I will admit I just couldn’t bring myself to write about the Kansas City series, mostly because I really didn’t care and the big ticket item was looming in the distance. That item came via Minnesota and all of the joy left Mudville, so writing about Detroit seemed pointless too. All I can say is this home stand pretty much sucked, the Twins series of course being the biggest kick in the gut. The lads just didn’t show up against Minnesota and as everyone seems to be saying, the Twins are just a better team. That fact was on display during all three games. I’m pretty sure the Twins pitching will not get them very far in the playoffs, but I’ll be cheering for Jim Thome just the same. I may even buy a retro Twins cap for the first round of the playoffs just for fun.
What were amazing to hear during this home stand were the comments from my fellow fans. The long knives are definitely out in full force for Ozzie, though many national observers, Keith Law among them, seriously discuss him as manager of the year. I agree that Ozzie has done a decent job this year but I also think that many of the challenges he faced throughout the year were of his own making. It was pretty clear that he didn’t want Jim Thome back and that he wanted a more versatile line up. That versatility came in the form of Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay, murder’s row it is not. The only person from that list who should be back is Vizquel and only in the role that he was supposed to fill this year that of infield sub. Unfortunately he out performed everyone that should have been at third base, and for most of the season he out performed Gordon Beckham as well. Sadly, Teahen is the one under contract and I doubt with three years remaining that he will be going anywhere soon. Even so, the injuries to the bullpen and Peavy were set backs that Ozzie did not make and the fact that the team was in contention for so long is further proof, at least to me that he is a decent, if not good manager.
The other comments I’ve been reading and hearing are about Manny Ramirez and his lack of production. I even heard a smattering of boos at the Thursday night game. If I really cared, I could have booed too, but seriously, we all knew what could happen and the worst pretty much did. Unfortunately for Manny this audition for a future DH spot is not going well. It would be foolish for a NL team to take him on at this point and if this month is any indication it would be foolish for an AL team as well. I must admit, I want a Manny t-shirt just…because.
As mentioned, I was at the final game of the Twins series, and because my pal AJD couldn’t make it, I decided to parlay my upper tank ticket into a lower bowl seat and was rewarded with an excellent seat among some classic Chicago sports meatballs. If I was playing Chicago meatball bingo I would have had a full card. Let’s see, I had a guy booing Manny, a rousing discussion of clogging the bases and that Jim Thome isn’t that good and he was that good for “us;” a fellow next to me with a mustache which I’m guessing he wished was thicker so he could look like DA COACH, alas he barely scrapped a caterpillar across his lip. He vocally pined for Scott Podsednik to come back because he was a better player than Juan Pierre. He and his buddy also said that the Yankees really aren’t that good, though at the time they had the best record in baseball. It was also amusing to hear them discuss the batting problems of various Sox players because they were both really good softball players, according to them anyway.
Luckily, I’ve got at least one more game to attend before the season is over, maybe two. At that point it will surely be officially over and the crowds will be sparse to say the least, kind of like games in April and May. The great year end sale should also be going on and I can get one or two hats I have my eye on, a 1987 with the Eddie Einhorn “E” on the front and either a 1926 with the crossed socks or the 1930 cap with the red SOX descending with a bat along side. Of course I bet I can find that Manny shirt pretty cheap too.