The Answer Guy Online

Providing information to unwitting victims on a "don't-need-to-know" basis since 1974.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Dear Friend.
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for
me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.
My name is Adams Abu, a merchant in Dubai, in the
U.A.E....


Dubai. That's a new one. Usually it's the relative of a kleptocratic dictator. (And isn't it usually in all caps?)

The rest of it sounds like it could have been written by one of Victoria's mad libs. Right down to the completely random other countries invoked: Bulgaria, Pakistan, and Malaysia.

My favorite phrase from the e-mail, which I got not once but twice...

I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer
caring for my health. It has defiled all forms of
medicine, and right now I have only about a few
months to live, according to medical experts.


This guy says I can have $24,000,000. Sounds tempting, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

iTunes is so cool. I just I wish I had known that for longer than a few weeks. Now I've been exposed to so much cool music, new and old, and my horizons have been expanded.

Although the whole experience makes me angrier at commercial radio, whose narrowcasting has reached ludicrous proportions.

I am also thankful for having grown up listening to WBCN (104.1) in Boston. It may be just another cookie-cutter modern rock station now, but once upon a time it was something truly special. Those of you who aren't native New Englanders of my generation (or my parents' generation) will just have to take my word for it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Looks like Red Sox Nation got it's wish.

People will talk about the fact that he left Pedro Martinez in too long in Game 7 as the immediate cause.

Those who have been paying attention will know it's about more than that.

The upside to the firing is that, to say that, as a game-level tactician and as a team-level tactician, Grady Little is awful, is an understatement. His ineptitude was prominently on display during the playoffs but was manifest well before that.

There was the incessant use of pinch-runners, many of whom had to come up to bat later in the game, with the expected results. The excessive use of the hit-and-run, sometimes with people prone to swinging and missing, like David Ortiz. The obsession with Damian Jackson as pinch runner, as defensive replacement, as spot starter, as whatever.

Can it be a coincidence that nearly everyone in the bullpen underperformed their career norms this season? Bronson Arroyo was called up but promptly buried behind Todd Jones. Byung-Hyun Kim, after a fine late season job in the bullpen, was ignored in the post-season based on one poor outing - many seemed to doubt he was hurt. Only with numerous in-season talent acquisitions was the bullpen solidified.

And here's the litany of the worst playoff managerial gaffes...

Game 1, ALDS: Pinch-hitting Adrian Brown for Trot Nixon. Yes, Nixon struggles against southpaws, and lefty Ricardo Rincon was on the mound. However, Oakland had a righty (Chad Bradford) warming up in the pen, and Rincon had already given up a homer to Todd Walker, who also usually struggles against lefties. What you needed here was not even a hit but a deep fly ball, since there was a man on third with one out. Bradford would have come in a batter later to pitch to Varitek, a switch-hitter who hits better from the right. Rincon pitching to Nixon is far better than Bradford pitching to anyone on the bench, especially Adrian Brown. But Grady brings in Brown, Ken Macha brings in Bradford. A run the Sox would turn out to need is stranded when Bradford retired Brown and Varitek.

Game 4, ALDS: Grady leaves a tiring John Burkett, who at this stage of his career has trouble going six innings, in long enough to give up a 3-run tater to a struggling Jermaine Dye, for a total of 108 pitches. Thanks to late-inning heroics by the offense and bullpen, the Sox do come back to win this game, but it's harder than it might have been.

Game 5, ALDS: With flyball pitcher Pedro Martinez on the mound staked to a 3-run lead in the sixth, Grady brings in Damian Jackson as a defensive replacement for Todd Walker, who was the hottest hitter on the team at the time. (Mind you, I am not blaming Grady for the Jackson-Damon collision, as that's not a forseeable consequence of the move.) Other than the collision, this move turned out not to cost the team anything, since the Sox never lost the lead. But it wasn't hard to imagine the team needing another run at some point over a three-inning stretch.

Game 2, ALCS: With Derek Lowe running out of gas (remember, this is his fourth appearance in six playoff games, two of them starts) Grady walks to the mound and asks Derek Lowe if he wants to stay in the game. Lowe says yes, Grady leaves him in, and disaster ensues.

Game 6, ALCS: Grady again sticks with Burkett after he's clearly lost it. Detecting a patten here? He brings Todd Jones into an elimination game; Jones promptly gives up two baserunners, and a run scores on a wild pitch. He then brings in Alan Embree, who shuts the door, and the Sox rally, but it looked pretty bleak at one point.

Game 7, ALCS: Pedro is clearly in trouble in the 7th. The second Giambi homer is a warning sign, since unlike the first Giambi home run, it did not come on the first pitch and was not surrounded by a string of easy outs. Still, nothing terrible happens, but there are two men on with two out. Leaving Pedro in is only defensible here because the batter is Alfonso Soriano, who looks even worse that night (3 strikeouts) than he usually does against Martinez.
You have Timlin ready to start the 8th, right? No, Pedro goes out there, and does get Nick Johnson. So pull him when he gives up a baserunner, right? No, Pedro stays after giving up a double to Derek Jeter. Then a single to Bernie Williams that scores Jeter. Now has to be the time, right? The Grady comes out to the mound, with the tying run on base. And instead of just taking the ball, he asks Pedro, who has now thrown over 110 pitches, if he wants to stay in - apparently having learned nothing from Game 2. Pedro says yes, and pitches to Hideki Matsui, who has hit Pedro well. Matsui smokes a double down the right field line. Pedro stays in again against Posada, who drops a two-run blooper into center field, scoring Williams and Matsui. When Grady finally summons Embree, the damage is done - it's 5-5 now with Posada on second.
What's worse about this whole series of events is that while this will be remembered as one bad decision, it was really four or five separate bad decisions.
Letting Pedro start the 8th with his pitch count in triple digits. Letting him pitch to Williams. Letting him pitch to Matsui, which is just 100% indefensible. Then letting him pitch to Posada.

Aside: Just to be clear about this, Grady is at fault here, not Pedro. Though it's good of Martinez to try to take the blame, any pitcher who doesn't want the ball, who lacks total confidence in his stuff, even when and if he's tired, probably can't be a great pitcher. Martinez is one of the great ones, and you can't expect him to be a judge of when he should leave the game. The manager's job is not to do what the pitchers want him to do.

