Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Will Theo dress up again tonight?

(BDD Photo Illustration)

No Tricks from Theo Expected at Fenway Tonight
But Last Oct. 31, the GM Treated Us with His Great Escape
Baird Named as Red Sox Assistant GM

That's Rich

Loretta, Gonzalez File for Free Agency; Sox Retain Wakefield

That's Rich

2.23.00 - Red Sox pitcher Rich Garces, throws for the first time since arriving in Ft. Myers.

(2.23.00 Boston Globe File Photo)

El Guapo is Ready to Return to Major League Baseball

Garces Says 'Things Are Moving' Regarding His Return to the Bigs
(Does That Mean El Guapo is Part of Theo's 'Rebuilding' Plan?)
Desportes Meridiano 'English' Translation

He's Gone Belli Up

He's Gone Belli Up

Actor Carson Kressley of the television show

(AP Photo)

Beer-League Mirabelli Files for Free Agency
Wake's Going to Have to Deal with Another Good Catch
Because Theo Learned a Lesson from the
School of Bard Knocks

Nixon, Kapler Join Mirabelli in Free Agency

Rest in Peace Red

Rest in Peace Red

Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach sits on the bench at Boston Garden smoking a cigar after the Celtics took a commanding lead against the Los Angeles Lakers, securing Auerbach's 1000th NBA victory in Boston, in this Jan. 13, 1966 photo.

(1966 AP File Photo)

A Legend is Gone

Boston.com: Remembering Red Auerbach

Was It a Detroit Breakdown?

Sox Don't Lower Ticket Prices for '07 | Tito Heads Home

Was It a Detroit Breakdown?

Like the White Sox in '06 too ...

Thanks Ozzie ... But Your Team Didn't Exactly
Doggedly Defend the World Series Championship
La Boring Cards Tame Toothless Tigers, Win Series
Pitchers and Catchers Report in 110 Days
Let the Hot Stove Season Begin

Two years ago tonight

Two Years Ago Tonight, There Were
No St. Louis Blues for the Red Sox

Champagne Kings
High Tek

(Getty Images Photos)

One More Time...

Remember When They Won It All?
Happy Mannyversary.

"I don't believe in curses, I think you make your own destination."
-- 10.27.04, 2004 World Series MVP Manny Ramirez

2004 World Series: It's Been a While
Sox, Cries, and Audiotape

"This is for anyone who ever played for the Red Sox, anyone who ever rooted for the Red Sox, anyone who has ever been to Fenway Park. This is bigger than the 25 players in this clubhouse. This is for all of Red Sox Nation past and present. I hope they're enjoying it as much as we are." -- 10.27.04, Theo Epstein, Red Sox GM

The Original Rolling Rally

The Original Rolling Rally ...

Boston Red Sox 1986 American League Championship celebration

(Boston Globe File Photo)

Took Place on a Ryder Truck 20 Years Ago
Will There Be a 'Third Place in the AL East' Excursion Soon?

Globe: A Thrill in the Air in '86

World Series Game 4: Paper Tigers Pushed to Brink

15 Minutes Are Up for 'Twenty Good Years'

15 Minutes Are Up for
'Twenty Good Years'

20 Good Years

(NBC Photo)

Werner and Henry Teamed Up on a New Sitcom
And Now It's Gone Faster Than the 2006 Red Sox

' "We have to make the best of these 20 good years," [Red Sox owner John] Henry recalls saying.

"Not too long after, Werner came out with the script for a new sitcom that will premiere on NBC this week. The title: 'Twenty Good Years.'

"It may be the first time that two Red Sox owners have jointly dreamed up a television series, but that's only because they have not been at it that long. The two now are so close that they e-mail back and forth for hours during the middle of the night -- astonishing, considering that just five years ago, they barely knew each other, and each harbored his own dream of being the primary face of the team." -- 10.8.06, Behind the scenes, Werner juggles Sox, sitcoms, Boston Globe

Here's an Idea... How About Spending More Time, Energy, and Money
to Make Sure the Boston Red Sox Return to Respectability
Before Another 86 Good Years Go By?

PawSox to Michael J. Fox

From the PawSox ...

BDD_js_pawsox_chap.jpg

(Jeff Suppan BDD Photo / Bill Chapman)

... To Taking On Michael J. Fox

BDD_mjfox_videograb.jpg

(Michael J. Fox ad / YouTube)

Boston Globe Series Notebook: Suppan is the Opposing Pitcher

"The ad in which Suppan appeared was in response to one that aired during Game 1, in which actor Michael J. Fox offered support for Democratic senator Claire McCaskill, a proponent of the amendment...

" 'Amendment 2 claims it bans human cloning,' Suppan says in the ad, 'but in the 2,000 words you won't read, it makes cloning a constitutional right. Don't be deceived.' " -- 10.26.06, Boston Globe World Series Notebook

It Was 20 Years Ago Today ...

It Was 20 Years Ago Today ...

