West Coasting, SI Curt; Yankee Dirtbag Randy
Night Kap Contributes Again
"I prepare the same way every day whether I'm starting or not." -- Gabe Kapler
Lowe Picks Up Where He Left Off in Oakland
Yankee Dirtbag Randy
"The rule states that if your team is here and ready to play, and the other team isn't here and not ready to play, there should be a forfeit, and we believe there should be a forfeit." - Yankees president Randy Levine
"The Yankees absolutely embarrassed themselves. Every time Randy Levine talks, he embarrasses himself. Win it on the field, will ya! Are they scared of the Red Sox because they might have better pitching and defense than they do for the first time in ninety years? People were killed in that hurricane, for God sakes! How are the Yankees damaged in comparison to the people in South Florida? The Yankees look very, very bad in this whole thing. The Red Sox are up their rear ends; that's why they are running scared here." -- Mike Francesca, WFAN
Sox Win Dirty
""The Yankees are all clean cut," said Millar. "They wear helmets during batting practice. When Schilling first came over here, he'd say, `Look at them. They look like pros.' Over here, we're not. You see guys during BP wearing sleeveless shirts or parachute tops, no hat, game hat, red-and-blue hat. We look like sloppy, no-discipline dirtbags."-- Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe 9.9.04
"Boston's players believe it's OK to look the way they want, within reason, because they have the approval of management. When Damon arrived at spring training sporting a beard and flowing locks, Epstein received critical letters from fans who told him if he was doing his job properly, he'd order his center fielder to get a haircut.
"But Epstein held firm, under the theory that players are individuals and should be allowed some freedom of expression provided it doesn't get in the way of the team concept and winning games. Epstein actually prefers loose, free-spirited "dirt dogs" in the Millar-David Ortiz mold, because he thinks they'll be less inclined to melt in a pressurized environment like Boston." -- By Jerry Crasnick, ESPN Insider
"The reason I came here was to be on the mound here in September and, hopefully, October. It's set up that way now. If this team had won [the World Series] last year, I would not have been here." - Curt Schilling in Sports Illustrated
Not Jinx Starter
Exclusive pre-release highlights from Tom Verducci's SI article that hits newsstands tomorrow --
Theo on trade: "You have to understand," Epstein says, "we were taking a lot of heat in the days after the trade. It was very unpopular. I was getting accosted on the street. So I stayed in, and then I joined the team in Tampa, just to get out of town."
D-Lowe on defense without Nomar: "When you have the defense behind you, you become aggressive and go right after [hitters]," Lowe says. "That's what I've been doing. That keeps your pitch count down and keeps you in games."
Schilling on improved defense: "What happened to us is so obvious. We're a better team. It's so far beyond night and day, it's not even funny. And it's not just cutting down on unearned runs and errors. Plays that weren't made before that [became] hits are outs now. Ground balls that weren't turned are double plays now. Earlier in the year we were getting 27 outs a night and giving the other team 31. That's stopped.
"When plays get made, you throw fewer pitches, and when you throw fewer pitches, you go deeper into games, and when you go deeper into games, you don't need to ask so much of your bullpen. It's pretty simple."
Says Schilling of Garciaparra, "His situation never affected me. But he clearly had some serious dislike for the front office after the [aborted] trade. It was very obvious he wasn't coming back and didn't want to be back [after this season]. So what are you going to do, just play out the string? Plus, at the [end of July] he said he was going to need time off. So now you don't know how much he's going to be in there. You may get Nomar only 30 times the rest of the way. And is that a healthy Nomar or is it a hobbled Nomar?"
On the soccer star: "According to two team sources, Garciaparra told Francona he was unable to play on July 1 in New York. Garciaparra watched the thriller, which the Yankees won 5-4 in 13 innings, stone-faced while almost never leaving the bench. But as the game extended into extra innings and New York shortstop Derek Jeter dived face-first into the stands to catch a 12th-inning pop-up, Garciaparra volunteered that he could give Francona an at bat in the 13th. Francona declined.
"Put it this way," one of the sources says. "The difference between the two teams was obvious that night."
Says one teammate, "It just wasn't going to happen for him here anymore. He had such bad feelings toward the team that he thought his phone was bugged."
"On July 24 Red Sox front-office officials met with Garciaparra, who is eligible for free agency after this season, to see if his future in Boston could be salvaged. According to a team source the shortstop did not address the specifics of his situation but mostly complained about the Boston media."
Rangers manager Buck Showalter: "The difference is defense. It's refreshing to see someone recognize that, especially a team with an offensive history like Boston, and [especially] the way people get caught up in numbers. You take a guy like Cabrera. If he hits .250, with all the runs he saves, it's like he hits .270. Baseball is about run production and run reduction, and they're taking care of both."
Says Mientkiewicz: "What's more surprising than how we've played the last three weeks is how this team played .500 ball for three months before that. With the starting pitchers this team has and the offense, that's hard to imagine."
Orlando does defense: "A lot of these [American League] teams don't know me. But by the third game of a series, I can see when the batter hits a ground ball, he doesn't even bother running hard. He knows he's out... Man, these guys are crazy. If I ever manage, I'll tell the G.M., 'Get me 25 guys just like this.' It's fun, like a family."
"Cabrera, with his quick hands and footwork, has been critical to the leather upgrade. Last Thursday, for instance, with the Red Sox holding a one-run ninth-inning lead on the Anaheim Angels -- their closest pursuer for the wild card -- Cabrera picked a mean short-hop throw from catcher Jason Varitek and tagged out Troy Glaus on a steal attempt. Boston held on for a 4-3 win. "Early in the season," Schilling says, "that ball's in centerfield, the runner goes to third, he scores on a sacrifice fly and we lose in extra innings."