• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

Alright people, it’s upon us. I think this is one of the most anticipated Fall Classics in quite some time. But let’s take that with a grain of salt, FOX hasn’t been necessarily killing them with the ratings (boy, isn’t Selig glad the Sawks made it this year); but if we take into account the pure baseball aspect of the Series, we have to agree that the Rockies and the Red Sox have written two very interesting subplots. world_series_logo.gif

Of course, there’s the Rox’ unprecedented run of 21 wins in 22 games to end the season and into the post-season. And then there’s the storied Red Sox, with the powerful line-up, the veteran leadership, the experience, the over-priced, over-hyped Japanese import. But I digress.

Well the only bad thing that comes to mind about this year (as in previous years) is the fact that we have to watch it on FOX – and listen to her. And him. I guess life is just full sour apples.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/on2REm4O_yE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Live-blog thread after the jump.

8:09 G-d, not 4 minutes into the pre-game festivities and Kevin Kenndy’s already ignoring Jeanne Zealsko’s questions.

8:12 Eric Byrnes is trying too damn hard. Dude, we know you caused a stir on the booth, but we please, contain yourself.

Jeanne Zelasko doing a Taco Bell promo. Figures.

8:15 Starting line-ups:

Colorado Rockies
# Player – Bats Pos.
3 Willy Taveras – R CF
7 Kazuo Matsui – S 2B
5 Matt Holliday – R LF
17 Todd Helton – L 1B
27 Garrett Atkins – R 3B
11 Brad Hawpe – L RF
2 Troy Tulowitzki – R SS
8 Yorvit Torrealba – R C
19 Ryan Spilborghs – R DH
26 Jeff Francis LHP
 
Boston Red Sox
# Player – Bats Pos.
15 Dustin Pedroia – R 2B
20 Kevin Youkilis – R 1B
34 David Ortiz – L DH
24 Manny Ramirez – R LF
25 Mike Lowell – R 3B
33 Jason Varitek – S C
7 J.D. Drew – L RF
23 Julio Lugo – R SS
46 Jacoby Ellsbury – L CF
19 Josh Beckett RHP

8:22 Hmm… it’s raining… So what happens if (when) a Live-Blog gets rained out?…

8:24 Jon Stewart and Jake Gyllenhaal discussing the Green Monster (I switched to Comedy Central for a minute): “It’s sliiimey.”

8:32 Man can this pre-game crap take any longer?

8:35 Alright, before we begin, my Pick to Click iiisss… Kaz Matsui. You better believe it.

8:40 Taveras strikes out looking to start the game. Hmm, the Ump has set a wide strike zone.

8:44 Whereas Beckett kept the Angels off balance with curveballs, the Rox have seen nothing but 96 mph heaters to start the game (and strike out the side). We’ll see if good ol’ uncle Charlie makes a cameo in the third or fourth inning.

8:48 Pedroia goes deep to lead off the bottom of the first! I guess I ought to eat some crow, eh Sarah?

8:59 Is it me, or are the Red Sox opening the flood gates on Francis?

9:01 Not quite, but a crooked number goes up on that board. 3-0 Sox. Welcome to the World Series, Rox fans.

9:04 And of course, Julio Lugo kills the rally.

9:12 The jitter bugs are gone. Here come the Rox. Tulowitzki doubles in a run off of the Green Monstah. Though I must say, now that the Rockies are on to Beckett’s fastball, the curveball has to be around the corner.

9:19 Francis seems to be finding a groove. We might have ourselves a game if he can keep the Sox from scoring in the next two innings.

9:25 “How do you let Youkulis score from first base,” says the brother, “he’s a fatass.” All this on a double from Big Papi that went all the way to the wall after barely getting over Tulowitzki. So much for Francis keeping them off the board.

9:29 Lowell pops out to short right-field to end yet another Red Sox threat. And we only have 2 innings in the books. With that said, a 4-1 lead is no unsurmountable. I’ll be damned if Beckett doesn’t throw some off-speed stuff in the dirt.

9:33 Spilborgh lines-out to second, but Beckett threw all fastballs.

9:35 Another one to Taveras. He hits on the button but Manny (barely) runs it down.

9:36 And yet another one to Matsui. He pops out to short. Well I guess if the Rockies won’t hit ‘em, keep at it.

9:42 Once again, Francis threatens to settle down. With Lugo at the plate and two outs, he may have his first 1-2-3 inning.

9:43 Man, Lugo will let you down even when you expect him to fail! He gets on base with a bunt single.

