Last night the 2008 Baseball Season officially came to a close with the only 3-1/2 inning World Series game ever. It is now winter. Close the windows, turn on the heat and pack in for the next 111 days (or so, I’ll have an exact count when the schedule is announced). A few things to consider while you miserably picture the long, Soxless months ahead:
The end of the baseball season last night was as it should have been three days ago. The Phillies won 4-3 (2-1) in a game that lasted about 50 hours. The heroes were the unexpected and the expected. Geoff Jenkins led of the second half with a double and came around to score his first run since August 11th. Chase Utley made the big play in the field that the star was supposed to make (that fake to first then throw home play was sick. Seriously, he faked out the camera, the runner at first and Bartlett at third). That is the play that changed the game, he was not going to get Iwamura, but the fake, like every good fake, got somebody to make a mistake. Carlos Ruiz also made a great catch and tag. Pat Burrell hit a double in what will likely be his last at bat in that uniform. And then Brad Lidge, who converted every save opportunity he was given this season (47-47) made plenty of people nervous, but did what he always does. Ryan Howard’s tackle of Lidge and Ruiz after the final out was awesome. Congrats to the Phillies and the entire city of Philadelphia.
There is nobody who I am happier for in the aftermath of last night’s game than the ageless Jaime Moyer. He was born and raised in Philly, was old enough in 1980 to have been at the last parade through the city to celebrate a World Series Championship, and last night, he seemed to be in that rare heaven reserved for kids who dream of bringing their hometown team a title. He deserves it. The fans were relatively sedate, the police out in force and the city is still standing. It was great to see.
Something that many Phillies fans can now tell you is that it’s all right to cry in certain situations. I spent a wonderful late night on October 27, 2004 (if you don’t know, you don’t get it) with tears in my eyes and hugging strangers in the street. So please, get off of Paul Pierce. The other night (as we have gotten used to around here) the Celtics put on a great show in raising Banner 17. It was scheduled down to the minute; where everyone would stand, who would do what, and who would say what. All except for the speech by our Captain. It was the one genuine moment of emotion on a night when emotion was the goal. Yes, it was selfish, and sounded more like a retirement speech. Yes, he did fail to thank his teammates and the fans (both of whom he has thanked at every other opportunity). It was not embarrassing (especially after he went out and scored 27, dominated Lebron, and showed why he was the captain). It was genuine, and at the end, as he thanked his Mom and Red, I couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed myself. So sue me.
One final thought before I bundle myself up and make some soup. Over the Monster had a great rundown on the Captain Question the other day. It laid out for all to see how Tek stands up with the other catchers in the offensive categories. It puts out the same plan that I preferred a week ago (resigning Tek and bringing in someone who may replace him in the future – Salty?) and also gives an interesting read on Dusty Brown (not Dusty Pete) who is the highest upside catching prospect in the Sox system. The one stat that I am interested in is the pitching staff’s ERA with him behind the plate, and their ERA with Kevin Cash back there (3.67 for the Captain. 5.71 for Cash – not including the Wakefield factor). This is where his value is, where he really shines, and if everything else is average (which it balances out to be) then this information is what puts him over the top. So, stop hating on Tek, and let the Sox make their decision. (Please, Theo, no Pudge Rodriguez. We’ve already had the real Pudge, and this one isn’t even a shadow of what he was).