Thursday, September 29, 2011

'27 Yankees Retain Title of "Best Team In League History"

Their major threat, the 2011 Boston Red Sox, billed in January as the best team ever, failed to make the wild card today. 

That's okay, though, because it wasn't their fault.

NESN.com's Eric Ortiz:  2011 Red Sox Will Challenge 1927 Yankees for Title Of Greatest Team in Major League History

How Youz Doin Baseball's The GM:  Dan Johnson's Baby Shampoo.  No More Tears.



Y'all have a good Thursday.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

There are a lot of awful things that can and should be said about the Red Sox. But now I have to say I'm just disappointed that they didn't make the playoffs. For the last three weeks now this has seemed inevitable. But the majority of fans just kept hoping they would snap out of it. That they'd play good baseball. They never did. And now they won't play again until April of 2012.

--the Gunn

John said...

DV,

While I know you are relishing in the fact that you were skeptical in the beginning and have now been proven right(also that JD Drew is gone). I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were on Jose Reyes being taken out of the game after 1 hit, in fear that he may go 1-4 or something and lose the batting title, and on the Yanks blowing a 7-0 lead in the 8th(were they trying?).

John said...

Err, little more clarification on that last bit. I'm not saying the players were intentionally throwing the game, and I wasn't watching it so I'm not entirely sure how it all went down. Just wondering about some of Girardis(or Cashmans) choices about that game. Also, they have every right to throw whoever they want out there on the mound considering they actually showed up to play in Sept. and had clinched the AL East awhile ago, so I'm not trying to be bitter about this whole thing and blame the Sox missing the playoffs on the Yanks, just wondering what everyone's thoughts were.

the gm at work said...

Gunn,

I'm not. They didn't deserve it. Could you imagine them winning last night, then somehow eeking out a win against Tampa, and having to play Texas on Friday? There would be champagne parties on Thursday night despite a 9-19 finish, which is still beyond heinous. A starter would pull himself out of the game with a severe headache (i.e. still hung over), the starting pitcher would bitch about the dimensions of the Ballpark in Arlington, Francona would argue with the umpire but wouldn't get thrown out because he doesn't care enough, and Youkilis would talk about how MLB/TBS's schedule put the Red Sox at a competitive disadvantage.

Hey Gonzalez, glad to know you're oh-welling the collapse. Hope your sore shoulder gets better and that Ken Rosenthal helps you rehab it.

John,

I was not right. I picked the Red Sox to come in second. They even underperformed my low expectations.

Reyes is a pussy. I'm sure Carmine the Computer is sending Theo Epstein automatic alerts every fifteen minutes to expedite the trade process. The Red Sox really need more cowardly players that pull themselves out of games and care more about their fantasy stats than winning games.

When you have a seven-game lead with one to play, you can coast. And even when they coasted, the Yankees played hard in Tampa. When the Red Sox had a 9-game lead with 27 to play, they started coasting and played less hard than the Yankees did last night.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the sox are out. Not as much to needle boston. I would have been much happier about it from that perspective a few years ago. Not that you don't have some fun with it as a yankee fan - of course you do. But as I was texting to the Gunn last night, this is more about baseball for me. I want to win a world series and the sox are in the way of that. Anyone who thinks they wouldn't be - valuing their first 10 games and final 30 over their middle 120 - is slightly off base. Even though they completed the biggest September collapse in mlb history, this is still a talented tea. Say whatever you want about their attitude, leadership, and management - and a lot can be said. But you never want to give a team with that kind of talent a second life and you never want to see them playing with zero expectations. The sox would have been both of those things had they survived and made the playoffs, and the yankees found out just how dangerous those two things are in 2004. The yankees needed a sleeping dog to stay lying down and that's what happened. Sox would have wanted to do the exact same thing if roles were reversed, as gunn pointed out to me last night. That's what this is really about for me from a yankees perspective. And quite frankly, beyond that, I wouldn't say I feel bad for the sox. Not at all. But I have a lot of good friends from boston and I know how things like this feel as a sports fan. So while I don't feel bad for the sox, I do feel bad for them. They don't need my sympathy, but I think as sports fans you can always relate to how crappy it is to watch a meltdown in front of your eyes.

John -

I can't certainly understand where those questions are coming from. But there is no way the yankees didn't try to win that game. I know this to be true because I was watching and was absolutely freaking out at how tough they were playing tampa, wanting tampa to win and baltimore to lose. Girardi stated earlier in the week that mariano, robertson, soriano, and the three alds starters would not pitch wednesday because he wanted them on 2 days rest for friday's game 1. He used every other pitcher on the roster, and it was actually 2 of the better guys used who will be on the postseason roster who gave up the big 8th. Did they have a tough time, used to higher leverage situations, focusing in a meaningless game with that big of a lead? Who knows. It could have been one of those things that just happened. More than anything, game was still pretty safe until longoria hit the 3 run homer, and he's a pretty special player. It was yet another one of the better pitchers thrown who will be on the postseason roster who gave up the game tying shot. As far as the longo walkoff, scott proctor was one of if not the only guy left out there who was available, and he pitched 2 scoreless before giving up the game winner.

