. I like that the owner has decided to spend some of this money instead of giving it to his grandkids.

    “Save the 80s, which weren’t exactly crushing for Yankee fans, they have never tasted the sour.”

    I was born in 1977. I grew up during a period where the Yankees were awful! I followed the team threw the worst decade of their existance, in 1989 saying the Yankees had 22 championships didn’t really matter to me as I hadn’t seen them succeed. 1996 was an incredible experience for me and I will never take winning for granted. It won’t last forever, this I know.

    So many Red Sox fans are extremely intelligent and loyal. When your team won I was happy for my long suffering Sawx friends, but its just sad how everytime the Yankees take a lead the payroll discussions come out.

    “Greatest colapse in the history of sports…”

    It’s sad how this is how you view that week. That sentence gives your team no respect, it was a pretty good comeback by a team that was clearly better. It’s that Boston inferiority complex that has people at a Dave Matthews Band concert yelling “Yankees Suck.”

    Reply

  18. miles44

    8 years ago

    It’s all Theo’s fault that Wakefield, Varitek, Nixon, Clement, Foulke, Gonzalez, and DiNardo are hurt. It’s also Theo’s fault that Wells, Crisp, and Pena were hurt earlier in the season and missed large chunks of time. The Yankees would never have allowed this to happen! This is why we always lose!

    Thank you ladies and gentlemen, that’s my impression of a WEEI caller today. I’ll be here all week, try the veal!

    Reply

  19. tommyk8

    8 years ago

    I have been searching deep within myself to try to find a positive in the midst of this 5 game debacle, on our home field, being humiliated by Johnny Damon and the Yankees. And here’s what I came up with:

    1. Watching the games on TV, I have seen no banners or posters held by Yankee fans with “1918″ on them. I have seen no pictures of Babe Ruth. There has been no discussion of curses, or ghosts. There have been no derisive chants referencing 86 years of futility. At the very least, we don’t have to suffer that indignity ever again.
    2. I can only hope that losing in this fashion to New York stiffens the resolve of Theo and the ownership team to turn this around beginning in 2007. I hope the players remember how this series felt, and that they owe the Yankees one in a big way.

    That’s what I’ve come up with so far. I’ll keep searching.

    Reply

  20. crimsonohsix

    8 years ago

    tommyk8: one thing that is positive about this series is the return of foulke. He looked pretty darn good today, and seeing jeter strike out way in front of his signature changeup gave me a little bit of hope for a turn around…

    Reply

  21. HFXBOB

    8 years ago

    I agree, and I thought so at the time, it was a huge mistake not to have Papelbon start the eighth. I’m sure if the situation was reversed, Torre would have had Rivera start the eighth. Joe learned his lesson in 2004 ALCS game 5 when he let Tom Gordon start the 8th instead of Rivera. Sometimes you have to take the best shot you have right now.

    The Sox just lost game 5, which was only slightly less predictable than Tiger winning the PGA. Somewhat perversely I look forward to the final commentaries on this now complete debacle. My only way of getting through this is to imagine what I would feel like now if they hadn’t won in 2004.

    Reply

  22. jeremyz

    8 years ago

    They won it by staging the most amazing comeback in the history of sports.

    Thanks for this — I don’t think people in Boston truly understand how lucky we’ve been over the last few years.

    Most sports fans in this country are lucky to experience once what we experienced first in Super Bowl XXXVI and then again (in an even more extreme fashion) in October ’04.

    The 2004 ALCS was quite literally one of the most incredible stories in the history of sports. That phrase — “in the history of sports” — is almost too big to wrap one’s mind around. It’s easy to say that, for example, no one’s hit .400 in MLB since 1941, and we can quickly calculate that it’s an impressive feat, not having been accomplished in over a half-century.

    But ever? In any major U.S. sport (but hockey)? And add to that the qualitative Sox-Yankees story underlying the accomplishment, and the Yankees’ place at the top of the athletic pyramid for most of the 1900s — for THIS TEAM to do THAT against THEM…it’s fundamentally unsurpassable.

    We lived it. The capital-S Story of the Boston Red Sox ended on October 27, 2004.

    I feel lucky to have been on the right side of that event. The Schilling meltdown in Game 1, and The Ass-Whooping in Game 3. The Steal and The Single and Big Papi II in Game Four. The Passed Balls (accompanied by The Claw-the-Rug Episode in my den) and The Bloop in Game Five. The Bloody Sock and The Slap in Game Six (I was at this one, and I think I’m still harboring residual fear that Tony Clark’s going to hit a bomb off an obviously gassed Keith Foulke to bring down the Stadium around me). And of course, The Slam, The Momentary Crowd Rejuvenation, and The Whimpering Exit in Game 7.

    The 2006 club is just a flawed team that doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs. It doesn’t mean they’re screwed for the millennium or the decade or even next year. I had hoped that 2004′s legacy would be nothing if not calmness in the face of failure.

    We are no longer in danger of never living to see a Red Sox championship. Let’s enjoy our summers, eh?

    Reply

  23. PatsFanDK

    8 years ago

    My Plan For 2007:

    1. Papelbon goes into the rotation. So now you have a rotation of Schilling, Beckett, Paps, Lester, Wake. Cross your fingers Schil stays healthy and Beckett figures out how to pitch.

    2. Trade and/or sign a closer to replace Papelbon and a setup guy to replace Timlin. I’d go for Linebrink to setup. Suggestions are welcome for who would be the closer. DO NOT hesitate to trade Delcarmen and/or Hansen. These are setup guys for heaven’s sake, not can’t miss studs.

    3. Make a strong push for Andruw Jones. Imagine Papi/Manny/Jones 3-4-5. Devastating. Would have to trade Coco, Wily Mo, and perhaps a prospect or two. The only problem here is Atlanta wanted Lester when this trade was explored earlier.

    4. Right field is an obvious question mark. Someone help me out here! Other small moves need to be made…backup catcher possibly, SS (I’d re-sign Gonzo), 2B (Pedroia or Lugo).

    It’s a start anyway…

    Reply

  24. jack mccarthy

    8 years ago

    I know this sounds like a cliche, but there is a lot of baseball left–including some more head to head games with the Yankees. Baseball is a game of streaks. At the beginning of the season, the team over performed. Since the fourth of July, they have underperformed. They are better than this. You know it and they know it. Things can and often do happen. Wells, Wakefield, Schilling and Beckett have big hearts and pride. Lester is learning a lot about himself. I’m not saying they are going to win the World Series, or even the Wild Card, but it is possible. And, if you love baseball, just open yourself to the possibility that anything can, and often does happen. Enjoy the baseball and it may surprise you. I still believe in this team’s defense, their OBP and their slugging percentage. The arms are tired (maybe dead) because they’ve been abused. But they are better than this and this, too, pass.

    Reply

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