The 1986 Red Sox were one strike away from winning the World Series. They came closer to winning - without actually winning - than any team in baseball history. When you watch a tape of Game 6 (shelved in the sci-fi/horror section of New England video stores), it's still impossible to believe

(John Ritter Illustration)

We Had A Night We'll Never Forget

Eric Wilbur: An Error Turns 20
Larry Whiteside's '86 Game Story: Sox Let It Slip Through Their Fingers
Dan Shaughnessy's '04 Column: The Standard for Booting Victory is Set
BDD Archives: Game 6 86'ed the Sox | Don't Blame Buckner
Photo Gallery: Game 6 Scenes | Game 6 Box Score
Discuss: Where Were You During Game 6?

"So the winning run is at second base, with two outs, three and two to Mookie Wilson. A little roller up along first... behind the [first-base] bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight... and the Mets win it! ... [three minutes pass] ... If one picture is worth a thousand words, then you have seen about a million words, but more than that you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish of game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the Mets are not only alive, they are well, and they play the Red Sox in Game 7 tomorrow." -- 10.26.86, Vin Scully, NBC Sports play-by-play announcer

Ho-Hum World Series: Carpenter Shuts Down Tigers

Same Old, Same Old ... Timlin's Back

Same Old, Same Old ...

Same Old, Same Old ... Timlin's Back

Timlin's Coming Back for $2.8 Million
as Red Sox 'Rebuilding' Continues

Can an El Guapo Signing Be Far Behind? A Tim Wakefield Extension?
You Can Hear the Stampede to the Virtual Waiting Room for '07 Tickets Now


Gammons Still High on Josh Beckett

""The 16 wins were fine, but the 5.01 ERA and 36 gopher balls were a major disappointment to the Red Sox, who thought the 26-year old would be a No. 1 or 2 starter. The stuff is there; it's just that in New York and Toronto they can hit 97 mph gas into the streets. Next year he will make the adjustments, use his four-seamer, dominate down and away to right-handed batters and mix in his changeup better.

"Heart is not an issue, and Beckett finally crossed the 200-inning level. Now he has to learn to pitch, and the important thing is that he wants to be great." -- 10.21.06, Peter Gammons, ESPN Insider blog (by subscription)

Remembering When the Sox Used to Beat Around the Busch in October

Remembering When the Sox Used to
Beat Around the Busch in October

Red Sox tribute brick at Busch Stadium

(BDD Photo / Bob from Erie)

And Wishing the Tigers Much Soxcess in St. Louis

"In early 2005, when the new stadium was being built, the Cardinals advertized a 'stadium brick paver' program where you could purchase a customized brick to be placed in the sidewalk around the stadium. I got together with a few friends and we purchased this Sox tribute brick. I recently learned they placed the brick right in front of Gate 1 - a main entrance at Busch." -- 10.24.06, Bob from Erie, Penn.

Bradford: Schilling Teaches MIT a Thing or Two
Wilbur: A Pine Mess | Extra Bases: No Japan for Tito
Collegian: Rogers is Just Another Player in a
Cheating-Friendly Environment

Nelson de la Rosa Dies

R.I.P. Nelson de la Rosa

Pedro Martinez and Nelson de la Rosa

(Reuters Photo)

Sox '04 'Lucky Charm' Visits New York,
Then Dies in Rhode Island at 38

"[de la Rosa] fell ill shortly after arriving in Miami on Friday from Chile, where the Dominican national had been working in a circus. On Saturday, he traveled to New York then to Providence, where two of his brothers live." -- 10.22.06, New York Daily News

BDD Archives:
All About Nelson, Pedro, and the Red Sox

PM_9.24bg.jpg

(Reuters Photo)

World Series Game 2: Rogers Cleans Up
World Series Game 1: Tigers Tossed Around
Shaughnessy: Did Winner Have Dirty Little Secret?

More Signs the Apocalypse is Upon Us ...
Schilling is Speaking at MIT Monday Night

It's a Mag Job

Extra Bases: Francona to Manage All-Stars in Japan

It's a Mag Job

Dave Magadan #12 of the San Diego Padres poses for a portrait during the San Diego Padres Photo Day at Peoria Stadium on February 26, 2005 in Peoria, Arizona.

(Getty Images Photo / Nick Laham)

Former Padres Hitting Coach Hired by Red Sox

Extra Bases: Dave Magadan's Officially On Board

"Philosophically, as a hitting coach, I like to keep it simple. Every hitter has got his own personal quirks at the plate and as a hitting instructor you’ve got to work within the framework of each hitter. There’s not just one way to hit. I’m a hard-worker, I believe in looking at a lot of video, being prepared, learning the pitchers we’re going to be facing. When I was in San Diego I did all of the advance scouting for our hitters on the pitchers that we were going to be facing."

