As you’re all undoubtedly aware, Boston advanced to the ALCS for the 3rd time in 5 years with yesterday’s 9-1 rout of the Angels, a contest which featured David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez going back-to-back off Wevie Stonder II, Eric Gagne making a 9 run lead stand up, and if we’re to believe Curt Schilling (7 IP, 0 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk), the hosts taking a somewhat cavalier approach to their pregame routine. From 38Pitches.com :
I guarantee someone will make a big deal out of this and it™s not meant to be. It™s something that I would guess only affected me but that™s why I mention it. I was stunned yesterday as I walked to the pen to warm up, that the Angels took no BP outside. I am walking to the pen and they were doing the ˜on your own™ routine that teams will often do in Spring Training for oddly timed games or during the regular season when you get an early day game after a late night. Now I would bet they didn™t think twice about it, they were ready for the game and all that, but as I am walking to the pen I couldn™t help but think that as high as I was adrenaline wise, with the series on the line, and my nerves on edge, there was no way they could be anywhere near as ready for this game as I was when it started. Sounds stupid I guess, but I know it got me fired up and excited about being able to grab a hold of this game and win it.
The Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes went on record earlier today, claiming the Indians “will rue not putting away the Yankees when they were up, 3-0” while predicting an eventual Yankees/Red Sox ALCS. But while Philip Hughes and Johnny Damon might’ve saved Joe Torre’s job, for at least one more day, Newsday’s Wallace Matthews has a hard time understanding why the Yankee skipper is facing termination after “the finest managing job of his career in leading these Yankees from a 21-29 record to one more October.”
Had Steinbrenner fired Torre at the close of last year’s pathetic first-round loss to the Detroit Tigers, it might have been understandable. At the time, it seemed as if Torre were as sick of managing the Yankees as they were of having him around.
But this year it would be inexcusable.
Never mind that Steinbrenner also employs the highest-paid position player in the game, Alex Rodriguez, who gave him a great regular season followed by an 0-for-6 in the first two games of this series. And forget that he also pays Roger Clemens a prorated share of a $28-million salary, higher even than A-Rod’s, for which he got 2 1/3 innings and a 3-0 deficit last night.
But they’re not the problem. Once again, this one is on the manager. In his effort to exert power, Steinbrenner once again has shown how powerless he really is. Not to mention clueless. Of all the professional sports, the one least amenable to the type of motivation-by-intimidation Steinbrenner loves so much is baseball. That kind of stuff may have gone over big when The Boss was a high school football coach back in Cleveland, but in a big-league clubhouse, it is the stuff of comedy.
Plus, how bright is it to apply more pressure to a team whose hitters have been grinding the handles of their bats into sawdust? Baseball is the only game in which “trying too hard” is frowned upon, “thinking too much” is discouraged, in which pitchers who are “too strong” take a pounding, and in which less work is often the answer.
But then, what do you expect from an owner who has never grasped the fact that you can buy performance but not results, and that while you can scare your manager out of a good night’s sleep, you can never scare your players into a good night’s work?