Joe’s Story

Joe gave a riviting, if not very insightful press conference today that left me feeling empty.  Empty because it became clear to me that this is a divorce that never should have happened.

Joe made it sound like he left not over money, but over a lack of support.  

“The terms of the contract were the probably the thing I had the toughest time with,” Torre said.  “The one year for one thing, the incentives for another thing.  I had been there 12 years and I didn’t think motivation was needed.  I felt pretty well renewed every year going after something and we knew exactly what was expected here.  I just didn’t think it was the right thing for me, I didn’t think it was the right thing for my players.”

He also made it clear that this process was not a negotiation:

“When I expressed my dissatisfaction with the length of contract and the um….And the length of contract for the reason I think you are all aware of.  It’s just starts when you are in the last year of a contract especially for this organization you know after you lose two or three or four games the questions are going to come up again.  And again, it’s tough when you have to answer those questions, but you certainly understand they are going to be asked..  And I explained that and the fact that the incentives, which to me I took as an insult.  You know we basically get to postseason and now all of a sudden we are satisfied with where we’ve gotten to. “

It will be interesting to see how we view October 18, 2007, when we look back at it in a few years.  The Yankees ran off four trips to the World Series after they fired Casey Stengel and there are certainly many reasons to think that this current team can continue to make the postseason.  But, there will be tremendous pressure on the next manager and I can’t escape the feeling that both sides deserve blame in this situation.  Joe and the Yankees are both diminished today and I think both of them will have regrets going forward.  

But, go forward they must.  Thank you to Joe for a wonderful 12 years and good luck to him in the future, whatever he does.  Now, the Yankees have to get to work and first up is getting a manger.  We will discuss that further this weekend.   

Back to Boston

Nice offensive display and an amazing pitching performace by Josh Beckett.  Totally dominating with a little fire, saying hello to Kenny Lofton, was Beckett.

Back to Boston for game 6 on Saturday.  I will be unavailable between now and then to post, so please keep the comments flowing.  If you haven’t registered as a commentor yet, please do so, so I don’t have to approve your comments. 

Ok, my fence sitting is done.  On 2 issues anyway.  Coco Crisp needs to sit and so does Julio Lugo.

Coco – He looks lost, almost mentally distant from this game.  There were a few close-ups and he appeared sad, as if he was in shock.  I am not going to pretend to be a master of body language and facial expressions, but if forced to levy a diagnosis, I’d say this guy is shell-shocked.  Weird.  Anyway, get him out and insert Jacoby Ellsbury.  This is a change from earlier as I though the problems with the offense were more related to a general team-wide lack of urgency, but with Coco, there seems to be trouble.

Lugo has been just bad.  His error (it wasn’t an error but it should have been) cutting in front of Dustin Pedroia in tonight’s game and his overall lack of production (.167 avg in the ALCS) have earned him some pine.  It feels like the 1st half of the season again.  I don’t think Alex Cora is a longterm solution, but perhaps he is good for a game 6 start.

Dustin Pedroia bounced back tonight getting on base 3 times.  Fox did point out that he had been hitting the ball hard all series, so perhaps he never lost his stroke after all.

Checking out the boxscore, you’ll see the top 4 guys got on base (11 times between them) and it showed.  When the top of the order can stir things up, runs get scored.

Saturday 8:21pm @ Fenway:  Game 6

And Now For Something Completely Different….

You may notice that the site looks different. You may also notice that things look strange. Bear with us, we are redoing the format a bit and should have things settled in the next few days. As always, feel free to email us with any comments or suggestions and thanks for your support. -Peter and Andy

Joe Gives Yankees Bronx Cheer

Joe Torre said "no thanks" to the Yankees offer of a contract extension.  According to ESPN, Torre turned down a 1 year, $5 deal with incentives that could have boosted the total to $8m based on postseason success.

More soon.

UPDATE 4:25pm- The deal was for a base salary of $5-million with an additional $1-million bonus paid for each round of the playoffs the Yankees reached.  In addition, there was a team option for 2009 that vested if the Yankees made the World Series in 2008 at $8-million.  

Personally, I am shocked by this.  I think you have to say the Yankees made a fair offer.  Yes, he would take a pay cut, but he would still be the highest-paid manager in the game and have an opporunity to earn even more in 2008 than he did in 2007.  Maybe Joe was tired of all the bs, maybe he just had enough, but this is an awful way for his legacy to end and knowing how Steinbrenner works, I fully expect some coach or player to be wearing number six next February.

I need to figure out my feelings on a deeper level, but I am initially angry with Joe for doing this.  But, I want to hear from him and hear his side of the story before I really make up my mind.  Needless to say, the offseason is off to about as bad a start as possible. 

Torre Is In Tampa

According to several sources, Joe Torre landed in Tampa early this afternoon on a plane with Brian Cashman.  I don’t think they are asking Joe to come down and beg for his job, so I imagine this is the final round of negotiations.  At least that is what I hope because this is getting very, very boring. 

I Am Sure Those Mayflies Were A Coincidence Too….

Check out this little nugget about the Cleveland choice of singer for tonight’s game.  Those guys are playing for keeps. (And please note, I am kidding) 

Manny Being Manny or Being Misquote?

Ok, leave it to the media to take a throw-away comment at the end of a long interview session and run with it.  First headline on ESPN, 4th on FoxSports, 5th on CBSSports, 2nd on CNNSI and so on.