"When a new pitcher comes into a game, [it's important to] give your hitters an idea of how they’re going to be pitched in a game," said Magadan. "David Ortiz probably isn’t going to be pitched the same way as an Alex Cora, so I think you’ve got to know your hitters and know what little bits of information they need about that pitcher that’s going to try to get them out that day." -- 10.20.06, Dave Magadan, Red Sox hitting coach

Molina Sends St. Louis to Motown

Molina Blast Sends
St. Louis to Motown

Catcher Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets stikes out to end game seven of the NLCS at Shea Stadium on October 19, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Cardinals won 3 to 1.

(Getty Images Photo / Al Bello)

We're Stuck Watching La Russa and the Cards
as Mets Can't Capitalize on Chavez Catch Momentum
Soup Was On Again as Birds Take Game 7, 3-1

Carlos Bel-trance: He Likes to Watch
Eric Wilbur: White Hot Stripes

Frank Galasso Illustration

(Boston Dirt Dogs / Frank Galasso, cartoonist)

The Finest LCS

20/20 Commentary

OFFSEASON REPORT by Gary Jacobs

The Finest LCS

10.15.86, Sox-Angles Game 7 ALCS.  Red Sox players mob pitcher Clavin Schiraldi at the end of game.

(Boston Globe File Photo)

OCT. 19, 2006 -- It was a pulse-pounding, amazing, improbable comeback, wasn’t it? It had a little bit of everything: clutch performances from players who failed to impress during the regular season; stars overcoming injury; timely late-inning home runs; a lucky bounce or two; a ninth inning where the Sox, backs against the wall, dismantled the other guy’s lights-out closer; and when it was all said and done, the Red Sox would come together at the mound in a joyous throng and celebrate having won the American League Pennant. It would go down as the greatest comeback in Red Sox' history.

2004? Nope. Try 1986.

Before The Idiots, before John Henry and Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein, before Dan Duquette, before The Curse, even before “25 men, 25 cabs,” there were John McNamara’s 1986 Red Sox, who overcame a 3-1 deficit in the ALCS – and a 5-2 deficit in the ninth inning of Game 5 – to the then-California Angels for the right to represent the American League in the World Series.

We all know what came 12 days later: defeat as humbling and draining as can possibly happen in the world of sports. Any self-respecting Red Sox fan felt a duty to obliterate the memory of that crushing season from his memory.

But if, instead of spitting the bit in epic, tragic fashion, the Red Sox had been able to close the deal 20 years ago, children from Springfield to Salem would be schooled in the magical summer of 1986, and its just as magical autumn, whose climax came not in the World Series, but the week before in the LCS, just as in 2004.

And now that 2004 has come and gone, bringing with it redemption and neutralization of all the bitterness of past years, the story of the 1986 ALCS deserves - needs – to be told, needs to find a new audience 20 years after the fact, to acknowledge heroic deeds and to remember just how close the Red Sox came to bowing out of the playoffs without even a chance at glory.

* * *

The 1985 edition of the Boston Red Sox defined mediocrity; they finished a perfect 81-81, 18 ½ games behind AL East leading Toronto, good for fifth place in the seven-team division. With an average attendance of 22,057 (which meant there were around 12,000 empty seats in the park every day), it’s safe to say that Red Sox fever was not exactly running wild in the streets of Boston. Though there were some exemplary individual performances – Wade Boggs won the batting title with a .368 BA, and Dwight Evans won yet another Gold Glove – expectations for the ’86 squad were low.

Indeed, the 1986 campaign promised to show little difference from the previous year. The team made few wholesale changes; the only really big move came in November of 1985, when the team worked a multi-player trade with the New York Mets, which distilled into the Sox sending Bob Ojeda and receiving Calvin Schiraldi and Wes Gardner. A few minor trades and some tentative dips in the free agency pool later (Mark Clear to the Brewers for Ed Romero, for example) and the team was done tinkering. Of the nine starters of the ’85 squad, all but one played the majority of the ’86 season (Romero, replacing Jackie Gutierrez at short, was the only new face on the starting nine).

One big difference was the emergence of future Hall-of-Famer Roger Clemens. In 1985, he missed most of the season with a shoulder injury. It’s difficult to conceive of it today, but by opening day 1986, few of baseball’s cognoscenti knew what Clemens would be able to bring to the Red Sox – especially given his poor spring training performance that year (he finished the vernal tune-up with an ERA over 10). He was fourth on the depth chart behind Hurst, Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, and Al Nipper.

It was Clemens’ transcendent performance against the Seattle Mariners on April 29 that provided the first clue that 1986 might be a special year. In front of a now-inconceivably small crowd of 13,414, Clemens toed the rubber and proceeded to strike out 20 of the 30 batters he’d face, setting a major-league record.

In a town where the Celtics were still a juggernaut – on their way to winning yet another NBA championship and occupying the hearts and minds of the casual fan, Clemens and his otherworldly performance sent a thrill up the spine of Red Sox fans everywhere. Indeed it apparently did wonders for the Red Sox as well; before that game started their record stood at 8-8. They finished their home stand 6-2, went on an eight-game west coast trip, also going 6-2, and came back winning another home stand, 5-1. By May 21 their record stood at 26-13, good for a .667 winning percentage and a well-established lead in the AL East, one which they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the season.

