Monday, October 31, 2011

Defining Moments

I'm well underway, not on the homework I should be working on, but on compiling some notes to formulate some "best of" posts.  For example, I know exactly how long (three years minus a week) that we were graced with the presence of a gentleman from the Bronx, found one of the two contrarian comments posted by my girlfriend from the comfort of her work-study job, and many other classics that we are all going to enjoy.

What I have also been able to enjoy over the past five baseball seasons is not really being able to miss too much Red Sox baseball due to my responsibility to How Youz Doin Baseball, which is really our creating and something we should probably have pride in for the rest of our lives.  In these five seasons, I have isolated one (maybe a few more for the '07 season) defining moment, each of which I will post below, say something about, and link to a How Youz Doin Baseball classic post.

2007:  Game 1, World Series, Dustin Pedroia leads off with home run against Jeff Francis.  After coming from behind against Cleveland in the ALCS, Pedroia hits the home run, sets a tone of "screw you guys" for the entire series, and blows out a team that had a hand that was arguably hotter than the Cardinals' hand this year.  Pedroia is simultaneously running the bases and running his mouth, screaming at Francis.  He apparently got stopped by a security guard at Coors Field before Game 3 and told the security guard to "ask Jeff f***ing Francis who I am."  The team, even JD Drew and Julio Lugo, fed off of Pedroia's energy after Francona had the balls to keep him in the lineup while slumping early.

Pedroia also inspired this classic from my co-author after he was talking in the papers about how terrible Daniel Cabrera was at pitching.  This was after getting drilled by Cabrera.

2008:  Game 5, ALCS, Coco Crisp singlehandedly salvages Red Sox season.  As someone who fought tooth and nail defending Coco Crisp between December 31, 2006 and the present, Crisp's ballsy game in Game 5, most notably his 10-pitch at-bat that really defines how different the current Red Sox are from even the 2008 team where he fouled pitches off and got an RBI single, was the most inspirational moment of my time as one of HYD's co-authors.  Better than the 2007 World Series.  Perhaps the third-best Red Sox moment of my life behind the 2004 World Series win and the Dave Roberts steal.  Pat's post regarding this moment literally brought tears to my eyes, both at the time and today while I tracked it down. 

Please give it a re-read:  "You Can Thank Coco."

2009:  Game 3, ALDS, Papelbon blows save, loses game.  This was defining in many ways:  Papelbon had a season that was bad but insanely lucky.  He was walking guys, putting guys on, surrendering hits, surrendering doubles, surrending home runs, almost constantly, but people who just looked at the numbers said "NUH UH HE IS INTSNSE ON TEH MOUND!!1"  Speaking of misleading stats, this was also the year JD Drew had the second-highest OPS of all AL outfielders.  Luck caught up to Papelbon in this game, and it was a relief for everyone.  The Red Sox, who spent the entire season whining about one thing or another, no longer had to play baseball and could have either hunting time or tee time all winter.  But once the season was over, we didn't have to see any more tears.

It was foreshadowing of this year, to be honest.  And it was also the least-likable Red Sox team ever until Adrian Gonzalez iced it with his Ken Rosenthal shenanigans.

2010:  August 28, Boston at Tampa.  Boston's up 1-0 behind Clay Buchholz, who was about two months removed from pinch running in a game because the Red Sox were so shorthanded (but JD Drew still asked out of this game).  It's the bottom of the seventh and Matt Garza's pitching for Tampa - a guy Boston for some reason could never hit.  After Buchholz threw a one-out pickoff attempt into the dugout, sending Carlos Pena to third, Matt Joyce hit a foul fly ball to right field.  The logical move would be for the right fielder to let the ball drop, especially as Joyce was hitting .230 and Buchholz was having a career year and a great game (surrendering three hits). 

JD Drew, for the first time in several months and actually for the last time in his lackluster career, made an effort at a baseball move and made a circus catch in right field.  Pena tagged up and scored.  Dan Johnson later hit a home run, similar to a 2008 incident and, of course, a 2011 incident.  According to Drew "instinct took over" after he was thinking "let it drop, let it drop."  A dumb, dumb baseball play, and really the de facto end of the team's contention that year.

2011:  September 27, Tampa at Boston.  In the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox are down 4-2, and 46, who may be the fastest guy in the American League, had just stolen second base.  There are two outs and Pedroia is at the plate against Jeff Niemann.  Stealing third base provides absolutely zero value, but 46 went for it anyway so he could pad his fantasy stats and write another page in his free agent binder.  The MVP candidate was undoubtedly one of the players Francona cited when saying some players failed to focus on team goals, instead prioritizing individual goals, and this play was inexplicable any other way.  Of course, the team ended up collapsing, inspiring one of the most explosive runs of commentary on this site.

What are your defining moments of the HYD era?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

DV

Game 5 of the 2007 ALCS. I remember telling anyone and everyone that if the Sox won Game 5 they would win the series. And they did. It's the biggest moment of the HYD Era for me for a few reasons--it was the biggest win of the 2007 season. They crushed the Indians in Game 6 and 7 (though Game 7 was closer than people imagine right into the seventh inning) and steamrolled the Rockies. Game 5 was also the last time things were dramatic that year and the win really catapulted them to the title. Moreover, At that point Josh Beckett was every bit as good and reliable as Curt Schilling had been in 2004. It seems crazy to say that now after all the injuries, underperformance and indifference he's exhibited since, but back then? He was a different player and the sky appeared to be the limit for him. He was, believe it or not, clutch. He gave up just four earned runs in 30 innings during those playoffs. Which was frankly Pedro-esque. It was the last time anyone could honestly compared Beckett to the greatest players in the game.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

That's a good one, and I am especially happy that you did not cite the following game, where Curt Schilling had a terrific pitching performance that nobody recognizes, just to bust my balls.

