[Editors' Note: We must apologize in advance to fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies for giving such short shrift to your teams in the following article, but, honestly now, you have to admit, other than you--who cares?]
THE EVIL DUMPIRE
Before I disquisit at length on the baseball playoffs, in particular the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red and Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, there's some unfinished business to finish. And I mean finish as in The End. Let's talk about the New York Yankees. No discussion of the pathetic end to the Evil Empire's 2007 is complete without a full and loud airing of Yankees' radio broadcaster Suzyn Waldman's full and loud airing of her piteous weeping at the end of Game 4 of the Division Series. Pay particular attention at around the 2:50 mark:
She defended her weeping in the New York Times, and media critic Richard Sandomir appeared to accept her defense:
She is an empathetic personality — her clubhouse demeanor is as much reporter as mother-confessor — so her catch-in-her-voice weeping about Torre's probable departure was not surprising.
And I can actually relate. When Aaron Boone hit DAMN THAT GRADY LITTLE that shot off Tim Wakefield in 2003, I DAMN THAT GRADY LITTLE didn't cry. I was strong. I was a manly man. For 36 hours. And I know others who cried. And I'm DAMN THAT GRADY LITTLE over it now.
But good grief, I didn't go on the air blabbing about other people's tears:
"[A]nd the tears that you hear in my voice are coming down the faces of the coaches in that coaches' room."
You can cry all you want, and even do it it public, but you can't throw the coaches in the coaches room under the bus like that.
Second thing. The Rocket. That ending to Roger Clemens' career should have been satisfying to all, even if for some reason you don't think he's a greedy, mean, nasty, mercenary traitor. After all those "last" games, how fitting that the last-last game was so ignoble and deflating. And the best part. Here's the way citizens of Red Sox Nation saluted Clemens is his first-last game, on August 31, 2003, Yanks take two of three in weekend series:
BOSTON (AP) -- Roger Clemens walked off to a standing ovation and came out for a curtain call, tipping his cap and waving to fans who saw what may have been his last pitch at Fenway Park.
"It was very special," he said. "It gave me the opportunity to say thank you."
Wanna know how Yankees' fans treated the Rocket in his last-last game? Look at the expression on the faces of those fans in the photo to the right. They may be standing, but its not to ovate.
RED SOX VERSUS INDIANS
Enough about those losers. On to the winners. Cleveland and Boston have a short but potent playoff history. There was that Division Series in 1999, memorably capped off when Pedro Threw Six Innings of No-Hit Relief after having been injured in a losing effort only three days previously. But less remarked-upon, so far, but in my opinion more important, is the one-game playoff between the Red Sox and Indians in 1948, the last time the Indians won the World Series. The Red Sox had beaten the Yankees on the last day of the season to catch the Indians, losers to the Tigers, which set up a potential trolley-car (Green Line from Kenmore to Allston) series between the Red Sox and the Boston Braves, winners of the National League pennant. But, alas, bypassing a rested Mel Parnell, the Red Sox DAMN THAT JOE McCARTHY started Danny Galehouse and wound up losing 8-3. And then the Indians beat the Braves, so that's good reason for a double grudge on Boston's behalf. And we do have long memories
Cleveland and Boston. Sorry, Arizona and Colorado--even if the the AL team emerges from this series so battered that they lose the World Series, the winner of the ALCS is the beat team in Major League baseball. It sets up to be a great series, if meetings earlier this year are any indication. If you're wondering about the old "Great pitching or great hitting?" question, the two teams traded 1-0 victories this July on back-to-back nights. First Daisuke Matsuzaka beat Cleveland Ace C.C. Sabbathia, then Fausto Carmona beat Boston Ace Josh Becket. In fact, the series may be so close that it'll all boil down to the supernatural. In baseball lexicon, that means:
CURSES AND OMENS
There's no debate that the 2004 season lifted the Curse of the Bambino from the Red Sox after 86 years of torment. But isn't there some scientific law about conservation of energy or something like that? So it's a scientific fact that curses cannot be eradicated, only transformed. So the key question is: Who's got the Curse now? It was a bad one, I can tell you that. Some say the Chicago Cubs do, and there's evidence for that. Each year (now 99 going on 100) they fail increases the potency of the Curse exponentially, almost as if whatever ordinary Curse they'd possessed before 2004 has become worse by the influx of new Cursoid Energy. But I say, Cleveland got it. Citywide. The spirit of the Curse of the Bambino was not simply to lose, but to almost win, then lose. Since their last Major Pro championship in 1964, Cleveland has:
1. Gone to the World Series and lost;
2. Gone to the American Football Conference Championship twice in a row and lost in heartbreaking fashion--leading in the fourth quarter, and, just last year;
