Some more thoughts swirling around my mind on this wonderful day after:
1) SCHILLING – What a stud! And now he’s supporting Bush – can it get any better?
Parenthetically, one of my favorite blogs, The MartiniPundit
, had a post a couple of days ago titled, “Shilling for Kerry.” For a moment, since I wasn’t reading carefully, that title nearly gave me heart failure. I thought he was saying the Sox ace had endorsed Senator Nuance. This was impossible; if there’s ever been an athlete who demonstrates conservative right wing virtues, it’s Curt Schilling. What he did with that heel? Unbelievable, and indicative of an individual who believes in just getting the job done and keeping the complaining to a minimum. Now, if he had retained counsel and petitioned the Commisioner’s office to raise the pitcher’s mound in order to compensate for the unfairness of his ill-timed ankle injury, then I would have believed he was a Kerry voter.
Since this kind of thing was on my mind anyway, you can imagine my delight when I heard that Schilling urged America to vote for Bush while appearing on Good Morning America. Kerry can have all those effete Hollywood poseurs and grungy former rock singers – we’ve got Curt!
2) CABRERA BATTING SECOND – A lot of the stats oriented types complained about Orlando Cabrera batting second during the World Series. The thinking is that someone with a higher on base average like Meuller or Bellhorn should have been there and Cabrera’s presence in the number 2 slot provided further evidence that Francona is a dolt.
I’m a stat geek myself, but I still never complained about Cabrera batting second and I think his presence there confirms Francona’s brilliance. Seriously.
Logic suggests a certain batting order type should produce the most runs. You know, the speedy guys get on base, the bashers drive them in, etc. But according to a ton of statistical modeling, the batting order makes no difference in terms of how many runs you’ll score. Now there’s a chance that the models just haven’t found the runs and that they’re there somewhere, but we can safely infer from the research that the order the guys bat in makes little if any difference.
But here’s what does make a difference: Mark Bellhorn and Bill Meuller perform better when they’re lower in the order. They’re more relaxed so they become better players. Moreover, when Cabrera’s higher in the order he becomes a much more patient (and better) hitter.
Francona knows these things about his personnel and responds accordingly. As thanks, he gets the non-stop abuse of the talk radio types and the sportswriter types who put this forth as further proof that Francona’s a moron. Like President Bush, Terry Francona is a pathetic excuse for a dullard.
3) FOUR IN A ROW - Before Game 7 against the Yankees, FoxSports “analyst” Terry Kennedy (an authentically dumb former Red Sox manager) predicted a Yankees victory because he couldn’t imagine the Sox winning four in a row. Similarly, before Game 4 yesterday Hall of Famer George Brett picked the Cards to win last night because he couldn’t picture the Cards losing four in a row.
I’ve followed sports closely for over three decades but it still amazes me that people are capable of such silliness. The Sox didn’t have to win four in a row last night; they just had to win one in a row. The hard part of the four in a row (the first three) was already done.
You want to make some money? In the NFL playoffs this year or next, there will be a match up between two teams, one of whom will have beaten the other twice during the regular season. The media will begin talking about the difficulties of winning “three in a row” and the team that clearly has the other team’s number will either be the underdog or favored by less than they should be. Wager on that team, and send me a thank you note.
4) SAYING DIE – 20 teams have been trailing a World Series 3-0. 17 of them lost Game 4. That means the trailing team won only 15% of the Game 4’s. To give you an idea of how statistically anomalous that is, consider this: The worst team in baseball beats the best team in baseball at least 25% of the time.
What would account for these Game 4 flops? I think it has to be because the trailing team usually decides to pack it in. Last night the Cardinals and their genius manager signaled a get-it-over-with attitude by having their hottest hitter bunt in the first inning.
All the Francona bashers might at least give him a little credit for getting his team to put up a fight when all seemed lost; historically most other teams in similar circumstances have not.
5) SPEAKING OF THE CARDINALS’ GENIUS MANAGER – I’ve never had a lot of respect for Tony LaRussa. Because he’s in the baseball industry, he’s deemed to have a towing intellect by virtue of his law degree from Florida State. He may indeed be quite a bright guy, but a law degree from FSU is not prima facie evidence of a brilliant mind.
LaRussa has now been swept twice in the World Series. Each time he had a terrific team that went kersplat in a most gruesome manner. Some of his strategic moves such as the insertion of the immortal Hector Luna were a tad curious. And his constant and obvious anger ushered his team into its increasingly vicious downward spiral.
Cards fans, listen to me: I know you like him, but you’d be better off with a new manager.
6) AND AT LAST A LITTLE POLITICS – Wasn’t it the original JFK who said a politician should never be photographed wearing a hat? Well, the latter day JFK was trotting around a stage wearing a Red Sox cap today. This was a mistake.
It wasn’t a mistake only because he looked like a front-runner donning a Sox hat only in the moment of triumph. After all, curious voters might ask, where was this support for his allegedly beloved Red Sox when they needed it most, staring up at a 0-3 deficit to the hated Yankees? Alas, Kerry’s fondness for front-runners is an aspect of his character that has been well known for quite some time. Just ask his fellow Swift Boat Veterans.
But besides looking callow, Kerry also looked like a dork. Caps do not flatter him; indeed, does anyone fancy Senator Kerry stumbling to his favorite diner unshaven wearing a baseball cap?
Sure, right after he’s gone goose hunting.
Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at email@example.com
James Frederick Dwight