Game 7, ALCS - Little summons Tim Wakefield to pitch the 10th inning. In some other games, Wakefield in relief might have been a good idea. Wakefield has a good career record in the Bronx, and pitched brilliantly in two games in the series. However, bringing in a knuckleballer into an extra-inning road game where you don't score in the top of the inning, is fraught; any hitter in the lineup, even the weakest bat, can hit an errant knuckleball into the stands, and that's your game, or, in this case, your season. And, as we all know, that's exactly what happened.

The Game 7 performance was merely icing on the cake, telling the nation what those of us paying attention already knew - Grady Little is a terrible in-game manager, a liability he can't really make up for elsewhere.

By trade, he is a bench coach, and as far as I can tell, a fantastic bench coach.
A manager has to be able to stand up to his players and make the decisions based on what will work for the team, not based on what will make him popular in the clubhouse.

However, there is a downside to the firing as well.

Little's top strength, as far as I can tell, were managing a clubhouse that has its share of difficult personalities - Pedro, Manny, Derek Lowe, sometimes Nomar.
Position players have generally played very well for him. Trot Nixon finally had the monster season many of thought he had in him. Bill Mueller had the season of his life. Jason Varitek and David Ortiz have similarly stepped it up. Even marginal talents like Doug Mirabelli and Rey Sanchez have often outperformed expectations under Little.

One more nice I will say about Little:
During the regular season, Little was careful with Martinez and his other starters, which sometimes got him in trouble as the bullpen famously struggled early in the season. It did paid dividends, as the starters stayed strong into the postseason, and the bullpen eventually righted itself - it was one of the better bullpens in the league down the stretch, and excelled in October.

It's clear what the danger is here - there's a danger that the players will get the idea that Red Sox management is letting the media and the talk-radio crowd make team decisions, which creates the potential to make the attitude in the locker room turn sour in a hurry.

The solution? As tempting as it might be for Theo Epstein to find an unknown as manager - a tabula rasa - the Red Sox probably need a veteran manager, even if he's a less-than-ideal tactician from the sabermetric perspective.

Next year?

This team had a lot of career years on offense, which should give the fans worries about next year. The defense is not as strong as you'd like. But the pitching came together late in the year - Pedro and Lowe were outstanding after the All-Star break, and maybe the bullpen problems will recede into memory. We may see a more balanced team next season that may finally be ready to pass the aging Yankees.

R.I.P, Rod Roddy, longtime announcer on "The Price Is Right." And "Press Your Luck."

Monday, October 27, 2003

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm starting to wonder if "Ramadan" is Arabic for "Tet."

Thanking Atrios as usual.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Break On Through?

Was I wrong about Donald Rumsfeld? I don’t know, but this memo is the first thing I’ve seen that suggests that perhaps something has changed. If Rumsfeld really means what he says here, maybe a corner has been turned. Where I have seen mainly hubris, ignorance, and arrogance emanating from our government, perhaps now there is the beginning of a new insight.

The U.S. has up until now seemingly operated under the assumption was that there was some finite (if unknown) number of terrorists in the world, and that America’s job was to find them, kill or arrest all or at least most them, and thereby “win” the War on Terror. Perhaps this memo and the public statements that follow it are a sign of, if not an immediate policy shift, then at least a new way of thinking about how best to combat terrorism that may pay off in the long run.

Perhaps the government will now act with an eye towards the Islamic world that will make the recruiting jobs for the terrorist cells harder rather than easier. In terms of instant gratification, it’s less rewarding than pre-emptive war, but America will have to forgo instant gratification if it wants real security.

This flawed thinking is where the conservative “flypaper” theory came from, though it’s likely more a post-hoc justification for the Iraq invasion than anything else. Bring all the terrorists to Iraq so they don’t attack America, or Israel, or Afghanistan for that matter., went the thinking. Those of us who knew better objected, and were more or less ignored.

The result of this thinking, assuming that a War in Iraq was in fact intended to be a part of the War on Terror, has created the possibility of terrorist threats emanating from a country where there had been no such threats previously. There was no Saddam-al Qaida connection. There was no Saddam-9/11 connection. Militant Islamist groups had very little power, and very little in terms of ability to operate in Iraq before the invasion, and that’s not as true now. (Note that it has long been an objective of Osama bin Laden and his supporters to rid the Middle East of Saddam Hussein and everyone like him.)

It is now becoming clear that if things continue in the direction in which they are heading, the costs of this war, in lives, in blood, in money, and in resources, will end up exceeding any good that might come from the removal of Saddam Hussein. The one thing that could have justified this war, done in this fashion and at this time, was a grave and imminent threat to national security. Iraq as it was before the war posed no such threat.

As tempting as it might be to say that the nation was misled and that it’s time to cut our losses in Iraq, to withdraw and leave a power vacuum could make the situation even worse. To a large degree, “you broke it, you bought it” applies.

And the American public has to look itself in the mirror here.

Too easily was our patriotism manipulated into blind faith in a wrongheaded policy that will cost us dearly. Too easily was our desire to unite behind our leadership after national tragedy manipulated into blind support for an attack that helped rather than hindered the causes of religious fanaticism and international terrorism. Too easily was our anger directed to sell us a dubious plan for remaking a region through brute force.

We were told this war would be quick and easy and cheap. But we should have known better, and we did not.

We were told Iraq would welcome us as liberators and not resist our occupation in any meaningful way. But we should have known better, and we did not.

We were told that removing Saddam Hussein would remove a massive obstacle to resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict. But we should have known better, and we did not.

We were under the impression that there was a strong nexus between the Hussein regime in Iraq and the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, and the government did everything short of lying about the link to create the impression that there was a link. But we should have known better, and we did not.

So, the question remains: how to mitigate the damage – to our credibility as a positive force in international affairs as well as to our treasury.

The “loan” idea floated by the Congressional Democrats isn’t really the answer, and I don’t even think they believe it’s the answer. Iraq, assuming they ever get a government with the capacity to accept multi-billion dollar loans, will not be in any kind of shape to pay back those sorts of loans anytime soon. I think the “loan” proposal was two things : a form of protest at the administration’s “my way or the highway” approach to this and numerous other issues, and an attempt to create a system by which the administration might be held more accountable for at least some of the money it wants to use in Iraq. Though on its face a poor proposition, I can’t blame the Democrats for proposing it, for handing this profligate administration another blank check would be imprudent. (Is there any indication that this $87 billion will be the absolute end of the financial commitment?)