But you're absolutely correct about Beckett that year. He was fantastic, he was willing to get an avulsion on his finger (unlike 2006), and stayed in shape throughout the year (unlike 2008-2011). He was the closest to Pedro we got since Pedro himself.

He has not been healthy in a September or October since. Does it have anything to do that he showed up to camp in 2008 looking like Hideki Irabu? Probably a good starting point.

the gm at work said...

If you think about it, both of our most memorable moments of the last five years have been Game 5 of the ALCS. I think this accentuates the nature of Game 5 as pivotal.

Anonymous said...

I have three defining moments of the HYDB era. They really run the entire spectrum.

The first (and maybe most important) defining moment wasn't even baseball related, but rather the loss of the Patriots to the Giants in the Superbowl at the end of the 2007-2008 season, and the subsequent Patriots fan despair and Giants fan jubilation, some of which made it onto this blog.

I am someone that admittedly walks around with bleep-eating grin most of the time, but I don't think it was ever bigger than after that game. It was so annoying dealing with Patriots fans all year that knew nothing about football, and seeing it all come crashing down was just beautiful. I was literally walking around laughing afterward because I couldn't contain myself.

The second defining moment wasn't really a moment but rather the period of time when the Major Bandi Question Marks (Phil Hughes, IPK, and Joba Chamberlain) met their Yankees demise (at least for that year) a few years back (was that 2008?). To be honest, I didn't even think I was going to be right about them- I was just bringing that up to piss off PF. Of course that season worked out better than I could have possibly imagined in that regard.

It also marked the falling star of PF's baseball knowledge of this blog. I don't think any of us could have predicted it. It was Shakespearean in nature.

Lastly, the 2007 ALCS was a lot of fun. Any time the Sox come back from 3-1 it's a good time. It was really the last really feel good experience for Sox fans. I'd say the grace period is over.

bandi

the gm at work said...

Bandi,

I'm glad you brought that up (and I just texted him about how in the Pedroia post I linked to, you told Pat you hated him and said he was a "Yankee-loving douchebag"). Being a Red Sox fan over the last three years, perhaps excluding when Darnell McDonald, Ryan Kalish, and Daniel Nava were raking, has really been a soul-sucking, unpleasant experience. The 2009 team was a bunch of entitled whiners, the 2010 team fell apart and caught a foul fly ball in one of the dumbest baseball plays I've ever watched, and the 2011 team made the 2009 team look like the Greatest Generation. I did still enjoy the 2008 team, especially because Coco Crisp hit like .280 and had that supremely-inspirational game about which Pat wrote the post "You Can Thank Coco." Pedroia's season was also pretty special that year. But it hasn't really been fun since 2008.

I could just imagine what you're going through as a Raiders fan.

the gm at work said...

Also, the way you busted Pat's balls so unrelentingly regarding the three question marks was excellent. Thank you for that. If you remember, Pat even wrote a post about "Major Bandi Question Mark Phil Hughes."

Anonymous said...

DV,

I just read that. That's hilarious. The 2007 version of me was cool and would say things like that with no remorse (even if it was tough in cheek). Apparently I've "matured" enough since then to not call people douchebag's on the internet.

bandi

Ross Kaplan said...

From the Yankees fan perspective, it's too easy to say the defining moment of the HYD era for me came from the World Series winning 2009 season. The defining moments that really changed the team and my attitudes as a Yankee fan in this era are all loosely related:

1. Torre's firing/resignation/non-renewal of contract (leading to Girardi)
2. George Steinbrenner's diminishing influence/death (Cashman's influence increasing)
3. Cashman's focus on the Draft/prospects

I was always a big baseball fan, but before HYD came to be my knowledge of prospects, sabremetrics and other nitty gritty aspects of the game was basically zilch.

The rise of HYD surreptitiously coincided with the rising importance of prospects. True, the top Yankees prospects I remember talking with Pat about in 2006 haven't panned out as we hoped, but I feel like watching these guys grow up through the system has given me a greater appreciation of the game. I remember a time in which I was ignorant of prospects where I probably would've wholeheartedly endorsed the proposed Hughes/Joba/Montero for Santana, but thanks to the new found appreciation I found for prospects, I actively rooted against that trade and the like. Thank you Pat and DV for helping me become a better fan.

Anonymous said...

The defining moment for me over the years has been copying and pasting this blog (and comments)into an email to send to myself so that i could actually read these at work where i would sometimes get very riled up to the point where i would write comments at work only to see that a point would be made before my arrival home. -Jason

the gm said...

Guys,

Love the after-business-hours comments. Sadly, Bandi, most Internet comment sections are littered with people who never grow out of calling each other douchebags over the Internet. I echo your sentiment over loss of youth.

Tank,

[Insert Andrew Brackman joke here.] Over our time here on the blog, similar to the rise and subsequent moderation of sabermetrics, people were able to get their hands on a plethora of information about minor leaguers, college players, high school players, and draft picks that were never really previously available. Also, similar to sabermetrics (and global warming???), people liked to make a big deal out of their new-found information to justify that they had not spent their last several hours on complete bullcrap. So people got this irrational wood about mid-level prospects - you know, guys like Michael Bowden, Dellin Betances, and Austin Jackson (he's a fine player, but I thought he was gonna be Willie Mays). In the aftermath, it seems that people have calmed their craploads a bit.

But I'm honored to have made a difference. Thanks for reading.

Jason,

We're here to rile people up, and we both apologize for not being online later to answer many of your late-day comments.