By October 5, 1986, despite dropping all four games of their final series with the second-place Yankees, the Red Sox closed the season with a 95-66 record, outpacing their closest competition by 5 ½ games. Clemens would finish with a 24-4 record and a 2.48 ERA. For the first time since 1975, the Red Sox were going to the postseason.

Cool Breeze Keeps Skating on Thin Ice

Cool Breeze Keeps Skating on Thin Ice

Manny the speedskater

(BDD Photo Illustration)

The Sox May Be Hot to Send Manny Packing
But GQ Thinks He's One of the Coolest of All Time

(GQ Must Stand for Glorifying Quitters)

"The Red Sox may still want to trade him, but to GQ maggie Manny Ramirez is an 'Original' - one of the 16 coolest sports heroes of all time." -- 10.19.06, Boston Herald Inside Track

Photo Gallery: Taking a Look at the Ex-Sox in the Playoffs
NECN News Night: Theo Sounds a Little Ornery Talking Sox...
...Especially in Part 2 of His Interview with Jim Braude
Sportsplus Video: Shaughnessy Still Wants to Trade Manny for A-Rod

For Diehards Only

For Diehards Only

Major League Baseball has entered into a licensing agreement with Eternal Image, which hopes to eventually make urns and caskets with for all 30 baseball teams. Eternal Image says urns for six teams, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers,  should be available by Opening Day 2007, and caskets for those teams should be ready later in the year.

(AP Photo / BDD Photo Illustration)

They've Been the Dead Sox Since '05
And Now You Can Take Them to The Grave

Discuss the New Six-Feet-Under Sox
Buckner Was Wearing Cubs Batting Glove in '86

Memorializing The Way They Were

Memorializing The Way They Were

Memorializing of the way we were

(BDD Photo Illustration)

("The Way We Were" by Barbara Streisand)

Memorializing,
Like you leaving in my mind
Misty water-colored memorializing
Of the way we were
Scattered players,
The ‘04 team we left behind
Digs we gave to one another
For the way we were
Can it be that it was all so awful then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to screw it up again
Tell me, would we? Could we?
Memorializing, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the gorilla
We will remember
Whenever we remember...
The way we were...
The way we were...

Lucchino, Epstein Memorialize GM Deal

Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino: "Do we have an agreement that memorializes an agreement? Yes."

A Look Back: The Theo Epstein Saga Timeline


'We'll Say Nothing! NOTHING!'

Sergeant Schultz, Red Sox media liaison

Red Sox Media Liaison Sergeant Schultz
Addressed the Print People Yesterday

“The Red Sox front office declined to answer questions yesterday concerning a number of topics, including payroll, their interest in Japanese righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka, whether they were going to deal Manny Ramírez, their free agents, and pitcher Jon Lester, who was stricken with cancer during the season.

"Lucchino and Henry both declined to speak about threshold tax and the team's payroll because both of them indicated there are currently ``sensitive" basic agreement issues being discussed in New York. The basic labor agreement expires at the end of this year.” -- 10.18.06, Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe

Signed, Sealed ...

Signed, Sealed ...

10.2.06: The Red Sox season is over, as the local nine missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 campaign. At Fenway Park, general manager Theo Epstein reflected on the season as he met with the media in manager Terry Francona's office.

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

But When's the Last Time He Delivered?

Theo Finally Signs, But Is '07 His Last Chance to
Rebound After Breaking Up the '04 Champs?

Will Farrell Be More Old School?

Will Farrell Be More Old School?

New Red Sox pitching coach, John Farrell.

(Boston Globe Photo)

Farrell Has the Fire the Sox Have Been Lacking Since '04

WEEI Audio: Farrell Talks About His Pitching Philosophy

Has Fox Gone Psycho?
Callahan: Shame on Fox for Lyons Firing
Wilbur: Hair and Balanced at Fox?

Above the Law

Above the Law

A scalper holds up Red Sox tickets as he walks down Brookline Ave. towards Kenmore Square 30 minutes before the Red Sox vs. Yankees day game on Friday Aug. 18

(Boston Globe Staff Photo / John Tlumacki)

If You Can't Escape the Virtual Waiting Room This Season,
You'll Be Paying Obscene Prices for Fenway Tickets Because
Sellers, Regulators, and Police Brazenly Ignore State Statute
Limiting Ticket Markups
and the Red Sox Stopped Going After
Season Ticket Holders Who Sell to Scalpers for Profit

Nobody Wants to Enforce the State's Antiscalping Law
Survey: Have Your Bought Tickets from a Scalper?

"It shouldn't cost a king's ransom for a guy to go with his family to a ballgame. Scalping is against the law. The law should be enforced." -- Joe Boucher, a Red Sox fan from Portland, Maine

Maybe China Has the Answer to
Boston's Ticket Scalping Woes

Armed policemen guard people accused of swindling, stealing and ticket scalping during a public sentencing rally at the Railway North Station in Chengdu in China's southwest Sichuan province Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006. Thirty criminals were sentenced during the campaign.   Local authorities have launched campaigns to crack down on ticket scalping, swindling and stealing in order to assure the safety of passengers and improve the order of railway stations.