9:52 I thought I was going to get away with not missing out on some action (my roomate demands we alternate between the game and Private Practice). But Helton just doubled to left (thanks Yahoo! GameChannel!). Rox threaten once again. I just switched back and Atkins strikes out on … wait for it… a curve ball.

9:56 That last pitch to Hawpe is why Beckett’s ought to be the Cy-Young. Just when he sensed the Rockies were catching to his heater, Beckett mixes in his curve. Only to come back with a 97 mph rope to strike out Hawpe.

10:04 Francis can’t catch a break. Two outs, but Papi at the plate. Sure enough, he singles to left.

10:08 Manny doubles to right, but Papi doesn’t score. I’m sensing Hurdle’s gonna give him the hook.

10:11 I just noticed the Red Sox bullpen and their rally, uhm, drums. What are the using to bang on the roof of the pen?

10:13 Francis should’ve been pulled. Varitek doubles down the line, two runs score.

10:14 Hurdle opts to let Francis hang out to dry. “He just gave up on game one,” says the brother.

10:21 Should’ve been a 1-2-3 inning for Beckett. That second-to-last pitch to Spilborgh looked like it was on the black.

10:34 Morales’ unique throw to first turns out to be illegal: Balk! Tim McCarver: “Does America get a free taco now? Not on a balk?” Where was Jeanne Zelasko?! I’m dreading the seventh when we break to go back to the studio…

10:38 Youkilis doubles to left. Papi doubles to right-center. Red Sox: En la zona, 8-1.

10:39 Stat of the night, the Red Sox have outscored their opponents 38-6 in the last four games.

10:41 Manny singles and the flood gates have opened. Ride it out Rox fans, it’s only game 1.

10:45 So with Lowell’s double, the Sawks have tied some kind of World Series record.

10:46 With nothing else but to watch their team cruise, the Red Sox pen is doing their best impression of Stomp!. I could see that happening: The Bullpen Musical.

stomp-red-sox.jpg

10:57 In less than ten minutes the score has ballooned to 12-1. I have to point out that Buck made that same “These are not your father’s Rockies” comment that the TBS people made. I’m freakin’ older than the damn team. C’mon!

11:08 Matsui beats out the throw to first. Come back? </sarcasm>

11:24 Can’t say I’m expecting much from now until the end. The Red Sox are up 13-1 and the Rockies can’t figure out Beckett.

11:34 Though he won’t get the complete game, Beckett’s one strike away from having a dominating performance in game 1 of this World Series. Yawn.

11:36 Seventh inning stretch. Ashanti does “God Bless America.” Is she wearing Alyssa Milano?

11:45 Two more frames to go. I’m still here. I can’t say I’m surprised at the outcome of the game so far. As in game 1 of the ALDS, the Red Sox let Beckett do the maneuvering, using his 96+ mph fastball to set the stage. The Rox were not ready for it. And in the middle innings, his curveball took over. With the score 13-1, Francona can let him rest after a very good seven innings of work.

12:00 Midnight. Coco Crisp is mos def rocking the fro.

12:05 Eric Gagne is unceremoniously getting his cut of the action. Ironic how life is, when he was on the top of his game, he didn’t even sniff the playoffs.

12:09 That’s it! Sox win in dominating fashion.

So, like I said Rox fans, don’t sweat it. We know you’re God’s team and all, but you can’t be ready for your first World Series. Just don’t go get swept or something, I kinda wanna blog game 5 or 6… even 7, you know, it’s the Holy number.

Anyway, thanks for reading! I’m out…

33 Responses to “Live Blogging the World Series: SOX v. ROX”

  1. Nick, thank you for answering my question on who could be considered the best modern general manager. Oh, wait, you didn’t answer that question! Instead, you told us who could have done a better job had they been the GM of the Atlanta Braves instead of Schuerholz.

    I always enjoy it when someone attempts to answer a question with a counterfactual. Ah, what better way to respond to me than with a point that cannot be proven! You truly skewered the Schuerholz supporters with that one. I’m not going to restate my entire argument (it’s all above, including cool typos!), but it’s quite clear, even with the mistakes Schuerholz has made, that no other GM has come close to his sustained level of excellence over the period.

    Yes, all the names you listed are certainly going straight to the Hall of Fame. Let’s see, Dumbrowski, Towers, Jockety, Ryan, Gillick, Cashman, Beane. As Dr. Evil would say, riiggghhhtttttt…. At the very least, most casual fans know Cashman and Beane, they’re probably better. Are those the two examples you want to use? Well, they would certainly lose some of luster if they were put under the same microscope you’re using on John S. Cashman is simply the tool The Boss uses to run the Yankees, and his record of drafting, trades, and free agent signings has been nothing to get very excited about. Beane should be given credit for the impact he has had upon the Athletics organization, and perhaps baseball in general, but when viewed through your bounded lens of trades, contracts, draft, free agents, etc., Beane has had significant failures.