Now, did the yankees try their hardest to win that game? Of course not. It was their priority to get ready for friday, obviously. But in saying that, they played a very Aish type lineup, scored 7 runs off david price, held tampa scoreless for 7 innings with a lot of minor league guys and a few major leaguers, and took them to 12 innings. Given the relative meaninglessness of that game for the yankees - and given you could make the argument that it helped them to lose - they played that game pretty tough from where I was sitting. I know you mentioned you weren't watching, so just wanted to fill you in.

- pf

Anonymous said...

*i CAN certainlty understand where those questions are coming from.

**i wanted tampa to win and boston to lose.

- pf

John said...

Like I said I didn't watch it, but Burnett came in for 1 guy if I read the box score correctly? That was the decision I was questioning. Obviously health for the playoffs is way more important than playing spoiler for the rays(and savior for the Sox). I just can't imagine 1 batter being enough work if that's what they wanted. I was actually surprised that they scored 7 runs off of Price and glad it seemed they were playing to win. Anyway, that wasn't a huge deal for me.

However I think the Reyes thing is cowardly. Especially seeing as that could be his last game as a Met, you have to play him the whole game there and let the fans see him. Not sure if it was Reyes idea or their manager(whose name I can't remember and don't feel like looking up), but either way I think it was a bush league move. Braun went 0-4 so it didn't matter, but grow a pair and play the whole game, or at least most of it.

Anonymous said...

PF-

I watched some of the late innings of the Yanks/Rays game and can confirm the Yankees were trying to win that game as much as you could possible expect a team in their position to do.

Personally if I was Girardi I would have used fewer pitchers since the result of the game didn't matter to NY as far as their playoff seeding was concerned. Actually, if I'm Girardi, I'm seriously thinking about intentionally walking 4 guys after Tampa hit the homer in the 9th to tie the game (kind of how NFL coaches will go for the 2 point conversion in the preseason to avoid going into overtime). There was no benefit to the Yankees of going to 12 innings last night. None. As far as I'm concerned they did right by the game with their effort.

On the Sox, what a collapse. Honestly I looked at them up 3-2 in the 7th and knew they would lose. It's been that bad. I'm not sure how this compares to the Yankee choke in teh 2004 ALCS. On the one hand, the Yankees where on a bigger stage, playing for a trip to the World Series. For that reason I would say the Yankee meltdown of 2004 was of bigger magnitude.

However on the other hand, what made the Sox choke so bad was that unlike the 2004 ALCS Yankees, the Red Sox had a full month to turn things around and have someone (particularly in the rotation and bullpen) step up and make a play. The fact that a swoon like this lasted for a full month is just incredible. In a 7 game series, things can spin out of control very fast- you accept that. Over the course of 30 games, you would think the character of a winning team would show at some point. As the Gunn said, you just hoped they would snap out of it. They didn't. It was a train wreck.

bandi

Anonymous said...

Also, I heard a stat on WEEI the other day that for the month of September, the starting rotation averaged like 4 2/3 innings per start. I can remember the exact number but it was less than 5 innings, FOR A FULL MONTH.

When you start to get into some of the stats of this train wreck it is really incredible. I'm just proud that I haven't made distasteful disaster jokes during the Red Sox demise.

bandi

Anonymous said...

PF

I appreciate your position. Many Red Sox fans do need someone to feel bad for them today. I'm glad you're big enough to do it. It's a shitty feeling.

DV

My father is a pretty level-headed guy. He always marvels at how fans get so invested in a group of players who make such an obscene amount of money and don't care about the fans in the slightest way. And yet, he's still a serious fan. He wants his teams to win and he values the guys who are tough and clutch.

This morning he called me. He was absolutely furious. He ripped into Lackey, Crawford, Drew, Epstein, and others. I have never in my life heard him so angry about sports. Ever. That's as good a barometer as I can find for how disappointing and frustrating this team is. On a certain level, it's embarrassing. With the exception of Scutaro, Ellsbury, and Pedroia, nobody showed up in September. NOBODY. They didn't seem to care. There was no sense of urgency.

I don't think that character and chemistry matter as much in baseball as it does in basketball or football. But it DOES matter. And until the Red Sox realize that baseball players need to have a little more personality than their owner and general manager, they are in trouble. REMEMBER--Theo tried to get rid of Manny a dozen times (once for Julio Lugo and Aubrey Huff!). He didn't resign Johnny Damon. He let Orlando Cabrera walk. It was as if any player with personality and swagger was dismissed.