(AP Photo)

Above: Armed policemen guard people accused of swindling, stealing and ticket scalping during a public sentencing rally at the Railway North Station in Chengdu in China's southwest Sichuan province. Thirty criminals were sentenced during the campaign. Local authorities have launched campaigns to crack down on ticket scalping, swindling, and stealing in order to assure the safety of passengers and improve the order of railway stations.

Extra Bases: John Farrell Hired as Sox Pitching Coach

Motor City Shakedown

Maggliover!

Magglio Ordonez hits a three run home run in the ninth inning against Oakland Athletics pitcher Huston Street in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series in Detroit, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006. The Tigers defeated the Athletics 6-3 to sweep the Athletics and advance to the World Series.

(AP Photo)

Motor City Shakedown

Tigers Sweep to Series on Easy Street Walkoff

First ALCS Sweep Since Oakland Rocked the Red Sox in 1990
Tigers Go to the Series for the First Time Since Winning It All in 1984
Leyland's Comeback Gamble Pays Off, The Gambler Did Too

"I think early on in spring training we had a lot of good players. We didn't have a good team. And today I can make the statement that we've got a good team, and that's the thing that I'm proudest of." -- 10.14.06, Jim Leyland of the American League Champion Detroit Tigers talking about a team like the 2004 Red Sox

Soup's On

St. Louis Cardinals' Jeff Suppan is a whirl of motion as he pitches against the New York Mets in the third inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006, in St. Louis.

(AP Photo)

Why Can't Players Like That Pitch Like That for Us?
Suppan and the Boring Cardinals Roll Again, 5-0
Mets Are a Mess Without the Broken-Down Pedro Martinez
When's the Last Time Tom Glavine Was Even in Billerica?

Gammons: Playoffs Show Parity at Work

"In New York, answers were demanded. In Boston, Web sites asked why New Englanders couldn't have a spirited, "well-managed" team like the Tigers? Of course, no one raised those questions on the last weekend of the season when the Tigers needed to win one game against the Royals to get home-field advantage ... and were swept...

" 'Whether teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, who pay so much into revenue-sharing, like it or not, the fact is that this is good for the game,' says one club executive. 'If the Tigers win the World Series, it will be great for the game in a year with record attendance and record profits.'... "

"I'm not big on coaches changing teams, but Boston's hiring of John Farrell as pitching coach is one of those moves that could change the franchise. Farrell eventually will be a general manager, somewhere, and the Red Sox's 2007 season will depend greatly on the development of Josh Beckett, Jonathan Papelbon, Craig Hansen, Manny Delcarmen, Edgar Martinez and, in time, Clay Buchholz, Kris Johnson, Bryce Cox, Justin Masterson and others. In the last eight months, Boston has raided the Cleveland developmental organization for Farrell and farm director Mike Hazen." -- 10.12.06, Peter Gammons ESPN Insider Blog (by subscription only)

'Lost' in the Shuffle

'Lost' in the Shuffle

Jack, played by Matthew Fox, had to see footage of the Red Sox 2004 World Series win to be convinced that he and the Others were in contact with the outside world.

(Left: Mario Perez/ABC; Right: Jim Davis/Boston Globe Staff)

The 2004 World Series Win Seems Like An 'Other' World
Because Now the Red Sox Are a 'Lost' Cause

"There it was, in the final seconds of Wednesday night's 'Lost': footage of the Red Sox' 2004 World Series win. The 'Others' played it to Jack, to prove they were in contact with the outside world." -- 10.13.06, Hollywood is milking the Sox '04 win to the last drop

"You want to see someone go bezerk in a few weeks? Wait until Ben tells Jack the Sox didn't re-sign Pedro or Lowe in lieu of Matt Clement and David Wells. That's not going to go over well." -- 10.13.06, Eric Wilbur, Boston Sports Blog


Extra Bases: Sox Hire Dave Magadan
Wilbur: Microphone Check for Fox

R.I.P. Cory Lidle and Tyler Stanger

R.I.P. Cory Lidle and Tyler Stanger

Flight instructor Tyler Stanger (right) poses for a photo after a flight at Bracket Airport Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004, In La Verne, Calif. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly identified Stanger of Walnut, Calif., as the flight instructor with New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2006. The two were killed when the their aircraft crashed into a New York City building.

(AP Photos)

Yankee Player, Flight Instructor Die as Plane Hits Building
Shaughnessy: It Became a Tragic Sports Story
Wilbur: Lidle Was Fearless

Frank Galasso Illustration

(Boston Dirt Dogs / Frank Galasso, cartoonist)

The Last Stage of Elimination

The Nation Speaks

The Last Stage of Elimination

Oct. 12, 2006 -- As the baseball world bid good winter to another four teams this past Columbus Day weekend, Red Sox partisans had cause to reflect on our team’s own mortality. Is elimination easier to accept when it comes quick and without warning as at the hand of a wild card limping into the postseason, or after a long and painful bout with woeful pitching and anemic hitting?

