Monday, June 04, 2007

Sometimes I wonder what goes on in Terry Francona's fragile little mind. Tonight, according to Remy and Orsillo, he hoped to get seven innings out of Julian Tavarez. Aside from the fact that Tavarez has gone seven innings only once this season and had thrown over 100 pitches twice coming into this evening's game against Oakland (which is run by the Sabremetrician's lizard king), it seemed like a nice plan. Unfortunately, even good plans sometimes fall apart.

As it was, the Francona Tavarez plan hit a snag in the form of Mark Ellis, who was a single short of the cycle, having faced Tavarez three times in his 5 and 2/3 innings of work tonight. Just in case you care, Mark Ellis was hitting .257 when he came up for his third at bat of the evening. But apparently Julian Tavarez was good for what ailed him at the plate.

I am not happy about this series, even though Papelbon is almost assuredly not available for Game One. After all, Francona's mighty closer is only to be used in consecutive games in the direst circumstances. Of course when you're Terry Francona, sometimes the direst circumstances include a game in which the Sox were leading by five runs in the ninth and then a tie game in the top of the ninth the following evening. On the plus side, as neither was a save situation, Papelbon has only one blown save to date.

But, the real problem is that the Oakland offense is not good. Outside of Ellis' remarkable performance, the offense did very little against the least formidable of the Red Sox starters. And on the other side, the Red Sox are coming off a long game with a slightly later start than usual (8PM Eastern vs. the usual 7PM game time) and a cross country flight that got them into Oakland in the early morning hours. So it was no surprise that their offense struggled against Danny Haren, the ace of this Oakland staff. It bodes ill for Oakland that their pitching gets worse as the Red SOx finally have a chance at a full night's sleep.

In other news that bodes ill for Sedition In Red Sox Nation, Jon Lester threw a complete game one hitter at the Norfolk Tides today in a 7-1 victory for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Off the top of my head, I couldn't tell you the name of a single player on the Norfolk Tides, but I'm willing to bet that they aren't very good. I base this supposition on the knowledge that they are the Orioles' AAA affiliate, and the Orioles aren't that good.

Any pro-quality prospect in Orioles organization is probably competing to push the spare parts that surround Miguel Tejada and Brian Roberts out of Camden Yards. So Lester didn't exactly throw a one hitter against the 1927 New York Yankees. Here is as good a place as any for me to offer this disclaimer, I am glad that his cancer seems to be in remission, but not glad enough to wish him professional success in this organization.

And we have a tool of note segment from this weekend's spectacular managerial tirades. It's not Lou Pinella, who didn't seem to do anything to deserve a suspension. Nor is it Ozzie Guillen, who is still immune from criticism in this space because he makes Jay Mariotti froth at the mouth. Nor is it the manager of the Mississippi Braves for his spectacularly stupid behavior.

Instead, it is the entire Mississippi Braves organization. I'm sure you've seen this footage by now, but I give you the video of this sad spectacle in part because it's funny, but also to ask this question: "Why didn't a player, a coach, a front office executive or a damn peanut vendor go out there and tackle that nitwit before he started crawling like a fat guy trying to do Rambo in some demented parlor game like charades throwing the rosin bag as though it were a grenade?"



I was under the impression that professional sports teams were expected to look out for one another. Granted that fracas between Barrett and the Big Z in the dugout at Wrigley calls that naive assumption into question, but don't minor league teams sell themselves as a purer form of baseball, untainted by the vast sums that grow monster egos at the highest level? The video is just surreal.

His team allowed him to ruin his career. Even if he somehow managed to cure cancer (I admit that's somewhat unlikely for the manager of an obscure AA team), every single person who watches it will remember him as the guy who slunk on the turf behind the pitcher's mound as though he were an infantryman dodging enemy fire and threw the rosin bag like a grenade. Who is ever going to hire him again?

Can you imagine that sell as an MLB general manager? You might as well announce the hiring of Shemp from the Three Stooges (if he weren't dead) as tell the press in any given city that has a professional sports team that you wanted to hire the guy who went ballistic in such a bizarre fashion on the field turf at the Mississippi Braves game. Granted the guy probably had no shot at making it to the Show as a manager. But at least he could have dreamed about it.

Now he's going to go down in history as a viral video loser like that fat guy who fell off the Dance Dance Revolution machine or the loser who filmed himself doing a very graceless rendition of a Jedi routine. Some member of his organization had a moral responsibility to step in and stop him from making such a moron out of himself. Maybe they didn't want to do it, but I feel they owed it to him.

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