A talented player is a nice asset. A talented player who leads by force of personality is HUGE asset. The Sox need more guys like that.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

In my mind, there is no question which collapse was bigger- it just happened. I think the win was bigger for Boston in '04 than for Tampa today and that makes it hard to judge the losing team's role since it seems zero-sum. But I think in this case, it can be separated.

Fully agree with Gunn on the force of personality and such, call it whatever you want, but it can basically boil down to the old 'going gets tough, tough get going'. Who was tough? Well, the reverse would ask, who got going? And no one got going which, in sports, means the Sox will be going home. Great teams have it in spades and we could all spend days naming such players but the psychology of being the favorite is so difficult for a professional athlete- remember, almost everyone was in some way an underdog in the ridiculously competitive climb through the minors- that it takes a special factor, we'll call it EXPERIENCE, that allows teams to pull through those times when they are not living up to those lofty expectations.

The 120-game comment is really appropriate for this team. Take out the stretch at the start where the Sox were 2-10 and cut out the end, starting with the NY Yankees win at the end of August, and we have 80-41, a 121 game period of .661 baseball. 107-55. We'll call this the 'Adjusted JD-Drew Pythagorean Expectation of a Mentally Weak Team' in honor of my poster child for this past five years and the number of games that are used to calculate the extrapolated winning percentage but 107 is pretty good, maybe not 'bestest ever!!11!' but strong enough to host some playoff games.

I think the hardest part of this collapse is how little everyone seems to care. Me included, but my dad too, and obviously a lot of guys here are more disgusted than gutted. My roommate- huge baseball guy- just hates the team. This generally uninterested reaction is a sad day for North American sport and makes me wonder what it will be like in ten years when MLB kicks off a 12 team playoff. Go Celtics.

TimC

Anonymous said...

John -

I can understand the question on burnett. That one actually has a pretty straightforward answer. Burnett is not going to be in the rotation in the alds as they are going with a 3-man rotation. He's going to be in the bullpen, and girardi wanted him to get the feel for warming up in the pen and coming into the game without having him work too hard so that he is available for game 1.

Bandi/gunn -

Good points all around. I think you both touch on an important topic. In this statistical age in baseball, I think there has been a tendancy to be all the way in one camp or another: players are numbers or players are humans. When the truth is they are somewhere in the middle. Yes, stats in baseball are much better indicators of productivity than in football or basketball because of the individuality of it. No, the human element doesn't impact baseball quite as much as football or basketball because it's harder to carry a team and will your way to a win, again largely because of the individuality and lack of teamwork needed in most elements of the game. But that doesn't mean that the human side should be completely diminished or dismissed. You still need guys who step up when it counts (as bandi alluded to) and you still need guys who have that refuse to lose, outgoing personality (as the gunn alluded to). This sounds obvious enough intelectually, and I think everyone would agree it exists to a certain extent, but even still I think it is largeley undervalued by some teams in the game today. And I do think its's trending back towards being more of a balance on this front. I don't think this was solely responsible for the sox collapse - there were clearly other things at play - but you can certainly make a case that it was a factor. For all that we talk about pedroia's grittyness, maybe there wasn't enough of that, a willingness to grind it out and find a way to win when things weren't going the sox way.

- pf

the gm at work said...

Yankees tried last night. No question there. I think the preseason football game analogy works here, and this is the way the Red Sox should have been playing yesterday had they not pissed away an eleven-game lead in a month and a half with their sloppiness, coasting, and complacency.

Speaking of complacency, Adrian Gonzalez has REALLY soured on me the last three weeks. First it was the calf injury that he hit the home run on before taking himself out of a pretty meaningful game, putting in freaking Lars Anderson who ended up letting a ball go into the dugout instead of catching it. It's okay, gotta play for October and make sure your guys are rested. Then it was the sore shoulder thing. Have the balls to say it to your beat writers. And now he apparently has this "oh well" attitude about how his team choked. God's plan, huh? Guess what? This isn't San Diego. This is where you don't believe in curse and make your own destination and failure isn't divine intervention but poorly executed free will. That's crap.

The Yankees' collapse happened over five days. This was 32 days when they decided it was still okay to coast. Think there was coasting going on while the Rays were losing? Could be.

I do feel bad for the fans. The players deserve it 100%. The fans don't. I do anger instead of sadness, but there are some sad people out there. This was six months of their lives. If they watched every game on their televisions, they decided to commit themselves to this team more than the players did.

And that's probably why Gunn's dad was so pissed off. He cared more than the players did.

While I think intangibles are largely overrated, boiling the team down to twenty-five JD Drews, which is what Theo has constructed, is the other undesirable extreme.

Ross Kaplan said...

Is there a new Buckner Curse caused by his recent appearance in a Curb Your Enthusiasm?

the gm at work said...

No. It's because there was no enthusiam to curb for this group of uninspired spoiled rotten players. Except for maybe the enthusiam to get to 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 40 stolen bases, and other figures that are poised to show up in a free agent binder.