Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yankees destroy Red Sox, Miguel Cabrera wins Triple Crown, and Curt Schilling might have to sell bloody sock

I hate to admit it, but Squawker Jon was right. Before the Yankees-Red Sox series, Jon and I had very different opinions on what would happen. I feared that the Sox would stick it to the Yankees over the last three games of the season as much as possible, and would try to end their season on a high note, by keeping the Yanks from winning the AL East.

Jon figured it was just as likely that Boston would mail it in to make absolutely certain that Bobby Valentine wouldn't be back. And guess what? The Red Sox got swept, with Valentine himself helping to make sure that this would be his swan song (no pun intended) with Boston. How sweep it is!

Not to mention Valentine trashing his coaches on the radio before the game. To top it all off, I just read that Curt Schilling might lose the bloody sock, because he put it up as collateral with his ill-fated loans for 38 Studios. How low can the Sox go?

Anyhow, last night might have been my favorite night of the Yankees season. You had the Sox so dysfunctional that, according to Boston Globe writer Pete Abraham, only six Boston players -- and no coaches -- stood with Valentine for the National Anthem. From Abraham's Twitter feed:
 on the field for the anthem. Valentine, 6 players, no coaches. Class all the way, this bunch.
Pedroia (standing alone), Lavarnway and Quiroz (heading to the bullpen), Ellsbury, Ross, Ciriaco in OF.

You had Dice-K getting destroyed in his last game in a Sox uniform. You had a 14-2 score in a game that looked like batting practice. You had A-Rod with a goofy, scared look on his face when the crowd roared after the Yanks put on the scoreboard that Baltimore won, and the Bombers clinched the division title. (He also showed some self-awareness by saying after the game that he knew the cheers weren't for him!)

And most importantly, you had the Yankees win, clinching the AL East on the last game of the season and celebrating at home. The house was rocking, last night, too -- it was the loudest I had heard Yankee Stadium this year. I was glad there wasn't the whole pile of players jumping on top of each other. Aside from it not really being appropriate, given the Yanks did blow a 10-game division lead before finishing on top, I worry that somebody could have gotten hurt. These days, you can never be too careful.

Anyhow, I enjoyed the game, and the postgame celebration, and the fact that the Sox were utterly humiliated. I did not switch the game to watch the presidential debate; I watched that replay later. But I did switch during that game to watch Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, and I also got to see him getting taken out of the game to a standing ovation from the Kansas City crowd.

Warning: AL MVP rant ahead! A month ago, I would have said Mike Trout should have been the AL MVP. But between Cabrera's torrid September (following a torrid August), his leading the Tigers to a division title, and him winning the Triple Crown, he should be the runaway winner. And frankly, I don't understand the media folks who minimize what Cabrera has done this year, and denigrate those who support him as "truthers" (Jeff Passan) and irrational minds who would prefer their doctors still use leeches (Keith Law.) There's no need for that.

Using WAR, a formula where there is no clear agreement on, and in which the value can change from year to year on previous numbers, seems to be a very flawed way to pick the MVP. And putting down the Triple Crown is bizarre. Baseball is all about the numbers, after all. Cabrera didn't just win in three important categories; he also won in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) with a .999; Trout had a .963. And in the last 30 games of the season, Cabrera had a 1.066 OPS, with 11 homers, 28 RBI and a .324 batting average. Trout had a .948 OPS, with a .297 batting average, 5 homers and 9 RBIs.

Sure, Trout is better on defense, but Cabrera switch positions from first to third this year so the Tigers could sign Prince Fielder. If that isn't a sign of "loyalty," one of the criteria the BBWAA writers are supposed to determine the vote on, than what is.

Anyhow, back to the Yankees. It's a good day; I'm still basking in the afterglow of last night's win!

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

Regular-season-wise, last night might have been the best day to be a Yankee since the start of the Divisional Play era in 1969 -- unless, of course, you count the 1978 Bucky Dent Game as "regular season." And even then, there wasn't the 2003-present dynamic of Yanks-Sox involved: It was really that season that enshrined it, moving it from, say, Ohio State vs. Michigan up to the level of an English soccer "derby."

Which is not to say that full revenge for 2004 and 2007 has been obtained. We may need to take a vote on whether that has happened, although clinching the Division against the Sox in 2005, '09 and now '12, plus the 5-game Fenway sweep of '06, does help.

Memo to whoever ends up with the Bloody Sock: I want that blood tested for steroids! Even if the results are inconclusive due to the passage of time, I want that test applied!

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