First of all, I completely agree with every last word Donnie wrote shortly after midnight. It's good to have that Fiedlerian perspective back in the Slack saddle again. Things are brighter when you're around, Donald. The People out there love you. Stick around, stay awhile.
Now, let's get down to bid'ness...as a die-hard Yankee fan and an eyewitness to last night's events in the Boogie Down, I'm remarkably and surprisingly not as upset by this turn of events as I thought I'd be this afternoon. It was absolutely miserable being there as it was happening, especially sitting in what appeared to be the Red Sawx section for the first six innings before moving down to the field level, but this afternoon I'm feeling better about things. I witnessed history last night, and I'll remember it for the rest of my life, for better or for worse.
As I've said quite a few times this season, "I'd actually like this Red Sawx team if I didn't hate them so fucking much." The Red Sawx simply deserved it, the players earned it, they fought hard and they wanted it more. The fans in Red Sawx Nation (perhaps the all-time geighest title for a large group of people) truly deserve it, and they've also earned it after all these years of struggling, living and mostly dying with their beloved Sawx. I wish a heart-felt congratulations to the people of Boston and to the Sawx themselves...it's been a long time coming, so you better celebrate your little asses off.
And to my buddy Eric up there, The Firekid, my sports arch nemesis, the guy who loves to taunt me in football the way I love to taunt him in baseball, I can only say this: "You still suck." Nah, as I said to him this morning, I hope this feels as good as I imagine it would. All that being said, if the Patriots go out and beat my undefeated Jets this weekend, I may have to carpet-bomb most of Boston and behead Tom Brady on the Internets. I will spare no one. There will be trouble.
The sad thing is, we were three outs away from sweeping the Sawx. That's what I'm having the most trouble reconciling this morning. Just three more outs...if Mariano doesn't walk Kevin Millar to lead off the 9th in Game 4, this whole surreal conversation doesn't happen. That's what I can't fathom, and that's why it's hard for me to say, "Blow this team up and start anew." We got tired, our pitchers looked hittable, our hitters looked scared and lost, Torre forgot how to manage, we lost our confidence, our pets' heads are falling off, and ultimately got outplayed big time. That's really no reason to say it's all over, sell the Brown and buy the Beltran. We were three outs away from the World Series, and just four days later we're talking about wholesale changes and re-thinking fan allegiances. It doesn't add up. I don't know what to make of this.
But as a Yankee fan, it does make you realize that the era of Torre baseball is officially over in New York, even if he returns to manage next year. This team, even when they were winning, is about as soul-less as it gets. This is merely a collection of overpaid superstars, this ain't no team. And what's worse, it's going to get better before it gets worse. Big Stein is going to play with this team on his own and be at the controls all winter...I don't like that prescription. The days of the 1996-2000 Yankees are over, and have been for a while, but a loss like last night's makes you sit down and pine for those days. Those days when we had warriors who played hard 'til the last out and fought for every hit and walk in every at-bat, guys like Pauly O and Tino and Brosius, role players like Jimmy Leyritz and Joe Girardi, even Darryl or Doc, the Sojos and Vizcainos, the Curtises and Spencers, solid unheralded performers on the mound like Mendoza and Graeme Lloyd and Stanton and Nelson. I miss those days, I miss watching that team battle it out to win the games they always fought to win. Now it's like rooting for Drago over Rocky. We're rooting for Drago. Maybe that analogy's been used before, but it's really appropriate today.
Well, this will obviously sit poorly with Yankee fans all winter long, but that's the beauty of baseball...spring training is never too far away. Hopefully we'll come out smoking next year, and hopefully I won't pay $250 to feel the pain of last night again in next year's playoffs. Next time I want to scalp expensive tickets, just remind me it'll be more enjoyable to get a hooker and watch it on televison. Here's to 2005...and go Jets.
--Last night's ratings are in, and the game got a 77 share in Boston...that means more than three-quarters of all televisions turned on in the area were tuned into the game last night. That's just an unreal statistic, that's unheard of. Unheard of! The New York market had a 43 share, which is still pretty damn impressive.
--Just like Soriano's performance in last year's playoffs, Kevin Brown is now on Slack's list of people we'd trade for some french onion soup in a bread bowl from Panera. I mean, how do you start this guy after seeing his performance in Game 3? Vazquez might have blown goats this year (I have proof), but I think he'd have been much more effective had he started. Even Loaiza should have started over Brown. And how does Steinbrenner feel comfortable signing Brown's $15 million check for 2005? Maybe he'll just use his Visa check card.
--Is there ANY doubt that Torre over-used the big three Yankee relievers' arms this season? Halfway through the year it looked like Quantrill, Flash and Mo were going to be lights fucking out in the playoffs. Fast forward a bit, 600 relief appearances later, and these guys were out of gas in a bad way. I heard these guys didn't even have enough arm strength to jerk off over the last few weeks. Well, Flash was using the reverse left hand technique, but the other two, nothing.
--I saw a fan ejection up close and personal last night, and boy was it hilarious. I was sitting next to two drunken fools last night, one of which was rooting for the Sawx, the other was so drunk he was rooting for both teams ("little bingo, Damon" one inning, "little bingo, Jeter" the next). Anyway, the Sawx fan was about 250 pounds, sitting directly in front of a 125-pound flaming kid who looked like an NYU student or something. I guess the Sawx fan called him a "fucking homo" a few times, which inspried the skinny Yankee fan to stand up and start screaming in this big dude's face. Eventually the screaming turned into weird dancing of sorts. The Sawx fan kept saying, "You're a fucking homo," while the Yankee fan gyrated his body and sang "Do the Rockaway, lean back, bitch, lean back, you fucking bitch" to the Sawx guy. Eventually a cop came over and kicked them all out, but it was a bizarre five minutes.
--We moved down to the field level in the top of the seventh, meeting my friend Corey down there (who was with me in the Stadium for the Brosius comeback, so I felt good). Then they brought in Pedro, and we were feeling reeeeally good. Why the f would you bring in Pedro? While many will disagree, I think it was the most classless move of the series, worse than the A-Rod fiasco from the other night. You're up 8-1 in the 7th, why th hell do you bring in Pedro if not to rub salts on the wounds? I'm convinced this was Francona, Pedro, and Theo being dicks, but people are arguing otherwise. So, I just wanted to get that out there, agree or disagree all you want...Fuck that shit.
--As Corey said to me last night, vote for Kerry. The Yanks just cannot win with this current douche of a President in office. I have other reasons as well, but do it for the Yanks.
--And today is the eight-year anniversary of the 10/21/96 Phish show I attended at Madison Square Garden...what a great show, the show that I walked away from saying, "Damn, these guys are special." Phish breaks up, the Sawx beat the Yanks, my whole world is turning upside down. Uppppsiddde dooown (Rick Vaughn, 1994).