The Playoffs Are Near and Our Health Meter is Rising.

     Some fans are starting to give Drew some praise for his recent success, as he has been on base 24 times in the past 11 games.  After I had to listen to numerous shots at him for the first part of the year, the Bostonians are coming around while he is playing well.  What a surprise…Red Sox fans.  The fourteen million doesnt, and never did help the situation, as a player making that much money will be expected to contribute immediately.  But Drew did not, and simply had to listen to the boos and sighs that come along with playing in Boston.  The guy is a pretty good player, and will prove it throughout the contract, at least when he is on the field.  But getting on him all year has been a little unnecessary.  The walk is not exactly an exciting feat from the bleacher seats.  And many Red Sox fans may never embrace him because some may think that drawing a walk has nothing to do with the hitter, as they believed in the very early 1900’s and did not even include them in the box score (as I learned in James’ Historical Baseball Abstract).  He may never be embraced because he doesn’t roll around in dirt and rub it all over his face intentionally (Trot Nixon).  And he may not be embraced because he will probably never be worth $14 million in a single season.  That does not mean that he will not be a pretty good player, but that he probably will not be THAT good.  I know this, if JD Drew is not the focal point of this offense it will be ok.  But if Ortiz and Manny decline some more, and the team does not go out and sign someone who will help the offense, then it will put even more emphasis on Drew, and that is not a good thing.  It is fine if he is the fourth or fifth best offensive player they have during the remainder of the contract.  But I don’t like relying on him.  Pretty good player, great at getting on base, has all five tools, but he is not great, and I never thought he was [great]. 


     An excerpt my Dad sent me in an email, formulated by Bob Costas:

            "Wild Card Playoff – Bob Costas says kill the wild-card and give the best record in each league a first-round bye. His argument revolves around the importance of pennant races to the game of baseball. The wild-card spot negates any pennant races, since second place wins a post-season spot, too. He says that the end of the season is more exciting without the wild-card."

      "This is some of what is in his book called "Fair Ball".   The Wild Card does nothing more than let 2nd place teams (which have already proven that they are not as good as the team above them) a possible shot at playing in The World Series.  For 95 years no 2nd place team ever played in The World Series.  A bunch have in the last 12 years.  This down grades the integrity of the World Series and kills pennant races forever.  This all came about after the strike to ****** in "uninformed fans" to watch more games and have more teams still hanging around at the end when they shouldn’t be just to bleed every last dollar from fans that they can get to make up for the greedy players and owners 1994 strike that took steroid home runs to fix.  Yes. THIS year it looks like the Red Sox will take 1st place.  The 2nd place finisher sould be done.  But this also applies the 2004.  I was on the field at Fenway Park in 1967 when the Red Sox clinched the American League pennant.  Nothing has come even close to that in the last 40 years.  I can’t imagine how I would have felt at the end of the day if they would have said " Hey.  You guys have to go and  play the Twins again tomorrow and beat them again to see if you can go to the World Series".   The 2 BEST teams should be in the World Series every year.  If it is the Yankees every year because they spend more money then so be it.  MLB should fix THAT separate issue but not allow subpar teams in as a cheap way out to keep fans (and Donald Fehr) happy."

(Edit: The second quote is actually my Dad’s as he has carried this opinion ever since the Wild Card came into play.  He actually said he was driving down 125 (road in NH) I believe and they announced it on a sports talk show.  From what I could gather from the way he described it, there were fast food napkins strewn across the interior and ketchup packets entangled with mustard packets.  And the air freshener became best friends with the open road.  Ok, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but he was disappointed.  Originally, I had thought the entire email was Costas’ opinion, but my Uncle informed me that the second part was my father. 


     I agree with this, and Costas makes many valid points, but the financial situation in my opinion needs to be taken care of first. 

     If clutch doesn’t exist to some, do not tell that to Padres fans as Brian Giles hit a magnificently clutch home run last night. 

     Eric Gagne was not as miserable last night as he has been at times since being acquired by the Red Sox.  But he still let two base runners reach, and had to be relieved by Papelbon with two outs in the 8th.  Papelbon came in and threw one pitch getting out of the jam.  The Red Sox built the lead up to 7-1 in the bottom of the inning, and Papelbon was given the rest of the night off.  They brought Papelbon in to get out of the most critical situation.  They did what they should have done.  No one could have foreseen that they score more runs later in the inning, but regardless, Papelbon could have put down four A’s batters if necessary. 