I suspect that few, if anyone, really want to deny American troops in Iraq what they need to continue their work there. The parameters of the debate, as arbitrarily set by the administration and their allies on Capitol Hill, dictated the approach of the opposition.

Internationalizing the reconstruction effort would be critical to helping turn things around. Our military is, for all its strength, not built for situations such as the one it now faces in Iraq, especially given the simultaneous precarious situation in Afghanistan. One obstacle that stands between a truly international effort to pick up the pieces in Iraq is this administration’s continued desire to hold onto the reins of power, to install their preferred regime in the country. The American people have made it as clear as they could that we aren’t interested in throwing down an indefinite sum of money, much of it at the well-connected at Halliburton and Bechtel, just so George Bush can hand-pick the new leaders of Iraq from a set of friendly exiles.

Iraq must be able to decide its own fate, even if that fate is a regime less than friendly to the United States and Israel. Many American fears are largely unfounded. A Taliban-style theocracy is not a realistic possibility in a nation as advanced and developed as Iraq. A Shi’a theocracy like the one in Iran is not workable in a population almost evenly divided between Sunni and Shi’a. Even a ruler inclined to be a militaristic dictator would have to build an apparatus of oppression from scratch, and under the watchful eye of the rest of the world. It will almost certainly be better than Saddam in any event, and may indeed be better for the Iraqis, the Americans, and the world, than an attempt to install a government made up largely of exiles dependent on military and financial aid from Washington.

It says something, I think, that of all the nations of the Islamic Middle East, many of which the United States has been deeply involved with, the lowest level of anti-American sentiment among the people is probably in Iran. Iran is the one nation, more than any other in the region, that the United States has been least involved with in recent history. The United States has had essentially nothing to do with the innumerable shortcomings of the Iranian government. Compare the situation there with all the dysfunctional governments the United States has helped prop up or aid across the region, whose populations are full of people eager to denounce America in the strongest possible terms, with a few of them willing to give their lives to kill some infidels.

There might be a lesson there.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Some people are being fangoriously devoured by a gelatinous monster.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

It is said that the lawyer who represents himself at trial has a fool for a client. And John Allan Muhammad isn't even a lawyer.

Well, looks like John Allan Muhammad isn't going to be his own attorney after all.

I don't think it's going to be enough to save him, mind you; I still strongly suspect that Muhammad is going to be convicted, sentenced to death, and executed, only in part because he can't undo whatever damage he did to himself over those two days.

And as bad an idea as representing oneself in a trial like this one might normally be, it's even worse in this case. Virginia is among the strictest states in the union from a procedural standpoint - it's hard to correct mistakes made at trial. Reversible error is hard to come by, and there are all sorts of timeliness requirements that kick in. If you don't object to a question, a remark, or anything at the moment it is made, you generally lose your chance to do so for all time. Someone not trained in the procedure of Virginia criminal law going up against a prosecutor's office, in a jurisdiction where the deck is already stacked heavily in favor of prosecutors, is a terrible idea.

Not to mention that the circumstantial evidence appears strong (from the perspective of someone who isn't privy to everything a jury in this case might be privy to) in his case, even if there weren't eyewitnesses.

But that's also the attorney's bias showing. The main reason that lawyers - even those who don't deal with criminal law - aren't usually seated on juries is that defense counsel knows the dirty little secret of trial by jury: that most criminal defendants are in fact guilty - at least of something criminal, even if they happen not to be guilty of whatever it is they are being tried for. Most fellow attorneys are in on it.

There is, perhaps, a parallel universe where I'm still writing about baseball, and not about Iraq, Barbara Bush, or anything that relates to Roy Orbison or clingfilm.

But no, instead, we read these letters to Sports Guy. Or we grieve in haiku form. I'm sure Victoria would approve.

Instead, I had to be exposed to the fact that Ivan Rodriguez's favorite singer is Yanni. I didn't know that anyone, much less a Major League Baseball player, would ever admit to something like that.

Anyhow, shortly after World Series TV coverage gave us a shot of Yanni in the stands cheering on one of his fans, Pudge reached on an error committed by none other than Bucky Dent II: Electric Boogaloo.

The act of titling a sequel to anything "Electric Boogaloo" is enough to send many of my circle of friends into instant laughter.

This sequence of events prompted chants of "Yanni! Yanni! Yanni!" at Grand Slam last night. It's hard for me to imagine what else could possibly have inspired me to chant his name before last night.

I know I said I wouldn't watch. I was playing NTN in a bar that was full of the no-good, low-down, spoiled rotten fans of the New York Yankees. And then there was the house NTN team, chock full of baseball fans, nearly all of whom were for varying reasons Yankee haters. It was on in front me, and I couldn't not watch.

Had to pass this judicial decision along.

It's a wanna-be hip-hop tune in the form of a judicial decision, ruling in favor of defendant Eminem in a lawsuit where one of his old school classmates, D'Angelo Bailey, now a sanitation worker, claimed that Eminem's song "Brain Damage" defamed him.

Enjoy this bit of levity, brought to you by The Smoking Gun, the source of many another amusement.

Yet another example of see no evil, hear no evil.

Because if there are no television images of people dying, then they really aren't dying, are they?

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Remember when I said that I get the weirdest thoughts in the morning?

For some reason, this morning I happened to remember that this website exists.

So, apparently Barbara Bush thinks that the Democrats trying to unseat her son are a "sorry group of politicians."

On the one hand, if I were President, I wouldn't mind that my own mother would think that the politicians trying to remove me from my job were a "sorry group." (Although I suppose I might not want her to say so in a TV interview.) If your own mother doesn't love you and think you're a great person, who does?

On the other hand, George W. Bush is a pretty sorry excuse for a president.

Well, last night was fun...went out to see Edmund perform at an open-mic night at Grog & Tankard on Wisconsin Avenue. On one of the songs he performed, a cover of The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes," the Answer Guy actually sang lead vocals, in my first public performance in quite some time. I do miss playing music.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Sometimes I think I'm a glutton for punishment.

One of my Saturday night activities is walking down to a local movie theaters, plunking down $10 for the right to watch an awful movie, and, while drinking copious quantities of beer, ridiculing said movie (shouting insults or snide remarks at the screen) in front of a few dozen fellow trashy culture vultures.