    I’ve said my peace, and anything further would be pointless because I think you may simply be trying to goad me. Keep up the false logic – I’m sure FOX will have a job waiting for you.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Actually Matt, though it pains me to say this, I think Cashman is actually pretty good. I think this gets overlooked because he has absolutely no financial constraints. But the Yankees almost never make a mistake in a trade, and you can’t give credit for that to Steinbrenner.

    Plus, I think Nick was honestly trying to answer your question. UmpBump isn’t a rant n’ rave-type blog where people try to “goad” others and have pointless smackdown-type arguments. We just all really like baseball.

    It seems there was also some confusion from the commentors on this post about whether we were talking about the best GM “in the modern era” or “in the current era.” Obviously, none of the names we’re bandying about right now are the best “in the modern era,” which is the phrase that Nick was objecting to in the original post, the rather mild point of which seems to have gotten lost.

  3. Just admit it. This article is false.

  4. Nick Kapur says:

    Kevin, it’s impossible for this post to be “true” or “false.” It’s my opinion, and opinions can’t be true or false.

    But feel free to disagree, as you clearly do.

  5. I just want to clarify my point that Atlanta’s 14 division titles are the proof of Schuerholz’s success not the “ultimate measure of success” in general. Obviously the ultimate goal of an organization is to win the World Series, which the Braves did accomplish. If a general manager consistently puts together a division champion his team will have a chance to win the World Series. The best team in a division normally wins over 162 games, the best team doesn’t always win in a playoff format. I believe that success in the playoffs is more dependent on the performance of the players and the coaching staff than the GM. You may say that other GMs are superior but they weren’t able to lose free agents and rebuild and still win division titles. Beane and Ryan have rebuilt but their teams didn’t win 14 divisional titles in the process and no one has had more room for error than Cashman. I’m still waiting to hear which players he let go that cost his franchise.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    Melissa, thanks for clarifying. I will let Nick answer the part of your question about the players that the Braves let go. But I will try to address the other points that you raised.

    You make a good point about the somewhat random capricious nature of winning in the playoffs. Thus, Schuerholz’s “average” of 1 World Series win per 17 seasons as Braves GM is a rather dismal .058. Yet, when you look at the total number of times the Braves made it to the series, his performance as GM looks better—five total trips to the series out of 17 season is a much better .294. So clearly, his legacy as a GM should reflect the total number of times the Braves went to the World Series, not just their one win. I think it’s clear that five trips to the Series is a major accomplishment.

    Nonetheless, when assigning credit for that accomplishment, you do have to take into account the contributions of Bobby Cox and the coaching staff, which is what Nick’s main point was. This is a rather crude comparison, but if you look at Schuerholz’s record with the Royals, it’s not nearly as good as his record with the Braves—two divisional titles in 9 years, and one World Series win. (One-for-nine is an average of .111.) Clearly, Schuerholz does not look like some brilliant clairvoyant when working with different staff. And, to go back to my point in a previous comment, he looks like less of a golden boy when in a less forgiving division than the NL East in the 1990s and early 2000s. So yeah, Schuerholz was a good GM, but he wasn’t a genius with a crystal ball, which is how nearly every media outlet has been portraying him since he announced his resignation. He was a good GM, and a great eye for talent, who had great people around him.

    And re: Cashman, I think he actually has very little room for error, what with the New York media breathing down his neck and Steinbrenner’s notoriously short leash/quick hook. He has a significant cushion of money to play with, meaning that he is better able to move past any error that he makes. But…he really just doesn’t make that many mistakes in the first place. If he did, he’d be outtah theah.

  7. Wow, great discussion.

    Nick and I have already exchanged our viewpoints on the subject of John Schuerholz’s GM abilities, so I won’t beat a dead horse. I’ll just sum it up by saying I respectfully disagree with him. (If Nick ever wants to write a contrarian book about Schuerholz I’m sure it’ll generate a lot of press.)

    I want to address a couple of things that were brought up by JoshuaPerry:

    Who did the Braves let go for Mike Hampton? Why it was the always deadly Tim Spooneybarger (now out of the majors) and a minor leaguer who has never made it to The Show. Braves got Mike Hampton and a bunch of cash. A whole lot of it. (I think Colorado is still paying a big chunk of his salary.) Yes, Hampton has been injured the last two years, but while he’s been healthy he’s gone 32-20 for the Braves and his Atlanta ERA is somewhere south of the number 4. I’d say that was a good deal for the Braves. (I wanted to include it as well as many other transactions in my retrospective post on Schuerholz but I didn’t want it to be too long.)