For Bostonians, last Saturday’s Yankee Elimination Day was like a second holiday in the same three-day weekend. But for long-suffering Yankees fans whose last October triumph predates those of both the Red Sox and White Sox, it is a hard swallow. When your roster is full of All-Stars, future Hall-of-Famers, and home run derby champions, and your Number 8 hitter is a two-time MVP with a $25 million salary, you must win. The lofty expectation is a small price to pay for a table tilted so much in your favor, for an economic ability to acquire any player you want and retain every player you acquire. Nevertheless, Yankee Fan’s pain is of little concern in New England. We have our own.

September 23 marked the mathematical elimination of our 2006 Boston Red Sox, but their spiritual exodus occurred long before. Agonizingly long before. It may have come a month earlier, when Mark Loretta lined out to Robinson Cano and sealed the Yankees’ five-game sweep, or perhaps nine days later in Oakland as Curt Schilling was chased off the mound during the low-water mark of a 2-7 road trip. It was different for everybody, that personal epiphany that our Friends in The Fens were a not-so-cheap imitation of an AL pennant contender, a malnourished frame to which National Leaguers and the Baltimore Orioles added ten pounds much like television does to bulimic actors.

Maybe the Tigers Should Stay Out West

Maybe the Tigers Should Stay Out West

They're the Choakland A's

(BDD Photo Illustration)

No Panic From Detroit as Dirt Tigers Take It To
the Billy Beanecounters Again, 8-5

Why Can't We Get an Enthusiastic Hard-Working
Well-Managed Team Like That?

Detroit Tigers' Carlos Guillen (9), Magglio Ordonez and Brandon Inge celebrate their 8-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2006. The Tigers lead the series 2-0 games.

(AP Photo)

Milton Bradley's Got Game for the A's,
But the Mighty Tigers Go Home Up 2-0

"There's no surprise in me. I know why I came to the big leagues. When I went to Toledo this year, I didn't put my head down. I worked hard every day." -- 10.11.06, Alexis Gomez, another no-name leading the Tigers to the Series

Moving Manny and A-Rod ...
TC's Mailbag: Beat Them to the Punch | Wilbur: Windy Roads

Schadenfreude

20/20 Commentary

OFFSEASON REPORT by Gary Jacobs

Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude (n) (German) [SHA-d’n-froy-duh] joy in another’s misfortune

OCT. 10, 2006 -- In my office, hanging in places of honor, I’ve proudly displayed the front and back covers of the New York Post’s October 21, 2004 edition, headlines screaming “Damned Yankees” and “What a Choke” in typical Post 48-point type. I didn’t hang up anything about the Red Sox winning the pennant.

A week later, when they won the World Series I didn’t hang up anything about that. No, what resonated with me was not the uplifting of the Sox to the rarified air of the Winner’s Circle; it was the abasement of the Yankees to the lowest low of their modern history.

It was, in short, Schadenfreude. And oh, does it feel good – when you’re on the right side of it. When it’s your team that’s getting its assets kicked in, it doesn’t feel very good at all.

Take for example the Pinstripers’ five-game sweep of the Sox at Fenway (a sweep that Gotham wags have already christened “The second Boston Massacre”) earlier this year. It caused Yankee fans everywhere to forget about the embarrassment of 2004 and revel in the Sox’ misfortunes. One didn’t hear about how the Yankees solidified their position as leaders of the AL East. One heard about how they took the boots to the Red Sox but good.

In fact, that was DOUBLE Schadenfreude. Not only did Bombers fans revel in our misfortune, most Sox fans gnashed their teeth not because we lost ground to the first place team, but because it was the Yankees who abased us so completely.

But such is the nature of a sports rivalry that redemption is ever around the next corner, and, if the rivalry is heated enough, your team doesn’t even have to be playing to take part.

Look Who's Shopping, Too

Look Who's Shopping, Too

Randy Johnson shopping on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, Sunday Oct. 8

(BDD Photo / Steve Silva)

With the Paper Tigers Mailing It In Early Again,
Big Unit Had Plenty of Steinbrenner Bucks
to Spend in the Big Apple on Sunday

The Bradford Files: Arroyo, Stern, Bard, and More
Wilbur: Arms the Hammer

Hey, Big Spender

Hey, Big Spender

George

(AP File Photo)

$200 Million Doesn't Go as Far As It Used To
Yankee$ Go Home Early for $ixth $traight $eason

Ryan: Yankees Feeling Spent
Callahan: Bronx Bomb Isn't Funny
Gammons: Leyland, Tigers Knew They 'Belong'
Report: Torre Expected to Return as Manager Today

Theo Epstein: Stewardship or Sewership

20/20 Commentary

Theo Epstein: Stewardship or Sewership

OCT. 8, 2006 -- You don't have to know rocket science or the Theory of Relativity to understand the depth of concern that Red Sox fans have for the organizational direction. Not since 1966 has the franchise appeared so mediocre but not average as the Sox did during the final two months of 2006.

