Baseball's annual marathon ends today for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Last night only reinforced the contradictions of 2006, with the Sox squandering a lead in the ninth inning. Absent Jonathan Papelbon in the closer role, Mike Timlin couldn't finish off the Birds, and Kevin Millar laced a hit off the wall to provide the coup de gras.
Manny Ramirez made a cameo appearance at DH, and homered. Revisionists still call for Manny's ouster (amidst his annual trade requests), ignoring his productivity. Yes, he is a troubled employee, but a useful one.
The Red Sox West (San Diego) gets into the playoffs behind David Wells, and lets not forget Dave Roberts, Cla Meredith, Josh Bard, and others.
Sox fans say 'farewell' (maybe) to Trot Nixon today, and I hope they reward his service with a lengthy standing ovation. Nixon may not have been a great player, but played hard and often hurt. I've asked my wife (who's going to the game with a friend) to do her part in saluting Nixon.
The Boston Globe interviews Theo Epstein today, getting his perspective on what went wrong. Events conspired against the Sox this season, but the team clearly didn't have championship material this year.
Does he or doesn't he? Only his trainer knows. Ross Grimsley may have implicated Roger Clemens in the 'performance-enhancing' substance user group. Innocent until proven guilty, until Congress passes a law revising that...Roger, remember the two most important words in Washington, this and every year, "plausibile deniability."
Don't forget to get your copy of Little League, Big Dreams, the latest tour de force from Charles Euchner, author of The Last Nine Innings. You'll never view Williamsport quite the same.
And for those with a broader dimension than baseball, Louise Richardson has written the definitive, scholarly introduction to understanding terrorism, What Terrorists Want -the three R's of revenge, renown, and reaction.