As a result, I've seen something called "Kung Fu From Beyond The Grave." It has undead kung-fu vampires who hop like bunny rabbits. I don't actually remember much about the plot.

I've seen "Dolomite," a movie so silly it makes other blaxploitation pics from the 1970s look like masterpieces. Lots of people get beat up, the baddies get their comeuppance, and a boom microphone is visible for a good chunk of the time.

I've also seen something called "The Apple," a bad musical from 1980, notable for being even worse than any of the other famously bad musicals from 1980, including "Xanadu," "Can't Stop The Music," and the Robert Altman "Popeye." Imagine a science-fiction dystopia crossed with a Biblical parable. Except that Satan is a record company mogul who dominates the world with bad disco music, assisted by his hordes of gay assistants, and his flagship band, which sounds like a cross between the Bay City Rollers, the Village People, and ELO. When their theme song plays, firemen stop fighting blazes, doctors stop life-saving surgery, and anyone not dancing to "BIM" music is arrested. The year is 1994, but disco is still king. And cars and baby carriages both resemble either "The Homer" from that Simpsons episode or the Ectomobile from Ghostbusters. All commercial buildings look like airport terminals. They make transparent guitars shaped like prisms. Drinking glasses too. And in a literal instance of deus ex machina, God shows up at the end with a Rolls Royce to take our hereos and their hippie fellow travellers up to some other planet. (Sorry to give the ending away.)

But in my masochism I apprently have nothing on Slacktivist. He's reading the entire "Left Behind" series of books, and writing about them. To start off, he also offered a fairly good explanation of why someone ought to be doing this, given the alarming popularity of this series.

I don't have the stomach for that, dear readers.

"The Apple" was only 94 minutes long. Reading even one of those books would waste a day of my life I couldn't have back.

Someone made a movie out of the first "Left Behind" book, and it starred Kirk Cameron. I bet that might be fun to give the same treatment I gave to "Kung Fu Beyond The Grave."

According to this story, there is no cure for those damn songs that get stuck in your head.

I have a number of other songs that often work in this situation, but many of them are worse than the disease, so to speak. Do you really want to walk around with "Mickey" in your head?

Just so no one comes after me in a violent rage, I'll refrain from mentioning any other possible earworm "cures."

However, I've found that my friend Rick's old suggestion of "War" by Edwin Starr, is surprisingly effective. It also has the added feature of probably being better than whatever it is that's stuck in your head.

Hope this helps.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Safeway Fat Free American Cheese.

I have no idea what posessed me to purchase the above-named product the last time I stocked up on groceries. It is without question one of the worst grocery shopping blunders in my history as a consumer.

I think the cellophane it came in might have tasted better. Or maybe I was tasting the cellophane.

After attempting to eat one piece of it, I tossed the entire package in the trash.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Your Alarm Bells Should Be Ringing

I was hoping for another week's furlough from the real world through baseball, but with a Yankee/Marlin World Series I have zero interest in watching, I'm back in the real world.

The heck with Grady Little - why hasn't this man been fired yet?

Remember when everyone thought that Ann Coulter was just being hysterical when she suggested we "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity?"

Are we trying to give the entire Islamic world the idea that this is in fact the new Crusades, in which the the Christian nations of the West have come to conquer the lands of the infidel? Are we trying to give the would-be bin Ladens of the world encouragment? If we are, all signs suggest that it's working nicely.

Though it cannot be said that most administration supporters are looking forward to such an apocalypse in our lifetimes, the presence of people like Gen. Boykin must serve a warning sign. And so does this. This too.

As America wakes to the hangover of a long occupation of a foreign land from the patriotic revelry of the invasion on the night before, there are a lot of hard questions, and no easy solutions.

Cold turkey withdrawl is no answer. However, neither is handing the same irresponsible cabal a blank check to throw money to its friends as our nation back home is reeling.

These are dangerous people in charge, and it becoming more obvious every day. I fear for the future of the country, and of the world, if they are not ousted from power soon.

Friday, October 17, 2003

New York 6, Boston 5
The Curse 4, The Law Of Averages 3

I don't know what to say here. All I can come up with is two lines.

Death to Grady Little. Or at least his managerial career. A guy can hope, can't he?

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Florida 9, Chicago 6
Sunshine State 4, Land of Lincoln 3

I send love and condolences to all the Cubs faithful who have had their heart broken yet again. Red Sox Nation feels your pain.

I have to tell you, dear readers, that tomorrow may be the last daily playoff update I'm going to provide. A Yankees-Marlins World Series would hold so little interest for me that I'd likely skip it entirely. One team I won't be able to stand to watch anymore against a team to about which I have no opinions, with two largely undeserving (one for being spoiled, the other for being indifferent) fan bases and ownership (one for being, well, George Steinbrenner, the other for epitomizing everything wrong about poor-mouthing, cheap-skate baseball barons.)

I will spend a little psychic energy pulling for the Marlins in that event, and maybe a win by a team in a market that baseball really needs to exploit would be good for the game.

A Sox-Marlins World Series, like any involving my boys, would of course be chronicled extensively on here. We'll see....

Boston 9, New York 6
Mystique And Aura 3, The Little Engine That Could 3

Finally, aided by swirling winds, the Boston bats come alive before a stunned crowd in the Bronx. With the season and the hopes of the millions of Red Sox Nation on the line, the Red Sox held oblivion back one more day.

The fat lady still waits for her cue in the wings.

Game 7. Pedro. Roger. The consummate thrill? The ultimate agony? What will the cosmic writers of this soap opera script for tomorrow night?

Sick Puppy

I think I must be twisted.

For some reason, I'm now imaging a German gay couple or Jewish couple going to an animal shelter and adopting this dog, only to bring it home and find out that it can't stop giving the salute it was trained to do.

Not to mention that it answers to the name "Adolf," although you wouldn't think the shelter owners would tell that to the couple.

I am also reminded of the "racist dog" episode of "King of the Hill."

The headline for this article : Hot French Fries Smashed In Face - was simply too funny- and too sad - to resist.

Or it's just that I wanted to write about something, anything really, that wasn't baseball.

The person I feel sorriest for is not even the 4 year old child who was the victim here. It's the infant child of Ms. Hayes; not only is he/she being born to a teenage mother, he/she has this woman for a mother.

While it's easy to understand why someone would be upset at a careless child, it would never have occurred to most of us to smear greasy, scalding-hot French fries at someone who angered us.

