Monday, August 21, 2006

Woke Up This Morning, Got Myself Some Schadenfreude

I'm...I'm having trouble beginning my column for the day. You see, I never expected to sit down at my keyboard this morning having to talk about the Yankees tallying four straight wins against the Red Sox. Honestly, I was prepared for a splitsville piece, with some Wells-bashing for good measure. But right now, David Wells is the furthest thought from my mind. Instead, I keep replaying the bottom of the 9th and the top of the 10th in my head, awestruck as to how the Yanks even sent the game to extras. I'd like to thank Eric Hinske for playing like Eric Hinske and sending a crisp breeze through Fenway Park with his contact-less bat.

There is but one word in my mind right now: Schadenfreude. So it seems like the most appropriate thing to do is quote sorrowful Boston columnists and bask in their agony.'s the right thing to do.

Boby Ryan in the Boston Globe:

It really doesn't matter what David Wells does today. The humiliation is complete. The Red Sox are now six games behind the Yankees in the loss column, so you can forget about the American League East. And if you're thinking wild card, be advised that the Red Sox are three behind the Twins and four behind the White Sox in that same loss column.
The sorry summation of the story is that right now the Yankees simply do not know how to lose to the Red Sox. They take whatever Boston dishes out and they trump it. If you want to go all historical and compare this to the debacle in 1978, I won't be the one to stop you. But that Red Sox team got back in the race. This Red Sox team has one starting pitcher who engenders any confidence at all, and he has lost two well-pitched games in five days.
And please don't embarrass yourself by referencing 2004, either. Just don't.

Ryan's colleague, Nick Cafardo, has a piece on Theo Epstein's excuse for getting slaughtered by the Yanks.

"Yeah, conceivably that's an example where we didn't have the resources to take on his salary this year or next year, but we have tremendous resources, don't get me wrong," Epstein said. ``We have fantastic resources; that's just not something we can do with a [luxury tax hit] of $20 million-plus dollars. That's not something we can do. To upgrade in right field is not worth it to us because we have to spread that money around to execute our plan and build the '07 team."
Before you feel too sorry for Boston, consider the A's probably couldn't have picked up either Eric Hinske or Javy Lopez had Jason Kendall or Jay Payton been lost to injury. But the difference is the Red Sox are spending $74 million less than their biggest rival.
"We're not going to change our approach and all of a sudden try to build an uberteam, and all of a sudden win now at the expense of the future. That's not an excuse. (emphasis mine) I'm not trying to throw some sort of a cloak over the clear holes that are on this team by sort of talking instantly about the future. I'm not. Our goals are now and our goals are to put ourselves in a position to win every single year."

First off, it sounds like an excuse to me. Second off, if you're going to give a press conference essentially conceding the 2006 season, why not come out and say it? I'm not saying that saving and building for the future is a bad plan. But when you have a fanbase expecting playoffs and when you have a team with parts integral to the “win now” mantra, you have to do your team justice. Theo had better hope the 2006-2007 off-season goes better than his trading deadline, or he could be in deep shit next year. I don't think the Nation will appreciate the same message at this time next year.

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald apologizes for Theo:

Obviously, the last two seasons have been quite a time for the GM of the Red Sox. After winning a World Series in 2004, Epstein was needlessly forced to wait for a contract extension. Then came last offseason’s soap opera in which Epstein resigned and returned. In his absence, the majority of roster moves were made.

At times yesterday, while fielding questions from reporters, Epstein looked like his head might explode. He scowled. He clenched his jaw. And though he answered every question without raising his voice, it is in those moments the competitor in him tries to fight through the layers of skin.

Those are the moments, too, where you cannot help but respect him.

“Anytime you don’t win, the criticism is fair,” Epstein said. “Our job as an organization is to win. The criticism is always fair. We’re extremely critical of ourselves and I’m critical of myself.”

But not critical enough, apparently.

Michael Silverman has a piece in the Herald, in which he reveals David Ortiz's quote of the year:

“It’s not fair, man, these guys aren’t playing around,” Ortiz said. “They should have let us win that game to make the series interesting.”

To what degree he's kidding is unknown. But even to jokingly make that quip after dropping four straight to the first-place team in your division is Bush League. Another Ortiz gem:

“We had our best pitching and they still beat us,” Ortiz said.

Reason No. 1 why the Sox won't make the playoffs: their best pitching was on display this weekend. One serviceable starter, no bullpen before Papelbon. I hope that's an off-white flag you're waving, Papi, because I don't think you're fit for a pure one.

Of course, the fine folks at Boston Dirt Dogs have a few self-deprecating remarks.

Finally, Boston Globe beat reporter Gorden Edes has this to say about Boston's situation in the bottom of the ninth:

Mariano Rivera pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth and the teams went into extras.

Funny, I figured there would be something in there about the Sox shitting the bed. Don't worry, Gordon, we all know it's not fair that the Red Sox couldn't muster a run with a man on third with less than two outs.

Another day game today, and since there are a grand total of four people in the office, I think I'll be watching it. Thank MLB Advanced Media for not blacking out ESPN day games.

Oh, and if you have any particularly interesting Boston reactions, e-mail them or leave them in the comments.