Manny said "…losing wouldn’t be the end of the world."  He also said about 100 other things.  Manny doesn’t do interviews in case you haven’t noticed and he was kept around for this one for far longer than any time I can recall (based on words, not minutes).  It seemed to me that he was getting sick of the session and tried to wrap things up with the words above.

He is right, it isn’t the end of the world.  On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being death, losing the ALCS ranks fairly low, right?  So if we take him literally, it isn’t a big deal.  Now if you fall into the camp that thinks he doesn’t care, well, good luck proving that.  All of his other statements during the interview were were positive and confident in nature.  I can’t find the transcript of the whole thing, but Boston.com at least puts the comments into a more neutral setting.

My headline should really say "Manny Being Manny or Are His Comments Being Taken Out of Context" but that would not have fit and would have made for a bad presentation.  But you get the idea.

Anyway, in case anyone forgot, game 5 tonight in Cleveland.  It’s a game 1 rematch.  Let’s root for similar results.

I recently added my October 2004 archives back on the site (sad that I hadn’t done so sooner).  You can see how up and down I was during the ALCS.  I got fairly pissy and pessimistic, so you can understand my game 3 and game 4 posts (for this year).  In fact, they were fairly tame compared with 2004.  IMPORTANT NOTE on the archives, it is best to read them bottom to top as when I started adding posts back in, I did them month by month rather than post by post to save significant time.  Lazy, sure, but easy.

Last thing, I heard a stat and I am not sure I’m getting it 100% right, but it went something like this.  Of the 65 teams that were down 3-1 in the ALCS, 10 have come back to win the series.  The last team?  The 2004 Boston Red Sox. 

Go Red Sox.

Enough Already!

Does this sound familiar?

“The Yankees have completed their discussions today. No decisions have been made concerning Joe Torre. The discussions will continue.” 

It’s hard to understand what the delay is, but about the only thing we can definitively draw from this is that George is no longer fully in charge.  He made a threat on October 6th.  The Yankees didn’t respond to that threat on October 8th.  It is now October 17th and the threat hasn’t been carried out.  A new era has been born in the Bronx these past nine days, now we have to wait and see what that means for the future. 

 

ALCS Game 4 Round-Up

The Boston Globe has some good articles on last night’s game:

Nick Cafardo has a good one relating to the decision Terry Francona has made (or hasn’t).  Basically the Red Sox were going to be down 3-1 in the series with or without Jacoby Ellsbury in for Coco Crisp.  The problems with the Red Sox are much greater than some switches (see my comments from my last post).

Cafardo also chips in this one about Schilling and Daisuke.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons submitted this diary of game 4.

The Herald’s Rob Bradford has a 180 degree opinion from that of Cafardo on the lack of moves by Francona.

The Projo’s Art Martone, one of my favorites, has a daily Red Sox blog that is something like ESPN’s Buster Olney’s morning blog, but Martone’s focuses heavily on the Red Sox and spares us news of the Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals.  Good daily reading.

As for game 5, C.C. Sabathia is again on the mound against Josh Beckett.  No reason to believe the Red Sox can’t beat up on Sabathia again and that Beckett won’t be good again.  If they can get this thing back to Boston for game 6, that would be a good thing.

Game 4 Disaster

Talk about a complete collapse.  No hitting, no pitching.  For a 3rd straight ALCS game in a row, a Red Sox starter couldn’t get past the 5th inning.  Tim Wakefield pulled the quintessential Wakefield performance, marked by absolutely dominating stuff for a while and then the wheels came off…quickly.  Manny Delcarmen was brought in to douse the fire, but he must have been packing gasoline.

So now what?  Game 5 Thursday night in Cleveland.  Of course it is a must-win, but just what can the Red Sox hope for if they win?  Back to Boston for game 6 and maybe 7 with Curt Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka?

Sure manager Terry Francona could have started Josh Beckett on 3 days rest, but that is far beside the point.  Boston starters not named Josh Beckett have been beyond disappointing.  You’d think such highly paid, highly skilled performers would do more than, well, crumble.

Now that I’ve called out he pitching staff, the offense gets its medicine too.  We saw too little, too late home runs from Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.  Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Julio Lugo, Coco Crisp and  JD Drew just have not shown up.  Guys, this is the playoffs.  There isn’t always a "tomorrow" in the playoffs.

The Red Sox are one step away from hot stove talk.  I don’t know what else to say here.  We are seeing one of the most disappointing performances in a while.  As for the name of my posts, yesterday was a downer, today a disaster.  I would prefer writing something like "explosion" or "domination" after Thursday’s game.

Notes:  Fox did it’s best to create a story on the health of Josh Beckett.  Ken Rosenthal and Joe Buck really worked that angle…with no proof of course, just speculation.  Tim McCarver had a dousy tonight.  After Kevin Youkilis swung at the first pitch in his 2nd at bat, McCarver commented on the fact that the Red Sox were now swinging at Paul Byrd’s first pitch b/c so many had been thrown for first pitch strikes.  The problem with McCarver’s comment is that Youkilis was the first guy that inning to swing at a first pitch.  So why would he claim the Red Sox were now swinging at the first pitch when only one guy had done so?!?  A small, most likely unnoticed comment, but it drove me nuts.  McCarver, please retire tomorrow.

Time for bed and that will be the case for the Red Sox if they don’t figure things out quickly.