Baseball Toaster Catfish Stew
Monthly archives: October 2003


Notes From Last Night
2003-10-07 08:36
by Ken Arneson

was talking with a friend before the game yesterday, and he noted that the A's 0-9 curse is a first round curse, while the Red Sox' curse doesn't necessarily apply to the first round. That's why our curse took precedence over their curse. The Red Sox pain is yet to come.

The Red Sox and Cubs are long-suffering, but the A's are densely-suffering. I'm not sure which is worse.

Oddly, I'm not nearly as upset now as I was after Game 3. I'm not going to stop being a baseball fan, although the thought did cross my mind, too: is this pain worth it? But then I think: our rotation next year will be Hudson, Mulder, Zito, the new-and-improved Lilly, and Harden, and I can't wait for spring training to begin. I may not ever watch any more playoffs, though.

Barry Zito needs a fourth pitch he can rely on. Zito lost the feel for his curveball in the sixth inning, and he was suddenly a two-pitch pitcher. When the count went 2-2 on Manny Ramirez, Ramirez fouled a fastball straight back, meaning he had timed Zito's fastball. So without his curveball, and not wanting to risk walking the bases loaded, Zito's choices here were to throw a changeup, and risk hanging it so Manny could hit it hard, or another fastball, which Manny had the timing down on. Either way, his choices weren't good. If he had a sinker or a cutter or a splitter--something besides the curve that has some movement--he could get through those innings where the curve temporarily abandons him. He could be Zito Forever instead of Zito Twice Through The Order. Zito threw another fastball to Ramirez, and there went the season.

As much as Dye has struggled against Lowe, I think pinch-hitting for him was a mistake. I wanted to see him get a chance to drive in at least one run. You don't need a hit there; just contact. I think Dye, a powerful guy, would have been more likely to hit a sac fly deep enough, or a ball hard enough to get through the drawn-in infield. Dye looked visibly angry and disgusted as he was called back to the dugout. I don't blame him.

I'd like to see Tejada and Foulke come back, but that's probably not realistic. Perhaps getting Jose Guillen back is a little more realistic. I liked watching him play. Even with a broken hand, he was the best A's hitter in the playoffs, and from what I've seen this year, his hitting seems very Tejada-like: not a whole lot of patience, but some (like, for instance, that 9th inning walk last night which was a very good at-bat), and with good pop, so if they lose Tejada but keep Guillen, then what you basically need is for Bobby Crosby's offense to replace Terrence Long's offense to get similar production from 2004's lineup as compared to 2003's lineup.

For some reason I was channeling Ray Fosse when I wrote that last sentence. I apologize. I'll bet you didn't even realize I was actually trying to ask a question.

Thoughts from the Land of Insomnia
2003-10-02 07:06
by Ken Arneson

OK, I think I got about 3 1/2 hours sleep, but now it's 6:40am and I'm awake again. I wonder how sloppy a game we're going to see in Game 2 because nobody got enough sleep. Personally, I'm probably going to cheer every pop-up thinking it's gonna be a home run.

The anti-Moneyball types will say the A's won because of the bunt, but really, the A's won because they drew 10 walks. The Red Sox almost won because they hit three home runs. That's Moneyball right there on both sides.

Speaking of walks, I started having nightmares in advance when Rich Harden came in the game. I thought he might be so nervous he'd walk every batter he saw. Well, he did walk Manny and then uncorked an extremely wild pitch, but he got the job done.

I suppose now is the time to thank Grady Little for intentionally walking Terrence Long.

That bozo (me) who said "Keith Foulke for two innings" doesn't know what he's talking about. It's Keith Foulke for three innings!

I wonder if the Red Sox are regretting only putting 10 pitchers on their roster now.

How effective will Lowe be in Game 3 after throwing two innings? Can Pedro go in Game 4 after 130 pitches last night?

I got to the game during batting practice, and I looked down and who was the very first person I saw? No kidding: Buck Martinez in a horrible brown suit he must have had left over from the 70s, standing out like a sore thumb in a sea of TV sportscasters all dressed in conservative colors. My immediate thought, "They're out to get me. Run away!" And then: "Maybe seeing him before the series starts won't count in the curse." This series ain't over yet. You never know what will happen when curses collide. I have a feeling we're gonna see more weird stuff...

I Can't Sleep
2003-10-02 00:52
by Ken Arneson

How can I sleep? I just witnessed the best baseball game I will ever see in my whole life. When my grandkids ask me about the best baseball game I ever saw, I will say "Game 1, 2003 ALDS, October 1, 2003."

And to think, I was feeling stupid about paying above face value for 3rd deck seats behind the plate. I could have paid ten times as much and it would have been worth it.

I'm gonna be a zombie at tomorrow's game, because I'm sure I will get no sleep whatsoever. Adrenaline is still pumping throughout my body. I'm finding it hard to sit still long enough to type this. I gotta go bounce off some walls or something now. Later...

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