In this country, we have marriage licenses. What we really need are breeding licenses. It's unfortunate that Mother Nature doesn't really work that way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Florida 8, Chicago 3
Jet Stream 3, Gulf Stream 3

This Red Sox fan could feel from miles away the hearts of thousands of Cubs fans breaking in unison as everything unraveled at Wrigley in the top of the 8th inning.

New York 4, Boston 2
Alpha Beta 3, Tri-Lambda 2

Another feeble hitting performance put on by the Red Sox, and this one leaves them on the brink of elimination. With John Burkett on the mound in Yankee Stadium.

The fat lady isn't singing yet, but the orchestra is starting the intro on her aria and she's waiting in the wings.

Words almost fail me here.

Check out this article, in which Dave Anderson of the New York Times suggests it would be a good idea to throw batteries at Pedro Martinez during a potential Game 7 at Yankee Stadium.

This is not the New York Post, which sometimes dwells in this sewers of this sort.

Nor is it from the Daily News or the New York Sun.

No. This is the New York Times.

The New York F***ing Times.

The last thing rowdy fans on either side of this series need is encouragement to engage in hooliganism. Note that Fenway Park cut beer sales almost immediately after the 4th inning hi-jinks at Game 3, that the fans in the stands were well-behaved last night, and the one hit batsman (Todd Walker, who had already homered earlier in the game) led to no controversy.

At the absolute minimum, Anderson should be suspended - if not canned outright, Pulitzer prizes be damned.

(What makes this even stranger : The Times owns a stake in the Red Sox.)

While I'm here....I might as well weigh in on Saturday's various happenings.

1. Pedro should be fined for hitting Karim Garcia. He was either trying to hit Garcia, or at least was reckless in targeting him. That said, the pitch landed well below the head - and it's not even clear Garcia was hit. Garcia got his by gratuitously going out of his way to slide hard into Todd Walker, and that probably should have been the end of it. The taunting of Jorge Posada is a tempest in a teapot - it's not at all clear what Pedro was saying.

2. Manny over-reacted to Clemens' pitch. Some Yankee fans suggest it was an effort to get Clemens thrown out of the game. I wouldn't ascribe any such motives to it - Manny lives on his own planet, and that's well known. The umpires did the right thing, and Manny didn't actually get to charge the mound.

3. Major League Baseball has to do something to stop the bench-clearing brawl phenomenon. Perhaps a system with severe penalties for the third man in a fight, the way the NHL has, could be the answer. In any case, there was no real reason for the benches to clear in this case since there was no fight going on, and the only actual fight that happened was the Don Zimmer dustup.

4. Don Zimmer - where do I begin? If he's such a fragile, defenseless old man, what on earth is he doing charging the mound and then throwing a swing at Pedro? Put yourself in Martinez' shoes here ; nothing he could have done would have reflected well on him. Running away would have made him a coward, and there's no guarantee that he could have avoided being hit if he ducked out of the way. He ended that confrontation as quickly as he could, which much less damage to Zimmer than might have been the case, without throwing a punch. Zimmer went down mostly on his own energy. Everything the aggressor in that attack got he had coming to him. One more thing - the "beloved" Don Zimmer? I'm sure Red Sox (and Cubs) fans would have something to say about that.

5. Red Sox management probably shouldn't have had someone unable to curb his enthusiasm assigned to the Yankee bullpen as a groundskeeper. That said, I'm finding it next to impossible to imagine what Paul Williams could have said or done to deserve a beatdown from Jeff Nelson. Or Karim Garcia, who for some reason joined the fracas and punching and kicking Nelson. (Turns out Garcia injured his hand in the process - serves him right.)

6. Kudos to everyone who kept his cool in the incident, including the umpiring crew, Roger Clemens, Todd Walker, both Grady Little and Joe Torre, and the great majority of fans in the stands. It could have been much worse.

While the whole game doesn't reflect all that well on the Red Sox, the pro-Yankee bias of the announcers and the press down here in Washington is sickening. Some of it sounds as if the Yankees were angels. Perhaps the Boston players couldn't control their emotions, but the Yankees should have found a way to keep their bench coach from becoming involved in the game, and the personnel in their bullpen from assaulting non-participants.

Boston 3, New York 2
B Train 2, D Train 2

Tim Wakefield leads the way as the Sox even the score at 2-2.

Yeah, it's the "D" train, Greg. When I take the T in from Worcester I drive to Alewife, red the Red Line, switching at Park Street to the Green Line, and take any Green Line going to Kenmore, which is any of them except for "E." I could instead ride the "D" line from Riverside to Fenway, but the Green Line, as anyone who's lived in Boston knows, is painfully slow.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Florida 4, Chicago 0
Small Bears 3, Big Fish 2

Saturday, October 11, 2003

New York 4, Boston 3
Grendel 2, Beowulf 1

Lots of violence, chaos, and bad blood surfacing in this contest, and not a happy ending in sight.

Things look bleak for our heros, having to win a game started by John Burkett to avoid going down 3-1, and in any case having to win at least another game in New York to advance.

I post this at least in part because anytime I've put up a "gut check" post regarding the Red Sox, they've tended to respond positively.

Chicago 5, Florida 4
Prairie 2, Swamp 1

Friday, October 10, 2003

Rant #2

After being treated to garish, over the top festivities, complete with a rendition of "God Bless America" that for all I know is still going on this very minute, in the Bronx (via the magic of television broadcasting) the last two evenings, I have a request for the Red Sox brass.

Besides a big Red Sox lead, this is what I most want to see for 7th inning stretch entertainment at the next three Fenway Park games...

I want Phish out there. Playing their cover of a Yes song. One of the ones that take up an entire side of a record album. It would also help if they could get Robert Fripp out there sitting in on lead guitar.

Add a patriotic fireworks display - preferrably augmented by red, white, and blue glow sticks in the audience - so that anyone who objects sounds like a dirty, unwashed, unpatriotic, Islamofascist, objectively pro-Saddam, anarchist, malcontent, Sandinista, hippie, pinko, commie Taliban sympathizer who hates America.

Maybe they can get Ben Affleck to recite the Gettysburg Address somewhere in there before the song. Or perhaps between the organ solos.

I want whoever is starting for the Yankees - if he's still in the game at the time - to sit there twiddling his thumbs through the entire obnoxious spectacle. Then he might - as Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield, and Brad Radke have done before him at Yankee Stadium - walk the first two batters he faces.