     I was watching the "Gameday" version of the Yankees and Devil Rays last night, and was wondering where Joba Chamberlian was.  Farnsworth pitched the 8th.  Ok, I mean someone had to pitch it and it was against the 8, 9, and 1 hitters.  The ninth went to Veras who did not give up any runs, but still Joba was the better option.  But in the 10th, in a tie game, Torre turned to Jeff Karstens over Joba or Rivera.  Why?  Torre has the most dominant arm coming out of the pen in Joba Chamberlain in all of baseball lately.  Now this could be because no one is familiar with him, but still he is mowing hitters down.  So why did they not use him?  They could have used Joba in any single inning, whether it was the 8th, the 9th, or the 10th.  But they didn’t, and if some huge collapse took place, and I mean huge, then this would be the biggest reason why.  But Francona likes to mismanage the bullpen too, so it is familiar territory.   




    a couple of things:

    i find it interesting that as soon as your team pretty much clinches the division you post an article dissing the wild card whereas you had been pointing out all of the good things about it when you thought your team might end up with it. do you even realize

    how this makes you look?

    J D Drew. why are you obsessed with him? i know you will deny that you are, but why don’t you look back at all of your posting over the season and you’ll see a clear pattern. your team has had a number of guy who have played amazingly this year and have really pulled more than their weight –youk, lowell, and pedroia. they have SAVED you guys what with the disappointing season you have gotten from manny and big papi. why not spend a bunch of time defending lugo , another big time loser .

    can you explain it? were you a big fan of drew when he was on the dodgers? it’s not as if it even looks like he cares one way or another what happens.

    maybe you just like guys that despite their endless failures really get out there and bust their *** for their team…well drew certainly doesn’t fit in that category.

    so what is it with j d drew ?

  2. joseph

    I dont like people criticizing a player because he does not show emotion, I guess. No one knows how he really feels and how much he really cares. So I guess I am defending him because he gets such a bad rap for this. We don’t know either way, and the guy has been hustling all year. He doesn’t trot down the baseline nearly as much as a guy like Manny does.

    Also, I love OBP and the main thing he brings to the table, offensively is this. He has just been the most intriguing player for me. I also had to listen to people at work say that he is a [decent] player when the signing was made, although I disagreed. Overpayed, yes, but better than decent. And also, if you go back and read all my blogs, people at work tend to fuel many of my topics.

    And one more thing, players like Pedroia, Tek, Youk, etc, they get loads of praise, and it isn’t as though I don’t commend them for what they have done at all, just not as much as others.

    And as for defending Lugo? He was a [decent] player when we signed him. I didn’t think he was all that good anyway. Decent player who should have benefited from that giant monster lingering in left field. He is better than his final numbers will indicate, but he is still basically average.

    Mike, I pointed out positives in the Wild Card in that blog, along with the negatives. I don’t know if I made it clear, but I want to rid of the Wild Card, but I want a salary cap in place first. There are positives to it, and negatives. I posted Costas’ opinion because it makes sense. And I think you may agree that over the course of a 162 games season a team should prove where they stand, and a first place team should probably not have to face the team that finished second place again in the playoffs. This is not a knock on the Yankees, this season. My Dad has been telling me this since 1995. And I have had many debates about it, positives and negatives included. It increases some of the excitement, but the true fans would stick around even without a Wild Card. However, I dont agree with the bye week necessarily. Back to the two division format would work too. Not to mention my Dad sent me this email [today] and that is why i included it.

    That part that says “the second place finisher should be done” is not something I agree with until the salary cap is there. So don’t think I am diminishing what the Yankees have done [this] season. That was not my intention. Even if they put in a salary cap it may take four or five years or more to get back to a level playing field and then that is when they should rid of the Wild Card. Let’s face it though, the Cubs are the team this season that represent the negative in the Wild Card. And now they have a chance to win a World Series, even after a very slow start, and not exactly having a [dominant] finish (They finished the season well, but luckily they are in a terrible division). And I know they are the division winner, but the three division format/wild card opens up for this. The Yankees are not the problem because all four AL teams are so close it isn’t a big deal. Whoever wins the AL is the best team in the AL this season, period, and hopefully the AL will win the World Series so that we don’t have to have a repeat of last season, unless it is the Yankees of course :).

  3. joseph

    By the way 2004 is a very good example of the Wild Card situation. I believe that we had the best team from the trade deadline on. You may disagree, but that is beside the point right now. There are three different scenarios that that could have happened had there been no Wild Card that season.

    On July 31st, when that trade went through, the Red Sox were 8.5 games out, chasing a very good yankees team. Had there not been a Wild Card and they had been this far out, they could have:

    1) Folded and traded a few players that they were going to let walk the following offseason, Pedro, Lowe, to name a few. Not that this would have happened, but it was a possibility.

    2) They could simply have played the season out, trying to win the division with the current roster and ultimately failed.

    3) Or this could have taken place earlier in the season…They could have traded Nomar earlier than July 31st hoping that they can win the divsion. This is what I mean about less panic. When they initially began slipping out of contention in the divsion they could have tried and pulled the trigger on a trade to give the team the best chance to win.