From 2003 to 2005, the Red Sox finished second in the AL East three times, advanced each year to the American League playoffs, and won the World Series in 2004. To an extent, long-suffering Sox fans give the organization a mulligan for 2006, including a disastrous series of illness and injuries and trades that (as always) require longer samples to judge fully. By what metric can we baseball outsiders judge the performance of the front office, most notably, Brookline's Theo Epstein. The GM stated, “We were a strong club. We took on so many holes because of injuries. With those gaps we got to a certain performance level...”

Last offseason the Sox wallowed in confusion, the Gang of Four at the Winter Meetings, key Sox front office figures defecting to other organizations, and a rumored bitter power struggle extant between Larry Lucchino and Epstein. Epstein apparently won, although we cannot know the terms of Lucchino's surrender. The Sox at least head into this offseason with a stable staff, although we must determine how we will evaluate Epstein going forward.

Obviously, Baseball Operations require 'bottom line' evaluation. Did the Sox win (enough), and if not, was the failure tactical or strategic? A strategic goal would include minor league development, to allow the Sox to compete for a championship annually, with a manageable payroll? Another strategic goal (including the business side) requires revenue growth to service debt, and improve the finances for capital expenditures on players. A third strategic goal includes defining the core of the team and securing its presence. As a corollary, extending David Ortiz's contract satisfies part of that goal of attracting and retaining talent. A fourth strategic choice is the use of Sabermetric evaluation versus 'traditional' player evaluation.

Did You See That Catch D-Rob Made?

Did You See That Catch D-Rob Made?

San Diego Padres left fielder Dave Roberts makes a diving catch to rob St Louis Cardinals' Ronnie Belliard of a hit during the fourth inning in their National League Division Series baseball game in San Diego, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006.

(AP Photo)

Why Can't We Get Good-Value Four-Tool
World Series Heroes Like Dave Roberts?

Leave it to Weaver: SD Sox Fold to Cards, 2-0
Wells is Good, But Not Good Enough Either
The Shame of Losing Cla Meredith Gets a National Showcase
Josh Bard Does His Best Doug Mirabelli Impersonation
Why Can't Theo Pick Up Trash Heap Castoffs Like Jeff Weaver in July?

Johnny Be Good ...

Johnny Be Good ...

 Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees watches his ball after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning of Game Two of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers on October 5, 2006 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Borough of New York City.

(Getty Images Photo / Jim McIsaac)

But Not Good Enough to Carry Yankees to Victory
No Detroit Breakdown in the Bronx,
Tigers Top Bombers 4-3 to Tie Series

Damon's Three-Run Upper Deck Shot Put Yanks on Top Early
Todd "Kicked-to-the-Curb-in-Boston" Jones Closed the Door Late
And Coco Crisp Was Stepping Out at the Topsfield Fair

Oh Nomar, No Win for D-Lowe

Oh Nomar, It's Too Little,
Too Late for D-Lowe, Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe leaves the game after handing the ball to manager Grady Little, right, in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006. The Mets won 6-5.

(AP Photo)

Seems Like Old Times in the Big Apple
Dodgers Run Into Trouble, Lose to Mets 6-5

D-Lowe Digs In But Can't Win
Bizarre Baserunning Blunder Blows It for Blue Sox
Grady Makes All the Wrong Moves Again
And Nomar Goes Down Swinging to End the Game

We've been in LA all season long. We know about traffic jams. Certainly had one right there." -- 10.54.06, the wisdom of Grady Little on the disasterous double-play

Adam Stern Would Have Had It:
A's Uplifted After Hunter's Gaffe

Mnookin: Dodging a Bullet with Pedro
Why D-Lowe Should Have Been Signed

Let's Go Blue Sox!

Let's Go Blue Sox!

Blue Sox take on the Mets at 4 p.m.

(Lowe: Getty Images Photo / Stephen Dunn | Garciaparra, Little / AP Photos)

Globe: Lowe is Riding High | Nomar Impressed LA GM

Postseason's Greetings

Postseason's Greetings

New York Yankees Johnny Damon, center, greets Derek Jeter at home plate as Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez watches during the sixth inning in Game 1 of Major League Baseball's American League Division Series Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2006 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Damon and Jeter scored on a base hit by Bobby Abreu.

