Monday, April 11, 2005

Sox Bloody Yanks 8-1 Game 7, (3-4)

The Red Sox opened their home campaign with a convincing 8-1 victory over the AL runnerup, the New York Yankees.

Tim Wakefield (1-0) pitched seven innings without allowing a run, lowering his ERA to 1.32. While Wake provided the interest, batterymate Doug Mirabelli added the dividends, powering a two-run shot over the monster in the second inning to put the Sox up for good. Following Wakefield, Matt Mantei and Keith Foulke completed the rout with two solid innings of scoreless relief.

The Sox touched up Mike Mussina, (0-1, 4.91) for seven runs, four earned in five innings. The thirty-six year-old Mussina was 12-9 with an ERA of 4.59 in 2004 and allowed 178 hits in 164 innings last season.

You don't see this. The Red Sox unfurled a massive championship banner engulfing the entire left field wall during pregame ceremonies. The Sox also handed out World Series rings to players, including Derek Lowe and Dave Roberts who returned for the ceremonies. Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, Richard Seymour, and Tedy Bruschi, no strangers to championships, tossed out the ceremonial first pitch.

Warning, tasteless joke ahead. President Bill Clinton and Hillary attended opening day at Camden Yards. Just before the game started, the President grabbed the First Lady by the neck, and shoved her from the stands onto the field. Alertly, a Secret Service agent whispered in the President's ear, "Mr. President, you're supposed to throw out the First Pitch".

Reality Check notes. Manager Terry Francona returned to lead the Sox into his second home opener. Before the game Francona acknowledged that perhaps he needed to put things into better perspective and relax more.

Managing the Red Sox can definitely be hazardous to your health, although a few former Sox skippers appear to have left unscathed. Kevin Kennedy seems to have a sense of humor and Joe Morgan left with his honor intact.

Baseball insight of the day. My college coach, Loyal Park, knew a phenomenal amount about baseball, and as little about people. He taught first basemen to position themselves in such a way to impede a hitter's turn subtly to make it more difficult for him to get a double.

Reading List. The Hardball Times looks at the Sox-Yankees rivalry. Born today, Stoneham's Joe Vitiello. Bill James' baseball primer. This is definitely evidence-based baseball, as James is Red Sox senior baseball advisor. Of special note are the relationships between minor league and major league performance, the association between ballpark and production (see Nomar Garciaparra), opinions about college versus high school prospects, and the importance of defense to pitching results.

Baseball quotes, from

"Bad ballplayers make good managers, not the other way around."- Earl Weaver

"Baseball has been good to me since I quit trying to play it." - Whitey Herzog

"Don't let yourself get beat by Superman." - Sparky Anderson

"If you don't have outstanding relief pitching, you might as well piss on the fire and call the dogs." - Whitey Herzog

"Baseball is a game, yes. It is also a business. But what it most truly is, is disguised combat. For all its gentility, its almost leisurely pace, baseball is violence under wraps." - Willie Mays

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