Maybe then either MLB or the TV people would step in and put a stop to the 7th inning stretch silliness.

Or at least ban "Cotton Eye Joe."

Second in an occassional series.

16th Street was turned into a shooting gallery yesterday afternoon as a barrage of gunshots - over a dozen of them - rang out. At the end of it all, a Metrobus driver was injured and a 20-year old man was killed. The Washington Post has the story here. Police are blaming the increasing presence of Latin gangs in the neighborhood.

Not sure what to say about this, other than it disturbs me that these gang members now feel sufficiently confident to just start shooting in plain view right beside a busy intersection of four major thoroughfares in the middle of the day, where bystanders and witnesses abound.

I wonder if this latest outbreak of gang warfare (recall that there was a shooting, also in broad daylight, in an alley behind the Columbia Road Safeway a few weeks back) will do anything to stem the tide of escalating rents in the area. Probably not.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

New York 6, Boston 2
Gondor 1, Mordor 1

Stealing two from the Dark Forces deep in their own lair? Sound too good to be true? It was.

We saw the Derek Lowe face, the inability to pound Andy Pettite when he was on the ropes, and the Sox unable to get that lucky break they would have needed to stay in this one.

Did I mention that Grady was a fool for leaving Lowe in two batters too long?

All in all, missed chances aside, shortening the series to five was the net effect, which is probably a good thing for the BoSox.

Smooth Criminal (Remixed)

Apparently, two men allegedly kidnapped the wife of Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) brought her to a bank (not an ATM, but a bank) and made her withdraw money. And they brought her back, and drove to New Jersey in the same car they used in the abduction, where they were caught. Read all about it here.

Yes, I am a lawyer. You can tell that I'm either a lawyer or a journalist or both by the use of the word "allegedly."

One of them went inside the bank, in full view of a security camera. The whole thing sounds like something bored nihilistic teenagers might have tried, but no, apparently it was adults.

Now, this is in my opinion not quite as dumb as my previous example of dumb criminal, but dumb nonetheless. However, it will probably lead to further consequences, since federal statutes about harming members of Congress and their families will kick in.

I found myself wondering if I was a bad person, because the first thing that popped into my head after I found out that this transpired in McLean, Virginia, was "Phew! Good thing that this didn't happen on Capitol Hill, or anywhere else in the District, because if it did, we'd have never heard the end of it."

Smooth Criminal

Check out this story about a Miami bank robber.

It's a short article, but it keeps on giving. Just when you think to yourself that the schadenfreude factor can't be higher, another detail is added.

I wonder if the poor guy will be prosecuted under all those new, shiny anti-terrorism laws.

Another day, another tragedy in Iraq.

Note the part where the random Iraqi on the street blames the United States, for "not getting Saddam Hussein."

Detached neutral observers are probably able to figure out that Saddam Hussein, or his power structure, probably didn't perpetrate this. Detached neutral observers might know that blaming America for the immediate bombing itself, in the strictest sense, isn't entirely fair.

But Iraq is not a country populated by detached neutral observers, and neither is any other country, at least when it comes to their own backyard.

"I told you so" is extremely cold comfort when the consequences involve the death of innocent people.

Boston 5, New York 2
Long Suffering 1, Spoiled Rotten 0

The Good Wakefield makes a welcome appearance, a wanna-be Jeffrey Maier fails miserably, and Red Sox Nation is pleasantly suprised as Boston comes into the Bronx and takes Game 1.

The soap opera continues. Tune in tomorrow....

Chicago 12, Florida 3
Dead Voters 1, Hanging Chads 1

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Presented without comment...
Kerry Accuses Dean Of Being A Yankees Fan (Note: Scroll to bottom of page.)

'Twas In The Darkest Depths Of Mordor...

The saga continues.

The Bad News:
* To put it as succinctly and neutrally as possible, history is not on our side.
* While home-field advantage does not seem to matter much to the Yankees either way, having four on the road makes a substantial difference in the case of the Red Sox.
* The enemy has reset its rotation, and in any case has far more starting depth (and pitching depth) in general. Pedro may Martinez may only start once unless the series goes to seven. The first game aside, Minnesota didn't really tax the Yankee pitchers much. They have a bona fide closer, we don't. They have four starters who at their best can shut down anyone, we don't.
* The Sox start with some major disadvantages - Johnny Damon is injured. Derek Lowe, Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson have been leaned upon a great deal.
* The offense seems to be in a slump. If Yankee pitching can do to the Sox what Oakland's staff did, Red Sox Nation will be treated to another long and painful off-season in short order. And the supply of lefthanders the Yankees have on hand may limit the effectiveness of Ortiz, Nixon, Walker and Mueller.
* Todd Jones is now on the roster. Need I say more?
* The Yankees yet again took the season series (though it was only 10-9 this time around) and seemed to win nearly all the close games.
* Tim Wakefield has to pitch Game 1. John Burkett has to pitch Game 4.

The Good News:
* The Sox may have lost the season series, but that was entirely due to the first two series they played, where the Yanks took 4 of 6. From July 4 on, the Sox took 7 of 13. In general, the later in the season, the better the Sox fared in the matchups. And they may have lost more heartbreakers, but in some senses the true measure of quality is how often you can bury opponents, and there were more games where the Yankees looked overmatched than vice versa.
* The Yankees won 101 games, about the same as in the recent past, but they've looked more beatable than they have in a long while for long stretches of the season. They finished strong, but so did the Red Sox, and the schedule was easy in both cases.
* Unlike a Sox-Oakland series, if it comes down to who can execute on defense, or on the bases, it's not at all clear who would have an expected advantage.
* The Red Sox have better track records against the Yankee staff than against the Athletics pitchers. Boston has faced all four Yankee starters more than once this season, and each one of them got pounded at least once, even Pettite, who in general has the best record against the Sox.
* Sure, the Yankee pitchers had their way with the Twins. This offense isn't the Twins. Not an automatic out to be found anywhere in this batting order.
* Wakefield actually has a good record at the Stadium. (Though Burkett still worries me.)
* The Yankee bullpen apart from Rivera is somewhat shaky this year.
* It's a new century, a century which has seen the Yankees lose a series two years in a row. Granted, one of them was against a team which effectively no historical baggage, but the other one was against the Angels, who until 2002 had their own reputation (1986 ALCS, 1995 pennant race collapse) as "chokers." Perhaps Aura and Mystique are more fickle than many believe.