(AP Photo)

Good Thing Theo Saved a Little Money for Rudy Seanez Instead of Keeping Johnny Damon as the Sox Leading Man

The Difference Between 'Valuable' and 'Good Value':
Looks Like Damon and Jeter Will Be Playing for a Pennant
Reasons to Watch: Former Sox in the Playoffs
WEEI Audio Vault: Theo Talks About the Lost Season

Let 'Em Eat Blame Cake

2006 Blame Cake - Boston Dirt Dogs

(Boston Globe Staff and File Photos)

BDD Fan Survey:
Whom Do You Blame for the Sox' Third-Place Finish in '06


Offseason Primer: 20 Questions to Answer
Extra Bases: Adam Stern Traded to Orioles

"I felt we needed to make in all aspects of our pitching operation: How we see our pitchers, how we evaluate them, how we acquire them, how we support them once they're here." -- 10.3.06, Theo Epstein on letting Dave Wallace go

Rush Hour

Now Playing Everywhere

Rush Hour, Boston Dirt Dogs

(BDD Photo Illustration / B-Ball)

The Pats Running Game is Branching Out

Dog Gone?

Dog Gone?

Those were the days ...

(2004 Boston Globe File Photo / Stan Grossfeld)

He Won't Be Forgotten, Or Easily Replaced
Boston Could Use More Guys Like Trot Nixon

Nixon Bids Adieu to Fans

``He's a loyal, deep, strong human being that I have a tremendous respect for. It was hard to watch without getting emotional, him walking off the field today, for no other reason than he deserves to be recognized, not because he is or is not coming back to Boston but because he means a whole lot to a lot of people." -- 10.1.06, the always graceful Gabe Kapler on Trot Nixon

Nixon on the front lines

(2005: AP Photo)

Somebody Gotta Pay: Papa Jack and Dave Wallace Out
Eric Wilbur: Playoffs, Missing Sox
Report Card: Your Turn to Give Each Player a Grade
Audio: Gordon Edes' Offseason Preview
The Last Game at Fenway

Et Tu, Roger?

Et Tu, Roger?

Roger with the Yankees

(BDD Photo Illustration)

Former Yankee Roger Clemens Denies Accusation
That He Took Performance Enhancing Drugs

Bob Ryan: Problem Now Oversized

"The newly accused all have issued their denials, naturally. Well, duh. You didn't expect Clemens to react to the report that his was one of the names -- I love this word -- 'redacted' from a search warrant affidavit filed in Phoenix at the end of May in connection with the Jason Grimsley case by saying, 'Hey, you got me. I loved being Roger Clemens too much to give it up, so I did what I needed to do in order to keep it going,' did you?" -- 10.2.06, Roger Clemens, former New York Yankee

Visionary Extraordinaire

Visionary Extraordinaire

Lucchino Knew Best

(AP Photo)

The Man Who Takes All the Heat,
Knew the Real Deal with Pete
And Gammo Did Too ...

"I really worry for Omar Minaya that this could be a terrible deal. And I'll tell you why I object to Fern Cuza. I think the right thing is to do the best thing for your client. And the best thing for your client whose already made $92 million and is guaranteed $133 million. He's allowed to do basically what he wants to do. People leave him alone. Nobody made a big stink about his not going to the sixth game of the Yankees series, which I still think is perposterous. But in New York, well over half the media view him as a complete and utter mercenary who grovels to get one extra dollar. Pedro does not take kindly to any criticism. He's going to get killed in New York. And with the franchise run by a PR guy from New York named Stu Sucherman, cause he has the final say on every decision made because he's Fred Wilpon's PR hack, I just think he's in for big trouble. I think he could be miserable, or it's obvious there's a chance he's gonna break down. This has all the earmarks of a disaster and an ugly way for his career to end." -- 12.14.04, Peter Gammons on WEEI

Red Sox Nation Owes a Tip of the Salary Cap to Larry Lucchino
Shoulder Surgery Will Keep Pedro Martinez Out Eight Months

“ 'I wish Lucchino was here,' Pedro said. Speaking of an airport meeting he had in the Dominican Republic with Lucchino and John Henry, he went on: 'I could tell Lucchino like I did before when I tilted my glasses down and tell him that I got four years and he goes, ‘No, bull%#@!.’ I told him I got four years, after that they were leaving for the Winter Meetings, so now you know how much time they had to work it out.' ” -- 6.28.06, Feeding the Monster blog

Pedro has plenty of time to count his dough

(BDD Photo Illustration / B-Ball)

A Look Back and Curt and 'Coddled' Pedro


Hansack 'No-Hits' O's for Five in Final Game Win, 9-0
Cowboy Upset: Millar Rallies O's Over Sox 5-4

BDD is a feature of Boston.com. The site is not produced by the Boston Globe sports dept.

Boston Globe:

Red Sox agree to deal with Pierzynski > Sox non-tender Bailey, Kalish > Sox face arbitration decisions

Boston Herald:

Sox set Bailey, Kalish free > Doug Fister dealt to Nats > White Sox agree to 1-year contract with C Flowers

ProJo:

Pierzynski reaches deal with Red Sox > Kalish, Bailey non-tendered > Mike Napoli still ideal at first base > Middlebrooks, Red Sox both looking for improvement

NY Post:

Cashman pessimistic on Yankees re-signing Cano > Report: A-Rod called PEDs 'Food'

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The "Curt’s Pitch for ALS" program is a joint effort by Curt and Shonda Schilling and The ALS Association Mass Chapter to strike out Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

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