Schilling Mojo: ‘This is about winning the World Series,’ redux

October 20th, 2007 → 6:57 pm @

I’ve been criticized as of late for not posting with the frequency that you’d imagine the post-season would necessitate…and understandably so. Believe me, it hurts me more than it hurts you. Presently, I’m in San Francisco for a two-part wedding: this morning was the Sikh ceremony; the Hindu part of today’s festivities begins in about an hour. (The fact that I’m here and not in Boston should give some sense of how much I care about said couple.)

To make up for it, here’s a look back at one of the Sneak Peeks I ran back before Feeding the Monster was published. (You know – the bestselling book about the Red Sox. You can buy a copy from Amazon for $10.20 – cheap! – and request a personalized, signed bookplate all in a couple of seconds.) This one details the day after Thanksgiving 2003, when Theo et al were negotiating with Schilling in an effort to convince one of the best postseason pitchers in the history of the game to sign in Boston. The two sides were discussing sundry bonuses…when Curt reminded everyone what this whole thing is all about.

You can read the rest for yourself. I don’t want to spoil the ending. Now, on to Game 6…

Post Categories: 2007 Playoffs & Cleveland Indians & Curt Schilling & Feeding the Monster Sneak Peeks

If not now, when?

October 10th, 2007 → 3:29 pm @

So writes Adam Robertson, who goes on to say, “I keep checking for updates and am always disappointed to see an old thread on there…a lot to get excited about right now.” (The rest of his note–“By the way, I read and really enjoyed both of your books”–warmed my heart.) Adam’s missive comes a day after Akiva Yasnyi was even more to the point: “It’s the postseason for god’s sake, blog a little.” And indeed, it’s been two days since the Yankees were sent packing, three days since the Sox swept the Angels for the second time in four years, five days since Manuel’s first-ever walk-off as a member of the Red Sox…and I haven’t written anything for a week. My excuse–too much to do, too little time to do it in–doesn’t cut it. I know. I’m sorry.

It is, unfortunately, true — honest. I haven’t even allowed myself to watch this season’s premier of the best show on television, and that unfortunate reality will keep me from writing anything too monumental (or at least anything that’d require hours or research). But there have been some thoughts swirling around in my muddled brain, and I’ll unload some about Game 2 here:

The Mrs. and I had the good fortune to be at Friday night’s game. Or most of it, anyway: despite leaving New York at 2:30 for what should have been a 3.5 hour drive, it took us a full seven hours to arrive in Boston, and we didn’t arrive at Fenway until the top of the third. That, it turns out, wasn’t such a bad thing: Most of Game 2 of the ALDS was pretty boring. Dice-K was off, and therefore not around for long. Neither the Sox nor the Angels put together any kind of real rally. There were no slap-your-head defensive gems. And Fenway was, for most of the night, slightly less electric than during a tight regular season game. (Example: the three mildly drunken guys sitting behind us had a lengthy conversation about MILF Island–Jack Donaghy‘s new NBC reality show with the tag line, “25 super-hot moms, 50 eighth graders, no rules”–and I followed along.) That all changed, obviously, in the ninth, when, as soon as it became clear that Ortiz was going to get a chance at the plate, everyone pretty much went apeshit. (Another quick observation: three years after the ’04 playoffs, the Sox are still playing “Lose Yourself” when they’re either tied or behind in the ninth. It is truly this generation’s “Eye of the Tiger.”)

That apeshitedness died down a little when K-Rod was ordered to give Ortiz an intentional pass, and not just because Senor Octubre wasn’t going to get a chance to add to his already jaw-dropping post-season legacy. It is because, as brilliant and majestic as Manny is, he doesn’t have much of a history of huge, late-in-the-game hits. (I was astounded when the Fenway scoreboard informed the hoi polloi that Manny had tied for the league lead in game-winning RBIs with 17…but only until I realized that a game-winning RBI can occur in the 2nd inning.) In fact, the man who still seems destined to break Lou Gehrig’s all-time grand-slam record had never had a walk off homer as a member of the Red Sox. (To put it another way: he has one less than Julio Lugo.)

That, of course, is no longer the case, which is cause enough for rejoicing. More exciting is the extent to which that ball was absolutely crushed. I’ve been at Fenway for almost 100 games over the past several years, and that was one of the three hardest hit balls I’ve seen. (The other two: another Manny bomb over the Wall and the rocket A-Rod launched off of Schilling in the ninth of the first game after the ’05 All-Star break.) It also was the type of swing that Manny unleashes when he is locked in and ready to roll, and I haven’t seen that happen since the waning days of 2005. (Indeed, I didn’t think the Sox had any real chance to go all the way that year, but I wanted to playoffs to go on as long as possible just so I could keep on watching him hit.)

Manny’s not the only one who seems dialed in, although Ortiz was pretty on the ball for all of last season. And having these two hitting at the same time is one of the things that, when it occurs, separates the Sox from other teams.

To be sure, they’re both going to be needed. If I wasn’t such a Sox partisan, I’d be tempted to say that the Indians are, pound for pound, the best team in baseball. I didn’t relish the idea of a Sox-Yankees ALCS not because I was scared of the Yankees but because as much as I relish beating New York, the whole Clash of the Titans thing is getting a bit tiresome. That said, I knew the Indians are a much better team. But not a perfect one, by any means, and the biggest weakness on their roster is Joe Borowski, one of those jokes of a closer who somehow amasses a large number of saves. If there’s been a team that good with a closer that imminently hittable, I don’t think I know what it is…

Post Categories: 2007 Playoffs & Cleveland Indians & Manny Ramirez & Yankees