Sunday, September 25, 2011

Random baseball thoughts

I know someone usually takes the fall for an epic collapse like the one the Red Sox are currently experiencing. The Saux are in serious danger of missing the playoffs because of their terrible play, with only the fact that they still have a 1 ½ game lead with only five games left in the season the one thing they have going for them right now. But the notion that Red Sox manager Terry Francona should lose his job over this September swoon is just insane.

Before Francona, the Red Sox were best known as a bunch of dysfunctional losers that hadn’t won a World Series in 86 years. With him, the Red Sox ascended to the top of the baseball world twice, once at the expense of the New York Yankees. Sure, 2007 was a long time ago in the baseball world (and the Yankees have won another world championship since then), but no manager has handled the unmerciful Boston media and the expectations of Red Sox nation better than Francona. If the Red Sox decide he should take the fall if the team misses the playoffs, I think that’s a decision they would regret very quickly.

• If the Yankees hadn’t been playing the Red Sox this weekend, I would have already gone to see Moneyball. I’m curious to know how they turned a book that was often a very difficult read into a movie that is getting rave reviews. I’m sure having Brad Pitt star as Billy Beane helps a lot.

• Just when I thought Major League Baseball was finally rid of another steroids guy, comes word that Manny Ramirez is seeking reinstatement into the game. Ramirez famously quit on the Tampa Bay Rays rather than serve his second suspension, this time a 100-game ban, for testing positive for a banned substance. He probably needs the money to pay for the lawyers who will defend him against domestic violence charges. But I hope that Bud Selig can find a way to decline the reinstatement request. If that can’t happen, I hope no baseball team chooses to sign him. His “me-first” attitude was already getting old even when he was knocking balls out of the park and carrying teams into the playoffs. I doubt anyone’s going to have the patience for a washed-up version of Manny being Manny.

• Speaking of Selig, he is finally making his big move in his quest to rid his sport of Frank McCourt, asking a bankruptcy judge to reject McCourt’s plan to auction the television rights to broadcast Los Angeles Dodgers’ games. I’m rooting for Selig to win this battle and find an owner that will restore the Dodgers to glory rather than use them as his personal piggybank.

• I’m really glad Major League Baseball and the players’ union are embracing the idea of a one-and-done wild card round in the playoffs. I love the idea of having two teams duke it out in a sudden death game for the right to advance in the postseason, ensuring that the playoffs do not drag out any longer than necessary and creating even more excitement in the September division races.

Thanks to SixFourThree via Wikipedia for the image.

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