    Just a few thoughts I had though.


    I agree with Costas 100%.
    Get rid of the Wild Card immediately, this season, it is a scourge upon baseball.

    I also like his point about the team with the second best record in the league getting a first round bye.

    Yeah, I really like that one.

  5. joseph

    Yes, but I guess it was the timing of this that got Mike mad. This is the first year I have been blogging about baseball and I develop my opinion a lot more with research, etc. I may have pointed out flaws, and stuff in 03′ or 04′ but it would not be as evolved/or clear. I mean the further I go back the less I knew. I mean I could go back to 93′ and say Griffey was the best player in the game as I thought he was. And when people said Frank Thomas was, I was like, “No way.” But I based this on baseball cards, so what I was saying didn’t have any real researched evidence behind it. And little did I know, Bonds was actually the best, but I didn’t like him either, so i wouldn’t accept that. Now granted, I was 12, but I wasn’t oblivious to the game.


    I think you have a right to change your opinion.
    For example, next year I may be all for the Wild Card and believe it has the same rank and decorum of respect that is afforded to a division Champion.

    I just don’t feel that way this year and I don’t think I’ll be changing my mind anytime soon. I’ll let you know in three games.

  7. joseph

    Haha. I didnt change my opinion all that much. I would say that I was a little indifferent toward it, but the last few years I have begun leaning toward getting rid of it.


    No ‘leaning’ for me.
    I make up my mind and stick to it.

    (I mean I look at the standings, make up my mind and stick to it.)

  9. PAUL

    Let’s see how you feel about J.D. Drew after he repeatedly strikes out and pops up with runners in scoring position during the playoffs or commits a baserunning gaffe as he did for the Dodgers last season against the Mets. When he’s been relied upon as an important part of the lineup in every one of his playoff appearances, he’s failed miserably.


    ” I have stated my position on the Wild Card in the past, but am going to do so again. I think it is good for baseball since there is no salary cap currently”
    Joe Veno September 19, 2007

    listen, i appreciate how much time you take everyday writing a coherent, well written piece about all different topics in baseball for people like me to read. your blog is certainly something i look forward to each day.

    i also like that you make an effort to address questions some of us might have.

    let me say that i am not , nor was i, mad about what you wrote. yes, the timing is certainly suspicious, but as you say, you can’t help that your dad sent it today.

    obviously i went back and re-read your piece on the wild card and although you do bring up certain points against it, the general thrust of the article is for it.

    of course, maybe bob costas just made a convincing enough argument to change your mind. why not? i think he’s the best sportswriter/broadcaster out there. if that was the case then perhaps you should have made that clear in todays post. then you wouldn’t have looked like a hypocrite.

  11. joseph

    Well, if he does do that, and I am aware of his postseason failures, is it because he doesnt care? And he is not relied heavily upon as of now. The Dodgers batted him fourth during most of the season and were basically saying you are the centerpiece of this offense. If he was the centerpiece in Boston, then I would be very worried, but he isn’t. They had Kent and Nomar (Kent being age 38, and Nomar being a lesser but still solid version of his past self), but we have Manny and Ortiz, and others.

  12. joseph

    Yes and my opinion was to get a salary cap and rid of the Wild Card, right? And I stated in both blogs that I want to get rid of it, but first want a salary cap. This below is from the first blog about it:

    “How to solve this? Implement a salary cap and rid of the Wild Card once the finances level out some. Or even keep the Wild Card if the MLB wishes to do so, as the lack of a salary cap is the larger issue here”

    I agree with what Costas is saying. The 162 game season should show who is the best in each division, but until the game is “fair” then they should leave it. I think the lack of a salary cap is the bigger issue here. And Keith Law said the other day that he does not think it matters much, that with the development of players, even small market teams can compete. I disagree. The development of players is going to help anyone, but now the Sox and Yankees are developing players too. And they have the ability to sign players for $20 million to go along with this. So it will be just as hard for the small market teams to compete. Not to mention the fact that some teams avoid drafting some good players in fear of not being able to sign them.

    Sorry for the confusion, but the entire season I have felt the same way. Need salary cap first, then get rid of the Wild Card.


    Joe’s dad sent me the same thing this morning and I’m confused.

    Joe, the first paragragh is Costas but, isn’t the second paragraph your dad?

    It was your dad that went onto the field when they clinched the 1967 pennant(not costas).

    Bob has a scoreboard sign taken from the green monster on that day.

    I don’t remember what team it was (CLE or TEX) something like that.


    here’s the thing; you obviously hold some strong opinions on which you eloquently expound. however your analytical mind can’t help but play devil’s advocate with itself sometimes because you often lay out arguments against the points you are trying to make. it is all well and good to explore both sides of an argument, but sometimes, maybe, you do it too well.

    just my take on it…but hey, we had a great conversation today. it’s good when you “stir the pot”


    And don’t worry, I think the statute of limitations has run out for your dad going onto the Fenway playing field and ripping stuff off the Monster FORTY YEARS AGO because they won the pennant.

    I don’t even think they had video tape back then.

    He is proud of that day.

    He told me his only regret was he wished he hadn’t done it in the 7th inning.



    and BTW, not to be argumentative, but your comment about the 2004 season seems to be in favor of the wild card. am i wrong?

  17. joseph

    Raoul, I don’t know, was that my Dad in that second paragraph? His emails are never that long and thought out. I didn’t even think about it. I just assumed Costas was running around out there too. Reading it again, I guess that it is my father. He always uses the Twins for some reason as that second place team.

    It wasn’t that I was for it in 04.’ It was that the Red Sox may have done things differently had there been no Wild Card.

    I don’t know anymore, I am lost.

    And I don’t have a picture of that wall, sorry.


    hey J told me what you wrote tonight over at the chick before she deleted it.

    good for you; she has treated you like sh!t all year. we like your balls! ( not literally )

  19. Jason

    I realize I’m coming into this discussion a bit late, so take my ramblings for what they’re worth, and give me change for my nickel, please. Last things first, you’re exactly right about Torre’s failing to use Joba, and we discussed in the HDLR during the game. Tuesday night. It made the loss all the more frustrating, but last night’s win to clinch a playoff spot was still just as sweet.

    I won’t rehash much of what I’ve said about the Wild Card. I will say this–in this three-division format especially, I’ve always been for it, as long as the playoffs stay at no more than four teams per league. Baseball still gets good teams or better in the playoffs, and isn’t diluted often at all by the equivalent of the 9-7 mediocrity that occasionally rears its ugly mediocre head in football, or worse, the 43-39 basketball teams. Some warts now and then? Sure. But in this format, the Wild Card is good and I’d argue somewhat necessary. It helps to balance out a very good second-place team not making the playoffs, and a mediocre first-place team (2006 Cards, who won it all but stunk for much of the 162-game schedule, were no more worthy than the Wild Card Dodgers, who tied for first place). What I’m not in favor of is expanding the playoffs beyond four teams per league–ever.

    Joe, I think Mike was busting your balls a little bit with his original post.

    I think your points on Drew are good ones, and important to discuss. Ortiz and Ramirez had good years, but not typically great for them as they’ve played lately. That makes the rest of the team’s contributions more important. Lowell has had a stellar year, and fits in with Boston very well, but Varitek has started a slow offensive decline, Lugo hasn’t delivered, nor has Crisp as he did (and showed big potential) with Cleveland. Drew is key for Boston. Can they expect 30-110-.310 from him? Unlikely, but numbers like Nixon in his prime with Boston would be a plus for the Red Sox–just not at the aforementioned $14 million/year.

  20. joseph

    You do make good points Jason. And there are positives and negatives to the Wild Card.

    You may be off on the NBA though, as teams with [losing] records make the playoff sometimes. 43-39 isn’t all that bad, when compared to this :). That is unacceptable and there is no reason that a team with a losing record should be there. In the NFL a 9-7 team may make it, but they have to go on the road, which means more in the NFL. They only have to beat them once, I understand, but then must go on the road two more times and beat good opponents to have a chance to win a ring.

    I actually questioned why Joba wasn’t in midgame that day. And I am not even a Yankees fan. I also used hindsight somewhat. But it was still an obvious move that should have been made during the game, and Torre should have done this. So everyone knows he was wrong this time. Even Royals fans.

  21. Jason

    That’s true about the NBA, Joe, which I believe reinforces my point. I chose the 43-39 record as a rough equivalent of a baseball team that having won say 84-86 games getting in, and usually the Wild Card teams in baseball are a bit better than that–not always, but often, Boston being a good example of high-end quality Wild Card teams. Wild Card teams in baseball go on the road also, but the difference, as you definitely know, is that in football they’re ONLY on the road. That is significant.

    I followed you on the point about Joba, and it was true. He could have pitched from the 6th into the middle of the 8th Tuesday, which surely would have helped nail the win. I know Torre and Cashman had the plan to use him in back-to-back games this week to see how he responds to such rigors in the playoffs, but even one inning in that situation would have been a much better call and alternative that Bruney clearly was.

    Joe, I think you handled the whole posting on Yankees Chick thing very well. Personally, I think you’ve had to weather way too much grief there. Sure, we’re on opposite sides of this rivalry. But I have really enjoyed our back-and-forth discussions, and others (Mike, Geoff) I’m sure have also. You have a good thing going here at SM. Keep up the good work.

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