3. Made it to the NBA Finals with the brightest new star in basketball, and lost.
So, the Curses seem to be solidly against the Indians. The Omens, however, may be good, according to none other than the Associated Press:
Cleveland Indian Ray Chapman is the only Major League player ever to be killed on the field of play, the victim of a beaning by spitballing (spitballs were still legal then) Carl Mays, on August 16, 1920. Here's a chronology of his career. But the thing is, as tragic as that tale is, the Indians dedicated the remainder of their season to their fallen comrade, which ended in a World Series Victory. Although they won again in 1948, according to the A.P. account, it was shortly after that that the Memorial Plaque dedicated to him was removed from public view and misplaced. Although many fans remember the Indians season beginning with a blizzard that postponed or moved about a dozen games, could it really have begun with the re-discovery of the plaque? And the re-dedication of the Chapman Memorial the day before the season began this year? The Spirit of Ray Chapman won one World Series, can it win another? Or is Curt Schilling's bloody sock good for one more before he leaves as a free agent? We can ask him:
BLOGGING CURT SCHILLING
For those who see baseball as one, long seven-month interesting and engaging drama, Curt provided quite a bit of side-plot interest. He started a blog in the Spring. He's not the only Major League baseball player with a blog--all four firstbasemen remaining in the playoffs have blogs at MLBlogs: Official Affiliate, Unofficial Opinions:
But, to be honest, I'm not sure those are real blogs. I've seen Kevin Youkilis interviewed many times and I just don't think he has that many words in him at any one time. Schilling, on the other hand, really does actually blog at 38pitches.com, (he wears number 38, pictured above) and he's got all the words in him anyone could ever want and then some. He's an internet gamer, in fact, he has a Game Development company (he plays World of Warcraft, if anyone knows what that means), and he blogs about that, baseball, fantasy football, favorite charities and, when pressed, politics. If you leave a comment, he replies when/if he can. Curt developed an amusing pattern this season. Sometimes he'd say something outrageous on his regular radio segment and end up apologizing on his blog. Or he'd say something outrageous on tv and apologize on the radio. Or say something really outrageous and apologize everywhere. My favorite was after he trashed Barry Bonds for "cheating on Baseball, taxes and his wife."
I seeded the radio apology earlier this season, but it's well worth a re-listen. For 19 minutes he backed off his accusation, then for the last minute he talked about Iraq and George W. Bush. Curt Schilling on Iraq and Bush. I highly recommend it. To get to the crazy right-wing politics part, just follow the directions already listed.
Hmm. I'm about done, but I feel like I'm forgetting something .... oh yeah. Sex.
MY DARLING ALYSSA
While poking around MLBlogs, I stumbled on a link to this People magazine piece.
Alyssa Milano's Homerun Beauty Regimen. Oh my God, I thought at first. Snark festival approaching. Obvious advice, even more obvious product plugs. Celebrity fashion line. Treehouse talk. Hot chick picture. Oh the possibilities were endless.
But then something funny happened. I got smarter there. I read a few of the comments women left on the People item, then poked around the web for other responses to the fashion line and asked myself, "Wow, these women seem really positive and genuinely sincere--is there something here I'm missing in my testosterone rush?" Women seemed to want not "Clothes for women with a team logo applique added" and not "team gear" made mostly for men, but comfortable, nice "team gear for women," of which very little was on the market. Even an ordinary baseball cap didn't quite fit women typically as well as men, and why should it? It wasn't designed for women.
So I moseyed on over to her"touch" catalog and looked again with fresh eyes. This is actually a really classy line of informal wear for women, as the fashion shoot of the Angels gear above demonstrates. Damn--she even has a line of baseball caps cut for women's thicker, longer hair. Why didn't anyone think of that before? I clicked on her "How it Began" link, Alyssa Milano debuts clothing line. She found a niche, had reliable partners, an excellent product and a dynamite business plan. I realized in a sudden bolt out of Dodger blue that her line was going to be a hit (if it wasn't already), maybe a huge hit.
Now, I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Alyssa Milano had all I ever wanted in a girlfriend: She's a baseball fan and a liberal Democrat. Looking at that clothing line it occurred to me that she was not only also wicked smart, but that she could very well wind up a billionaire. That's more than girlfriend material, that's marriage material.
Since, therefore, she will someday be my fiance, I can no longer allow lewd or crude comments about Alyssa Milano on my threads. In fact, I can't even allow lewd comments about the bevy of babes pictured above. However, sincere expressions of honorable and virtuous intent with respect to the young ladies pictured above will be allowed.
Is there anything else? Oh yeah: