Friday, September 21, 2007

Candidate for Assclown Post of the Year

Check this article out that was on Yahoo today - by some no-name assclown Anthony Olivieri:
(My rebuttle comments in bold).

The sky is falling on Red Sox nation - again.

The Boston Red Sox celebrated their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004. Just three years later, they are conjuring up memories of another historic campaign - 1978.

The Red Sox have lost five of their last six games - many in excruciating fashion - to see what was a 14 1/2-game lead on May 29 shrink to just 1 1/2 over the rival New York Yankees in the American League East.

Boston squandered a 14-game advantage to New York in late July 1978 en route to the Yankees' second straight championship. Granted, this campaign, the Red Sox have the wild card to fall back on. Um, last time I knew, the Sox were a wildcard team when they won the WS in 2004. It doesn't matter how you get there - just get to the playoffs.

But as the noose tightens in New England nearly 30 years later, here are 10 reasons why it will be deja vu - all over again. What noose? I don't get that joke. Is he trying to say we are choking?

10. Big Papi's health - David Ortiz has been limping around with a myriad of injuries to his shoulder, knee, quadriceps and hamstring. With his team needing a lift, the clutch slugger may not be able to provide it. Ortiz had his chance to knock out the Yankees with the bases loaded in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera on Sunday, but the aching All-Star just could not get around on the fastball. First of all, Papi is the only one with any power on this team, and he's doing it hurt. Why is this going to change over the next month? And second, he popped out to CF - when you can "not get around on the fastball" you pop out to LF (for lefty hitters) because you are late on the swing. I'm not sure you understand that concept or much about baseball at all.

9. Earth to Manny - Manny Ramirez is a surefire Hall-of-Famer, an RBI machine and one of the best pure hitters in baseball. But his space-cadet routine finally may be wearing thin in Beantown. He has a strained left oblique muscle, which has sidelined him since August 28. But prior to the injury, the 35-year-old Ramirez was in a fog. Without him in the lineup or with his head in the clouds, Boston's lineup becomes easier to attack. Manny has been an absolute great employee this season - no talk of being traded, no weird days off, he is injured however. Sure he had a down season, but so has Papi. Since when has Manny's head been in a fog or the clouds effected his performance? The guy has been one of the most consistent hitter over the past decade. But yes, without him the Sox lineup is less potent, unless he plays like he has all this season, then this lineup is better with Ellsbury in it - since Ellsbury strikes out less, hits into less DPs, steals more bases, plays better defense and gets on base more - not to mention hits for a higher average. But after all that, I see your point (I think).

8. Hideki Okajima's arm - Okajima was a Rookie of the Year candidate and one of the best relievers in the American League. His unorthodox delivery - specifically his head motion - confused hitters, making him the perfect bridge to star closer Jonathan Papelbon. But Okajima's arm is tired, and he will be shut down for five days. It's September, the AL East is on the line and one of your best relievers is not available? That's the real head-turner. Injuries happen - what are you gonna do? Okie must be tired or injured. I guess you got one point right.

7. The Smug Race - There is no doubt baseball fans in New York and Boston border on the intolerable, wearing cockiness on their sleeves. But Red Sox nation has taken it to a new level after the 2004 World Series title. However, the Red Sox have done nothing since their historic championship to warrant gloating - failing to make it past the division series in 2005 or even into the postseason last campaign. Maybe Boston's rabid following is getting just a bit ahead of itself. Could it be that the Red Sox just are not that good? Yes, we have been the best team all season - we still have the best record - but we aren't that good. It is all a mirage. And when can't the fans of the best two franchises in the sport do whatever the hell they want? Without the Yanks and Sox major league baseball would be a joke and no one would even care (see the steriod issues and the Bonds HR debacle). You should thank NY and Boston for the rivalry.

6. Fall of the Dice-K - Daisuke Matsuzaka has just two wins since July 29 and looks to be out of gas. If you listened to the hype machine prior to the season, the much-heralded former World Baseball Classic MVP was somewhere between Tom Seaver and a righthanded Sandy Koufax. In fact, he was supposed to be better than that. But in reality, he has been John Burkett with a little more velocity. In the final days of the season, Matsuzaka - and his golden arm - need to show what all the fuss was about. Amazing - I never heard a comparison to Seaver or Koufax - actually I remember everyone saying the Sox were stupid for investing so much in an unknown. How can an "unknown" be compared to Seaver or Koufax? I'd love to see the link with the comparisons. Yes, DiceK was overhyped before coming to the US, but no one was thinking that at the AllStar break. It's a long season, and even longer than the Japan Leagues baseball season. DiceK has never started more than 29 games - this season he has started 30 games and will probably get at least 2 more starts. Maybe he's tired. Can't blame him.

5. Papelbon - The luster is off one of the best young closers in baseball. There is no argument here that Papelbon will be a force in the AL for years to come. But in 2007, the mystique is lost - mainly against the rival Yankees. The 26-year-old has a miniscule 1.96 ERA and just 15 walks in 55 innings. But as Rivera's past exploits have shown us, a closer's season is defined by the big moments. Papelbon is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA and five walks in seven frames against New York this season. Yawn, what are Rivera's stats against the Red Sox? This could just as easily explain why the Yankees could choke. Papelbon has been pitching worse of late, but he could be even worse.

4. The Pink Hat Factor - The Red Sox always were the loveable losers, but not anymore. With a swelling fan base, they have become the chic club to root for with fans sprouting up all over the country. Red Sox nation has an immigration problem with most newcomers not knowing Johnny Pesky from Johnny Damon. All the good will built up from the baseball gods? Gone. Funny, ever notice Yankee hats in Africa? Because goodwill distributes clothing to Africa. Think there might be an exportation problem there? Sox fans sprouting up suddenly everywhere? Are you kidding me? I went to a Sox/Rox game in June 2004 (long before thoughts of a WS), and the stadium was 60% filled with Sox fans. There have been more true Sox fans around this country than bandwagon Yankee fans. Oh, and how do you expect the youth of America to know who Johnny Pesky was when he played 40 years before they were born? Hell, I bet you can't name the President 40 years ago.

3. Eric Gagne - The newly acquired reliever would be higher on the list, but his effect on the Red Sox will diminish - simply because he will no longer pitch in big spots. Or will he? General manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona seem insistent on throwing Gagne into the fire. He is responsible for at least five of Boston's losses since joining the club at the July 31 trade deadline. And Epstein may continue to try to prove Gagne's worth - and himself right - at the team's expense. Epstein was the one who told Francona to sit Gagne for almost two weeks, can you at least get your facts straight before writing up a big article on this?

2. The Yankees - Holding the best record in baseball since the All-Star break, it is all coming together for New York. The Yankees have steamrolled through the competition, including taking five of six from the rival Red Sox since late August. Boasting the league's most dangerous lineup, New York also has fixed its bullpen problems with the addition of rookie phenom Joba Chamberlain. Robinson Cano has broken out of his first-half slump, and Alex Rodriguez continues to post MVP-caliber numbers. If New York continues to play like this, Boston's play is irrelevant. One player fixes a bullpen? Amazing. If I remember correctly, the Yankees had the same lineup on opening day as they do now - so how are they suddenly dominant, but were less dominant then? There is always time for any team to choke. As long as the Red Sox are leading the division, their play is relevant. Any ideas how the Yanks will stack up against the Angels or Indians? Good pitching always beats good hitting - and the Yankees haven't proved their pitching is very good. Joba might pitch well against crappy hitters, but the Angels/Indians will eat up that 100 mph fastball.

1. Harsh Reality - Simply, they are the Red Sox and these things happen. History does not lie. As much as the 2004 World Series title was supposed to erase all the bad memories, 100-plus years of suffering just does not disappear. Ask any die-hard Sox fan. It is never easy. Get used to it, Boston. Passion is not created from easy victories. This is something non-Red Sox fans can't understand. Sure you might love your team, and you might root for them through thick and thin, but going through bad times over and over only makes us love every Sox team more. When we win, it makes it that much sweeter. Unlike say, Yankee fans, I've never seen a bandwagon quadruple in good times and be diminished to next to nothing in bad times. How many Yankee fans did you see when they were 14 games back? None, they were all bailing out. Great fans. I read once that after the 2003 loss in game 7 of the ALCS, one Sox fan couldn't help but get up the next day, grab his Sox hat and go off to work like it was any other day. It was like any other day - it's called passion, something you can't teach, something that can only be ingrained.

Nice try on an article - but your facts are not holding water, and like your reputaton after trying to write this "know it all" article you aren't getting anywhere.

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