    Successful free agent signings since 1997? There aren’t that many (purse strings were set to “tight”) How bout:
    November, 1998: Signed Brian Jordan, who went on to have a career year in 1999.

    Aside from that, there’s not much. John Thomson had a good year right after he signed, but followed it up with two injury-riddled years. The Braves have re-signed a number of players in the past ten years, and have certainly made some deals for some big name guys (Hudson, Sheffield, for examples).

  8. BigDintheMT says:

    Key paragraph:

    “Schuerholz employed a similar strategy with position players as he did with relievers. Each year he would let all of his good free agents walk, and pretty much not replace them in any meaningful way, but the Braves would still win the division anyway. Oh sure, he would occasionally pull a trade to fill a hole, if one fell into his lap, but by and large he would just sign some scrap heap guys and sit back and wait for a Braves prospect to fill the hole eventually. This meant that hundreds and hundreds of at-bats got wasted on these fill-in guys – terrible players like Dave Gallagher, Michael Tucker, Tony Graffanino, Keith Lockhart, Gerald Williams, Brian Hunter, Bobby Bonilla, B.J. Surhoff, Rico Brogna, Robert Fick, and Vinny Castilla in his dotage.”

    And 14 consecutive division titles. Wow. He’s even smarter than I thought he was. He didn’t have the money to spend on 8 All-Star position players so he did what he could with what he had. That’s what made him great.

    And don’t forget – he brought in Maddux via free agency which, put together with Glavine and Smoltz (home grown talent, led to a majority of those titles.

  9. Sarah Green says:

    ..Just when he sensed the Rockies were catching to his heater, Beckett mixes in his curve. Only to come back with a 97 mph rope to strike out Hawpe….

    Alejandro, undoubtedly Beckett is doing things in the postseason even the most rabid Sox fan wouldn’t dared dream of just a couple of weeks ago, but give some credit to Varitek. I know it’s sort of fashionable to mock all that but-he-calls-a-good-game stuff as sentimental hogwash (after all, Bill James never invented a stat for it, right, so it can’t be real!) but the man sure knows his stuff!

  10. Given hindsight, this line made me chuckle:

    9:19 Francis seems to be finding a groove. We might have ourselves a game if he can keep the Sox from scoring in the next two innings.

  11. Sarah, count me among the people who think that catchers “calling a good game” is incredibly overblown. Any pitcher who knows what they’re doing on the mound are the ones who actually call it. But obviously, the pitcher can’t be the one putting fingers down or else the hitter sees it. So the catchers do.

    What is important is that the catcher knows what pitch the guy on the mound likes to throw in what situation. If they’re not on the same page, the pitcher can get distracted. But ultimately, it’s the pitcher’s call, not the catcher’s.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    Yes, it’s ultimately the pitcher’s call. But the catchers study the matchups and the opposing lineup’s tendencies too, at least the good ones. And Curt Schilling is already on the record saying that Josh Beckett “isn’t exactly a charter member of Mensa.” I mean, the guy has a wicked curveball and a high-90s fastball, so maybe pitch selection isn’t as important for him anyway—unhittable is unhittable in any count. But Varitek has caught a number of no-hitters over the years, and in the most recent one, his pitcher didn’t shake him off once. No, it’s not a “Catcher’s Pitch-Calling Efficiency Park-Adjusted Rating,” but it is a certain kind of solid evidence. When you look at the Red Sox as a team, and you see how they’ve performed over recent years, the one absolute is that Varitek must be healthy. Not healthy enough to hit to his career .270, necessarily, but healthy enough to squat behind the plate every four out of five games. The two years that he missed significant time, the team has tanked in spectacular fashion—2001 (Varitek breaks elbow, misses most of season, Sox miss playoffs) and 2006 (Varitek needs knee surgery, misses about a month at end of season, Sox miss playoffs and finish third in the AL East). In Boston, we know what the stat-heads with the 30,000-foot view refuse to admit: the one position player the Red Sox simply cannot do without is Jason Varitek. To wit: Manny Ramirez missed almost a month this season, and the Sox still won the division and they’re now in the World Series. If Varitek had missed that month? We might have clinched the Wild Card, but I doubt we would have made it past the Indians.

  13. Paul, you are right that it is the pitcher’s call in the end. Much to Schilling’s dismay.

    Evidence A:

    June 7, 2007. Schilling shakes off Varitek.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=270607111

    Evidence B:

    September 1, 2007. Listen to the catcher.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=270901102

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