This one's going to come down to the Red Sox bats. Can they make up for the inferior pitching staff?

The Sox are definitely the underdogs this time. My brain says they're not going to make it through, that they will fall in six, but it was wrong last time around. My heart says that it will go seven, and that this Red Sox team is somehow special, special enough to bring about a possibly world-ending showdown with the Cubbies.

Please, oh please, let me be wrong. Let there be peace, at long last, in the Shire.

Total Recall (Part One)

All the jokes are just too obvious. Just dropping the mere name of some of the film catalog of the Governor-elect are enough to induce laughter. The fact that there were two future governors in the cast of "Predator" is too funny for words.

Part of me wanted, against the overwhelming mound of evidence, to believe that the voting public, when actually confronted the idea of the Terminator as governor (as opposed to merely the idea of the idea of it) would say "No, we were just joking. Wasn't that fun?"

Could you possibly imagine a less qualified person to run a state of over 30 million, with one of the world's largest economies?

While I'm not really going to lament the end of the political career of Gray Davis and the electoral failure of Cruz Bustamante per se, there's a lot of "shoot the messenger" going on here.

California was looted by energy "trading" bandits manipulating a deregulation scheme cooked up by the old Wilson Administration (the people who are now, by the way, really in charge again) while Bush and his cronies sat on their hands. And the whole situation has been exacerbated by a half-century's worth of voting for a series of referenda that have made it clear that California voters want everything, and want to pay nothing for any of it. They don't want illegal immigrants using state services, but they wouldn't dare do without the cheap labor that said immigrants bring. They want an education system second to none, but want someone else to foot the bill.

And now apparently they think they're a pretty damsel in distress in some bad, big budget action movie, and here comes the Last Action Hero to save them. But instead of wasting only $9 and two hours on another flashy, vapid product, California has wasted millions of dollars and who knows how many months on this latest blockbuster.

At least Ward Connerly's "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" Proposition 54 "Racial Privacy Initiative" didn't win.

Florida 9, Chicago 8
Tony Montana 1, Al Capone 0

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I think we may finally have a sign that the whole "blog" phenomenon has now jumped the shark.

Behold... the George W. Bush Campaign Blog.

*chuckle*

740 calories. 1920 milligrams of sodium. 24 grams of fat.

My favorite sandwich, now with extra guilt.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. If it's not baseball that lets me down, it's something like this. Guess I'll always need to find something to worry about.

How am I going to hold on to my boyish figure now?

A shopping mall in Germany has opened a kindergarten for men whose wives are busy shopping.

I thought that this was what sporting goods stores and electronics stores were for, not to mention sports memorabilia stores. Or maybe this mall doesn't have those stores.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Listen To Your Heart

My brain was wrong. My heart was right.

Boston 4, Oakland 3
Red Sox Nation 3, Athletic Supporters 2

The word drama does not begin to describe this series. It's an emotional roller coaster - if it were a movie script, critics would say it wasn't believable.

When the chips were down, they played their hearts out and beat a damn fine Oakland team.

But of course, the saga is just beginning...

By order of the President, this is now Marriage Protection Week.

Against what exactly does "marriage" need to be "protected?"

I've heard it insisted many a time by those on the right that extending benefits of any kind to same-sex couples is not only an affront to God but will somehow destroy the institution of marriage. It is never explained exactly how excluding some portion of the population from the right to settle down with their chosen partner will provide any benefit to society.

Do they think opposite-sex couples wil stop marrying, or get divorced, because gays might be marrying? That would be odd, seeing as all things queer seem to be trendy these days.

Do they think that spouses will cheat on each other and rationalize it by saying "Marriage is meaningless now, so I might as well screw around on my spouse?" If this is the rationale that unfaithful spouses are using, you can bet they'd have found another one just as easily.

They complain on the one hand that gays (particularly men) are so promiscuous and amoral, and when some (though not all) of them want to try to lead a monogamous, assimilationist family lifestyle, the right wants to do everything in their power to stop them, up to and including a Constitutional amendment that, if it were to pass, would make us a target of international ridicule.

Yeah, I know we (particularly our leaders) already are a target of international ridicule. But at least, for now, our Constitution is the envy of the world.

Note also that this "Marriage Protection Week" comes on the anniversary of Matthew Shephard's death.

I'm not sure this is a coincidence.

On the 30th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, the President proclaimed National Sanctity of Human Life Day. On Martin Luther King's birthday this year, the President attacked the University of Michigan's affirmative action program.

Makes you think, doesn't it?



Ever notice that the most pointless thoughts happen right as you wake up?

For some reason I remembered that there was a ColecoVision video game - I think it was called "Grog" based on the rotten comic strip "BC." Your character's job was to pick up money - "clams" - with a primitive unicycle with a stone wheel. You lost if you ran into the Grog, which was this little red hairball. It was a lousy game, even by ColecoVision standards.

Wow, that was pointless.

[Ed.: It's apparently called "Grog's Revenge."]

Chicago 5, Atlanta 1
Armageddon 3,Deja Vu 2

Repent?

Sunday, October 05, 2003

New York 8, Minnesota 1
Goliath 3, David 1

Usually, life isn't like a Frank Capra movie. Nor is it here.

Boston 5, Oakland 4
White Elephants 2, Green Monsters 2

Team Of Destiny? Or yet another Tease By Destiny? This series is playing like it was scripted by soap opera writers.... and tonight, the season finale...

Boston 3, Oakland 1
Stat Geeks (West) 2, Stat Geeks (East) 1

Talk about drama. Question is, did Nixon turn things around? Or merely prolong the agony? Tune in today.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Atlanta 6, Chicago 4
Land of Corn 2, Land of Cotton 2

Florida 7, San Francisco 6
Butterfly Ballots 3, Recall Ballots 1

Florida pulls off the huge upset of the Giants and waits to see which of the Braves or Cubs they will face.

New York 3, Minnesota 1
Neiman-Marcus 2, K-Mart 1

Chicago 3, Atlanta 1
WGN 2, TBS 1

Florida 4, San Francisco 3
Little Havana 2, Chinatown 1

Thursday, October 02, 2003

New York 4, Minnesota 1
Senators 1, Highlanders 1

Oakland 5, Boston 1
East Bay 2, Back Bay 0

To quote Sports Guy...Not Good Times. Bad Times.

