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Scott Boras Must Be High on Drugs

If you’re in need of a good laugh, wait no further. We have Scott Boras to credit for the following knee slapper:

Agent Scott Boras told reporters that New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada’s four-year, $52.4 million deal, which was agreed to last offseason, will serve as a benchmark for any team looking to land [Jason] Varitek.

God bless the almighty Rotoworld for passing that snippet along. Need I remind you that Jorge Posada batted .338, with 20 home runs, 90 RBI, and nearly a 1.000 OPS in his walk year? Needless to say Jason Varitek’s .220 and 43 RBI performance last season is worthy of a Posada-like contract. There was a time when their career numbers were quite similar, but there’s no doubt that Jason Varitek’s offensive production has fallen off a cliff the last three years. And if Boras thinks teams will pay $13 million a season for a defensive-minded catcher with a reputation for winning (don’t think that won’t change when he catches Cincinnati’s pitching staff), he’s absolutely on drugs. I wonder if Boras also planned to marry Heidi Klum coming out of college. Nothing wrong with setting your benchmarks high, right?

Why Wasn’t David Price in Earlier?

Look, I’m not saying that the Rays would have won the game otherwise, and I’m certainly not saying that the Phillies didn’t earn the World Series title — they did. But if there’s one issue I have with the way Game 5 finished out, it was that David Price didn’t enter the ballgame until it was too late. I know there were some complexities because the pitcher spot was due up 4th in the top of the 7th for the Rays, so you had to realize that whichever pitcher started the 6th would probably be lifted for a pinch hitter afterward. Funny thing though: J.P. Howell relieved Grant Balfour in the 6th and wound up batting in the 7th (he put down a sacrifice bunt) anyway. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: whenever possible, I always want to lose with my best available pitcher on the mound. Plain and simple.

People in Boston get upset about Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in too long against the Yankees back in ’03. I still say I’d rather lose with Pedro on the hill than some chump like Mike Timlin, you feel me? Even though David Price is extremely young, he has the best stuff of anyone that was available in the Rays pen in Game 5. To me it’s a no-brainer who you trot out there — you go with your best pitcher — David Price. What’s the worst thing that could happen? A veteran like Pat Burrell touches him up for a home run and they lose 3-2? How is that any worse than Geoff Jenkins beating Grant Balfour, Pat Burrell beating J.P. Howell, and Pedro Feliz beating Chad Bradford, in that order? Even after the double to Burrell, how don’t you put Price in there to try and get the critical strikeout so that the runner isn’t moved to third base with less than two outs?

I hate to nitpick here, but it’s no secret I was pulling for the Rays so it just bothered me seeing Joe Maddon handle his staff differently from the way I would have. And just so you know I’m not a results-oriented Monday Morning Quarterback, I thought Maddon mismanaged the 8th inning of Game 7 against the Red Sox pulling Garza too early and bringing Price in too late there too, it just happened to work out that time.

Phillies Fans Are Drunken Riotous Messes

You knew it was going to happen the moment the Phillies won the World Series. They didn’t quite burn the city down, but they did their share of damage. Of all the celebration videos I found, this is probably my favorite. Here’s an excellent taste of the drunken Phillie fan in celebratory mode (language is strong):

I’m guessing Lenny Dykstra would approve. Running a close second to the drunken subway chant would be Philly fans jumping on a taxi in the middle of the street, not to mention bringing down a fence. Oh, they’re so charming!

Fay Vincent Rips Bud Selig for Handling of Game 5 Rain Delay, Barry Bonds

****Check out my podcast on KNX 1070 in LA along with reporter John Ramey as we discuss the World Series****

I’ve already said that there was no clear solution for the problem the rain presented in Game 5 of the World Series. While I agree that suspending the game was the right thing to do, I believe Bud Selig is lying when he says he was planning to suspend the game all along and that he wouldn’t let the game end without all nine innings being played. If that were the case, then why didn’t he stop the game half an hour earlier when conditions were out of hand on the field? One person who believes Selig has bungled matters is none other than former commissioner of MLB, Fay Vincent. As a guest on The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio, Vincent said that one of Bud Selig’s strengths is the way he handles the owners on issues behind the scenes. However, Vincent said exactly what many fans have learned: Selig doesn’t handle on-the-spot moments very well. As he said on the show:

“I agree with those who say that [playing in those conditions] was just too dangerous. It wasn’t baseball that was being played, and for my money it would have been better to have canceled it long ahead of time and come back and play a full nine inning game in better weather. … They weren’t really playing baseball [Monday] night in that weather and I don’t think anybody was getting anything out of it. I think it was unfortunately it was an attempt to get the game in for a variety of reasons — all of which are economic — one regrets that because baseball deserves better.”

It’s much easier to say that when you’re out of the spotlight and don’t have to answer to all the TV execs from FOX and all the advertisers that had millions of dollars on the line, but no doubt Fay Vincent speaks the truth with his statement. Vincent made it a point to say that Selig also screwed up the All-Star Game when it ended in a tie, saying he would have come up with some sort of solution on the spot to determine a winner. Then when he was asked about the way Selig handled the celebration of Barry Bonds becoming the home run king in baseball, Vincent was incredulous at how ambivalent Selig was:

[Read more...]

Rain Postpones Game 5, Forces Rays to Switch Hotels and Move to Delaware

There are a lot of people whose shoes I would not like to be occupying at this time. The list pretty much starts and ends with the big wigs making the decisions behind the scheduling of the MLB playoffs, e.g. the executives at FOX and the executives of MLB. They already started one World Series game at 10pm Eastern Time over the weekend, all but eliminating the young fan base, and now they’re being jammed up by the weather in Philadelphia. There might be some things I would have done differently, but there’s no question that they have tough decisions to make and no clear solutions. Additionally, two people whose jobs are less than enviable at this moment are the travel directors for both the Phillies and the Rays.

As ESPN was going into its 3rd hour of “live from the dugout weather report” following Monday Night Football, several contributors mentioned that the Rays had to switch hotels and move to Wilmington, Delaware. The team had anticipated that Game 5 would be played Monday night and that the Rays would be returning to Tampa win or lose, so they had checked out of their Philadelphia-area hotel. Having the game postponed by rain meant the team would have to spend at least an extra night in the city. The hotel they had been staying at already sold out the rooms they had been occupying, so according to several ESPN commentators, the Rays had to move hotels to one in Wilmington. Unfortunately after phone calls to several Wilmington-area hotels, I was unable to confirm these reports. Either that, or the woman at the Marriott who said she couldn’t tell me if an entire group was there but could tell me if individuals were checked in was trying to hint at something. Too bad I didn’t have the Rays’ hotel aliases handy.

Joe Blanton on Home Run: ‘I Just Closed My Eyes and Swung Hard’

Something about unexpected home runs in the playoffs has yielded some fantastic quotes lately. We had Matt Stairs admit all he does is swing for the fences. Now we have Joe Blanton, the Phillies Game 4 starting pitcher, say the home run he hit in the 5th off Edwin Jackson was just pure luck.

“I just close my eyes and swing hard in case I make contact,” said Blanton. “That’s really the only thing I can say.”

Blanton had one hit in 16 at-bats since the Phillies acquired him on July 17 for three minor leaguers. The uh, slump, dropped him to 2-for-26 (.077) in his career. He raised his career average to .103 last night and – while it’s mildly amusing to point out the puny numbers – the fact is Blanton has more hits this World Series than Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria.

Honestly, between Blanton in Game 4 and Brett Myers against the Dodgers in Game 2, what is up with the Philly pitchers creaming the ball? And how brutal is that for the Rays when Joe Blanton has out-hit their number three and four hitters for the series? I may be wrong here, but just like Ryan Howard getting hot, the Rays big hitters may be poised for a break out. Unfortunately they’ll have to face Cole Hamels to get it done.

McCourt Goes Parcells on Manny, Calls Him ‘The Player’?

Surfing through what was otherwise a fairly boring T.J. Simers column, I came to one note that stood out in particular. According to Simers, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt was referring to Manny Ramirez in an interview with Mason and Ireland on 710 ESPN in Los Angeles as “the player.” Simers made a crack about McCourt forgetting his name, but that got me thinking. Without actually being able to hear the audio, I couldn’t be sure of the context (the podcast wasn’t downloadable for some reason), but is he going all Bill Parcells here and pulling the T.O. “the player” crap? Who knows.

What we do know is that Manny has the Dodgers by the ***** (nuts), and that they’re probably going to ante up somewhere between $70-75 million over three years. I’m guessing he winds up signing around a 4-year $100 million deal elsewhere and McCourt makes his excuse to the fans that they made an offer and tried their best. McCourt pretty much has no choice but to step up to the plate here unless he wants the Dodgers averaging another 2.5 runs per game next season. Maybe he has some underlying frustration because he knows he’s screwed, or maybe he’s just mad about having beer dumped on him by Manny. That could be it.

And I thought these two were pals!