LONGSHOTS: Bay watch on for Sox MVP
by Dave Long
With football and the baseball playoffs converging and the Celtics beginning pre-season camp this week, I’ve got all kinds of things on my mind and not enough space to say them. But here goes:
I hope my well-informed e-mailing friend who I went back and forth with a while back over my saying Joe Namath belonged on the Mount Rushmore of history’s most overrated players noticed that Joe Willie was nowhere to be found on Peter King’s Top 12 all-time quarterback list on SI.com last week. Of course he’ll have a legion of supporters in these parts if he wants backers in saying King doesn’t know what he’s talking about since Tom Brady was way down at number 10 and, worse, four slots below Peyton Manning.
With this the Patriots’ 50th anniversary — which is highlighted by wearing throwback four times this year — I have two comments. Whoever picked the name Patriots was spot on. It honored the colonials whose spunk led to the formation of this great country in a battle that started in Boston. And having said that, then how in the name of Billy Sullivan could they have picked the team colors worn by the enemy — the British Redcoats — for those uniforms? And how come I’ve never heard any historian, even Ken Burns or Doris Kearns Goodwin, ever mention that?
In case you don’t read headlines, I’m taking Jason Bay for my Red Sox MVP. But, in the way I’d have voted for Manny to be last year’s NL MVP, despite being only there for two months, the guy whose presence really stabilized the ship was Victor Martinez. He’s been a tremendous addition and the best mid-season deal made by Theo — who also gets thumbs up for getting Alex Gonzalez and Billy Wagner — since Orlando Cabrera.
If you’re wondering, Justin Masterson is 1-6 with a 5.21 ERA for Cleveland since that trade.
I know it’s a little early, but my eye will twitch this off-season when I hear Theo is if he passes on Alex Gonzalez AGAIN at shortstop for next year.
And speaking of the one that got away, Hanley Ramirez’s line for the year stands at .348 with 24 homers and 105 RBI. But somehow with Gonzalez on board it doesn’t bother me as much.
Broadcasting line of the week came from Tim McCarver Saturday on Fox when he said, “That may be the most exciting inning in baseball history when a ball never left the infield,” after Dice-K loaded the bases on an infield hit and two walks and then naturally wriggled out of it thanks in part to great plays by Victor Martinez and Mike Lowell.
My friend Gary Parson says the reason the Yanks were 7 for 7 in steals against Jason Varitek Friday is the pitchers don’t hold runners on. I say it’s mostly the captain. E-mail me — what do you think?
Here’s the most worrisome stat for the post season: the Sox finished 39 and 42 on the road while both the Yanks and Angels are 45 and 33 away from home.
Anyone else noticed that the AAA and AA teams in Pawtucket and Portland from the Red Sox’ vaunted farm system were a combined 33 games UNDER .500? That doesn’t sound real vaunted to me.
After a peek at the leader board it’s still hard to believe F-Cat alums Aaron Hill and Adam (gone with the) Lind both hit over 30 homers and knocked in over 100 runs, especially for Hill, who’s fourth in the entire league with 35 bombs. And with the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler being a 30-30 guy the AL has two second basemen with over 30 homers. When’s the last time that happened?
I mean aside from the steroid era.
Throw in Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia is, at best, the fourth-best second baseman in the AL this year.
Of course since the Orioles’ Brian Roberts already has 55 doubles and became just the fourth person ever to hit 50 in a season three times, Pedroia is probably fifth. Who are the other three to do it, by the way?
But if Pedee can make it through the week without an error, it’ll be his third straight year with just six, which is Omar Vizquel-like.
I don’t know about you, but I think Jon Gruden has been great in his first two MNF games. One of the few able to clearly explain technical coaching language economically.
With the Steelers 1-2 after losing to the lowly Bengals, is this the beginning of the Super Bowl hangover? Probably not, but if so, Steelers fans can kiss that team-of-the-decade talk good-bye.
The last time I saw a coach go for it inside his 30 before the fourth quarter as Coach B did leading six in the third period Sunday on fourth and one was Barry Switzer with Dallas. And after his not making it, the accurate Post’s headline the next day was “Bozo the Coach.”
While the length, shot blocking and three-point shooting that are part of Rasheed Wallace’s game are exactly what the Celtics were missing last year, does anyone realize both Leon Powe and Big Baby outplayed Sheed almost every time the Pistons and Celtics played the last two years?
While I really like defenses coming after a QB as aggressively as the 3-0 Jets do under Rex Ryan and think he’s injected a swagger up and down the line-up, let’s keep it in perspective. They weren’t the Lions a year ago. With a few new additions it’s the same team that had the division wrapped up until collapsing in the final month when Brett Favre’s arm trouble was a real issue.
Speaking of which. No big shock, but it’s pretty hypocritical just the same that the NY media that rightly made a huge deal over videogate barely made a peep when the Jets got caught blatantly cheating by leaving Favre entirely off the injured list those last four weeks. How is it any different?
The three trifecta 50 double guys are Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Ducky Medwick and Tris Speaker, who’s the only one to do it four times. That’s good company for Roberts.
And almost forgot. I’ve got another Terry Francona thing that sets my eye to twitching when his name is brought up. It was treating last weekend’s series with the Yankees as exhibition games BEFORE they even clinched the wild card. I wouldn’t call it a disgrace, but I’m glad I’m not on the team because I’d have been embarrassed my manager handed the Yankees the division title IN Yankee Stadium without a fight. I know it was inevitable, but tell that to the ’64 Phillies or the ’87 Blue Jays, who blew big leads in the final week.
Or to maybe their ancestors on the 1978 team who after blowing a 14-game lead needed to win the last nine to force the famous playoff and did — which in my opinion was one of the great Red Sox moments ever, because I’m with Yogi — “It’s never over ’til it’s over,” and they didn’t give up.
Dave Long can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He hosts Dave Long and Company from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday on WGAM – The Game, 1250-AM Manchester, 900-AM Nashua.