I was in a curious mood this morning, and looking for something, anything else to think about. So I went and checked the Amazon reviews for the new book by former Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, Three Weeks In October.

The reader reviews tended toward the negative. A couple of them spelled his name Moo$e. I thought that was cute.

It's odd that they paid Moose (I forget the sum, and it's not really worth looking up) this much for the book. It's my own theory that, when it comes to the Beltway Sniper, there are two kinds of people, namely:
1. People who don't remember the Beltway Sniper.
2. People who'd prefer they not remember the Beltway Sniper.

Yes, he's the Beltway Sniper, damn it, not the DC Sniper. Nearly all his killings were outside the District of Columbia and those were on the periphery. The inner-city neighborhoods in the District were sniper-free. The main theme was places near expressway offramps that allowed for an easy getaway. Try getting out of Dupont Circle. Just try. I dare you.

Although the City Paper (sadly, no link to the review) likes it, and they seem to hate everything. They love nothing than writing their trademark "I am so much cooler than this movie/book/album" reviews.

Oakland 5, Boston 4
Immovable Object 1, Irresistible Force 0

I wonder if bashing in my skull with a crowbar would hurt more or less than this game did. Debateable proposition.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Atlanta 5, Chicago 3
Rust Belt 1, Sun Belt 1

Florida 9, San Francisco 5
Earthquakes 1, Hurricanes 1

The Plame Blame Name Game

Looks like this story, which first broke all the way back in July, is finally getting traction. (By the way, is there some reason I should believe anything at all that comes out of Condoleeza Rice's mouth? Any reason at all?)

I have serious doubts we'll ever really get to the bottom of this matter, and that this DOJ investigation will be anything other than a whitewash. The careerists at the CIA, who, after all, have a job to do that will outlast this administration and anyone involved with it, however, are not likely to simply let this matter drop. Though classified information is leaked more often than many in the public would believe, the identities of field personnel showing up in syndicated columns is another matter. Valerie Plame's cover is blown, and anyone known to have worked with her now knows. What makes this fact sting in particular is that she worked in the area of "weapons of mass destruction."

I'm unsure of what political advatange that the administration was trying to gain by exposing an undercover CIA operative. The thinking in some quarters is that it was a simple revenge move against that agent's spouse, who had been a prominent critic of the administration and in particular its insistence on the Iraqi "Weapons Of Mass Destruction" issue. Which would not only be petty, but ultimately self-destructive. Another possible explanation - to show anyone else even thinking about doing whay Joe Wilson did the lengths the administration was willing to go to wreck lives.

The President, even if we are to assume that he did not know who was responsible for the leak at the time it was made, almost certainly knows the guilty party now. Who is he protecting and why? The speculation runs wild across the progresive half of the blogosphere.

This is more proof that the "liberal media" canard is total nonsense. I don't believe for a minute that this story would have sat on the back burner for over two months if this had been the Clinton administration, or any other Democratic administration. We'd be hearing the word "treason" tossed around on television like it was going out of style.

Back in the good ol' days of the 1990s, the Republicans complained loudly and often that the Clinton administration politicized policymaking to a degree not seen in modern history. Though they were far from saintly, the Clintonistas were rank amateurs compared to this bunch.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled baseball results.

The Adventure Begins

For:
* A majority of the pundits/experts seem to be with us. And while some of that is hype promulgated by mediots salivating over the idea of a Red Sox-Cubs World Series (or a Red Sox-Yankees ALCS), a good deal of it from credible and objective sources.
* The cliche says that good pitching beats good hitting, which would seem to favor Oakland, but in terms of front-line talent, the Sox seem to have a bigger advantage in scoring runs versus the A's than the A's do in preventing runs versus the Sox. The A's may have the better pitching, but when it comes to the individual matchups, the only truly pitching adverse matchup would come in Game 4. with Suppan or Burkett facing Tim Hudson (if and only if they brought him back on three days' rest.) [Update: Make that Burkett - Suppan was left off the post-season roster.]
* Oakland has famously failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs in recent years. A home loss could really shake their confidence.
* Pedro v. Hudson: Wouldn't you take a great pitcher against a mediocre lineup over a great pitcher against a great lineup?
* Wakefield v. Zito: Wakefield looked good against the Athletics earlier in the season, and they tend to struggle against knucklers. The Red Sox have traditionally hit Zito well.
* Lowe v. Lilly: A lefty not used to postseason pressure at Fenway Park against the top offense in MLB. Against Derek Lowe, who's been outstanding at home this year, and almost as good as Pedro the last two months. I'll take those odds.
* The weakest hitter (Damon at .751 OPS) in our regular lineup is better than their average (.746 team OPS) hitter.


Against:
* When there are two teams such as these (Oakland is 57-24 at home and 39-42 on the road; Boston is 53-28 at home and 42-39 on the road) who have played much better in front of the home crowd, the team with home-field advantage has to be favored.
* Though the Sox are hitters are like demigods (.919 OPS as a team) at Fenway, they look decidedly mortal (.784 OPS, which of course is still good) elsewhere.
* If it comes down to the bullpens, it's clear who has the advantage, and it's not the Sox. Grady Little has been very cautious with all his starters, which is a good thing as far as keeping them healthy, but a bad thing in that it means more innings for the relief corps. Pedro has so few wins because the bullpen has lost many of his leads.
* Defensively, the A's are far better. If it comes down to which team executes, and it often does, the Sox are in trouble.
* The As have a good stockpile of left handed pitching, which really limits the effectiveness of Walker, Ortiz, and Nixon. (Speaking of Nixon, we're also not sure how healthy Trot is.) The presence of southpaws makes it more critical that Nomar snaps out of his late-season slump.
* It's just as easy to imagine Hudson outdueling Martinez as the latter, or having it come down to the relief pitchers.
* Bad Tim Wakefield may make an appearance - it's happened before at inopportune times.
* I seem to remember Terence Long, who sucks against the rest of the league, being a Red Sox killer in the tradition of Pete O'Brien and Joe Carter (both of whom were much better than Long.)

My heart says the Red Sox will pull this off in five. My head thinks otherwise, that they're going down in four.

Note that my being pessimistic has been healthy for them this year - usually, I publish something that says the Sox are in trouble, and miraculously they bail themselves out of it. Maybe it will happen again.

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